Compared to other Greek Islands, Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands stayed off the Instagram radar. Although I know it’s so hard to choose a favorite island (they are all incredible), it blows my mind that not that many people know about this hidden pearl. It’s not a tourist trap, and it’s refreshing. On that note, Kefalonia is an island you won’t have to share with the masses. You arrive in a cosy airbus at a small-town, tiny airport where your rental car awaits. I must add that the staff and people I met along the way, starting at the airport were the sweetest, warmest people I have ever met. I guess the size of the airport allows the staff to create a personal welcoming experience like no other. Greek cookies and friendly smiles included.
1. The Secluded Paradise of Kefalonia
On my way to the accommodation I spot a bunch of little kiosks where locals shop. I always enjoy stocking up on local produce and fruit upon arrival. Most of them still use plastic bags, but it’s forgiven. It caught my attention that a lot of the specialities sold in the supermarkets are Russian: Russian teas, salads and other specialities. Coincidence? Maybe. When driving, watch out for wildlife crossing. Cows and goats are everywhere and they don’t move when cars approach. Hence why a good car insurance is obligatory. My navigation does not lead me to my destination, so stop at the local butcher to ask for directions. ‘It’s down the road and up the hill. Give me a second and I’ll drive you there’, the gentleman smiles while removing his head out of the pig’s carcass. I arrive at the Péra Perou Villas at last and although it’s pouring, the location is otherworldly. A lot of thought and detail went into designing this place. I’m in awe…
2. Panoramic Views among the olive trees
Where to stay in Kefalonia: Bathing in luxury at the Pera Perou Villas
Before we jump into details, I only ended up in Agia Efimia, Kefalonia just because of the villas. My passion for wabi-sabi decor and architecture has been brewing for the last couple of years. In case you wonder what the heck wabi-sabi is, the philosophy originates from Japan, reminding us to find beauty in imperfection and simplicity while being closer to nature and to ourselves. That’s how I found Péra Perou, described as raw, unspoiled luxury. Although it has an expensive feel and the best view on the island (scout’s honor), the decor of the villas is very minimal and airy. That’s how I like it. Every single bit has a purpose and is part of the spectacular design by architect and owner Klo. She explains how the Ionian islands still catch a lot of rain or occasional snow and that the water temperature remains around max. 25 degrees.
3. Clear blue waters & pristine pebble beaches
Myrtos beach is postcard material
Pebble beaches can be a deal breaker, even for a beach nut like me, but Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia is another story. It is located 29 km north of Argostoli and I immediately understand why it’s considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The bay is surrounded by spectacular cliffs and divinely decorated by millions of perfectly shaped white pebbles. Unfortunately, it’s too windy to fly up my drone that day, but the color of the sea is the picture perfect turquoise. During the drive up to the beach you’ll most likely spot many mountain goats and wild cows. There’s no fast way to reach the beach, by the way, prepare yourself for a long and slow drive on a rocky road. Absolutely worth it though! PS: bring the water shoes, you will need them.
4. Clean & Quiet Island Life
There’s no island life like in Kefalonia. The calmness on the island is astonishing if you try to escape your busy work life. During my stay, there is barely any traffic on the road. It’s not a party island either. Of course there is evening entertainment but to the extent of Mykonos or Santorini. The most lively spot in Kefalonia is Fiskardo. The harbor village is lined up with picturesque cafeterias, fish taverns and local bars. To top it off, Kefalonia is the only Greek Island to have a national park. Mt. Ainos stretches over 3,000 hectares and is famous for it own species of fir trees.
Kefalonia is the only Greek Island to have a National Park. Its circular hiking path of 6,184m with surprise you with the most spectacular island views
5. Cosy Coastal Towns
Fancy pastel-coloured houses? Kefalonia will not disappoint. Both villages Assos and Fiskardo carry out a similar color scheme and message: Take it easy and enjoy the moment. There are places where everybody knows your name. Agia Effimia is one of them. It’s the place I stayed all week and one I would most likely revisit. Because of its laid back mentality, the fishing village seems more suitable for couples or friends who like to relax and enjoy a beautiful dinner overlooking the harbor at sunset.