This was our second visit to the Greek island of Kefalonia and one of our more ‘budget’ holidays, costing around £1100 for six of us (five adults and a child aged 7) including flights, luxury villa and car hire. I found flights from Bristol airport with EasyJet for £68 return. We had free carry on luggage but paid for one large suitcase between us. I then found an incredible three bedroom villa with private pool on Airbnb which was in the fishing village of Katelios, near Skala (approx. 40 minute drive from the airport). The villa cost just under £500 for the week (October) and even though I could have found a cheaper place to stay, I always take into consideration factors such as having enough communal space to not be on top of each other, a swimming pool for the kids, WiFi, enough bathrooms, distance from amenities etc. It would be a false economy to save a few pounds on a cheaper villa or apartment to then have a miserable time because it’s not really suitable.
We hired two small cars for £50/ week each through RentalCars.com (GoldCar), which was loads cheaper than hiring a 7-seater. The pick up was really easy at the airport but I made a huge mistake in not remembering my credit card PIN! They need this to block the excess on your card if you decline their insurance. I never take out the rental company insurance as I have my own car rental insurance policy. But even if you have this they sometimes still require you to have your credit card blocked with the excess amount. And as I couldn’t remember my PIN (I only ever use it online to book flights etc so don’t even know the PIN!) I had to buy their insurance for £125 which I was NOT happy about! However at 11pm there was not a lot I could do about it and just had to give in gracefully as it was not their fault but mine. Lesson learned!
Some highlights of our week were:
Myrtos Beach – the road from Argostoli takes you up through the mountains on a very good wide road, but rather scary all the same! Our ears were popping as we ascended higher and higher and we passed many goats wandering freely on the roads with not a care in the world. Myrtos is an award winning, world renowned beach and also the most famous beach on Kefalonia. It was one of the filming locations for ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ and has beautiful turquoise waters and white sand and is approached by a long winding road which like many of the roads on Kefalonia is not for the feint-hearted. It is truly unforgettable and will ruin you for other beaches!
After swimming in the beautiful water and lazing around on the beach we headed back up the road and stopped at Alexandros Restaurant for an early dinner. Wonderful authentic food and lovely staff – it was just how we remembered it from our last visit!
Lourdas Beach – we spent most of a day here and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular beaches on Kefalonia. Crystal clear turquoise waters and golden sand with a backdrop of the mountains.
There are several tavernas along the waterfront and we parked up alongside Taverna Klimatis which had sunbeds on the beach. We ordered drinks which were brought out to us and then swam and relaxed for a couple of hours before going for lunch. We sat outside beneath a grapevine, listening to Greek music and drinking wine. Does it get any better than that? Yes it does because the food was amazing too! Our first taste of Kefalonian Meat Pie which you can’t leave the island without trying. We also had Moussaka and fresh fish.
A rainy day in Argostoli – traipsing around souvenir shops (most of them selling similar items) is not my idea of fun, especially when it’s raining, but the kids wanted to buy some gifts to take home so it had to be done. And doing this on a rainy day was better than wasting a hot sunny day we could’ve spent on the beach!
My son found a fantastic place for lunch – Tzivras Restaurant (on a side street just off the harbour) – that was crammed with local people which is always a good sign! You go up to the counter where you can see all the hot dishes on offer, you can also see the chef cooking! You then place your order and take a seat. They bring baskets of fresh bread out while you’re waiting but we hardly had to wait long at all. We all had a hot meal and a drink and the bill (for 6 people) came to €59 which I thought was really reasonable. The staff were so friendly and boxed up the rest of my little girls meal that she couldn’t finish.
After wandering around Argostoli for a couple of hours we headed back to our villa in Katelios but detoured via the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos which is high up in the mountains. This is the patron Saint of Kefalonia and so is very highly revered here. There are a few special days on their calendar which involve processions and feast days. However on the day we went it seemed almost deserted!
The road back down the mountain gave us panoramic views across the southern part of the island and parts of the road were unsealed which added to the experience.
With it’s sparkling clear turquoise ocean, clean beaches and breathtaking scenery, the island of Kefalonia is the perfect destination for a chilled out family holiday. The Kefalonian people are so welcoming and they adore children. There’s such a relaxed atmosphere on this island that makes me want to stay for six months, the thought of having time to truly unwind and explore all the hidden gems is so tempting! A week just isn’t long enough to even scratch the surface so we will definitely be back….