Turquoise waters, rugged mountains and abundant beaches makes Kefalonia an exciting place to explore with children. This beautiful Greek island is much more relaxed and quiet than its neighbours but that might be just what you’re looking for.
While Kefalonia does not have the historical old town you’ll find in Rhodes, the quintessentially Greek feel of Symi or the waterparks you’ll find in Corfu, there’s still plenty to see and do.
In August 2020 we chose Kefalonia because it had no current COVID-19 cases and it was a short flight from the UK – safety was our top priority in deciding where to go.
After an early morning start, we hopped on a three hour Tui flight from Bristol, UK to Kefalonia (in our pyjamas of course). The short flight time was a huge consideration for us as COVID regulations required anyone over the age of six to wear a mask for the duration of the flight.
We based ourselves in the southern town of Skala, staying at the beautiful Nine Muses hotel. Skala boasts a long stretch of beach and a handful of restaurants primarily catering for tourists but is a nice base if you’re after some sunshine and sea.
1. Antisamos Beach
White pebbles line the turquoise waters in this beautiful bay. This was by far the most family friendly beach we found in Kefalonia with gentle waves, a spotlessly clean shore and great facilities. Antisamos beach is perfect for toddlers who want a gentle paddle – or like Arlo who just want to throw pebbles in the sea! The calm sea hosts a range of fish for older children and keen snorkelers to explore.
Brave the five hairpin turns to wind down the cliff edge and park for free at the Acron beach bar. There you can hire a pair of sunloungers (EUR 8), Bali beds or even beanbags if you prefer. There’s food, drink and decent toilets so you can spend the day relaxing.
2. Explore Argostoli
Wild Turtles in Argostoli Harbour
Loggerhead turtles return to the southern sandy beaches of Kefalonia each summer to nest. We stayed clear of nesting beaches but had heard tales of turtles residing in Argostoli harbour – Fin was so excited to see them, we had to try and spot one. After half an hour of wandering along the De Bosset bridge spotting fish, we walked back to the waterfront Aristofanis Restaurant for a drink when we caught sight of a huge loggerhead turtle which swam right up to us. We were so lucky enough to get up close to a wild turtle. Top tip – visit early as the turtles are particularly active in the morning when the fisherman bring in their catch.
Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi
A five minute drive from central Argostoli you’ll find the iconic Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi. It was built in 1828 as a beacon to warn ships of the rocky outcrop near Argostoli harbour. It was destroyed in the 1959 earthquake which devastated the island and rebuilt in 1960 according to its original designs. Sadly the lighthouse is now a magnet for graffiti and definitely needs a lick of paint. Fin and Arlo weren’t particularly interested in the history but they did enjoy running around the twenty pillars and spotting marine life in the nearby rockpools.
De Bosset Bridge
If you’re looking for a perfect platform for spotting marine life then head to the impressive De Bosset bridge. It has recently been renovated and pedestrianised so take a stroll to spot the turtles and take in panoramic views of Argostoli. The bridge was built in 1813 and is the largest stone bridge over sea water (a very specific claim to fame!). Again our top tip would be to visit early as it’s quite exposed during the midday sun.
3. Assos Village
The steep winding streets of Assos village are lined with pastel coloured houses and adorned with vibrant flowers. This is one of the prettiest corners of Kefalonia and it’s easy to spend a whole day here.
- Make a swim stop at the small sandy beach which boasts gentle waves and clear waters. There’s also a handful of pedalos and boats available to hire too.
- Climb the winding path to explore Assos Castle which sits 170m above the bay and once defended the area from pirates. Entrance is free and the kids will love exploring the castle ruins. The path is pushchair accessible but it is steep in places and a visit will take around two hours in total from the car park.
- Dine at one of the seafront restaurants. Fin discovered Strawberry Daiquiri Mocktails here!
Our top tip for Assos would be to arrive early as it can get very busy and the walk up to the castle is not good in the midday heat. There are a handful of car parks but they fill up quickly!
4. Underground Caverns
Melissani Cave and Lake
A few minutes drive from Sami you’ll find the ethereal Melissani Cave. Follow the steep tunnel down into cave where a few small row boats are moored. The roof of Melissani cave collapsed centuries ago, leaving an opening for sunlight to stream in. The most popular time to visit is at midday when the sun is overhead and the lake lights up with vibrant blue hues.
We took one look at the queue at midday and returned later on! The guided tour takes around half an hour and costs EUR 7 per person. Don’t forget to take some coins to tip the boat guide.
Reaching depths of 60m with impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations, Drogorati caves is great for little explorers. Situated a few minutes drive from Sami, a visit will cost EUR 5 per person.
COVID: Masks are required in caves and on boats. Social distancing is enforced and hand sanitizer available.
5. Island Hopping
We love island hopping around this gorgeous part of the world as each Greek island is so unique. Kefalonia provides a great base to explore nearby Ithaca and Zante.
The mystical island of Ithaca is referred to in Greek mythology as the homeland of Odysseus, where he returned to after the Trojan war. Today, Ithaca is a quiet rugged corner of Greece often overlooked by mass tourism.
Hop on the 20 minute ferry from Kefalonia (EUR 2pp) and hire a taxi for the day to explore the island.
Sail around the blue caves, relax on sandy beaches and explore the famous Navagio beach shipwreck. Zante lies 1hr 30m from Kefalonia and can be reached by organised tours.
COVID [Aug 20]: Masks are required on all vessels and several tour companies are closed until 2021.
- Hire a car from the airport [from EUR 9 per day] when you land to explore the island at your own pace.
- Most places are accessible with a pushchair, however there are some cobbles and narrow / non-existent pavements in places. We took our Deuter Kid Comfort II carrier for Arlo too.
- Baby and child supplies are easily available in supermarkets and stalls which sell everything from nappies you buckets and spades.
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