Come to Kefalonia, Greece
THIS LUSH AND COLORFUL GREEK ISLAND IS CHOCK FULL OF CHARM
October is a perfect time to plunk yourself and your peeps on a beautiful Greek Island with views overlooking the big blue Ionian Sea. Long gone are the throngs and masses and traffic and trials and challenges of more crowded summer months. Come October, temps still tip the warm end of the scale and the water beckons crystal clear and most definitely swimmable. Pack your snorkel and mask. Some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece become nearly private escapes to explore with your tribe alone.
October is awesome in the Greek islands. Especially if you are coming from northern climates where fall has firmly set in and grey days deliver a much chillier and damper demeanor at this time of year. You’ll find enough traditional tavernas stay open to tempt with tastes of delicious Greek cuisine. Tomatoes and feta and kalamata olives every day for me please. And thank you. And yes I did. Fisherman keep fishing and offer their fresh catches daily straight from their boats. Kefalonia in October is a keeper in my book. Come see why.
Myrtos is regularly listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. With good reason. At the bottom of winding switchbacked road sits a swath of perfect sand beach set against huge white cliffs and brilliant blue sea.
The unique reddish sand at Xi Beach is soft and fine, perfect for sand castle building or a run on the beach. This blue flag beach is brilliant for a swim, but don’t expect lifeguards or any amenities whatsoever come October. What is a bustling beach with tavernas and activities in summer is a huge open place you can have practically to yourself in Autumn. With average sea temperatures of 23°C/73°F it was serene place to paddle.
COLORFUL TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Kefalonia is chock full of charming little towns and villages. But don’t expect the white-washed domiciles and iconic windmills of the Cyclades Islands. Here on Kefalonia, a huge earthquake hit in 1953 devasted the bulk of this island. Much of it rebuilt in the cotton candy colors of the 50’s. I’m cool with that. Pinks and peaches and lemony yellows are adorable against the brilliant blue skies.
NOTE: Kefalonia is larger than it looks and you are often driving on narrow two-lane roads that are nothing if not twisty and often set square atop precipitous cliffs. Stunning views aside, take your time and watch out for sudden stoppages from goat and sheep traffic. Seriously. I joke not. The curvy roads don’t scare them and they’ll sit right in the middle or cross directly in front of your car.
CHECK OUT THESE PRETTY TOWNS & VILLAGES
Our ferry from the Greek mainland pulled into Poros, a pretty little port on the east side of the island. Without a car, many people never make it past Poros. With beaches and bistros and brilliant blue water, maybe there is no reason to! We found it a perfect place to lunch on the promenade before our return ferry home.
Find your way to the top of Kefalonia and the redonkulously cute little village of Fiskardo. If the rest of the island seems sleepy this time of year, things are still swinging in this northern outpost come October. Thanks in part to the foreign yachting community that makes this port popular. You may hear more British accents than Greek ones as you make your way around the waterfront for some dining al fresco. But don’t worry deck shoes are not required. It’s almost too cute up here. You could practically pluck this town up and set it down at Disney’s Epcot.
NOTE: You can rent a boat from Fiskardo even without a boating license. It won’t be tremendously fast or large, but it can get you across the channel to Ithaca. It’s true!
A bit more authentic and equally cute, tiny Asos is a must stop to see for yourself. Set on a little bend of a harbor, everything is colorful here. Originally we had targeted to stay in Asos, but weren’t able to find accommodation for our family of five. After visiting and sensing its solitude, we reckoned it was probably better that our exuberant family found a villa elsewhere. But if quiet is your quaint – Asos is your place.
As the capital of Kefalonia and the largest town on the island, what Argostoli lacks in charm it makes up for in amenities. Stroll down the pretty waterfront and look in the bay for the resident loggerhead turtles. Buy fish straight from the fishermen. Or step into a blue tiled fish shop. Beautiful fresh produce markets and all the souvenir stands you could stand. You can also catch the little ferry to Lixouri from here.
A quick thirty-minute ferry ride from Argostoli and you’re on the other side of the Island in Lixouri. From here it is a 10-minute drive to Xi Beach. (See above for reasons why you would want to!) After swimming and sandcastle building refuel at one of the many tavernas on the cozy open main square in Lixouri.
Spartia was our bitty, but pretty little home base village. The closest to our villa. If you aren’t staying on this side, not sure it’s worth an out of the way stop. But a traditional Greek coffee with the locals on Saturday morning enjoying these views of the colorful town church is worth it if you’re nearby.
HOW TO GET TO KEFALONIA
Seasonal charter flights and other international carriers fly from points around Europe directly to Kefalonia airport. Aegean Airlines has flights from Athens International Airport departing regularly.
We rented a car when we departed Athens and drove across the Peloponnesus to the port of Kyllini, where we caught the Kefalonian Lines ferry to Poros. Travel time was 1.5 hours for the crossing and drinks and snacks are available on board.
www.ferries.gr for schedules and bookings
WHERE TO STAY
VILLA PENELOPE | SPARTIA
With a growing family of five, we were looking for a bit of space and a place we could chill. We loved the serviced villa we found with views of the sea, a private pool and gigantic barbecue.
A three-minute walk to the rocky ‘beach” and snorkeling daily. Or a little cliff diving for your more daring? Villa Penelope had everything we could want, but it was a tad isolated. A small local market in the bitty village of Spartia was a 10-minute drive. Several full-scale modern grocery stores a bit further in Argostoli about 20-25 minutes away.
SO MANY REASONS TO SEE IT OFF-SEASON
So don’t rule out the Greek Islands after summer. September would be supreme. But we loved it in October. And unless you are really looking for solitude, I would not recommend November or dates over winter. Many shops, taverns, boat rentals and other tourist amenities were already closed for the season and many more shuttering as we sailed off at the end of fall break, or half-term.
Save it for later! Share it if you dare. Feeling pinny? Pin this piece peeps! Hej hej for now. Cheers from Copenhagen.
36 thoughts on “Kick it in Kefalonia | See this Ionian Island Off-Season”
This looks and sounds truly magical – I was transported there! Fabulous post x #FarawayFiles
Thank you kindly! It was a wonderful place for a family holiday!
Ooh your villa was stunning!! I always said if/when I go to Greece it would be after summer because the crowds are much less I imagine! I’ve even heard its still relatively warm at Christmas! Thank for introducing me to new islands! #FarawayFiles
I think September would be the perfect time if you aren’t tied to school holidays! Weather still wonderful, but not super hot and everything still open and busy. Cheers!
Wow! Definitely need to add Kefalonia to my list of Greek Islands I absolutely have to visit. Also I’ll be sure to stay at the same villa as you did because that looks like paradise! 😀 #FarawayFiles
I caught up with a friend last night who had recently visited Kefalonia and Mykonos – between the two of you, I am completely convinced that I need to explore the Greek islands!
How cute are those colorful houses in Asos! I definitely enjoy quiet and peaceful so I’m thinking that would be a good home base for me. I definitely wouldn’t mind catching the sunset every night from a terrace on a hill overlooking the ocean. #farawayfiles
We felt like we would be constantly breaking up the calm with cackling and our unique brand of crazy! It was better for us to be based in a place with no room for shushing! Haha! Cheers!
Mr CW and I first kissed in the moonlight of Fiskardo harbour *sigh*. Autumn is a good time to visit the Greek Islands
I really need to get myself to a Greek island – it looks absolutely STUNNING! The problem is that we can’t decide which one! Looks like you found a great spot though. #FarawayFiles
Yes – but you went to MALTA! That is exceptionally cool! Yes, narrowing it down to WHICH Greek island was difficult. Kefalonia did not disappoint!
Looks beautiful, but the driving sounds a bit scary! :s #FarawayFiles
I was glad my husband was doing it to be honest! Sounds bad, but I think it would have taken us twice as long to traverse the island with me going too slow!
Aaah, it does me good just looking at your beautiful photos, Erin. We loved Kefalonia and I really like the idea of visiting outside of the summer holidays. Your villa looks amazing. What a fabulous view to wake up to every morning! #FarawayFiles
You inspired me to seek out Kefalonia! It was definitely laid back.
I probably wouldn’t consider going to Greece in autumn, but you have convinced me. It looks perfect! The beaches, the charming towns, no crowds, it looks like a dream. Love your photos!
When everyone was visiting Greece in summer – we went to the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. Ironically the temps were about the same there as they were in Greece in October! Not the water though. The water was FREEZING in Norway! Thanks for connecting – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
I spent a week of my misspent youth in Poros. Loved it and have always wanted to return. I would not have thought to go in October but now . . . 2018!
I still remember greek salads with tomatoes and feta from my one trip to Greece many years ago. And lots of crusty bread to mop it all. I would happily eat that every day. Sunshine, pool and beaches versus coats, scarfs and ever darkening days. I would take a chance on Greece in October!
And the tomatoes here are only good for about 6 weeks of the year. I’m always disappointed – hothouse options just don’t taste as good as vine-ripened in Greece! Yum. And the feta was betta too! 😉 But don’t worry, we do get smørrebrød up here in Scandiland! 😉 Cheers, Erin
What a fabulous vaca you had, and as you say I can imagine October being there perfect time to go. No crowds! I feel like I already experienced this trip with you on Insta, but it was good to hear about it now in words. I know you say the villa was removed, but wow that pool! #farawayfiles
It seems impossible at first, but every Greek island we read about looks more quaint and perfect than the last. We haven’t heard a lot about Kefalonia, so we were excited to “meet” someplace kind of new to us. And yep…seems even more perfect than the last one we read about. Xi Beach is definitely calling or name – almost as loudly as the tomatoes, feta and Kalamatas every day! See, this is how our To Do list gets longer… 😉 #FarawayFiles
Haha! I KNOW! Same here. Feed the wanderlust I say! Cheers from Copenhagen!
What a fabulous place. Your villa looks amazing if a little isolated. It was obviously still warm enough for swimming in October #FarawayFiles
Gosh that water looks amazing. A beach of dreams
Wow! This looks like such a wonderful family escape. I would love love love to go to Greece and am definitely going to refer back to this if I ever convince Tim! If only my kids had time off in October… Wonder what Spring break would be like? #farawayfiles
I just showed my son the video of your teens jumping in and it really excited him! He’s eight and very cute. I’ve visited a few Ionian islands, but not Kefalonia. Your description of the fresh fish, olives and sunshine sound pretty tempting right now. #FarawayFiles
This is just what I needed today! Right now I’m sitting watching the rain pelt down through the yellow leaves. Warmer climes are always welcome, especially when you have to leave the house/office. Xi Beach would totally be on my list. I am a tragic sandcastle builder whenever I’m at the beach. I just need to have kids to justify it I think. Although those windy cliff-top roads do not sound fun.
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I would like to visit Greece on the off-season. Actually, several friends are visiting right now (visiting friends who live there). Here in California we have excellent weather and it is considered “Mediterranean.” Therefore, I would like to experience the real Mediterranean climate (which can be enjoyed all year). #FarawayFiles
Ok definitely adding Kefalonia to my never-ending list of Greek Islands to visit! And your villa looks really incredible. My Mediterranean hubby is constantly preaching to me about how the weather changes in that region after Sept.1, and never wants to go after that (too windy he says), but I think his perspective may be from 20 years ago. Haha.
Curious about whether this is close to Lefkada? It sounds so familiar, and has similar colours and terrain as Lefkada. #farawayfiles
Your own infinity pool with a view of the beach. Not much more to ask for. Oh, olives, feta and and bit of coffee. Looks like a great holiday.
All right, you’ve sold me for Kefalonia in October! Just gorgeous!
Oh my I want to take a dip in that pool, and those beaches… My only knowledge of Kefalonia comes from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which I read many moons ago, and my desire to visit this island has been reawakened by your post. Beautiful!
Sign me up! I’m aching to get back to Greece someday, and Kefalonia sounds like a dream. If I could teleport, that’s the first place I’d go 😉 #FarawayFiles