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Unlike some of its livelier and busier Ionian island neighbours, Kefalonia’s character has yet to be obscured by mass tourism development.
That is not to say there aren’t all-inclusive hotels in Kefalonia; in fact there are quite a few. But even in the amenity-packed, purpose-built resort town of Lassi, Kefalonia’s premier tourist hotspot, you won’t feel cut-off from real island life. The authentic island capital Argostoli is an easy 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) away.
Once a sleepy fishing hamlet, the now lively tavern-studded town of Skala on the south coast is another good place to look for reasonably priced all-inclusive hotels in Kefalonia. Though Skala and Lassi have a decent selection of atmospheric restaurants and cocktail bars, the nightlife scene at both is a world away from the wildness of the Greek party islands.
If you want to take things down another notch or two, you may want to settle into the sleepy hillside settlements of Lourdas and Svoronata on the south west coast, which are among the best destinations in Kefalonia for beach lazing and tranquillity. Possibly the most picturesque corner of the island, the teeny-tiny town of Assos in the north of Kefalonia is almost unfathomably pretty and makes for a great away-from-it-all escape.
During summer, the chic celebrity haunt of Fiskardo to the north of the island comes into its own, as sleek yachts pull in to its handsome harbour. The town has attracted many big-name stars to its shores, including Roman Abramovich and Demi Moore, and is the setting for some of the best five-star hotels in Kefalonia.
Pretty doesn’t come cheap and price tags here can seem exorbitant when compared to prices on the rest of the island. But the views and seafood are spectacular, and the people impossibly stylish.
With its breath-taking, pine-backed beaches, ruggedly lush landscapes and sedate pace of life, Kefalonia is a dream holiday destination that now attracts more than 20,000 Britons to its shores each year. But for those who live here, Kefalonia is simply home.
To get a better flavour of everyday life on the Ionian island, consider finding a hotel in the Kefalonian capital of Argostoli, where you can mingle with locals in buzzing bars and restaurants, browse stylish boutiques and get a feel for the real rhythm of island life.
Sami, the scenic workaday port town where most tourist ferries dock, is also often overlooked. But stay here and you will have Antisamos Beach, the white-pebble strip of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin fame, on your doorstep.