Sun, sea and sand are go-to ingredients for unforgettable summer holidays. Whether you're after white-sandy strips, as-nature-intended inlets or family-friendly resorts with all the bells and whistles, there's one thing that's for sure – it's time to relax! Bursting at the seams with a coveted collection of coastal creations, Kefalonia boasts beaches worthy of any bucket (and spade) list. From laid-back fishing village vibes to castaway coves, here's the best of the bunch.
Glittering with the Hollywood stamp of approval, this exotic slice of paradise took the starring role in Captain Corelli's Mandolin and has been claiming hearts ever since. Blue Flags fly proudly over pine lined bays and pebbly coves, while breathtaking aquamarine waters lap at gently sloping shores. The sought-after south is where you'll find most of the sandy sweet spots, although the north hosts its fair share of heavenly hideaways too. Whittling down your beachy favourites is no mean feat, but if there's a will, there's a wave…
Apparently size does matter in Kefalonia, where stunning Skala Beach sprawls out along the seaside town of the same name. With more than enough sand to go around, come face to face with a layer-cake of colour, including bright green pines, golden shores and eye-poppingly emerald waters. Set to a startling blue sky and voila! Here you have a bonafide Blue Flag beauty. Big enough to cater for moments of sandy solitude as well as action-packed activities, holiday makers can go from cave explorations to buzzing hotspots in a matter of strides.
Ticking all your beach boxes, there's no need to get tide down with picnic supplies or toys for the kids here. From traditional tavernas to elegant eateries, it's easy to quench your thirst and satisfy those rumbling tummies. And as for entertainment? Banana boats, jet skis and a whole host of wet and wild watersports await adrenaline-seekers! A stone's throw from the beach lies Skala itself. Small fishing village turned popular seaside resort, there's plenty to get up to when you're ready to throw in the (beach) towel. History hunters can venture behind the town's hills and see ruins of the original Skala settlement, as well as relics of Roman rule in the form of a 7th Century Temple of Apollo. All in a day's work for this crowd-pleasing southern gem.
The jaw-dropping jewel in Kefalonia's coastal crown, Myrtos' mile-long arc never fails to wow! The poster child for the Greek Islands, it's a see-it-to-believe it oasis of dazzling natural beauty. A winding road will have wanderlust running through your veins long before you feel the grains of sand between your toes, treating traveller's to swoon-worthy views over the mind-boggling landscape.
Framed by sheer, limestone cliffs dressed up to the nines in luscious greenery, the towering giants set the scene for this cinematic masterpiece. Rich, iridescent shades of blue and green shimmer into a seemingly endless horizon, while a mixture of white pebbles and sand tempt tanners to lay down their towel. It's no wonder then that visitors roll in like the waves, keen to tick magical Myrtos off of their beach wish list. Well – if it's good enough for Captain Corelli…
The gift that keeps on giving, be sure to stick around for Mother Nature's big finale. Reds and oranges blaze across the sky, merging into the deep blue sea for a second-to-none sunset experience. Now that's how to end a day at the beach!
If a healthy dose of Vitamin Sea and exploring is just what the doctor ordered, then achingly beautiful Assos is the perfect day trip prescription. Near-mystical in its ability to slow down time, the pace of life here has 'holiday' written all over it. Candy-coloured houses are built around a horseshoe bay, interspersed with traditional tavernas and a-meze-ing restaurants. Add to the equation a sprinkling of green Cypress trees and turquoise tones of the Ionian and hey presto! Nirvana in a nutshell. From hillside hikes to old-worldly ruins, the area is a shoo-in for first-class sightseeing. But Assos doesn't stop there – the breathtaking scenery is simply the starting line-up for the village's centerpiece, the beach.
Locals' fishing boats bob rhythmically in the small harbour. Tables and chairs line the pretty promenade with the promise of people watching. Iconic pastel paint-jobs of yellow, pink and peach pop against a shoreline of grey pebbles. All that's missing is you! Relax to the sound of gentle, rolling waves as they calmly kiss the smooth stones and lay back under the piercing blue skies above. Even staunch, sand-only beach goers will have a hard time not falling head over heels for this little haven. Whether you're after a day beneath the waves or basking under the Grecian sun, one thing is for sure – you'll be high on cloud nine…
Pssst… It's not unheard of for resident dolphins to pay a visit to the little headland, so keep your eyes peeled for the playful porpoise.
Flat farmlands, verdant vineyards, a dramatically rugged west coast and spellbinding sunset views are all part of this peninsula's DNA. Distinctly different from Kefalonia's main hub, this windswept beauty is a match made in heaven for solitude-loving sand seekers.
Far from the regular tourist trail, life's a beach at Platia Ammos. Those lucky enough to stumble upon this secluded, cliff-flanked sanctuary, will find it's an instant holiday hit! One of the most isolated spots of the entire island, you might even find that yours are the only set of footprints in the sand. Blessed with as-nature-intended good looks, rugged rocks curve round into cerulean waters, welcoming you with open arms. Once accessible by 300 cliff-carved steps, a 2014 earthquake made the already adventurous descent impassable by foot. If you're feeling particularly nauti, a water entrance could well be on the cards! The promise of complete peace and quiet makes the extra effort of getting to this unspoiled utopia all the more worth it…
Myrtos' doppelganger, postcard-pretty Petanoi Beach is the perfect pit-stop for anyone visiting the Paliki peninsula. Featuring the same dazzling white sands and startlingly blue waters, the untrained eye would be forgiven for mistaking one for the other. Backed by gravity-defying cliffs carpeted in greenery, Kefalonia's best kept secret comes extremely close to taking the best beach title for itself! The winding path down to the sand commands breathtaking views across the bay, while nature has left centuries worth of hard work for you to admire once you reach the bottom. Rugged rock formations are peppered across Petanoi, masterfully worked on by the elements and left as accessories in an already ethereal scene. Another unmissable sunset awaits too, illuminating the landscape in shades of gold and peach.
A big believer that there's no such thing as 'one size fits all' when it comes to beaches, Paliki Peninsula broke the mould with Xi. On the surface it might seem like a standard seaside resort, but this 3km Blue Flag beauty has a few tricks up its sleeve. Ignoring the island's usual colour scheme, the shores here are accessorised with striking red sands and white clay cliffs. Xi's answer to a free spa treatment, the natural clays offer an all-over body mask while you sunbathe. Perfect for a little TLC, simply wet it in the sea and rub it all over! Once you're done, go for a dip to wash it off – you'll be glowing like a Grecian God(dess) in no time. Besides the beauty remedies, there's also an immaculately arranged assortment of sunloungers, wonderful watersports and buzzing bars to boot! A fantastic, family-friendly option for a day spent on the sand, the warm shallows invite little water babies to splash around safely.
Wildlife lovers will find themselves blessed with more than just beaches! During the summer season holidaymakers aren't the only ones with plans to hit the sand, often joined by hundreds of female loggerhead sea-turtles with the same idea. The ancient creatures aren't after the sun though, opting for a late night entrance when they can dig their nests in peace under moon-lit skies. If you're lucky enough to spot the reddish-brown reptiles, then be sure to respect the do-not-disturb rule and admire them from afar as they lay their eggs.
Magnificent Mounda Beach (a stone's throw from Skala) is one of the Caretta Caretta sea-turtles favourite nesting sites. Sweeping sand dunes, a gentle incline and shallow waters aren't just perfect for little humans! Volunteers come from all over to help the tiny hatchlings make their way to the water and safely out to sea.
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