Fly to Kefalonia from Glasgow Airport. Few can resist the charms of a quaint and quiet island, and Kefalonia in Greece offers exactly just that. The largest of the Ionian islands, Kefalonia features countless hidden coves and wide, sandy bays, as well as countryside dappled with wild meadows and ancient vineyards. Thanks to an easy flight from Glasgow Airport, you can escape the stress of urban living and spend many wonderful days lounging on Kefalonia’s beaches.
The best of the beaches
Mytos Beach has ranked among the best beaches worldwide for more than ten years running, which is little surprise to anyone who remembers it as the haunting backdrop to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Its broad sands stretch between the feet of two mountains, below towering limestone cliffs. The only access road follows 3km (1.8 miles) of sweeping switchbacks that descend to the shore, where a red sky dances on deep blue waves at sunset.
While Mytos is breathtaking, the most famous organized beach on the island is actually Makry Gialos. Here, green forests surround turquoise waters and you can relax by having a bar cocktail or lounging in a deckchair underneath a colourful umbrella. The cosmopolitan beach is also perfect for activities like beach volleyball or water sports. Still, there is something quiet and magical about Makry Gialos, visible in the heat of the sun across clear and sparkling Mediterranean waters.
Where romance thrives
Romantic spots aren’t hard to find on Kefalonia. A firm favourite is Poros, a beach of tiny white pebbles where verdant forest is reflected in the sea, deepening the blue-green hue of the water. Swimmers frolic in the calm waters of this bay, and sated sunbathers ascend from the shoreline to visit the small village of Poros, where charming shops and restaurants line the streets.
Xi beach is another gem where pale green waves lap the long, narrow shore. Dig your toes into the softest sand in Kefalonia, which happens to be a fine, rusty red colour. Floating is easy in this salty bay, but if you’d rather soak up the sun from land, you can rent a covered sun bed and order food delivered to your side whenever the craving strikes.
An enchanting countryside
Beyond the island’s superb beaches, the air smells of oleander and the green hills are dappled with charming villages, ruined castles and stately monasteries. Whether your interest is culture, history, or cuisine, make a trip to the picturesque Omala Valley to discover Kefalonia’s best delights. Though it is the smallest community in Kefalonia, Omala Valley offers some of the greatest views of the island from Mount Ainos where abandoned, pre-earthquake villages still stand.
For a priceless insight into the religion and culture of the Kefalonian people, visit St. Gerasimo’s Monastery. Named for Kefalonia’s patron saint, this richly decorated sanctuary is the holiest church on the island and today maintained by nuns. Pilgrims from across Greece still travel to this pastoral church to offer their prayers.
Food and drink
With Kefalonian fishing boats delivering their catches direct to kitchens on the island, you know you’re in for a good treat. Grilled fish and prawns with a squeeze of lemon are simple, but mouth-wateringly good. Other must-try Kefalonian specialities include riganada (toasted bread topped with fresh tomatoes and local feta cheese) and beef sofigido (an oven-baked stew).
Winemaking has been a key part of life on Kefalonia for centuries, and the Omala Valley is the island’s primary wine-region. Next to St. Gerasimo’s Monastery stands the Robola Wine Cooperative, a cooperatively-farmed winery famous for their unique and high-quality product. Savour the wine here, and chances are you’ll pack a few bottles for the trip home.