Kefalonia, a rich natural world full of treasures

Les trésors de Kefalonia

Kefalonia is a rich natural world full of treasures, a large and resourceful Ionian island! In addition to its magnificent beaches and verdant mountains, its also offers many treasures worth discovering. Firstly, Kefalonia offers a wide range of local products (olive oil, wine, honey…). Something for every culinary tourism enthusiast! Kefalonia is also a very rich island in terms of flora and fauna, the perfect place to observe and appreciate nature. For a green, eco-tourist vacation, head for Kefalonia! Here, you can enjoy activities like hiking, diving, and exploring caves.

The perfect island for culinary tourism

Just take a look at Kefalonia’s landscapes and you’ll discover olive groves, vineyards dotted with beehives and goats in their various pastures. Thanks to these delicious local products, the island has plenty to offer!

Sea and green mountains on Kefalonia-Cephalonia in Greece
© Virginie W.

Cheese and other dairy products

On the island of Kefalonia, it’s not uncommon to come across sheep and goats at the bend in the road. Here, sheep and goats graze freely on the island’s pastures, producing excellent quality milk used to make cheese and yoghurt. In addition to Kefalotyri, the famous hard cheese from Kefalonia (Cephalonia), the island also produces an excellent “Feta” cheese, which has unfortunately not been granted PDO status and is therefore only called “Cephalonian barrel cheese”. There are several cheese dairies on the island for you to visit.

Olive oil

During your stay on the island, you’re bound to come across an olive grove, some of which are more than several hundred years old.

As we strolled along, we stopped at Liocharis Kefalonian Olive oil, a family-run business run by Marina and Dionyssis. They press their own olives as well as those of nearby olive growers. If you would like to take a tour of the facility, we recommend that you make a reservation by telephone beforehand. Marina let us taste her 2 classic types of olive oil: the soft one (made from green olives, olives picked during the first 3 weeks of harvest in October) and the spicy one (made from black olives, the ripe ones). We also tested their aromatic oils infused with orange, lemon and garlic. A tasty oil at a reasonable price.

Wines from Kefalonia

Sklavos estate

Located in Lixouri, the Sklavos estate is one of the first biodynamic wineries in Greece. What’s more, the estate’s grape varieties are ancient and indigenous. These are “free-standing” vines, i.e. not grafted. During the tasting, we particularly appreciated the “ALCHIMISTE” cuvée. The rosé, a wine that is sometimes criticized… is a very nice surprise. This is a rosé de saignée (after a period of maceration, some of the juice in the vat is released and has already taken on a pinkish hue) with a magnificent colour, perfectly balanced and full of character! Excellent value for money.

The Robola cooperative

This wine is the PDO wine of Kefalonia. The Robola area lies on the steep slopes of Mount Ainos. This region is distinguished by its limestone, gravelly and barren soil. Robola is thus a very calcareous and mineral wine. In the heart of the Robola winegrowing area, dozens of winegrowers from Omala and the surrounding area (Troiannata, Vlachata, Mousata, Faraklata, Diklinata) founded the Kefalonian Robola wine cooperative in 1982. You can visit and taste Robola wines all year round, from Monday to Sunday, and from 9am to 9pm.

Gentilini Winery

And what we wouldn’t do for our readers, we also tested the wine tasting at Gentilini winery for you! A very pleasant experience, the tasting takes place outdoors near the vineyard, on tables set up in the shade. Each wine is served with an explanation of its characteristics and the best possible food and wine pairings, accompanied by a small plate of bread, olive oil, cheese and tomatoes. The children were even treated to apple juice. We took the 3-wine tasting package for €5, which was relatively flexible, as we were able to taste Robola, a local wine made from a white grape variety, instead of the red wine. Purchases can then be made in the little shack, where bottles start at 12€ and go up to around 30€. What’s more, you can even book your tasting online!

Kefalonia vineyards


As in most parts of Greece, you’re likely to find a beekeeper selling his produce on the side of the road, or even stumble across a honey factory by chance. That’s how I brought home 2 very good jars of honey (orange and lemon) by going directly to a beekeeper’s premises. He filled 2 small jars of fresh honey in front of me, a real treat! If not, don’t hesitate to look for a farm willing to open its doors to you so you can taste this Cephalonian honey. My favourite is thyme honey!

Here are a few addresses to try out:

  • The “Meli Kefalonias Michalatos” honey factory near Argostoli – Google Maps – Delicious honey and very welcoming owners happy to answer your questions.
  • Dias Beekeeping, Thanassis and Eleni are passionate about bees and know how to share their passion. They even offer a 3-hour educational tour in beekeeping gear! – Google Maps
  • A very good artisanal honey – Google Maps

Gastronomy and ecotourism activities

Agriculture has long played an important role on Kefalonia. The island boasts numerous farms producing olive oil, wine and cheese. Looking for a winery tour? A cooking class? Or how about a guided tour of Kefalonia’s must-see sites, combined with a culinary discovery? Here are the excursions and visits we’ve spotted (but not tested):

Unspoilt nature for green tourism

Discover Kefalonia’s nature and ecosystems! The island, still untouched by mass tourism, boasts a rich flora and fauna that is a pleasure to discover on hikes. Recently, Kefalonia was designated a UNESCO Geopark, along with neighboring Ithaca. So, while you’re out and about, we encourage you to respect the environment and protect this biodiversity. To preserve natural spaces, let’s learn how to move towards ecotourism.

Surprising wildlife :

Kefalonia is home to a wide variety of animals, a rich natural world full of treasures. The most specific to the island are :

  • loggerhead turtles or caretta caretta. They come to lay their eggs on some of the island’s beaches, such as Skala. You can also spot them in Argostoli, notably in the Koutavos lagoon.
  • wild horses. Hiking enthusiasts may be lucky enough to see the famous wild horses that roam in herds on the slopes of Mount Aenos. And good luck if you try to approach them!
  • monk seals. They hide in the shelter of cliff faces and swim between Cephalonia and Ithaca.

Lush vegetation

Olive and fir trees on the island of Kefalonia
Olive and fir trees © Virginie W.

The island of Kefalonia also boasts a rich and diverse flora:

  • the Cephalonian fir. You can hike in the Mount Ainos Natural Park, Greece’s smallest national park. Classified as a Natura 2000 site, it is the highest point in the Ionian Sea. Enjoy a stroll through the fir forest, an endemic and endangered species on the island.
  • you’ll also find Jerusalem sage and Cephalonia violet.
  • olive trees, of course, which produce high-quality oil
  • the vines that produce the Robola varietal wine

Discover natural landscapes and enjoy a wide range of activities

Kefalonia is worth a visit for the beauty of its exceptional site and the time it takes to discover it. Its “land and sea” nature is specific to the island. Kefalonia lends itself perfectly to ecotourism vacations. This type of tourism focuses on environmental sustainability and responsible travel. Here are some ideas for enjoying ecotourism in Kefalonia:

Kefalonia hiking

Go hiking and explore the island’s many nature trails

Kefalonia has a network of trails winding through mountains, forests and along the coast. These trails offer breathtaking views of the island and are an excellent way to discover Kefalonia’s natural beauty. We particularly recommend Mount Ainos National Park, home to a variety of plants and animals, including caretta caretta and Egyptian vultures. The park also has several hiking trails offering breathtaking panoramas of the island. Our favorite is this fairly easy walk under the pine trees, with superb views over the Ionian Sea. It leaves from Chionistra and takes you to the Ainos environmental center.

Explore the caves, geological wonders of Kefalonia

Kefalonia stands out as one of Greece’s most geologically fascinating islands. It is home to a network of underground caves that offer a unique spectacle, allowing the water to flow across the island from one end to the other.

It is estimated that there are over 15 caves in the Melissani region alone, each offering its own unique features and beauty, some easily accessible to the public, others requiring caving equipment!

Among these caves, Melissani stands out for both its beauty and its popularity on Instagram. Located near Sami, it is distinguished by its colorful geological formations and crystal-clear waters. A small underground lake invites you to take a boat ride and admire the shimmering reflections on the cave walls. You can discover it with this excursion to Lake Melissani and Fteri beach.

Another not-to-be-missed cave is Drogarati: nicknamed the “Cave of the Nymphs”, it’s famous for its spectacularly shaped stalactites and stalagmites, as well as its exceptional acoustics. Concerts are sometimes held here, transforming the grotto into a veritable musical showcase.

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Horseback riding by the sea or through the hills

Want to discover Kefalonia from a different angle? Let yourself be tempted by a horseback ride, a unique experience that combines the discovery of sublime landscapes with the pleasure of horseback riding. Horse-riding centers are located near Skala. Skala Horse Riding, for example, takes you along pristine beaches, exploring the hills and discovering the ruins of the ancient town of Skala, destroyed by the 1953 earthquake.

Discover the island from the sea: a paradise for water sports enthusiasts

Here are some ideas for discovering Kefalonia by sea:

Boat cruise: Explore the island’s coastline and discover hidden coves, sea caves and beaches inaccessible by land. Numerous boat excursions are available, with options to suit all budgets and tastes, such as this cruise on a traditional Greek boat, or this excursion on a private sailboat.

Boat rental: If you’re more independent, opt for a boat rental and set off on an adventure at your own pace. You’ll be able to explore the surrounding area and enjoy the freedom of being alone on board.

Diving and snorkeling: Kefalonia’s seabed is brimming with natural treasures. Explore underwater caves, admire aquatic flora and fauna and discover shipwrecks. Professional diving centers offer courses and excursions for all levels, like this introduction to scuba diving.

Kayak and paddle: Kefalonia abounds with secluded coves and beaches, ideal for kayaking and canoeing. It’s a great way to explore the island’s coastline while getting some exercise. We’ve also spotted but not tested this kayak trip in Argostoli.

As a bonus

Did you know? On August 12, 1953, at 11:24 a.m. local time, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the Ionian islands of Cephalonia and Zakynthos. This earthquake, the most destructive in Greece, devastated both islands. The island of Kefalonia underwent an “uplift” movement of around 60 cm, shifting the center!

A little history… To immerse yourself in the history of Kefalonia, don’t miss the film“Captain Corelli” (2001) starring Penelope Cruz and Nicolas Cage. A film that will immerse you in the beautiful landscapes of Kefalonia with a beautiful music : In 1941, on the small Greek island of Cephalonia. During the 2nd World War, Captain Antonio Corelli led the Italian garrison based on this island. A complex relationship develops between the island villagers and the soldiers, and a beautiful love story between Captain Corelli and Pelagia, a young Greek girl.

To find out more about the island of Kefalonia, a rich natural world full of treasures: here’s some background reading:

Written by Céline P. and Virginie W.

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