Where to Stay in Kefalonia for a Local Experience

Assos village, seen from Assos Castle
Assos village, seen from Assos Castle | © Sorin Colac / Alamy Stock Photo
Jo Fernandez-Corugedo

Made famous as the setting for Louis de Bernières’s bestselling novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, this Ionian island is the stuff of Greek-holiday dreams – with its Venetian architecture, its seafood tavernas and its dazzling beaches lapped by multi-hued blue waters. Enjoy romantic sunsets and scenic landscapes from the sanctuary of the best hotels in Kefalonia.

1. White Rocks Hotel Kefalonia

Hotel, Luxury, Resort

 Courtesy of White Rocks Hotel Kefalonia / Booking.com

Just 10 minutes’ drive from Kefalonia airport, you can be reclining in one of these 161 uncluttered rooms, which range from doubles to bungalows to suites with infinity pools. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal landscaped gardens and the hazy-blue Ionian Sea beyond. Perched on a pine-clad peninsula, the hotel is linked by a sloping path to a private curve of beach, with two adjoining Blue Flag sandy stretches. Or venture no further than the freshwater pool, lounging in the glam sarong you bought at the hotel’s concept boutique.

2. Avithos Resort Apartments Hotel

Resort, Apartment, Hotel

 Courtesy of Avithos Resort Hotel / Booking.com

We love this laid-back resort, cocooned in a quiet coastal village a 10-minute walk from lovely Avithos beach. It curls around a freshwater pool flanked by tropical gardens, offering studios, maisonettes and apartments of bright, sea-inspired decor and kitchenettes; private balconies or terraces are dreamy sunbathing spots. You can start the day with fresh fruit and creamy local cheeses at the breakfast buffet, saving space for specialities at the local taverna later on.

3. Melmar View Hotel


 Courtesy of Melmar View Hotel / Expedia

This elevated hotel lives up to its name with splendid views over the Ionian Sea or the blue-hued outside pool. Its peaceful hillside village location is just beyond Magganos (home to a taverna, cafe and mini market), a 10-minute drive from Fiskardo harbour with its beautifully preserved Venetian buildings. Airy rooms and suites are decorated in soft, natural colours with yellow accents, and open out to private balconies. Hang around for fresh-fruit-laden breakfasts and wholesome dinners – after you’ve sipped a refreshing glass or two of white at the bar.

4. Kefalonia Grand Hotel

Boutique Hotel

 Courtesy of Kefalonia Grand / Booking.com

In the forest-and-mountain surrounded capital of Kefalonia, this boutique beauty has a photogenic harbour-side location overlooking the bay of Argostoli. Pared-back rooms create a serene scene, with muted furnishings, light wood beams and whitewashed walls; top tip: reserve the Master Suite with its characterful vaulted ceiling and you’ll have access to your own private jacuzzi. When hunger pangs strike, there’s the KG Restaurant for open-air dining on fresh, regional dishes – breakfast and (à la carte) dinner. Factor in a few sunset strolls along the promenade to the attractive port of Argostoli.

5. F Zeen

Resort, Luxury, Boutique Hotel

 Courtesy of F Zeen / Booking.com

You’re in for the chill at adults-only F Zeen, set in lovely leafy grounds on a hillside 30 minutes from Argostoli: rooms and suites are simply furnished but don’t stint on style. And the wellness centre and natural healing spa complete the peaceful picture. Yoga decks, relaxing outdoor lounging areas, two restaurants and three fabulous freshwater pools look across to the sandy sweep of Lourdas beach, lapped by transparent shallows. Breakfast poolside on fruits, honeys, yoghurts and cereals, and dine at Selini restaurant, on fusion food using ingredients grown here.

6. Thalassa Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel

 Courtesy of Thalassa Boutique Hotel / Booking.com

A secluded space for grown-ups, this boutique-hotel gem in Lassi has softly fashioned rooms in powder-blues and iris-greys. Try to secure one with a garden or sea view from its balcony or terrace. The pair of pools – including one in a figure-of-eight – will keep you (in)active for the whole holiday, and a cooly contemporary bar with widescreen views of the bay means fun nights with new friends. You’ll eat well on fresh Greek salads and sublime souvlaki. And you can walk it off on the five-minute stroll to Paliostafida and Lassi beaches: lovely sandy sweeps for tanning.

7. Apollonion Asterias Resort and Spa

Resort, Luxury, Spa Hotel

 Courtesy of Apollonion Asterias Resort and Spa / Booking.com

You’ll be outdoors all the time at this coastal resort in Lixouri, on the eastern side of the island: it has lush gardens, and is home to two lagoon pools with sundecks and a dedicated splash park. When it comes to Zzzzs, smart, summery rooms do the trick, with sea-view balconies or terraces. We say upgrade to a duplex suite, sleeping four, with a terrace leading to your own private pool. Local hospitality goes well beyond the call of duty hereabouts: try the nearby family-run tavernas and al fresco bars. Take your towel to red-sand Xi Beach, a five-minute walk away: you can have a natural beauty session with the clay here, mixed with water for a mask.

8. Odyssey Hotel


Courtesy of Odyssey Hotel / Expedia
You’ll fall for your room at first sight: there are 22 of them, warmly decorated and inspired by characters in Homer’s Odyssey, at this adults-only hillside retreat in the small village of Agia Efimia. Views from spacious private balconies up the sense of luxury living, as do lazy mornings in the glossy bathrooms with hydromassage jets. Healthy salads from garden-grown ingredients and traditional grilled meats suit the Med climate and keep things light – a good idea prior to spa visits for aromatherapy treatments and massages using local herbs. But the photogenic pools are the star attraction here – simply lie back and loll the days away.

9. Leivatho Hotel

Luxury, Hotel

 Courtesy of Leivatho Hotel / Booking.com

Family-run equals family fun for eco-minded guests at this boutique hotel on the south coast: solar energy and a water recycling system all present and correct. The ever-changing poolside-breakfast buffet focuses on local organic specialities, while guests are greeted with complimentary sun-ripened fruit on arrival. There’s every reason to stay within the resort all holiday, in the glamorous pair of pools and minimally-styled, polished-concrete-lined studios and suites. (These come with kitchens and balconies or terraces for mesmerising sea or garden views.) But do rouse yourself to visit the local Avithos and Ammes beaches: sandy stunners.

Looking for more inspiration? We’ve narrowed down the best hotels for every traveller so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for. You can even book right here on Culture Trip. You can then spend your days discovering the top things to do and see in Kefalonia and enjoying delicious Greek food at these top restaurants.

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