9 of Kefalonia's finest beaches
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Kefalonia is one of those destinations where the beaches are even better in real life than in pictures. The largest of Greece's Ionian Islands* is a sandy, pebbly and shingle-blessed wonder, where all the resorts come with their own superb stretches of beach.
And there are myriad other oases dotted around an island made even more famous by the 2001 film Captain Corelli's Mandolin starring Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz.
The reality is even more impressive than Hollywood could ever conjure up, so slip on your sandals, grab your swimmers and prepare to discover nine of Kefalonia's best beaches.
Getting to Kefalonia: browse the latest online savings on holidays with TUI*, which departs from airports across the UK to this much-loved Greek island.
1. Makris Gialos Beach
This golden-sand wonder is handily close to the capital of Argostoli* and the resort of Lassi*. It's all here with plenty of places to eat and drink, beach volleyball and watersports, such as snorkelling, sea kayaking and jet skiing. What's more, the water starts off shallow, making this a popular family option.
Despite the facilities it retains the charm that first attracted sunseekers with clear waters and sands backed by a thick cloak of trees. It's laidback rather than over-developed.
It's hard to argue with a sandy beach where you can recline in a lounger where food and drinks are brought to you while you ponder another dip.
2. Myrtos Bay
This is a starched white beach that could easily pass for the Caribbean. Myrtos really is one of the finest beaches in Greece* and, by default, Europe. You don't need any Instagram filters to make this stunner stand out.
It unfurls tucked beneath rugged hills and lush vegetation, with crystal-clear waters completing an irresistible cocktail; the producers of Captain Corelli's Mandolin clearly thought so too. Facilities are pleasantly low-key, so even when it's busy you feel like you're escaping the modern world.
3. Skala Beach
This wide, deep EU Blue Flag beach is the resort of Skala*'s pride and joy. You get both a beach here and a lively resort village. The sands and shingle stretch for 3km and come fringed by a sweep of camera-pleasing pine.
If you're looking for a beach where you can chill by day and then slip straight into party mode this is the place. The eclectic nightlife veers from smooth cocktail bars to welcoming bars and on to more traditional Greek tavernas.
4. Petani Beach
Out on the Paliki Peninsula, this Blue Flag recognised beach is made up of gleaming white pebbles, which stretch out for almost a kilometre beneath the steep cliffs. The road approach really gets you in the mood as it sparkles far below; you will stop and take photos.
It's a good beach to escape to if you're looking for a quieter dip. There is a sprinkling of facilities with sunbeds and tavernas adding a traditional touch along with sea kayaks and paddleboards to hire.
5. Antisamos Beach
This pebbly beach was the real star of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It lies cloaked with emerald vegetation, the forest running right down to the fringes of this Blue Flag treasure.
Although there are sunbeds and umbrellas, development is fairly low-key, but it's close to the town of Sami*.
If you want to take a break from beach bumming heft up the hillside to the Agrillion Monastery, which is said to have been founded in the 18th century by two shepherds.
6. Xi Beach
Stick with me on this one as it has very different-looking reddish sand. This clay-infused beach is a favourite with the locals as the clay is said to be great for your skin, so come here to indulge in a free spa session!
There are sun beds here too and a range of watersports if you fancy being more active. Renting a sea kayak and trekking along this spectacular coastline is a joy. The beach is handy too if you're staying in the resort of Lixouri*.
7. Lepeda Beach
Handy for Lixouri, Kefalonia's second-largest town, this is a great option if you want to chill on the beach with all the mod cons and a bit of urban buzz nearby. It works really well for families. The sands take on an orange hue with natural pools for wee kids to paddle in.
It's quite a shallow beach too. Enjoy a cooling drink at a beach bar, then delve back through the years checking out the old monastery by the beach. The most dramatic way to arrive at this bijou oasis is by boat so you can really appreciate its mountainous backdrop.
8. Fiskardo Beach
This one is less about the actual beach than the surroundings. Fiskardo* is Kefalonia's Hvar Town, its Monaco or St Tropez. Millionaire, even billionaire, yachts are spotted moored in the bay or in the swish marina and Hollywood A-listers including Demi Moore and Jon Bon Jovi have strolled the waterfront.
It's easy to see why with bougainvillea Venetian-era buildings gleaming in the sun by the turquoise waters and the striking Venetian lighthouse.
The most central beach is a bijou affair, but there are more tempting beaches nearby, including Foki Beach, a pebble and pine-fringed delight.
9. Agia Varvara Beach
This is a sand and shingle Blue Flag beach, fringed by pine and eucalyptus trees as well as the joy of fragrant rose bushes. Breathe it all in and relax. It's a lovely spot.
It's a handy beach for the fishing village and resort of Katelios*. Recline in Katelios after a day at the beach feasting on boat-fresh fish simply grilled while you wait with a chilled glass of Greek wine. There are other beaches nearby; there always are, this is Kefalonia after all.
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