You may remember this idyllic isle from the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. And it’s every bit as romantic and picturesque as that film portrays. The largest in the Ionian archipelago, it offers perfect beaches, clear warm seas, mountains, quaint fishing villages and a network of underground nymph caves to be explored. This is not the place to come if you want to party; the atmosphere is laid-back, with tourists preferring to hike, swim, eat, sip wine and unwind. As it’s been inhabited since Paleolithic times there’s much history and Kefalonia is home to endangered metre-long Caretta-Caretta turtles.
Kefalonia Grand Hotel
Beside Argostoli harbour, this 42 bedroom boutique residence takes the form of a whitewashed townhouse. The decor is airy and coastal with lots of white and some blues, oversized floor standing mirrors, rope lights, wicker and lots of natural wood incorporated into the furnishings. Request a front-facing room with a balcony to take full advantage of the setting and dine out on the terrace to watch the world go by. The Grand Hotel has four stars, spa treatments, the KG restaurant and bar and Grand Café, with waterfront terrace seating.
F Zeen Retreat
Take an adults-only holiday at the F Zeen Retreat, beside Lourdas Beach in Lourdata Village. Outdoor yoga spaces, a seaside saltwater pool (plus two further pools), an alfresco cinema and the Ido spa await guests coming here. The hotel is close to Mount Aenos, set on a pretty hillside that leads to the coast. Built-in an authentic style, it’s surrounded by olive, lemons and cypress trees and bougainvillaea, adding to the laid-back, Grecian vibe. 53 rooms are split into ten categories, half in a new deluxe wing, all with native Apivita bath products. Two restaurants serve dishes crafted from the onsite F Zeen fruit and vegetable patch.
Emelisse Nature Resort
At the Emelisse Nature Resort guests are accommodated across a number of two-storey villas, with 63 rooms and suites in total. Some of the villas have private pools shared by the inhabitants, but everyone has access to the gorgeous infinity pool, surrounded by plush, deep red daybeds. Kids have their own pool – and playground – plus there’s an open-air cinema and parents can take advantage of babysitting services. It’s ideal for those who like to stay active, with tennis courts, free bicycle hire and proximity to Fiskardo harbour for watersports and dives. There are two eateries, one all-day casual venue and another for candlelit a la carte dining.