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Kefalonia, also known as Cephalonia, is the largest island in the Ionian Islands region of Greece. The region can be found in western Greece in the Ionian Sea. Because of proximity, Kefalonia has close historical ties with Italy. Italian is widely understood here, along with Greek and English. Visitors come here for the unbelievably spectacular natural landscape, which features mountains, beaches and forests. Hiring a vehicle is highly recommended if you want to be able to get to the more remote, and therefore even more picturesque, spots of the island.
Who to Book With
The car hire companies available in Kefalonia include Budget, Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Europcar, National and Auto Europe. It is advisable to plan ahead and compare prices online to get the best rates from these car rental companies. The offices in Kefalonia are mainly located in the island’s capital of Argostoli, Lassi and the island’s air gateway, Kefallinia Airport.
Best Time to Go
The climate of Kefalonia is Mediterranean, which means relatively mild conditions. Summers can be quite hot and dry, however, with August daytime temperatures remaining in the low 30s (Celsius). Winters can also be a bit too cold and too wet for sunbathing. Late spring is the most pleasant time to visit, when the crowds are only just starting to pick up and temperatures are just about to reach their highs.
Need to Know Essentials
The following items need to be presented to the car hire company:
- A national licence (EU nationals) or International Driving Permit (for non-EU)
- Proof of identity (should be 21 years of age or over)
- The credit card used when renter booked the vehicle
- Rental confirmation in hard copy
The transport hub in Kefalonia is unsurprisingly the capital of Argostoli, located in the southwestern part of the island. All of the island’s major roads converge or pass through here, including National Road 50, which connects Argostoli to Sami on the eastern coast. Driving is relatively easy in this rural destination, with a lot of natural scenery to entertain you along the way. It is best to inquire if your chosen accommodation provides car parking.
Ferries and buses are the main forms of transport on Kefalonia, but cabs are also available to take holidaymakers between points on the island. A rented car will serve you well on Kefalonia, as the coverage of public transport services can be limited. Some scenic and remote parts on the island cannot be reached by public transport.
As Kefalonia is a Greek island, water ferries form a very important part of public transport network. Ferries run hourly between Argostoli and Luxouri (on the western peninsula), moving people as well as vehicles by sea. The one-way fare for one person is about €2, one vehicle €4. The city of Kyllini in the Peloponnese has ferries to Kefalonia (Poros and Argostoli in particular). From the mainland, ferries from Astakos head to Sami on Kefalonia in the summer.
Taxi services are available for travel anywhere on the island. Most can be hired in the western part of the island in Argostoli and at Kefallinia Airport. First Class Taxi offers luxury cab services from the airport to different points in the island. The ride to Argostoli costs around €25, while to Sami it is €55, and €85 to Fiskardo.
Buses on the island only operate from Monday to Saturday. Most of the buses begin at Argostoli Bus Station, with services south to Lassi and Skala, east to Sami and Poros, and north to Fiskardo. Fares range from around €1 to €5. Buses direct from Athens are also available, costing around €35 one-way (including ferry transfers).
Driving around the island is a very good idea. The roads here cover the island’s many peninsulas, providing the most stunning of landscapes and seascapes. Many viewing points offering outstanding views of the Ionian Sea are located along the way. High cliffs plunge to the brilliantly blue sea below, while the many small towns here run slower than time. When all else fails, a relaxing day at the island’s many beaches is sure to make for a good vacation.
Skala - Located on the southern part of the island, Scala is Kefalonia’s main tourist centre as it is home to the island’s largest sandy beach. It gets very busy in the summer, but is still worth the trip for the wealth of dining and drinking options here.
Sami - A town on the eastern coast of Kefalonia with frequent connections to the rest of Greece. Close to the town is a small but very stunning beach, enclosed by mountains and cliffs.
Xi Beach - Offers a good respite from the busier beaches of the island. Xi Beach is located close to Luxouri in the peninsula across the sea from Argostoli. The sandy beach here is fairly off the tourist trail of Kefalonia, offering those who head here some form of seclusion.