Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Kefalonia holiday

This years summer holiday was to Kefalonia a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, we had never been there but we knew people who had and said it was lovely. We were staying in Skala a resort on the southern tip of Kefalonia.


Our hotel was San Giorgio just outside the resort of Skala, it had 3 pools, a restaurant, a bar, a shop and a cafe.  The hotel room was fantastic with a balcony with views across the Ionion sea, the shower was powerful and the king size bed was comfortable, the air conditioning was very effective! Sometimes I would wake up shivering!  
We were on bed and breakfast board. The breakfast was good, not really what I am used to, it was more a continental breakfast, everyday they would have cereals, yoghurt, honey, fruit, toast, ham and cheese, then one hot item either scrambled eggs, boiled eggs or sausage and beans, they also had croissant some days or a honey sponge cake which was delicious. I do usually like a cooked breakfast whilst I'm on holiday but it was so hot I don't think I would've managed it and there enough of a selection to keep me happy. We ate at the cafe for our lunch a few times and was very impressed, the food was lovely we had chicken souvlaki on pittas, salad from the salad bar thiswas a self service and we were given a tub to fill up, we shared one and it was plenty and sandwiches, huge baguettes which was really enough to share, food and the drinks were resonably priced. We went to the restaurant twice it was really lovely and the food was as good as any you would find in the resort, on the first day I had Bekre Meze my husband had pork souvlaki which was lovely too. The second time we went I had another traditional Greek dish, Lamb Kleftiko, my husband had Beef Stifado, again both delicious. The meals cost about 23€ with drinks each time! We got bread the first night 4 big slices which was lovely and it came with garlic butter when we looked on our bill the bread was only 1€! It's also a lovely location you can sit on the balcony to three sides, either looking out to the sea, looking towards skala beach or to the hotel pool. The hotel was immaculate inside and out the gardens were beautiful  and pools were lovely and good sizes. There were beautiful little coves and beaches just a sort walk from the hotel and also a few restaurants within walking distance I can recommend 'Old Times' a lovely family restaurant nearby. There is a free shuttle service to Skala that you could book on but it stops at 9pm and there weren't many shuttles in the afternoon. One afternoon we walked it once it took about 40 mins, hard work in the heat of the sun. There are also taxis from skala that cost 5€ we quite often took the shuttle bus down to town then got the taxi back. There were several themed nights a fun Karaoke on one night and on some nights there was a singer, singing well known mainstream songs earlier on then later, more traditional Greek songs and eventually ending the night with getting everyone up dancing, one of the hotel staff also did some very impressive belly dancing. On the Saturday our last night there were lanterns in the pool and fireworks and even I succumbed to the dancing but it didn't half go on I was shattered by the end! The clientele of the hotel is British people but from all over UK I heard a lot of different accents and a lot were people who had been before. 
The only downsides I would say is the wifi was very weak and hit and miss, I know you don't go on your holidays to use the internet but on this occasion we needed to transfer money and we couldn't because of the wifi. Also I decided not to take my hair dryer because of recent electrical restrictions on the plane but I wished I had brought it because the one in the hotel was so weak. 
All in all the hotel far exceeded our expectations and we had a lovely stay here.


As you've probably guessed from my blog posts I love food so I was excited to see what Greek food was and I wanted to try all the traditional dishes. We had quite a selection some of which I'd tried before some I hadn't. The thing about kefalonia is that because it's an island it produces lots of its own food, everything was amazingly fresh where ever we went and we didn't have a bad meal anywhere.
Here are some of the food we tried:

Bekre Meze- it was delicious it was like a stew made with beef I think it was and garlic and red wine it had pieces of feta and another Greek cheese which I can't remember the name of melted into it.

Lamb Kleftiko - lamb, potatoes, veg, herbs and feta cheese cooked in a parcel 

Beef Stifado - tomato based stew with shallots

Pork souvlaki - a marinated pork kebab served with pitta and tzatziki ( a cucumber yoghurt dip)

Kefalonian meat pie - traditionally made with goat in but in most restaurants it's made with lamb, potatoes and herbs with a very thin pastry.

Calamari - fried squid

Moussaka - mince with aubergines layered on top then topped with a bechamel sauce

Olive tapenade - a olive and garlic paste which you spread on bread.

Everything was as delicious as it sounds! Of course I also had lots of feta and olives. I am going to research home to make the dishes now I'm back.

We ate out at The Flamingo, The Pines, Old times, Mikelatos Family and Akrogialli Taverna. We also had lunch at Apagio in Fiscardo. Everywhere was lovely and we mainly got two main meals, bread and an alcoholic drink and it was never more than 25€ so it was really good value too.


Kefalonia is by no means a lively island like its neighbour Zante. Skala is a popular and busy resort, with huge pebble beaches with crystal clear water but it's not as traditional and quaint as some resorts in Kefalonia . There are plenty of bars, restaurants and taverns but I wouldn't say it's lively. We especially liked to spend the evenings at Metaxa beach bar, this was right on the beach and as well as serving snacks and desserts, they had really good cocktails and there happy hour(s) was 8 till 10. Most places have happy hours when the cocktails are half price but they are 7 till 9. We tend to eat late so we had only finished our meal at 9, so Metaxa was perfect for us. There is an archeological site of a roman villa with mosaics set into the floor, but after walking to skala in the searing heat we walked down to see it only to find it was closed Mondays, we didn't get a chance to go again.


Kefalonian island tour - we booked this through Panem tours which is on Skala high street 31€ Each( much cheaper than getting it through thomson which was 45€ each) 
Places we visited: 
Assos - a beautiful traditional harbour town with a castle above it. 
Fiscardo - another traditional harbour which buildings have Venetian influence these predate all the other villages as Fiscardo was the only village which remained largely unaffected by the 1953 earthquake which destroyed 90% of Islands building 
A photo stop looking down from a layby to myrtos beach, the beach that was used in the filming of 'Captain Corellis Mandolin' 
Mellisanni lake- a underground lake you go in small rowing boats around it and when the sun shines in it reveals amazing blue colours in the water. This had an additional cost of 6€ each
Dragorati caves-a huge cave with massive stalagmites and stalagtites. Additional cost 4€ each.
Robola wine tour and tasting.
We really enjoyed this trip, the only downside was we got picked up from hotel first at 7.45am and they only started the tour really at 10am after we'd picked up more people from other resorts, this meant we were also the last ones back to our hotel at 7pm. Also Assos is beautiful but we didn't have a lot of time there at all, about 40 mins it's such a beautiful place I would've liked longer here. I think this was because the coastal road was closed due to an earthquake in February which damaged the road so we had to do a detour through the mountains instead.
 It was a long day but it was an enjoyable, the British guide was very knowledgable and the Greek driver drove expertly around some pretty hairy roads. The coach was comfortable with good air conditioning.

Zante cruise -booked through Thomson 35€ each
This was a 1hr cruise across to Zante (also known as Zakynthos) to the shipwreck beach, then to the blue caves for a swim stop then cruise around to Alykanas where we spent 2hrs before heading back to Kefalonia for another swim stop before heading back to Skala beach.
I had wanted to go to the shipwreck beach ever since I had first seen a picture of it years ago so this was a must, unfortunately I sometimes suffer from seasickness and this was no exception I was ok for about 20 mins then but then spent the rest of the time in the loos! By the time we got to the shipwreck beach I was just glad to be on dry land, so I didn't really make the most of the time here, it's a stunningly beautiful place, I have never seen sea as blue as here I wouldn't have missed it for the world I just wish there was another way to get there! The blue caves were equally impressive but because of feeling ill we didn't do the swim stop. Alykanas was really lovely, it had a sandy beach it was ideal for taking a dip because it was quite shallow until quite far out. Despite our illness it was a nice day and the way back on the boat was much better, even so we didn't do the final swim stop either which was a shame, but I just still didn't feel up to it. 

I would like to go back to Kefalonia one day, but maybe to a different part of the island and we would probably hire a car as the roads were quite quiet and we'd be able to visit more small villages on the island. 

Thank you for reading, 
Abigail x