As the island is quite mountainous in places, a car is recommended.
We booked our hire car with Neptune Car Hire which is the first car hire place when you walk from Lourdas beach up the hill to the village, approx. a 10 minute walk. The lady that works there is very nice and speaks English very well.
Better visit their office either early in the morning or in the evening, as it can get very hot and the the hill is a killer in the heat.
There are more car hire places further up the hill (approx. 30 minute walk) but the prices are pretty much the same at all of them anyway.
Neptune Car Hire gave us a very good rate and the car was as new with air con.
There are lots of Hire car company's to choose from: Europcars,Greek stones,Cb r Cars, just to name a few.
We went with Europcar who delivered the car and returned it free of charge,no extra insurance to pay all included.they do not do insurance for the tyres and underneath of the car.
however they did give some practical advice,if the road runs don't go there? it worked for me.
the big surprise was that i had paid for a Fiat punto with A/C and got a Renault Megane saloon with A/C at no extra charge.
They delivered at the time specified and collected likewise.
The car was originally booked through First Choice with Sun Cars,who contracted it to Euro cars,again it worked. Air Con is a must.
The plane left and returned on time from gatwick to kefalonia.
The seats have got to be the most uncomfortable seats ive ever had the to sit in.
The planes interior was not the cleanest of aircraft ive traveled on,but then the turn around time on these planes are quick.
Dont be surprised if your times get changed at short notice? we had one change we were originally leaving at 6.30am and that got changed to the afternoon,then at Kefalonia the time on our tickets were 9pm, only to be told that the times are wrong and it would be 9:45 when in fact we took off at 9:30,but nothing too bad .
My suggestion, if possible, is to rent a car so that you are able to explore all parts of the island at your own convienence. While there is public transport all over th island, it is not frequent enough for seeing all of the island in a few days. Not only will this allow you to explore the main attractions, but it will let you explore non-touriste areas, which can be just as gratifying and beautiful.
The company I rented from in Sami was Batistatou. In spite of the fact that the first car they gave me broke down, it should speak volumes that I am still recommending them. They were very helpful in correcting the problem, driving across the island to deliver my replacement car, that being a nice upgrade. They even gave me an extension of time for my return.
Breakdowns happen, especially when you drive like I do coupled with the fact that it is very hilly terrain. But, this place showed that they are there to serve you by their attitude correcting the problem.
The ferry for Ithaka can be found in Sami Harbour.
Costs: 12:50eur (car) 2:00eur (passenger)
Times from Sami: 08:45 14:00 15:45
Times From Ithaka: 09:30 14:45 16:30
Tickets from Blus Sea Travel (next to bus station).
Catching your return flight can be an experience from Kefalonia, but if your patient there is no need to panic, just remember that kef is a small Airport and everyone cant get in at once,so be prepared to que and wait?
Kefalonia Airport the only one that serves the greek island is situated in Svoronata just 9 kilometres from the Argostoli which is the capital of the Island. The airport only has one terminal serving both incoming and outgoing flights. There are only three check-in desks and on your return journey be prepared to be standing outside for a long time waiting to be allowed inside unless of course you have booked your flights independantly. Because the airport is so small, services are limited. There is duty free shopping available and it has a gift shop and newsagents as well as several cafeterias and bars. There are no public buses that run from the airport so unless you have your transfers arranged you will be able to get one of the many taxis that are available outside the airport. The Island is fairly large and transfer times between the airport and resorts varies.
We had decided on our second holiday to Zakynthos, in 1985, that we would take a trip to Kefalonia and stay a few days. How complicated could that be? I'm not sure about now, but then, the only service was via Killini on the mainland and hence on to Poros, Kefalonia. We had a good few hours to kill in Killini so we sat on the beach. It was very oily and full of noisy Greek school children, not an overly pleasant way to spend a few hours.
The ferry was fine, and we landed at Poros in the south of Kefalonia. We then had to get to Argostoli, where we had decided to base ourselves, for some reason. Luckily, there was a bus, which took hours, so it was a fairly long day.
I think there are different ferry services now, but probably only seasonal.
We hired a Ford Fiesta from the Ford Rent A Car place just across the road from our room. It cost us £150 a week in those days. Expensive compared with today's prices.
No problems with it apart from a flat tyre when we took the dreadful road down to Myrtos Beach. The road was unsurfaced and was in a terrible state. Nick had to change the wheel on the beach, in the blazing sun. He rather foolishly hadn't checked to see whether we had a spare when we hired the car, but fortunately we had but it was in a pretty ropey state. When we called at a garage, it was discovered it was only the valve at fault.The tyre was reinflated and the valve tightened. and Nick put the original tyre back on. Phewwww. Thought we might have had to fork out for a new tyre.
That holiday, we certainly had our money's worth from the car. We travelled many miles and discovered, in our own time, some beautiful places.
You need a car to see Kefalonia and do it justice. The island is big. It has a 1,300 km high mountain, inumerable beaches etc. There is a local bus network which is quite good, and they take you to some key beaches and sites, but if you want to see more hire a car or motorcycle for a few days.
Beware of Greek driving however. Greeks drive in a rather haphazard fashion and this gets dangerous in the summer, when island roads which are not supposed to cater for so many people suddenly become crammed with cars. In Kefalonia roads have sometimes very sudden turns and in some cases you find yourself driving above abrupt cliffs, so keep your wits about you. Also it is better not to drive at night. Sometimes the locals get drunk and they drive at high speed in roads full of twists and turns.
If you take a boat trip, you will sea many caves around the coast line, some huge some very small, there are even a few blow holes if you look for them. Some of the boat trip stop inside the caves to let you swim, always be aware of what you are doing, it can be very cold water in a cave !!
The ferry directly to Sami from Patras is run by Blue Star Ferries. The vessel name is Kephalonia, and it departs at 12:30 and 20:30, arriving 2 1/2 hours later. Please note that the 20:30 departure is only offered on Wednesdays and Fridays. Be warned that if you take the later ferry, arriving at 23:00, that most of Sami will be closed. Some hotels and hostels do not answer the door, no matter how long you beat on it and ring the doorbell. So, either pre-arrange accomodation, or you will have to take one of the hawkers' rooms, which may or may not resemble what they tell you.
You can get a taxi from Agia Afimia waterfront to Sami for 9euros one way ,always ask the price first with the taxi driver.
There always seemed plenty of taxis available ,same at Sami.
There we were on a dirt track road, in the middle of nowhere when all of a sudden, we came across this. The road was being made in front of our very eyes, without any warning!
This is how Kefalonia airport looked in 1987. Amazing. Didn't even have a proper roof!!!
14km. south of Argostoli.