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Kefalonia in May, any tips and advice for first time traveller

(27 Posts)
OriginalRoute Fri 03-May-13 23:14:42

We're going to Kefalonia end of may, would love any tips or advice. It's first time going on a proper foreign holiday so general travel advice from the really basic stuff up, would be really helpful also thanks!

BIWI Fri 03-May-13 23:16:48

Whereabouts are you staying on the island? Are you hiring a car?

OriginalRoute Fri 03-May-13 23:40:59

We're staying in Skala, and are undecided about car hire. We thought maybe just for a couple of days rather than the week. We do enjoy walking but my DH has an injury so about 4 miles is a long walk for us at present. We have a DS who is 13 and likes history and nature.

OriginalRoute Fri 03-May-13 23:40:59

We're staying in Skala, and are undecided about car hire. We thought maybe just for a couple of days rather than the week. We do enjoy walking but my DH has an injury so about 4 miles is a long walk for us at present. We have a DS who is 13 and likes history and nature.

RedNats5 Sat 04-May-13 12:15:00

I'd recommend car hire for a few days to get north.

Myrtos beach is a must. As is lunch in Asos the blue/white restaurant pm the front we love. Best fish ever. Fiskardo a good trip too but is pricey and gets busy.

Aldo some nice restaurants in Sami and antisamos beach is good.

From skala can go down to turtle beach near katelios
The castle is also a good day trip and son would probably like that but again need car and can do the robola factory tour then too (wine)
We love kefalonia

BIWI Sat 04-May-13 13:17:47

We went to Kefalonia some years ago and really loved it. We were on the Southern coast too.

The driving (or should I say the drivers!) took a bit of getting used to, and I was glad when we first arrived that we didn't have to head straight up to the North of the island, where the roads are more mountainous!

But I would definitely recommend that you hire a car to explore the island as it is really lovely.

specialsubject Sat 04-May-13 17:07:41

excuse if too basic:

- you have I hope already sorted your travel insurance. Make sure you have your EHICs too. They are free.
- take a couple of light fleece jumpers as evenings may still be cool. Take plenty of insect repellent and suncream. Remember it is approaching peak sun strength when you are there.
- a few basic words in Greek always go down well. Please, thank you, cheers, hello. Everyone you deal with will speak English.
- if there is a bin by the toilet, that is where the toilet paper goes. Do otherwise and someone will have to unblock it. If this is the setup in your accommodation, the bin will be emptied every day.
- Greek food is glorious - tomatoes like you have never tasted, flavoursome stews etc etc. Fish is always expensive, you order by weight. It takes about two weeks to work through the main delights of Greek cuisine. Top tip - if there are some restaurants with sea view and some slightly inland, the ones without the view may well be better and cheaper.
- tell your bank and credit card company that you will be away to make sure that your cards work.

enjoy. I'm sure you will.

In Skala itself, the ruins are worth a little mooch around (and are nice and cool in the woods!). There is a restaurant right on the seafront with white table cloths that has a singer in the evenings and feels very special but is no more expensive than the normal tavernas - the loos are nice too! As you come down the main high street, there is a restaurant on the corner on the left just before you get to the road with the benches where the old people all meet up - it does fantastic veggie lasagne.

OriginalRoute Sun 05-May-13 10:39:31

Thanks, all this is really helpful, and honestly, you can't be too basic with your advice! I have just applied for the UHIC, and I went for the most comprehensive insurance offered by the travel agent. I've got some more very basic questions about flying. I've had a look at the gov website but still a bit confused if your allowed to take aerosols on the plane. Also batteries for camera etc. Am I correct in thinking my son will be able to use his ipod on the plane?

Tips of where to go are brilliant, thank you. DH doesn't want to arrive and have a 2h drive from the airport so we shall hire a car in Skala I think. Is it worth paying more for a 4x4 if the roads are bad?

Also (another) silly question, how safe is the sea. I love the sea side but have a bit of an irrational fear of being washed out to sea. Do they have warning flags and lifeguards like the UK. My son would like us to go sea kayaking but I don't want to annoy my family by constant worrying and 'be careful' nagging.

OriginalRoute Sun 05-May-13 10:40:53

sorry you're

Laquila Sun 05-May-13 10:46:43

I haven't been to Kefalonia but went to Corfu a couple of weeks ago and it was lovely. I second all the above advice, especially re car hire - we thought it was cheap compared to mainland Europe and Sardinia, and in May yu could still maybe get a day or two of rain so useful to have an option to escape/tour round if need be.

Have a look on Tripadvisor in advance for restaurant recs, and also days out/thing to see.

Scan your passports and driving licences and email them to yourselves in case the worst happens and you lose them.

You can use electronic devices on the plane but not during take-off and landing. No aerosols allowed in hand luggage, or liquids/creams/pastes in containers over 100ml.

Have a fantastic time!

Can't help re the sea, sorry. I'm a v weak swimmer so never go in further than about waist deep! At Skala itself the entry into the sea was quite rocky, so I needed flip flops.

One tip - if you get at all travel sick, take plenty of pills and maybe some mints or boiled sweets for sucking. The roads are very winding and I thought I was going to collapse through nausea on the coach trip from and back to the airport!

specialsubject Sun 05-May-13 14:29:20

unlikely to be warning flags and lifeguards. The Mediterranean doesn't have a tide so less of an issue.

common sense sea safety - learn to swim, tell someone on shore where you are going, tell them when you get back, tell them what to do if you don't. If you hire kayaks from someone, they will obviously want the kayaks back so will have some interest in your return. Listen to their instructions about where you can and can't go and paddle INTO the wind - that way when you get tired, you get blown back to shore. Be aware that you will be given buoyancy aids, these are not the same as lifejackets. If it is too windy or bumpy, don't go.

sea urchins quite common, buy some water shoes for everyone.

4 x 4 not needed. Airport to Skala seems to be 35km so struggle to see it taking 2 hours, although if this is the holiday company bus there will be a certain amount of faffing.

for the plane - look up the rules for liquids, gels and pastes in hand luggage, they are clearly explained. For hold luggage, you can put in as much liquid etc as you like but wrap it well. Ditto aerosols. Nothing valuable or important in hold luggage. Top tip for planes: take an empty water bottle through security for each of you. Fill it from the tap (UK end) after security. except sodding Luton where you can't do this so they make you buy water

OriginalRoute Mon 06-May-13 00:13:14

Wow thank you for taking the time to write such detailed replies, some really useful advice. Travel sickness tablets - good idea! I never realised there wasn't a tide in the Med, learn something new every day.

OriginalRoute Mon 06-May-13 00:13:15

Wow thank you for taking the time to write such detailed replies, some really useful advice. Travel sickness tablets - good idea! I never realised there wasn't a tide in the Med, learn something new every day.

girlywhirly Tue 07-May-13 09:30:10

We stay in Skala every other year and love it. We are going back this September.

Something not mentioned, if your DS likes history, there is a small ruined roman villa in Skala with some nice mosaics. It is signposted from the street. It might be worth investigating a trip to see some of the ruins of villages destroyed in the 1953 earthquake as well. You can go to the island of Ithaca from Skala beach, you buy tickets from an office over the beach road in advance I think, and you board the boat from a ladder on the beach! Captain Costas runs them. The trip incorporates a visit to a monastery, swim stops from the boat, and free time in Ithaka. It is much better value and shorter in duration than the holiday company ones, because there is less picking everyone up/dropping off. There is a small archaeological museum at Vathi the main port.

Definitely buy some neoprene swimming shoes, you can buy them there from any of the supermarkets. The beach can be shingly in places, and there are occasional stones. A beach you can drive to which is stunning is Antisamos, it is all white pebbles.

One of the best bits about the airport, is that it's so small they can only have one plane land at one time. This means that the only baggage being unloaded is that flight's, and therefore reclaim and getting out to your transport is really quick!

I mentioned the ruined villa!

Yes - the airport is super easy, unlike Santorini's which terrified me. smile

There is a v nice bar just behind the main street. I think it was named after a girl's name. Lovely cocktails and reasonably priced, and v laid back.

Back2Two Wed 08-May-13 07:31:37

Hijack... Any accommodation recommendations anywhere on the island please? There's such good advice on here thanks.

girlywhirly Wed 08-May-13 15:27:11

Apologies Remus! You did mention the villa.

I think you mean Sally's bar. It gets very busy and sometimes they reserve tables for people staying in the apartments, although it would be helpful if they put a reserved sign on them instead of chivvying unsuspecting customers to sit somewhere else! DH wasn't impressed, especially when only four of the six reserved chairs were eventually taken very much later, and then they only stayed for one drink!

I quite like Captain's Bar, further up the road. Or the Avra bar at Nine Muses, where non residents are welcome, you don't have to eat in the restaurant first. We stay at Nine Muses. It is just over the road from the beach! We have B&B, but you can arrange half board or full board if you want, and they have some self-catering apartments. They accept children but it isn't child centred, no kids pools/clubs etc but there are cots and highchairs.

We should share restaurant recommendations!

I can't remember the name of the bar, stupidly, but when we were there it was never very busy - usually just dd and I and a few couples. It was up past the little children's park.

There was a restaurant with a beautiful black girl in a different pair of very, very high heels each day - they did the best Greek salad of all the ones I had (and I had at least one a day!).

givemeaclue Thu 09-May-13 07:52:03

Most beaches there are stony, no lifeguards. Lovely island. The marine biological boat trip is good, he still running

ComtessedeFrouFrou Thu 09-May-13 08:05:22

girlywhirly we've been to the nine muses twice - shh! Don't tell everyone about it!

In Skala there is a giros restaurant that is awesome - up a side street off the main drag.

No need for a 4x4. The drogarati canes are good, as is the Melisani cave - which was revealed in the 1953 earthquake.

Sami has lovely waterfront restaurants. I would bother with Argostoli personally.

Do the boat trip to Ithaca - it leaves from the beach outside the nine muses.

girlywhirly Thu 09-May-13 11:39:08

Yes, that giros restaurant was good, but when we were there it was very busy and difficult to get a table unless you booked to reserve one.

We like Socrates, the food is very good and reasonable. The recipes belong to the owners mother, who in spite of being elderly still actively supervises the kitchen! It's just like home made Greek cooking. They have an allotment where they grow their own veg.

gowerbeauty Sat 18-May-13 07:06:14

Hi originalRoute,
We're staying in Skala in August for 2 weeks [self-catering].
Would welcome any recommendations/tips post holiday.
Have a wonderful stay.
Many thanks.

OriginalRoute Sat 01-Jun-13 17:59:43

Just found this thread again (forgot which name I started it under!)
We had a fantastic amazing time. Thanks for all the tips, we printed the thread out so we could refer to it for restaurants etc.
Hi gower
Lots of suggestions for you!
We got up early one day to get to Argostoli for 8am when the fishing fleet comes in. They feed the loggerhead turtles that live in the harbour so it's a great time to see them. They also sell fish direct from their boats.

The myceneum tomb near Poros is small but interesting, and you can walk past it into some olive groves and then along a path next to the river. If your slow and quiet you can spot loads of lizards, snakes, amazing looking bugs etc.

The road up to the top of the Mount Eanos is very scary but the view is like being in a plane. Take a jumper though its freezing up there.

We hired an open top Jeep (from Greekstones, they were very nice). It was so worth it we did a lot of driving round the island and it was great to feel in the midst of it all not cooped up in a hot car.

There are some beautiful little coves just off the road to the south of Agia Efimia but antisamos was my favourite beach with the little fish that swim round you and absolutely beautiful.

Old Skala and the Roman mosaic at Skala, as recommended above, are both worth a visit (if you like that sort of thing!)

Have a great time!

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