Scroll to Top
Win a luxury 2-night sparkling Sussex break with Pride of Britain Hotels

Captivating Kefalonia and its seductive southern shores

By LLM Reporters  |  December 6, 2020

Words by Adam Jacot de Boinod

Within two weeks of my visit to the northern fishing village of Fiscardo in the north of Greece’s Ionian Sea-based island, I was back in Kefalonia. This time I was to embrace the southern half, beneath her mountainous ridge, her bays of golden sand and her view of the neighbouring island of Zante.

The water is family friendly as it slopes gradually to its depths under a smooth flooring of sand. The vivid colours of the blue sky, the Cézanne-style white rocks and brown earth all protrude in sharp, pronounced definition.

Certainly, this island is very much at ease with its providence – local life presides over the touristic giving it a languid timeless vibe. The men, in true Mediterranean tradition, sit about in their cafés, garrulous and gesticular, putting the world to rights. One shepherd complete with his crook and sheepdogs was herding his flock of two hundred at sundown with the sound of their bells chiming in the breeze. A pure and perfect setting of pastoral harmony.

I went for early evening drives when the light was at its photogenic best through villages as delightful as Kaligata and Spartia with the vivid colours of their walls and houses and the striking facades of their churches. By dusk a canopy of stars consistently would come out with confident clarity. The moon, once even orange in colour, shone with glistening effect upon the waves that were calm and agitated in equal measure.

I hired a car from Rentcarkefalonia run by the charming Apostolis. Their greatest asset was my being able to get away instantly from airport interiors and queues and, literally, a minute’s walk away down a lane with trees and I was already experiencing the warmth and nature that was to set the tone for my journey ahead.


Villa Rosa boasts balconies at every angle from which to catch the sun or look out to the beautiful Ionian Sea        Image credit: Emma Ball

Within twenty minutes I had come to where I was to stay at Villa Rosa, a select and classy set of self-catering holiday homes. The interior was super-clean and fresh and decorated with rattan and wicker baskets throughout with other creative and welcoming touches.

Outside are balconies at every angle from which to catch the sun or look out to the beautiful sea beyond. Set in a spaciously landscaped garden with a lush lawn that’s indulgently spongy underfoot are fruit trees, palm trees and flowers.

From my hammock I could enjoy the coastline that was visible as far as Lourdas beach, where row upon row of unfurling waves crashed into separate bays. I found watching these waves as mesmeric as the differing colours of the water that changed from Egyptian blue to mazarine, from turquoise to teal.

Villa Rosa comes with the dramatic backdrop of Ainos Mountain that rises to an impressive height of 5,000 feet and has, as a spinal chord, a ridge comparable to Cape Town’s Camps Bay that at night is lit up magically as it seemingly reflects the stars above. In front, the villa looks out over the shimmering Ionian Sea and beyond, forty miles away, to the neighbouring island of Zante (Zakinthos).


Lourdas (or Lourdata ) beach has a strollable walkway lined with restaurants

The Greek Mediterranean diet is very organic. The local restaurants offered simple and authentic classic dishes: many of them coaxed out of grannies and aunts whose idea of a recipe was a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that.

I walked down a steepish road from the villa in blissful silence to Denis Seaside Restaurant. It is the most romantic of strolls under a canopy of bright stars as I began my descent to hear, and then see, the waves lapping the shoreline.

The décor at the restaurant is an expression of the natural in all her simplicity. There are white wooden trellis panels, lights made out of driftwood, a carpet of pristine white pebbles, a roof made out of bamboo, and even a rock that was lit up at night to celebrate nature. I was able to continue my walk’s enjoyment of all the elements, entertained as I was by nature’s diversity of sights, sounds, smells and tastes. With no electronic artifice, it all felt extremely nourishing.

Another evening I went along the strollable strand at Lourdas beach. To dispel any thoughts of mosquitos I always recommend the natural Canelle Spray that is very effective and has a cinnamon aroma far preferable to that of the citronella variety. I embarked on an enchanting climb up its own private path to experience the culinary secrets of Lorraine’s Magic Hill.

The food from her Magic Hill comes either from the sea or the restaurant’s organic gardens and its allotment. Lorraine delivers the spongiest of fresh bread and there’s no doubting the difference in taste of her homemade feta cheese made from goat rather than sheep milk. Another delight was her ‘melitzanosalata’ comprising roasted aubergines dip, made with goat’s yoghurt, garlic, parsley and herbs and served with pita bread.

As the sun sets, it lights up the local architecture with golden hues                                                   Image credit: Emma Ball

Back up the top of Lourdata is a strip of restaurants and other touristic attractions where the versatility of the locals is highly admirable as I met Marinos, very evidently the local fix-it man, owning not just his Captain Zorbas restaurant, with its wonderful upstairs veranda, but a couple of villas, a rent-a-car firm and even offering donkey rides.

Along this strip is the restaurant La Mer. I chose from a range of salads that included Greek, rocket, summer and Caesar. This went perfectly with my honey roast pork, tempted though I was by the recommended pesto-baked salmon. For dessert, what better I thought sometimes, than the sheer simplicity of two scoops of dark chocolate-pitted ice cream.

Tucked away at the end of the road from the other restaurants on the strip is Chefalonia. The setting is at a perfect height to enjoy a panoramic view down upon Lourdas beach and across to what can often be in Kefalonia a spectacular sunset. Here, I enjoyed a delicious vegetable moussaka and a traditional Corfu recipe of beef sofrito.


Prices at Villa Rosa Apartments per night starting from €60 in low season and €220 in high season.

Adam had support from Stansted Express and reached Gatwick Airport via Southern Railway as well as from Holiday Extras.

To book the Hilton at London Gatwick Airport, visit or call 0800 316 5678.