Kefalonia makes a great introduction to the Greek Islands for children. It’s a short, direct flightand there’s a wealth of self-catering accommodation available.
If you’re travelling with little ones who want a beautiful sandy beach to play on, the small-scale resorts of Avithos, Trapezaki and Lourdata have all the ingredients for a leisurely holiday; dazzling sandy beaches, shops for essentials and tavernas – the one at Avithos beach is the best on the island. Meon Villas and James Villas both offer accommodation here.
This sandy corner draws the biggest crowds, but if your children are older and you like things quieter, head instead to the East coast. Here you’ll find the best possible beach to introduce your child to snorkelling without the long-haul flight. Antisamos beach shelves steeply, so that within a few feet of the shore the view underwater is like a Jacques Cousteau film – the mysterious deep water is teeming with a variety of fish.
The beach was made famous by the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolinand it’s beautiful when it’s not crowded, which, in high season, means arriving early. There are two tavernas at the back of the beach.
The port of Sami, set in a wide bay, provides tourist facilities and a good choice of shore tavernas offering the day’s catch for lunch.
Just outside the town is the tiny and utterly peaceful fishing village of Karavomilos, which you can stroll along the beach to from Sami. A picturesque taverna looks out over the water, with a giant swing and a waterwheel to engross the kids. There are more shaded tavernas in the village and a superb bakery for breakfast and picnic items.
Also in this village is the Melissani subterranean cave. The sun shining through a wide opening in the top casts light onto the water in startling shades of blue and green, and you can take a boat tour around its crevices.
Between Karavomilos and the Agia Efimia resort there’s a series of white pebble beaches, which are close enough to swim between, resting in between in tiny coves where you can play at landing on a desert island.
Top tips: At Karavomilos, swimming in the sea offers the ultimate me-time – even in August, you may be the only person in the water. But it’s rocky underfoot and favoured by sea urchins, so you need shoes, and it’s not suitable for small children.
Where to stay: Many villas have pools with stunning sea views, at a keen price compared to other European sunspots, and Kefalonia is mostly untouched by the high levels of tourism that affect the other Ionian Islands. A villa in Karavomilos with a shared pool directly overlooking the bay, sleeping 4-7 costs around €550 to €1,200 a week in high season.
How to get there: Fly direct from London to Kefalonia from £122.86 with easyJet.
Travel time: Flights from London take 3 hours and 35 minutes.