One of the Ionian Islands located off Greece’s West Coast, Kefalonia is bursting full of beautiful landscapes and dreamy beaches. An equally ideal spot for nature lovers and those looking to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life, the island attracts millions of visitors each year. Yet, the question remains, is Kefalonia expensive?
Compared to the Greek islands of the Cyclades, Kefalonia is not expensive. However, that’s not to say it’s cheap either. A typical night’s accommodation will cost around $100 (all prices in USD) for a three-star hotel, your average meal will cost $18, and most activities will cost $50 for a half-day tour.
That said, if you know where to look, you can find both cheaper and significantly more expensive food and accommodation. Let’s take a deeper look to answer the question fully, is Kefalonia expensive?
Is Kefalonia expensive?
Overall, Kefalonia is as expensive as you make it. It’s possible to choose budget accommodation, cook your own meals, and stick to activities like hiking or beach strolling that do not require additional costs. If you pick more budget options, you can keep costs down to under $800 per week as a solo traveler. On the other hand, if you choose average accommodations and enjoy eating the majority of your meals out, the average cost for a solo traveler is closer to $1600.
For many, the most expensive part of Kefalonia is simply getting to and from the island. While there are flights from many European cities and a ferry from Ithaca, Lefkada, Killini, and Zakynthos, you’re still looking at $100 up to $1500 for transport. Besides this, dining, activities, and vacation rentals can be the most expensive part of your stay. We’ve broken down some average costs you can expect to pay in Kefalonia.
|Meal for one at a restaurant||$18|
|Bottle of water (supermarket)||$1 for 1.5 litre|
|Can of coke (restaurant)||$3|
|Average hotel cost (one night)||$70|
|Private island tour (half-day)||$40|
|Day cruise (without lunch)||$50|
|Average cost per day (without accommodation)||$90|
Luckily, if you’re traveling as a couple, you don’t have to worry about costs doubling. Since most hotels and rentals have the same price for one person or two people, the accommodation costs will be the same, and only food and activity costs will increase. For one week, a couple can expect to spend $1100 on a budget and $1980 for an average stay.
As a family of four, accommodation prices will increase to $100 – $120 per night for a two or three-star hotel and around $200 for an average two-bedroom vacation rental. Per week, expect to spend $2000 for a budget stay and $3200 for an average stay.
Of course, there is no limit to how much one can spend on the stunning island of Kefalonia, so these prices are estimated from what the average person spends while on vacation.
Is Kefalonia expensive to live?
Compared to vacationing in Kefalonia, the cost of living on this beautiful island is relatively cheap and lower than most other Greek islands. Even in the more popular regions of the island, rent for one-bedroom apartments range between $400 and $450 per month and around $1000 for a three-bedroom apartment. If you’re looking to purchase a house, you can buy a modern villa near the ocean, complete with a pool and 3-bedrooms, for $300,000.
Another advantage of taking up residency in Kefalonia is insider knowledge of where to eat and play. As soon as you get out of the more touristy towns and find where the locals like to eat, you’ll find the prices drop significantly. A meal that costs $20 with a seaside view will cost half that inland and will likely taste even better. In addition, groceries are reasonably priced, with a liter of milk costing $1.55, a dozen eggs costing $2.20, and a mid-range bottle of wine costing just under $10.
It is worth noting that the average monthly salary for Kefalonia is lower than you’d see in other parts of Europe. In 2018, the average monthly salary was $1250. Most jobs are found in the hospitality industry and can be seasonal. Unless you’re moving with considerable savings or can work remotely, you’ll need to become accustomed to the lower wage.
Is Kefalonia expensive for food?
Like most islands, food has to be shipped to the island resulting in higher food costs than you’d find on mainland Greece. High-quality cuts of meat and fish are particularly expensive, and if you’re dining out, don’t be surprised if you’re paying upwards of $20 to $30 for a meal.
Vegetables, on the other hand, are much cheaper – especially in the summer months. Tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, figs, and olives color the hillsides. Head to Argostoli market and stock up on an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables to enjoy throughout the week. You’ll also find vegetarian dishes are less expensive at restaurants compared to steak and seafood dishes.
It’s also worth noting that it’s common for restaurants to charge a cover of one or two Euros for entry. Don’t fret, though, as this typically includes a freshly baked loaf of bread, and some restaurants even include olive oil and vinegar for dipping. Then, depending on where your restaurant is located, prices can vary significantly. At a seafront restaurant, expect to pay a noticeably higher price than smaller taverns situated inland.
If you stick with a salad or a simple vegetarian meal, prices will range between $5 at a local tavern to $10 at a seafront restaurant. The famous greek stew costs around $8 to $15, and a domestic beer will cost around $5. Added up, a typical meal with a drink will cost approximately $18. It’s also worth spending time wandering around the backstreets. If you spot a bustling tavern filled with locals, you know you’ve found a hidden gem!
Is accommodation in Kefalonia expensive?
With its large size, there are plenty of accommodation options in Kefalonia, which brings the average price down. In the more popular towns of Argostoli Skala, Lourdas, and Lassi, which are home to stunning beaches, popular restaurants, and many tourist facilities, prices will be higher than in the more traditional towns of Sami and Fiscardo. Average beachfront hotels can cost up to $200 per night, whereas hotels slightly inland or in less touristy towns will cost only $40 per night.
Interestingly, the price of vacation rentals is much higher than hotels. Expect to pay a minimum of $140 per night for a two to three-bedroom rental and upwards of $500 per night for private beachfront rentals. Considering that many vacation rentals have a full kitchen, you could offset the extra cost by cooking more meals at home.
Another great way to save money on accommodation is to look further afield. While you’ll need a rental car to reach towns off the main tourist path, spots like Assos, Xi, and Agia Efimia are absolutely charming and offer accommodation for a fraction of the cost. You’ll also get a more genuine feel for the local way of life by staying in a more traditional town.
Is public transport expensive in Kefalonia?
Public transport is not expensive in Kefalonia, and as long as you’re not in a hurry, it’s a great way to get around the island. Most public bus trips will cost around $1.65 per ride and take you to the majority of larger towns and popular beaches. Many locals choose to use the public bus system and are always happy to give you a helping hand if you’re unsure where to get on or off the bus. The bus is also a great way to relax and take in the views without worrying about the narrow roads.
If you’re in a hurry or going to a more remote village, the bus may not be your best option. The public buses have limited routes and are known for not being on time. In this case, taxis or a rental car could be a better choice. Taxis are the most expensive option but are good for an easy and fast transfer to your destination.
Rental cars are also relatively cheap and will cost as little as $30 per day. If you’re staying further afield or plan to spend a lot of time exploring the further reaches of Kefalonia, investing in a rental car will save you money compared to organizing public transport. However, if you’re planning on staying and exploring around Argostoli, there is no need for a rental car.
Kefalonia money-saving tips
While a trip to Kefalonia shouldn’t break the bank, you can greatly reduce the cost of your stay on the island by making a few smart decisions. On the same note, expenses can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Check out these local tips to get the most out of your visit and save some money along the way.
Dine away from the Mediterranean sea views
If you can see the ocean while you’re dining, chances are you’ll be paying more for the same quality of meal as somewhere inland. Most locals are happy to point out their favorite places to eat on the island, which are usually cheaper and tastier. Also, when ordering, avoid fish and beef. Sticking to mainly vegetarian meals will save you money.
Choose accommodation in Kefalonia off the beaten path
Hotels and vacation rentals not in prominent tourist locations are considerably cheaper. Scope different parts of Kefalonia for good deals, and you can find lovely vacation rentals for less than $100 per night and hotel rooms for less than $40 per night. Just be sure you’ll be able to reach your accommodation, as taxi charges can easily offset any savings.
Explore Kefalonia on your own two feet
Signing up for activities can put a huge dent in your wallet. Day cruises and tours can seem quite enticing. However, it’s just as easy to explore the island on your own. Pack a lunch, hop on the bus and see where the day takes you!
Visit Kefalonia outside of the main tourist season
June, July, and August will see an increase in costs for everything, including accommodation, food, taxis, and activities. On either side of these months, prices will reduce slightly. However, if you don’t mind some chillier nights and less warm water, anytime between the end of October and the end of April will see a significant reduction in costs.