Kefalonia is a beautiful Greek Island that grows in popularity year after year. Like many other destinations in Greece, travelers opt for renting a car in Kefalonia to explore. After spending a week driving around this green Ionian paradise we certainly have some thoughts! So do you need to hire a Kefalonia car rental during your trip? Here’s 7 great tips for picking up your rent a car in Kefalonia, what you’ll see, and much more!
How to Get to Kefalonia Greece
When we traveled to Kefalonia we had actually already been in the country for 3 weeks. It was the last stop of after our epic road through the Peloponnese and more amazing places in mainland Greece. To get to the island you will either take a flight into Kefalonia International Airport (Anna Pollatou) or jump on the ferry.
The main airport is located on the west coast of the island. The ferries from the mainland come into multiple ports such as Sami, Poros, and Pessada. We actually spent 3 awesome days in Sami and used as a base to see more of the island from.
Do You Need a Kefalonia Rental Car?
Let’s jump right into it! When we first planned our visit to the island we really didn’t want to have a Kefalonia rental car.
After an action packed itinerary in Greece so far we wanted nothing more than to relax. We envisioned spending our days on the water and enjoying long and leisurely meals at the local tavernas.
However, once we looked into this destination more we saw how massive it actually was. Not only were there many so sites to see, but endless beautiful beaches that were easier to get to by renting a car in Kefalonia.
Whether you need one or not really depends on the type of vacation you desire. If you plan to spend a week at the same hotel, swim at the beach, and stroll around then maybe not.
Yet, if you’re up for an adventure or want to spend multiple nights in the different coastal towns… Then a Kefalonia car hire is the way to go!
Using the Bus System on Kefalonia
We personally didn’t use a bus to get around as we ended up renting a car in Kefalonia. It is possible to use the public transport, just know the schedules and routes are limited.
We’ve had a good experience using the buses on islands like Santorini, or even Crete and Naxos. Nevertheless, the term “island time” applies more often than not in Greece.
We wouldn’t recommend it on Kefalonia unless you’re strictly going from point A to B. The buses aren’t the best way to fully experience this enormous Ionian Island.
Taxis on Kefalonia
Taxies on the island are not cheap, but still an option. In most of the small towns there is a main taxi stand where you can always find a few posted up.
When we first looked at a hotel that was only 10 minutes from the airport we were told the price for a taxi each way. It was going to be around 20 Euros, and that was just for a short distance.
For example, our friends took the ferry from Patras (mainland Greece) to Sami. Yet, they found that the rental cars in Kefalonia were much cheaper back by the airport.
The public bus didn’t work with their schedule so they ended up paying 50 Euros for a one way taxi across the island. This is just another reason to plan your trip in advance around a Kefalonia car hire. The buses and taxis might not always work in your favor!
Why We Used a Rental Car in Kefalonia
After considering the cost of taxis, bus routes, and overall layout of the island, it only made sense to rent a car in Kefalonia.
We wanted the freedom to explore the beautiful coastal villages, beaches, and small swimming coves. Honestly, once we did the math it of what it would cost for other methods of transportation, a rental car in Kefalonia was a great deal!
We have been using Discover Cars while traveling abroad over the last few years. That’s how we got an amazing deal during April in Croatia for just 50 Euros per week. Using the same company, we rented a car from Athens and paid around 200 Euros for two weeks in mid-May.
Our rental car in Kefalonia was slightly more expensive as it was going into the beginning of summer. Yet, considering we booked it two days before arriving we were happy with the price of 180 Euros for the 8 days.
We always book automatic cars in the Greek islands because of the small winding roads. It’s also a great idea to go with a small vehicle for the same reason.
7 Tips for Renting a Car in Kefalonia
1. Book Your Kefalonia Rent a Car in Advance
Since we are talking about an island here know that that there are a limited number of Kefalonia rental cars available. When we picked up our vehicle we were told that they bring hundreds of more cars over from the mainland to meet demand in the busy summer months.
If you don’t book your car in advance you always run the risk of paying more, not having a car, or having to book with a not-so reputable company.
Many Kefalonia rental car places have a free cancellation policy. So even if you haven’t committed fully to having one it’s better to plan in advance. While it worked out for us booking last minute in late May, that likely won’t be the case in July and August.
2. Plan to Spend More For an Automatic
We’re from the United States where manual cars are not as common. Since they have both types of transmission in Greece, the automatics are always in high demand. This is especially true on the islands like Kefalonia.
If you want an automatic car just know you’re going to pay more. Depending on the availability, it could even be double the cost! This is just something to be aware of if you’re planning on renting a car in Kefalonia.
3. Get Your Kefalonia Rental Car From the Airport
For the best deals on rental cars in Kefalonia you’ll want to go directly to the airport. This of course may not work out as well if you’re coming and leaving from one of the ferry ports.
The large majority of Kefalonia rental car companies operate out of the airport and most are within walking distance after you get off your flight.
When sorting though rental cars online, you’ll notice there are a few different pick up options. They are listed as in terminal, meet and greet, car rental center, and so on.
We booked with Alma Car Hire which was just a 2 minute walk from the departures terminal. They had excellent service and we actually got a brand new Volkswagen with just 2,000 km on it!
4. Grab an Actual Map of Kefalonia
So how will you know where you’re going with your Kefalonia rent a car? If you have a phone plan with data in Greece then you can easily use Google maps.
If not, don’t worry! You can easily get an offline app like maps.me and download the exact region you need before disconnecting from wifi.
Now this may sound crazy in this day and age. Yet, this is an island where it would be beneficial to get a physical map from your Kefalonia car rental company.
The main roads are great and well maintained. However, there are some smaller roads that were a bit crazy and difficult to drive down.
While the popular apps might take you the on the “fastest route” we found ourselves often on the tightest of local roads. There was more than one instance where we couldn’t even believe it was a two way street. Low and behold, another car would come blasting towards us and we’d have to wiggle our cars through.
Before taking off on your daily adventures it’s best to double check the island map vs your online one. In most cases, you’re better off sticking to the wider main roads than taking shortcuts. Our Kefalonia Car Hire even broke down the map for us and circled some of the hidden gems to see on Kefalonia.
5. The More Days, the Better!
As we mentioned, Kefalonia is enormous. You may have gone to smaller Greek Islands that could be seen in just a day or two. Well, this is not the case here!
We spent a week traveling around Kefalonia and still felt like we didn’t see it all. Some of our favorite places were the colorful village of Assos and world-famous Myrtos Beach. It would have been much more difficult to get to these epic spots without a car.
To truly enjoy this special Ionian Island we recommend having as much time as possible. Renting a car in Kefalonia will give you the freedom to visit remote beaches, fun towns, and explore all it has to offer.
6. Kefalonia Car Hire to Stay in Different Towns
This was the biggest reason why we decided to rent a car in Kefalonia! After looking at the accommodations, we wanted to travel around and not have one home base.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. We completely understand those that prefer to stay in one place and use their rental car in Kefalonia for multiple day trips.
Just hear us out! Having a car gave us the ability to visit all the best areas without backtracking. By doing this, we were able to spend the night at multiple locations and soak it all in. It always makes a difference when you can stay overnight somewhere and really enjoy it.
One of our favorite spots we stayed in was called Agia Effimia. While our room was very basic we got to experience the local life and fun tavernas of a small Kefalonian island village.
To make things even better, our accommodation Boulevard Aetos Suites had an incredible view of the harbor and mountains behind it.
7. Don’t Miss Ithica Island
After you’ve spent time thoroughly touring around, there’s one more place that’s a must-see! Ithica is a small island just off the east coast of Kefalonia.
You may know it as the homeland of Odysseus who was the hero in Homer’s famous poem. It’s also filled with so much natural beauty, scenic beaches, and lush green mountains.
The easiest way to get there is by taking the short 25 minute ferry from Sami. You can actual bring your Kefalonia rent a car on the boat with you for not a huge extra cost.
If you have an extra day Ithica is so worth the trip. Spending at least one night there would ideal if possible.
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for renting a car in Kefalonia? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Greece Travel Planning
For island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. The fast ferries like Sea Jets will cost more but often takes half the time of slower ferries like Blue Star.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for as little as $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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