SAMI KEFALONIA: Everything you need to know before you go!

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SAMI KEFALONIA: Everything you need to know before you go!

Sami is one of the most vibrant and picturesque towns in Kefalonia. With a harbour view to die for looking across the most luscious green mountains! It’s a great starting point for exploring the island and is only a five minute drive away from some of Kefalonia’s most incredible natural wonders, including: Melissani Lake and Drogarati Cave. Here’s a complete guide to Sami, Kefalonia – everything you need to know before you go!


Where is Sami in Kefalonia?

Sami is a picturesque little town on the central east coast of Kefalonia in Greece. Around 22 miles north of the island’s capital Argostoli. Where lush pine forests meet stunning beaches with emerald waters.

It’s a great base for exploring the north of Kefalonia and close to several of the island’s most beautiful natural wonders such as Drogarati Cave and Melissani Lake.

View of Sami from the top of the mountain through green pine trees

What is Sami like?

Sami is a vibrant yet peaceful coastal town with a beautiful harbour overlooking stunning mountains and nearby Ithaka.

The waterfront is lined with picturesque Venetian buildings offering a number of cafes and traditional tavernas to sit at as you look out over the colourful harbour.

But don’t let its peaceful persona fool you, Sami is the second largest working port in Kefalonia receiving ferries from Patra, Astakos, Ithaca and Italy which makes it a great place to venture from.

Alongside the ferries and local fishing boats, you’ll also find exclusive yachts belonging to the rich and famous just sailing into harbour!

Its crystal clear waters and impressive coves make it a popular spot for diving and swimming too!

Two bright blue sail boats in the harbour of Sami with luscious green mountains in the background

What’s the history of Sami?

Sami has a very interesting and dramatic history seeing as it’s such a peaceful and unassuming little town! Here’s a whistle-stop tour of Sami history…

Sami has been inhabited for over 2.5 million years and was once a powerful fortified settlement.

Even after the Romans invaded in 188 BC, Sami continued to flourish. Developing trade relations which led to an increase in population and wealth.

Ruins discovered during excavation indicate that a citadel was built here during the Hellenistic Era. A theatre and several tombs stones were also found dating back to the 3rd century BC!

From 1593, Kefalonia fell under Venetian rule due to its strategic position. This was until the arrival of the French in 1797! Who were later defeated by an allied fleet of Russians, Turkish and English.

The Ionian State was then founded in Istanbul in 1800 and came under the rule of the Sultan.

After popular demand, democratic elections were organised after years of oligarchy rule in 1802 and a new Constitution was established.

The island fell again under French domination in 1807 but the new Constitution was maintained.

Then! *takes deep breath*

After the ‘Treaty of Paris’, in 1809, the Ionian Islands came under the rule of the English who constructed many significant buildings in Kefalonia such as the De Bosset Bridge in Argostoli, the Lighthouse of Saint Theodori and the impressive Municipal Theatre of Kefalonia.

Kefalonia remained under English rule until the island was finally united (hoorah!) with the rest of independent Greece in 1864.

…and this is just the tip of the historical iceberg! 😂

White pebble beach with green mountains and a row of orange topped buildings in the background

Does Sami in Kefalonia have a beach?

Yes, Sami has a small beach at the edge of town just outside the harbour. It’s a lovely and quiet white stoney beach surrounded by pine trees and Kefalonia’s signature turquoise seas.

However, only 15 minutes drive away is one of the most famous beaches in Kefalonia – Antisamos! It featured in the movie, ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ and is regularly listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece!

It’s easily accessible with umbrellas and sun loungers you can rent. There’s also two beach bars serving drinks and snacks until tea time.

White pebble beach with blue water and pine trees on the edge of the bay near Sami

Is Sami a nice place to stay?

You can’t go wrong with where to stay in Kefalonia – the entire island is just breathtaking in every direction! But Sami in particular is a beautiful and charming town to holiday in.

With a great selection of traditional restaurants and tavernas to enjoy local food and terrific Greek wine combined with the wonderful mountain views from the colourful harbour, you’ll absolutely love Sami.

White and black sail boat sailing along the edge of Sami with green mountains and wind turbines in the background


There are a few different ways you can get to Sami:

  • By taxi – the easiest and most convenient way to get to Sami from Argostoli and Fiskardo is to take a taxi which will take you around 35 minutes and cost between €30 – €40 each way. This is the best option if you’re not looking to rent a car whilst you’re visiting Kefalonia.
  • By car – if you’re renting a car whilst visiting Kefalonia, I recommend driving to Sami, especially if you’re staying the other side of the island. It’s a great way to independently explore at your own pace.
  • By bus – the bus to Sami takes around an hour and a half from Fiskardo and costs around £5. From Argostoli it only takes around 45 minutes to an hour by bus and costs less than £3. Buses only run four times a day so you could always take the bus in the morning and get a taxi when you’re ready to come home if you’re looking to keep costs down.
  • By boat – if you’re feeling extra fancy you can also get to Sami by boat! You can access it by sea if you have a private boat or are part of a trip. There’s a rather beautiful harbour you can park up at after all. 😉
Colourful orange boats in the harbour of Sami in Kefalonia

How do you get to Sami from Kefalonia airport?

I would recommend either taking a taxi from Kefalonia Airport to Sami or drive if you’re going to be renting a car during your stay. The drive is only around 45 minutes.

You can also book an airport transfer car service that would be slightly cheaper than getting a taxi. However, you’ll need to pre-book before you get there.

You can also take the bus from Kefalonia airport to Sami but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Door to door it can take up to four hours, depending on what time of day you’re heading there with a change at Ktel bus station in Argostoli.

It’s not worth losing half a day of your holiday for the sake of £60!

Google map of Kefalonia with a driving route from Kefalonia Airport to Sami

What are the best things to do in Sami?

The name of the game in Sami is to relax and enjoy the beauty of the town. So the top things to do, include: lying on the beach, drinking local Greek wine in the various traditional tavernas and eating out whilst you enjoy the wonderful view of the harbour!

However, if you’d like to learn more about Sami’s history, I recommend visiting the Nautical Museum of Sami which exhibits all the different types of traditional Greek ships.

There is also the Casa-Museo, a house museum, which showcases what it would have been like to live in the old bourgeoisie Kefalonian residences of the 18th to the 20th century.

Lastly, the Archaeological Collection of Sami in Kefalonia houses incredible archaeological artefact from the early Bronze Age up until the early Byzantine times.

The mosaic floor exhibition reflect the techniques and patterns that are featured in the mosaics’ art of Roman Sami depicting their way of life during the era.

Best tours of Kefalonia

If you’d like to explore beyond Sami, there are a few tours I would recommend:

Check out my top 10 things to do in Kefalonia for more inspiration, including where to see wild loggerhead turtles!

Single boat on Melissani Lake inside a cave in Kefalonia

Where is best to stay in Sami?

You won’t find a bad place to stay in Sami, so really you can’t go wrong with what you pick!

It really just depends on what your requirements and budget are. Whether that be to have an apartment right on the beach, multiple bedrooms, a terrace with a sea view or your own pool.

Great places to stay in Sami (for all preferences!)

  • Captain’s Gem – located right in the centre of Sami overlooking the harbour with beautiful sea views, this holiday rental has two bedrooms, one bathroom (with a bath!), fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. It’s also right on the beach! Perfect for couples as well as a small family of up to four.
  • Olvio Living by the Sea – set in Sami, just 4.8 km from Antisamos Beach and 100 metres from Sami Beach, this modern full house holiday rental has two bedrooms, one bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities and sea views. Perfect for couples!
  • Centrale – located in the centre of Sami, this holiday rental has one bedroom, one bathroom with a shower, balcony with city views, tennis court, a kitchen and laundry facilities. It’s just 700 metres away Karavomilos Beach and 200 metres from Melissani Lake. Perfect for couples!
  • Klio Seafront House – located in the centre of Sami on the beachfront, this modern one bedroom apartment features garden views with a balcony. It’s also only 700 metres away from Karavomilos Beach. Perfect for couples!
  • Villa Koutsoypia Stone House – if you’re looking for a bit more space or are travelling with a larger group I recommend this villa. It’s a full house rental with two bedrooms and bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities and a terrace with sea views. But best of all, it has its own swimming pool! The nearest beach is only 5 minutes away in a car or 35 minutes walk.
Palm tree with hanging orange fruit or flowers on the edge of a beach in Sami in Kefalonia

Where is best to eat in Sami?

Sami has got some lovely restaurants dotted around the bay. If you’re vegan (like me!) or vegetarian, your options are more limited. But staff are so friendly and happy to tweak dishes to help accommodate for any dietary requirements where they can.

However, for my vegan and vegetarian friends I recommend the following if you’re looking for highly-rated vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Sami:

  • Kallithea – offers authentic Greek cuisine and a friendly service, located just outside town with amazing views over Sami and Ithaka!
  • Faros Taverna – one of the top rated and oldest restaurants in Sami offering a fantastic menu of classic Greek mezedes with vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Dolphins Restaurant – lovely waterside restaurant with a varied menu and vegan options including a vegetarian platter.
  • Contessina – another lovely restaurant with great views of the harbour-side (seeing a theme here?).
Skyline of Sami in Kefalonia with green mountains in the background and rows of orange topped houses on the edge of the sea in the foreground


Kefalonia has a lovely Mediterranean climate! So is hot and dry in the summer and mild in the winter, which is why it’s so popular as a European holiday spot!

The hottest month is July with an average temperature of 31°C and the coolest month is January with an average temperature of 14°C.

Mel stood on a ferry in Argostoli Bay with a Greek flag flying by her


If you love your sunshine, I’d recommend visiting between June and August for your best shot of undisturbed weather.

If you’re keen to holiday with fewer crowds, get more bang for your buck AND still have lovely weather, visiting early September once the kids have gone back to school is also a great option.

What I would say though is avoid going too early in the season.

I visited nearby Crete at the beginning of May to get a more affordable holiday package deal and despite weather reports looking good, it was overcast and a bit too chilly to sit out.

If you go too early, you’re more likely to have unreliable weather.

View from the harbour of Sami with beautiful mountains and white fluffy clouds in the background

Is Sami worth visiting?

Absolutely, Sami is well worth visiting! Whether it’s just for a day to enjoy some peace and quiet by the harbour or for a full-on idyllic Greek holiday, Sami is totally worth visiting!

Sail boats lined up in the harbour of Sami, Kefalonia with rows of orange tiled buildings and green peaks in the background


Have you been to Sami in Kefalonia yet? Let me know in the comments below! 😊

Quick FYI guys – this ‘Sami Kefaloniapost contains affiliate links to tours and booking websites I recommend. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

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