Pick up your hire car in Kefalonia airport to start enjoying the hidden charms of this rugged Greek paradise.
"We're the God of Greek islands with finely chiseled cliffs, soft sandy curves, impressive mountains and a very sunny disposition."
Other Greek islands may dispute Kefalonia's lofty claims, but earthquakes, war and Nicolas Cage sporting a horrendous Italian accent have all visited and none have damaged its natural beauty and tranquillity.
Even in the capital, Argostoli, the pace rarely rises above walking. So when you're exploring Kefalonia, just relax and take your time.
They're used to tourists and will give you an enthusiastic welcome, especially if you've mastered a few words of Greek.
Winters in Kefalonia are wetter than on other Greek islands, which is why it's green and lush by comparison. Summers are long, hot and dry.
It's not all feta cheese and ouzo. Help yourself to a Kefalonian pie instead, you'll find rice, vegetables, fish and meat hidden inside.
Forget Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz - stars of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which was shot here. Lord Byron is the visitor locals cherish most. The English poet stayed in the earlier 19th century and is a national hero for his support of Greek independence.
Kefalonia suffered a huge earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale in 1953, which destroyed most of the island's houses and lifted the whole place by 60cm.
"The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece! Where burning Sappho loved and sung, Where grew the arts of war and peace, Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!" - poet Lord Byron
We compare prices from leading suppliers
This fishing village on the island's northern tip escaped the worst of the 1953 earthquake and has managed to retain its 18th-century charm, while adding a healthy dose of seafood restaurants.
There is no designated parking apart from street parking.
You'd expect an island with such a colourful history to have the odd archaeological gem and you'd be right. Take a look at them here.
There is street parking outside the museum.
It may have been ruined during the Second World War, but the successful restoration of this impressive theatre has ensured Argostoli's thespians won't go without.
There is a visitors' car parking area.
At least half of all holidays should be spent lolling about in cafes on pretty squares. And this is the place to do it in Argostoli.
Parking is available in the surrounding streets.
The other half should be spent on beaches that specialise in golden sand and clear, warm waters. A lot like this one in fact.
There is a car parking area at the beach.
Most people make do with a parasol when they need a bit of shade, but you can head underground for a bit of cool time with some stalactites and stalagmites.
How to get there? It's about 10 miles inland of Argostoli. Get onto the Argostoliou-Samis road and it's just before Fragkata.
A more spectacular stretch of sand would be hard to find. Steep cliffs provide an impressive backdrop to one of Europe's top beaches.
Head north on the Divaraton-Katochoriou road for 25 miles. Follow the coast round and look for signs.
Jump on a ferry to the home of The Odyssey's Odysseus, and you'll soon understand why Homer was inspired by this island.
A cheap ferry runs from Sami. Cross Kefalonia to Sami on the Argostoliou-Samis road for 25 miles, then the ferry takes 40 minutes.
The people who built this monastery in the 11th century really wanted to get away from it all. It's deep in a forest on the slopes of the island's second highest mountain.
Head around the Argostoli bay towards Drapana. Then follow signposts north to Dilinata. Keep going for 25 miles to Makriotika and do a right to Drakopoulata until you find the monastery.
" Car hire is essential as Kefalonia is big and public transport is limited. If you want to do a bit of shopping you can enjoy a stroll up the traffic-free Lithostroto. Just park along the back streets just off the main square. During the afternoon, virtually everything shuts for the siesta so it's a great time to sightsee by car. Fanari is the coast road that runs from Argostoli to Lassi, and is also known as the 'Romantic Road' with its pine forests and fine views. "