Package Holiday Review: Kefalonia, Greece
Last year, my girlfriend and I decided that we’d like to go to one of the Greek Islands for some sun – last minute package holidays are typically “us” and this was no exception. Both of us have been to the Greek Islands before…we’ve both done Rhodes and Skiathos, and she’s also been to Crete and the Greek Mainland but this time we wanted somewhere fairly quiet and relaxing, although we are restricted to going during the school holidays so naturally there’s a challenge there!
As usual, finding a good deal and suitable destination involved plenty of Interweb wandering and – one of the reasons I started up this Package Holiday site actually – inspiration for some reason always seems to be in short supply. Sure, there are some great cheap deals out there, but none of the travel booking websites seem to tell you what the place is really like.
You know the score – the deal is great but the blurb that accompanies it is all about how wonderful the place is, how amazing the hotel is blah, blah, but it doesn’t tell you that your room looks out over the waste bins, or that 25 guests went down with food poisoning in July. Or that the Island is a protected environment for Waspus Stingus Humungous. And the Greek Islands do have their fair share of wasps (thankfully not too bad in Scala)! Anyway, thank God for Trip Advisor is all I can say – the customer reviews there are an essential part of our holiday planning whenever we go. We know this isn’t the Maldives, but we do like Greece as long as you can find the right place!
Anyhow, after much trawling, we eventually found a good package deal to an Island called Kefalonia (the local spelling is Cephallonia) on Lastminute.com – a package holiday being offered through First Choice holidays (UK). The hotel was called Nine Muses and the reviews on Trip Advisor were very good (I’m fussy when it comes to hotels!) and while you’ll rarely get a 5* hotel on the Greek Islands, this one certainly ticked the boxes we were seeking. I admit, I’m always a little sceptical about Greek hotels – what we term 4* I usually find is nearer 2.5 / 3 in Greek terms, but I needn’t have worried – it was the best hotel I’ve stayed at in Greece thus far. Very clean, good food, quiet location, good size rooms and quite modern.
As I mentioned, we travelled with First Choice who were also very impressive. The organisation was faultless – although we did have a 7 hour delay at the airport before we went, hardly their fault though. The rep was very good and we organised a couple of Island trips through her. One in particular – the coach tour of the Island is a must. There are some beautiful spots on Kefalonia, mostly in the North of the Island (Scala – or Skala in it’s native language - where we stayed is South) but as day trips goes it was very good and the scenery was at times stunning. Especially when you’re driving down the coast high up on the mountain pass.
Scala itself is pretty quiet but there is a good array of restaurants and the beach is a lovely long sandy beach with plenty of space so you’re rarely sitting on top of someone else. I like my personal space! The 9 Muses hotel is right by the beach and a 2 minute walk – just hop over the (not very busy) road and you’re on it. The hotel has a pool (see pic) but we’re more beach people so didn’t utilise it. And the sea is perfectly swimmable – you look over to Kos from Scala and we took a few nice long walks along the beach in the evening – on one occasion we saw forest fires ranging over on Kos too which while not great from an eco-point of view was obviously a sight! Oh and Tom Cruise’s yacht anchored offshore a couple of nights too! Not that he invited us onboard which I thought was very rude, although it probably saved us brain-washing from that weird religious sect he’s a member of.
Overall, if you’re like us and like cheap package holidays that are relaxing with good food, nice accommodation and a great beach, thenScala comes highly recommended and especially if you get a room at the Nine Muses. It was also a pretty good deal at under £300 each for the week, flights, airport taxes and breakfast included. I suspect we’ll go back one day.
Thomson Video – Kefalonia