Assos village literally took my breath away when I first saw it online. Not long after, this picturesque village inspired a second trip to Greece, my favorite country to date.
The idyllic Greek gem is located on a small, horseshoe-shaped peninsula in Northwestern Kefalonia and home to about one hundred inhabitants.
With an air of a bygone age, Assos seduces visitors with lush forests, turquoise waters, colorful homes, and everlasting bougainvillea. It’s ideal for the nature lover in search of slow, non-commercialized travel.
Follow me to this remote Greek village and discover everything this candy-colored paradise has to offer.
Many of Kefalonia’s buildings were destroyed after the devastating earthquake of 1953, including those in Assos.
Fortunately, most of Assos village was restored to its original beauty by the Parisians. The people of Paris generously sent funds to help residents rebuild, as the village was beloved amongst French tourists.
Kefalonia has only one airport – Kefalonia International Airport (EFL) – so you’ll need to fly into here.
You’ll then want to rent a car or hire a private driver, due to the village’s remote location. The drive from the airport takes just over an hour.
You can book an airport transfer here if you don’t wish to drive yourself.
Assos is located at the bottom of a very steep and windy hill and there’s only one main road leading down to it.
There’s one large public parking lot located at the end of the road on the left-hand side. Parking is free.
Assos is certainly a tranquil and remote paradise, but it’s not particularly accessible.
In fact, no trains serve this area and bus service is severely limited and seasonal. You can review the bus schedule here.
Tourists flock to Assos by boat in summer, docking in the village’s small port.
We first arrived in Assos village on a cloudy day. This did not make for the best first impression, especially when the rain hit later that afternoon.
In fact, I had such high expectations from some online pictures that I was actually rather disappointed to see the real thing.
The reality was a far cry from the turquoise waters and vibrant houses promised by the photos. It was much less colorful in person, so I honestly thought the pictures were Photoshopped.
Below is a slide that I shared on my Instagram Stories. The top photo is the breathtaking one I first found online. The bottom is a screenshot of a video I took when we first arrived, completely unedited.
As you can see, there’s a stark difference between the two images.
The village was also much smaller than I envisioned – and I thought Fiskardo was tiny!
However, when the clouds lifted and the sunshine finally came through, I was pleasantly surprised. It truly looked like a different place! The water was a more brilliant blue and the colorful homes looked decidedly more vibrant.
It even appeared larger in the sunlight.
So if you happen to arrive on a cloudy day, don’t be too hasty in passing judgment. There really is a silver lining when the sun appears!
Don’t expect large, commercial resorts while in Assos village; they don’t exist here.
For the most part, you’ll find “Rick Steves-style” accommodations in Assos: Simple rooms with a comfortable bed and a nice view.
There are a couple of budget-friendly, apartment-style lodging options to choose from.
My husband and I stayed in a “Sea View Studio” at Linardos Apartments for a very reasonable 131 EUR. This was the total cost for our two-night stay in October, including the city and government tax.
Be advised that the rooms function as self-catering apartment units, not traditional hotel rooms. As such, there’s no restaurant, lobby area, or a formal front desk on the property.
However, the rooms are all conveniently equipped with a tiny kitchenette area that includes a stovetop and an oven.
Our room had a traditional Italian feel to it, as though we were staying somewhere along the Amalfi coast. This was such a treat, considering Positano is one of my top bucket list places!
Our spacious balcony was most definitely the highlight of our apartment.
It could accommodate a table and two chairs with space to spare. It was also perfect for stargazing and experimenting with some night photography.
Our room was also ideally located within walking distance of everything we wanted to do, albeit simple.
If, however, you’re interested in more of a luxury stay, you may wish to consider Assos Villas, located atop the peninsula.
You can typically expect hot, sunny summers and mild, wet winters throughout Kefalonia.
It does rain in Assos, as I mentioned earlier, despite the village’s bright, sunny appearance. However, the rain is concentrated from October (when we were here) until April.
Summers tend to be dry and rain is rare.
The weather was fortunately warm during our autumn visit, with temperatures averaging in the low seventies.
You can take a look at Kefalonia’s weather averages here to plan accordingly for your trip.
Greek is the main language of Kefalonia and its surrounding Ionian islands.
However, English is commonly spoken here in Assos, as many of the locals work in the tourism industry.
My husband and I didn’t experience any communication barriers during our stay.
The Venetian Castle of Assos is the most significant attraction and considered one of the greatest castles of its era. It was originally built during the 16th century to protect villagers against pirate raids and Turk invasions.
The fortress was strategically built atop the Assos peninsula to take advantage of the sheer drops that made it uninvadable. It was constructed to house the village’s entire local population.
Assos Castle was later used as a prison by the Germans during the Second World War and functioned this way for a number of decades.
The latest inhabitants, the Kastrini people, lived within the castle walls until the late 1960s.
They survived by cultivating olives and grapes.
You can read more about the interesting history of Assos Castle here.
Today, only ruins remain from this Venetian fortress, which is now considered a World Heritage Site. Visitors can see remnants of the wall, parts of the castle, as well as the church of San Marco.
By far, the highlight of our visit was hiking up to Assos Castle. You’ll discover the most commanding views as you walk to the top.
The views truly getter better and better the higher you go!
Just wait until you reach the top! Here you can overlook all of Assos.
The castle is open Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. It’s closed on Sundays. Entrance to the castle is free.
However, you can hire a private guide to give you a tour of the castle and provide historical context if you wish.
My husband and I explored on our own, but it probably would’ve been even better with a knowledgeable guide.
The beach here is small, yet beautiful. It reminded me of the one we visited in Agia Pelagia, except with stones instead of sand.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach day without a lot of crowds, you can’t go wrong here.
Assos Beach offers beach-goers clear water and picturesque scenery across the harbor. However, it is pebbly, so I suggest wearing water shoes.
There are beach chairs and umbrellas available, but be advised that a seasonal fee may apply.
We didn’t swim here as we preferred hiking to the castle, but we did stop to snap a photo along the shore.
I seriously felt like I left Greece and landed in an Italian postcard!
The atmosphere is tranquil, the waters are calm, and you won’t need to venture far when you get hungry. Open-air tavernas are conveniently located just steps away along the shoreline.
There are only four restaurants located directly in Assos, due to its remote nature. Each of them can be found along Assos Beach.
We ate breakfast at the one closest to the colorful homes. They serve a mean Nutella banana crepe!
However, we decided to drive elsewhere for dinner on our first night. We wanted to avoid the outdoor seating at the Assos tavernas, as it was pouring rain.
Instead, we drove into the city of Lixouri for dinner, which was just under an hour’s drive.
I recommend driving about thirty minutes to the village of Fiskardo if you’re looking for some closer dining options.
This picturesque fishing village is a favorite amongst celebrities. Here, you’ll find more selection, including my top recommendation, Tassia Restaurant.
You won’t need more than a day to experience everything Assos village has to offer, as it’s quite small.
Therefore, I recommend using it as a jumping off point to explore more of Kefalonia island.
Alternatively, you may wish to stay in one of Kefalonia’s larger cities and then do a day trip to Assos.
Regardless of what you decide, unique Assos definitely deserves a place on the itinerary.
Fiskardo is great for a day trip. It’s conveniently located about thirty minutes from Assos by car, as I mentioned earlier.
You can read my best recommendations for what to do in this popular fishing village here.
Or, if you’re willing to drive a little further, I recommend visiting the island’s capital of Argostoli. This metropolitan city is located about fifty minutes away.
Argostoli is the largest city on the island and home to about 10,000 inhabitants. As such, it’s much more built-up and filled with numerous restaurants and tourist-friendly shops.
However, I didn’t find it nearly as picturesque as quaint Assos or Fiskardo.
I recommend stopping off at the Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi along the way to Argostoli for a scenic view. It’s located on a manmade peninsula, about a 20-minute walk from Argostoli.
It’s quite a unique lighthouse, especially compared to the Venetian one we saw later in Chania.
We loved stopping here to stretch our legs and just take in the beauty.
Argostoli definitely has much more to offer than Assos in terms of size. However, I found myself missing the seclusion of remote Assos village by day’s end.
This Greek gem is definitely worth a spot on your Kefalonia itinerary, even if it’s only for a day.
If somehow these pictures have not yet convinced you to visit (or if you’re simply hungry for more), be sure to check out my Assos Instagram guide! In it, I’ve included detailed information for finding all of the best photo locations in Assos.
Have you ever visted Assos? What were some of your favorite activities? Let me know in the comments below!