Island Tour by coach

Kefalonia Excursions

Phil Nield

Just read the comment about Panem Tours and thought I would add my experience of this company. We recently went to Lassi for two weeks and booked the island tour with the same office in Lassi. The aircon on the coach was not working and the day was very hot. At the first stop the coach broke down and we were stuck there for three hours instead of 45 minutes. The brakes needed repair. The terrain is mountainous with twisting roads and long drops to the side so dodgy brakes was not something you want to have. Eventually we got going again but the next stop was cut short. By the time we arrived at Melissani caves the sun had passed over the opening so we missed the best effect. After the Drogarati cave we decided we had had enough and got a taxi back to our hotel at a cost of 45 euros. The guide summed it up perfectly when she called it Faulty Tours. My advice, do not use this operator!!!

Carl Pedro          1/10

This review/complaint is to warn readers of booking with Panem Tour, the Lassi branch. This is to warn readers of the Ithaka Cruise. We have just returned from an excellent week in Lassi, Greece. We went on the Ithaka Cruise which we booked through Panem Tours. The company's office we went to is Lassi Office just off main Lassi Road, (on the side road to Hotel Mediterranee. Once we got to the cruise boat (which took 45 minutes to get there), when we boarded the boat, there was already people on the boat who had already chosen all of the seats outside of the boat, upstairs, downstairs and inside. Before we left for the cruise, we made another stop to pick up more people, by this time there was over 115 people on the boat, over 115 people. We were never informed that the cruise boat would make a journey to pick more people up before the trip began, let alone, informing that the boat would be over the maximum capacity. We were forced to sit at the front of the boat on the floor. We had to sit on the floor for over 2 hours; literally, we had our legs crossed sitting on the floor. When we go tired we tried to lean our backs against the metal frame work that dropped the anchor, but that was also quite difficult as sea was quite ruff, the boat rocked a lot (Eventually making my partner throw up in the toilet). After a very long time (approximately 2 and a half hours) we got to the underwater caves (the second stop). The speaker phone the guide tour was speaking from was very unclear, so once we saw the caves we knew where we where, that was the only way we knew where we were. When the tour guide was describing different sites throughout the tour we could not hear at all. The cruise boat only spotted for 5 minutes maximum, we did not have a chance to swim at all. After an additional hour, we made our stop at the only place during the Ithaka Cruise where we were able to swim in the ocean. The place we stop to swim was extremely bad; it was not the best place to stop at all. We stopped near the shore of a beach (I was not sure where we were because the audio description from the tour guide was terrible). The shore we arrived at was littered in an assortment of plastics bags. There was also so a random tyre which was right on the shoe in clear view from the cruise boat. We only had 10 minutes maximum to swim in the ocean. When we did swim, the shore was in such bad condition that my partner got a cut on her toe. Once we got back on the cruise ship we travelled 45 minutes to stop at a place to eat. We were given a 1 hour and a half to eat. Once we got back onto the boat, we made our way back to be picked up by the coach to take us to the hotel. We had to make a stop to let the second group of people off, we were not informed that they would be any other stops. The Ithaka Cruise was 45 euro s each. It was a long and very tiring day and we felt the tour was not value for money at all. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone. When we got back to the Panem Lassi office to complain about what had happened, the person in the office was extremely unhelpful. She had a terrible attitude and did not want to give her name or contact e mail address. She was rude. Overall the Ithaka Cruise was a terrible experience; we would not recommend anybody to go on the cruise. When booking with Panem Tours, make sure you ask how many people will be on board the cruise boat and how many stops the boat will take. Be as specific as possible so you don t have any nasty surprises.

Alan & diane H          10/10

Just returned from Lassi, Kefalonia and after reading other reviews had already decided to book with the local operators rather than with the holiday company. Chose Etam Travel as the timing fitted our schedule. Picked up directly outside the apartments and our guide was Helen who lived up to the comments from other reviews. Had a very full and enjoyable day and although times for returning to the coach were given it was relaxed and not rushed. Would have no hesitation in recommending this trip, very good value for money.

Paul B          10/10

  Have just returned from 2 brilliant weeks in Skala.  We went on the Island Tour which we booked through Etam Travel. This company's office is situated in the main street down towards the beach opposite the Mi' Abeli taverna, lays a little off the road, you can't miss it. 

The staff were very friendly and helpful and to make things easier they have an English guy called Mike who works at this office. The tour was 24 euros each - way below the price offered for the same tour by Thomas Cook. It was a long and very interesting day and we felt the tour was very good value for money. Warning was given up front that admissions to the caves and Underground lake were not included. The caves were Ok but a bit of a leg muscle tester on the way back up !! The lake was really very special and I would defenitely recommend seeing it, it is that good.
Our tour guide was a lovely lady called Helen. Her mix of Information and affiliated stories was just right, she certainly made the day. This is a very beautiful Island and my advice is to let someone who knows the roads do the driving. The road up to Myrtos beach and on to Fiskardo was a bit scarey - very big drops.
We had a very good day and were lucky enough to witness the opening of the casket of St. Gerasimos at the monestary which was quite an experience. 
If you go to Skala, which you should - it's lovely and you want to do an Island tour I would thoroughly recommend going with Etam, you will have a long and enjoyable day

Christine C          9/10

We chose the Travel Agent Kokolis (at the top end of Lassi main road towards Argostoli) to do the Island Tour and have to say they were fantastic.  At only 15 euros per person (other prices ranged from 24 to 40 euros per person) this was the best and most informative tour we have been on.  The guide was so knowledgeable and the tour included more than some of the more expensive ones.  Included was Myrtos bay, Assos, Fiscardo, stop for lunch at Agia Efimia, Melisani Lake, Drogarati Caves, the monastery of St Gerasimos and wine tasting at the Robola Winery.  Definitely worth the money.  Well done Kokolis.
Kokolis also arrange car hire and the 3 island cruise at competitive prices if required.

Zoe B          10/10

We went with Panem Tours in Lassi. Absolutely fantastic. Our tour rep a lady called Irina I think! She was great, had lots of knowledge of  Kefalonia of which she passed on.  We went wine tasting, went to Drogarati Cave, Melissani Lake, Fiskado, Assos, Myrtos Beach, Sami and lots more. It was a great day and one word of advice, don't book up your excursions through the travel rep i.e. Thomson etc. Go out to the local ones in the resort where you will get the same excursions but for a lot less. At least a third to maybe half the price.

Kate W          10/10

Had a really good day, although it would have liked to stay longer in some places, but a full and interesting day all the same.You have lunch in Agia Efemia now as Fiskardo is so expensive. Dragaroti caves(beautiful) Mellisani lake(stunning) St Gerassimos monastery(beautiful ceiling/paintings) Rombola winery(interesting, but you can buy the same wine cheaper at the airport on way home!) Fantastic views and time for photos.

Adam W          9/10

We went with Olympic holidays excursion,it was a long day but a lot to see in such a long day.Worth joining them especially if it is your first visit to Skala

Michael J          8/10

I went on this trip with Olympic Holidays. A very long day but worth it with the views of the Island. 

Trudy B          9/10

just got back from the beautiful island of kefalonia. we went  on the island tour with Kosmar which was 36 euros each picked up from the hotel at 7.45 what a spectacular day started of at the monastary of St grissimos then on to the robola wine tasting. then on to the dragoti caves and messilini lakes(which is an extra 8 euros per person) then a stop on the top of the mountain to look down on myrtos beach which is fantastic (if you get the time drive down its worth a visit)then on to Fiskardo this we did not like, its a long drive in a coach to the top of the island, yet when you get there its just a harbour with loads of yachts and snobs.....................and very expensive.............then there is a two hour drive back to the hotel its a very long day as you are in the coach for most of it. well worth it if you do not hire a car.but beware of the dragoti caves. there are 123 steps which are very high its alright going down but to get back up is a nightmare, only the fit to go down there.

Michael M          10/10

booked with etam 10 ero;s cheeper than holiday rep, great full day trip. mike and lyn

Jean Q          10/10

Did this tour with Kosmar. Hilda was an excellent guide, full of information and ready with answers to any questions - I wonder how often she gets asked the same ones!  The caves and underground lake were spectacular - had read about them in a guide book before going so wanted to see them and was not disappointed. Hilda took us to a lovely harbourside restaurant in Agia Efimia for lunch - what a delightful place to stop and so scenic.  Fiskardo was interesting to see for the fact of it having survived the 1953 earthquake but the harbourside tavernas are a bit up market and yachty.  All the scenery along the route was spectacular and the occasional flocks of goats on the roadside added a touch of local colour.

Maureen T          10/10

A great tour , highly recommended

Claire B           

 We did this tour with Panem and were not disapointed. The rep really knew her stuff and informed us of the islands history, legends bird and animal life and was happy to answer any questions asked. for 23 euro's we visted the robola vineyards weher we bought some robola wime(it travels well as we have drank a bottle tonight), the Drogarti caves, the melissani lake, through Sami and onto Fiskado (Lunch is expensive here, howevere the bakery's have some fantasic offerings) then onto Assos and the view point for Mytos Beach, it is a full on day laving at 8am returning at 5.45 but it really is worth it to learn more about this wonderful Island.

Bev D           

We had a great day out. Our guide gave us loads of history about the island. Easy way to see the island. We hired scooters to see the island but we wouldn't have reached all the places on the trip! Few extras to pay which our Rep hadn't told us about-lunch,caves and lake,but nothing too expensive.Brilliant day!

Ian D           

This was a really good trip the only down side was the wine tasting at 9am. Although alot of time is spent on the bus you do get to see some wonderful sights of Kefalonia and out guide on the bus Hilda was really informative and kept us entertained with all her stories. Again watch out for hidden costs as the lake and caves cost extra but again this is one of the reasons for going on this trip so you must pay as they are something you must see

Julie H           

We booked this tour through Etam travel in Lassi. Our guide was Esme and I have to say that on all our trips to the Greek Islands she was the best guide ever. She knows everything there is to know about the island and also provides practical advice. The tour was fantastic and well worth 23 euros. If you book this tour through Etam take Esme's advice about where to eat in Fiskardo - this woman knows about food!

Emma M           

Also did this tour with Esmee from Etam Excursions and it was definitely my favourite trip even though it may have been the most simple it was the most enjoyable. We had an excellent time, unfortunately though you don't go to Assos which I expected but you do drive past it and get some pretty amazing views. Mytros Beach is gorgeous, just wonderful - very much like Zante's ship wreck. Fiskardo is also brilliantand you must visit the Cave and the Lake, they are brilliant. Do not be put off about the large steps into the cave as it is so worth it and isn't even that bad. It looks cool inside, I imagine this place to be somewhere like where the devil lives. But it is beautiful - just red and spiky.


Kelli P           

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We booked this tour with the Panem Travel Office in Skala, we got picked up from our hotel at 7.00am. We had an english guide called Debbie  who had lived on the island for 15 years, she made the commentary really personal and we came away with a feeling of a real insight into living in Kefalonia, as well as the history of the island.

Stops included in this tour were Robolla Winery, Myrtos Bay, Assos, Fiskardo, Drogorati caves, Melissani Lakes. It is a little hard going being on a coach all day, but the coach was comfortable and was fully air conditioned. This trip cost 18 Euro's per person, which was a steal for all the sights & information received. I really enjoyed it!!! 

Louise S           

A good trip to go on to see the sights especially if you can't hire a car or are a little nervous to drive on the mountain roads. We went to Fiskardo - which is a beautiful harbour with nice little shops. Melissani lake which is magical and Drogorati caves. Also the Robolo wine factory and Asos, a little village. We booked the tour through Panem in skala for 18 euros each, which was very reasonable, the tour guide was informative and the driver was excellent, he took it slowly round the mountain roads which made me feel relaxed and confident about his driving. However the coach was a bit old but comfortable enough.

Mick T           

Booked this tour with our operator. No doubt it can be found cheaper but in Lourdas that means a lot of up hill walking so I'm not complaining. The day is long but worth it, visiting the major sights (Fiskardo, Melissani lake and Drogorarti caves).

Kato C           

We made a tour of Kefalonia with Thomson (through the holiday rep, after the morning welcome meeting) for 36 euros each. We later made the Ithaca tour with Panem. If only we'd known at the time: Thomson and its rivals offer exactly the same tours, but Thomson is twice as expensive. There is no other difference between the tours (air conditioned coaches on both tours).

I would really recommend the island tour, whoever you go with. Fiskardo and Assos are charming villages. The caves at Melissani and Drogkorati are really beautiful: well worth the trip on their own, I think.

Norman D           

Booked with FirstChoice/Pefanis which cost 36 Euros per adult.

Later found out a similar trip is available from Etam Travel on the Lassi strip for only
19 Euros. A good day out all the same. 

Susan S           

 We also did the trip wit Etam travel and Esme. I agree with all of the comments the people before made well worth the money.

Graham & jean V           

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Absolutely brilliant!! We went with Etam Travel and, at only 19 Euros it was only just over half the cost of going with out tour operator. Esme, British through and through, was such a fantastic knowledgeable and funny host you would think she was your big sister. What she doesn't know about the island is not worth knowing. Her narration is so interesting and perfectly timed to coincide with your exact loocation. The tour covers the Robola winery (with a few tipples thrown in), the monastry where the patron saint is within feet of you, Dragorati Caves (not bad), Mellisini Lake (stunning view 40 feet down), Fiskardo (pretty though a little pricey). Plenty of photo stops. Excellent value for money with a careful driver, luxury coach and a terrific host.