A Week in Zante
Zakynthos is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea and Euro's is the currency (we would recommend getting a We Swap Card for ease as this was accepted everywhere).
Everything from travel, food and attractions was less than the UK so it was relatively easy to budget for! Especially the alcohol, prewarning they don't do measuring so be mindful if you're not a heavy drinker!
Although the native tongue is Greek, everywhere we went the locals spoke English perfectly and we had no problems communicating.
The harbour city of Zakynthos is the capital and major hub, centred around waterfront Solomos Square. Popular beaches like Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas (where we stayed close to) and Tsilivi offer swimming and water sports.
Accessed by boat, Navagio beach is the site of a famed 1980 shipwreck resting in a sandy cove framed by cliffs. There are loads of day trips to see turtles en route and the views are magnificent!
We would highly recommend hiring a quad bike (very reasonable, approximately €100 which included deposit and insurance, helmets hire - just need to return with same volume fuel in the tank) for the day and go exploring!
Travel and Accomodation
We flew from Glasgow Airport (Tui) and got a transfer bus to the apartment complex. That had rooms in the main hotel and apartments on the grounds, a nice bar and decent sized pool with plenty of sun loungers for the ones who want to top up their tans.
We did upgrade (approximately €50) our apartment as the studio we originally had booked in with had bad reviews for noise, to a lovely sized one with a balcony, air conditioning (it was about 35ºC, so it came in handy) and a decent sized bathroom and small kitchen.
You can't go to a place like Zante without taking advantage of the watersports available around the island. There are hundreds of different companies, so shop around for the best deal!
We went with Alykes Water Sports, we saw and heard some great reviews from other tourists who had hired the pedal boats, jet skis and went on some of the inflatable rides. We had decided that despite our fear of heights we wanted to tick off parasailing off of our bucket list. The first day we went along we sat by the bar on the sun loungers and was told after about an hour the wind wasn't dying down and it would have been too dangerous and said try again tomorrow as it should be calmer, which we went fair enough, very glad they weren't just going to try and squeeze money out of us.
Next day, we headed down, the weather was perfect, we got all geared up, had our safety check and before our anxiety could kick in off we went up in the air. For those who are terrified, trust me when I saw you need to do it. The scenery was spectacular, everything was like in slow motion, it wasn't too chilly and even when the boat slowed down so it lowered you into the water it was actually really fun. I didn't get any vertigo I was just more gutted I didn't think about getting a go pro and taking some footage. It was the best experience my partner and I together. The staff were super friendly too and I would definitely use them again!
Alykes- Water Sports Patentas, Zákynthos, Zakinthos, Greece. 619 likes · 2 talking about this · 54 were here. With a large variety to choose from, jet...
Turtle Island Cruise
Again, there are many companies that offer cruises to Turtle Island, stopping off in caves where you can go snorkelling and seeing the historical MV Panagiotis (Fell foul of the Greek Navy in 1980 while smuggling contraband cigarettes. The vessel originally known as the 'Saint Bedan' and built just outside Glasgow, Scotland) on a remote pebble beach!
We went with one of the glass bottom cruise boats that had various pickup points around the island. I didn't think I got seasick until I was about 10 minutes out at sea on this one. It was quite crowded, the toilets were not exactly somewhere I was venturing unless I was in dire needs. The glass bottom was quite murky so was hard to see much. We did, however, see some turtles en route and they were amazing! Zante is home to the Loggerhead Turtles and was obviously used to boats stopping for tourists to take pictures so they didn't disappear straight away.
The tour guides were really good and making sure everyone had a chance to see them. It stopped at turtle island where they had loads of sights protecting the nests, we didn't get to see any babies but I was really glad they were protected by locals!
The pebble beach where the big rusty pirate ship (MV Panagiotis) was good, we got there midday so the sun was beaming down. However, if you do decide to go there, remember to take decent footwear, those pebbles were painful to stand and walk on! I would also take a blanket or something to sit on because the boats let you stop there for an hour or so and after taking a tour of the vessel, there isn't much else to do.
The caves were so beautiful, the boat stopped there and let you jump off the boat and do some snorkelling!
Water Park Village
After our parasailing experience, we went on the quad bike and headed to the Water Park Village. It has plenty of parking, was very reasonable to spend the day especially if you like going to water parks!
It must have been approximately 35ºC and after being soaking after a ride, you dried off pretty quickly! Just remember to really sunscreen or do what we did and wear UV waterproof tops!
It was great fun, family-friendly and had rides suitable for the whole family and a great wee canteen for you normal burger and fries, shop for last minutes goodies as well as a Fish Pedicure area. Lots of people are against having this done, but, it is there if anyone wanted to try.
Food & Drink
The food is amazing! If like us you like to try everything local, then head to nearby restaurants! We went to a little restaurant called Apollo every morning, we loved it that much. It was just across the way from where we were staying, the staff were friendly and the food was great!
We tried several places and loved the fresh and local produce, but after a few days of gyros and local meals, I felt a lot of it was quite heavy and I wasn't used to it so tried to take it easy.
The local wines were alright, not the worst things to drink with your meal. However, if you head to any bar and have spirits and mixes then be warned they are very generous with volumes, not much of a measuring practice, which is good if you're wanting to get rather merry!
You definitely get your money's worth, if not more!
If you think Zante is just a party island, you are wrong! We were just outside of the typical 18-30 areas, and had an amazing relaxing holiday!
The food, drink and attractions were great and we would definitely go back!
We went in July 2018 and it was on average 35ºC without much of a breeze so remember to take sunscreen, if not there were plenty of little convenience stores that sold well-known brands at high factor SPF (just a bit pricier than back home).
© 2020 Kally