Archive | February 2015

Rum and Raybans 2015

Rum and Raybans

I went to the first one last year and the only way that I can think of describing it is by comparing it to the famous “Boat Party” on the Inbetweeners movie. Places are limited, there are free shots for everyone ALL night and it’s generally one of the best things about Zante at the moment. My place is booked and paid for thanks to my mate Paul who’s already out there setting up for the Summer ahead. Can’t wait to get there now I’m counting down the days…

Advertisements

Why 2015 is the best year in a long time to go to Zante

2015 is the best year in ages to go to Zante

2015 is the best year in ages to go to Zante

If you’ve decided that you’re going on holiday to Zante this year then well done you’ve made and excellent decision and I know you won’t regret it. It just so happens that 2015 is going to be one of the best years for holidaymakers going to Zante.

The Euro has reached a 7 year low against the pound, and combined with recent political events in Greece it is paving the way for cheaper holidays to both mainland Greece as well as all of the Greek islands – including Zante.

If you’re on a bit of a budget this year then you may want to book soon as you can grab an absolute bargain on the price of your holiday if you do. The majority of the public don’t start thinking about their summer holiday until the weather perks up in the UK, and this is when travel agents get busy and prices begin to rise.

At the moment they are very quiet and are offering all kinds of incentives to get people to spend their money on a holiday this time of year. Thomas Cook have lots of discount codes and some good deals on package holidays at the moment, which could mean that your holiday is going to cost around half as much as it will if you book it later on in the year.

I never used to be a fan of package holidays because when I first started to go to Zante I always found it cheaper to book my flights and hotel separately. This doesn’t seem to be the case recently though because all of the so-called low cost airlines such as Easyjet and Ryan air are charging an absolute fortune for short-haul flights – despite the price of a barrel of oil being at a 5 year low.

A friend of mine booked a 7 day break for two to Laganas at the end of January, staying at a 4 star hotel (a lovely hotel actually, called the Agrillia hotel) at the end of June this year. The total cost of the flights, half-board accommodation and transfers was only £650 for BOTH of them. This is unbelievable. This actually works out cheaper than arranging your own flights with Easyjet and then calling the hotel directly to pay for the accommodation. I’m not even sure how the travel agents do it.

Plus, if you book with one of the big players like Thomas Cook, they have their own airlines and flight transfers can afford to let their seats go for a lot less money as I suppose they are making enough money out of their commissions.

Poolside drinks at the Argilia hotel

Poolside drinks at the Argilia hotel

A few things to do in Zante

I have lived in Zante for 9 months of the year for the last 8 years now, and I am still just as in love with the place as I was when I first visited. I’ve have been to a few of the other Greek islands but I can honestly say that Zante is the most special out of all of the ones that I have been to. It could have something to do with the fact that this was where I went on my first holiday without my parents in tow, or it could be something else about this lovely island that has charmed me. Either way I am the most happy I have ever been in my entire life and Zante plays a huge part of that.

 

Being a local I don’t really get involved with all of the tourist activities that much. It goes without saying that on my days off here in the last 8 years I’ve spent quite a few of them playing the tourist and seeing the sights so I don’t think there is much more to see. Although if you’ve never been before, this video has a great list of things to see.

I do know a thing or two about the island though and the best places to visit so I thought it might be useful to someone if I tell you about some of the best places to visit in Zante. There are plenty of other websites that also give you ideas of things to do in Zante, so I’ll just list my personal favourites.

Without a shadow of a doubt Laganas is the best part of Zante. When I moved here I had nothing apart from the clothes that I was wearing, a backpack full of belongings and a couple of thousand pounds (or Euros when used in Zante) in the bank. I went to lots of different places and decided that Laganas was the place for me because quite simply it’s the best part.

If you’re looking to go to Zante on holiday and you’re seeking decent nightlife then Zante has all of that. Just like most of the other Greek islands and summer holiday destinations throughout Euorpe and the rest of the world, Laganas has a main strip and it is absolutely booming throughout the entire tourist season. Out of all the places I’ve been in the world for nightlife, Zante is probably the most bustling – and there are people of all ages, not just young people.

A typical neon view along the Laganas during the night.

A typical neon view along the Laganas during the night.

If you like boats and the sea then you will be spoilt for choice with things to do in Zante. As Zante is an island (and a very small one at that) there is a lot of sea surrounding it and as a result there are some very interesting things to do.

A typical view from the main beach in Laganas

A typical view from the main beach in Laganas

Even if you just like to lie on the beach and sunbathe there are plenty of beautiful beaches with nice clear water and soft sand. The fact that there are no other islands very close by means that you can just see straight out to the Ionian Sea from the beach. If you look really carefully from some areas you can see Turkey in the distance.

There are also plenty of boat excursions to choose from. You can go around the entire Island of Zante in a couple of hours, which is a nice day out – particularly on a very hot day. Bring the sun cream though because you will burn out in the open sea.

You can also go and see the shipwreck, which is on the North of the Island. The ship ran aground in the early 80s after being chased by customs and has been on the beach since. It is probably one of the most profitable tourist attractions on the island of Zante but is definitely worth going to see.

You can also go a bit further out to sea and see the turtles and other marine life on a glass-bottomed boat. This never gets boring as it is a completely different experience every time. I’ve done this a few times myself now and it’s something that I try to do every year because the things you see really do take your breath away – and it only costs a few Euros to do it.

A turtle near Zante

A turtle near Zante

The Zante shipwreck

The Zante shipwreck from above

The Zante shipwreck from above

The shipwreck on Zante is a great day out for people and groups of all ages. It has been there since the 1980s and despite the circumstances that got it there it actually turned out to be quite a blessing to Zante in terms of tourism. In my opinion it is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. Ask anyone who has been to Zante before and they will tell you that they have been to the shipwreck, and that they enjoyed the trip.

The story behind the shipwreck in Zante is quite interesting in itself. In the year 1980 the Greek Navy were suspicious of the behaviour of the freightliner Navagio, and suspected that it may have been used to smuggle contraband onto Greek islands, including Zante. The navy pursued the ship and chased it through the Ionian sea as it was alleged to have wine, tobacco and women on board.

The chase came to an abrupt end when the ship ran aground during stormy weather. This happened on the North coast of Zante, so basically the opposite end of the island to Laganas. The ship was abandonded there and has been left there ever since and is now the largest attraction in the North of Zante and one of the most popular tourist destinations on the entire island.

A closer view of the shipwreck

A closer view of the shipwreck

Although strictly speaking it is possible to access the ship wreck by following roads and paths, it is not recommended to people who do not know Zante well due to the large cliff face and uneven surfaces. Not only that but you would also have to hire a car, which isn’t necessary for most other tourist activities in Zante so it could provide to be quite an expensive trip if you did things that way.

I would recommend going on a boat trip to see the wreck. These depart from Laganas several times a day because a lot of companies sail boats to the area and sell tickets. You can find more information if you go to a dedicated travel guide website for the shipwreck such as the Zakynthos Travel Guide.

It’s about a 40 minute journey to the other end of the island at a nice slow and steady pace on the calm seas so absolutely no problem for people who are prone to getting seasick. Make sure you bring your sun cream though because you will burn on the boat. With the sea breeze you won’t even feel the sun’s rays on your body but trust me they will be there and you will regret not applying sun cream. I’ve been there, done that and got the semi-permanent t-shirt!

Once there the boat will dock for an hour or so and give you the chance to explore the ship wreck and surrounding beach, or swim in the sea. The boat stops briefly a few hundred yards from the wreck for those who want to swim to shore – definitely recommended if you’re a good swimmer as the water is lovely.

Viewing platform for the Zante shipwreck

Viewing platform for the Zante shipwreck

You can follow a path to the top of the cliff which is quite a trek on hot days, but you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the wreck and the surrounding area when you get the purpose-built viewing platform.

You can also explore the wreck itself but be careful as there are lots of tripping hazards as well as potential for other kinds of injuries. Remember this is a shipwreck not a climbing frame! It is also recommended that you stay well clear of the engine room as this is known to contain asbestos. Once you’ve seen the wreck it’s a gentle 40 minute trip back to Laganas. A good way to top off the day is to watch the sun set from the main beach.