Days earlier than our choice to journey to Greece, our dialog sounded slightly one thing like this:
Me: “The place do you wish to go subsequent?”
Nick: “I don’t know. You?”
We had been sitting at our buddy’s stunning Airbnb house in Brighton, England, making an attempt to determine the place we’d journey to subsequent. We had simply accomplished a street journey from Edinburgh to London with my household, and had been now visiting buddies in Brighton.
However, it was time to maneuver on.
It’s not as if there weren’t quite a few choices, the world is a giant place, it was simply that we weren’t positive the place we felt like going. Which vacation spot was calling us? Which nation was really proper for us in that second? The place might we get some much-needed sunshine, get pleasure from nice meals and have native experiences?
Ultimately it dawned on us. Greece!
The one purpose we hadn’t put Greece on the forefront when brainstorming was as a result of we had been there up to now. However, it had been 6 years since we’d touched down on Greek soil, and now appeared like a good time to return, particularly given the truth that we might fly to a stunning island direct from London.
Previous to our spontaneous Greece plans, we had by no means heard of the island of Zakynthos, which is one in all 7 principal islands (plus 5 smaller ones) laying west of mainland Greece. These are often known as the Ionian Islands, which had been beneath Venetian Rule from the mid 14th century to the late 18th century – whereas the remainder of Greece was beneath Ottoman Rule.
As a result of historical past and placement of the Ionian Islands, there may be extra of an Italian affect right here. Throughout Venetian rule, many individuals spoke Italian and nonetheless do at the moment. There’s Italian affect within the music, delicacies and language. In reality, Zakynthos is definitely referred to as “Zante” by many, which is the Italian phrase for the island.
Having mentioned all of this, we’ve been to Italy, and this Ionian island nonetheless felt very a lot “Greek” to us…with the odd pizza thrown in.
Arriving in Zakynthos, we knew we had made the precise alternative in coming to Greece. With our rental automobile, we zipped by the slim streets, and reminisced concerning the final time we had been on the islands of Santorini and Crete. After we pulled up at Katerina Rooms within the city of Psarou, we felt the identical hospitality and heat from the proprietor that we had felt on our earlier journey.
Katerina could not have spoken any English, however she was variety and welcoming. Utilizing hand gestures, we understood that we had been in a position to decide on between one in all two rooms. We opted for the one with expansive views over the olive grove and to the Ionian Sea.
One of many distinctive facets about travelling in Greece is that many of the lodging choices, even resorts, are literally little studio flats. It’s the norm slightly than the exception. Ours was fitted with a comfortable mattress, a closet, slightly desk, a sofa and a small absolutely furnished kitchen with a fridge and a hob.
This guesthouse was our dwelling for the next 9 nights and it was good.
Every day began with us sitting on the deck, with a espresso made out of our Handpresso (so glad we now have that factor!). Just a few minute later we’d obtain a knock on the door from Katerina holding a bag of contemporary oranges, and asking if we wished an “omelette” (which was really an unlimited frittata with meat, cheese and greens). Breakfast wasn’t included within the room charge, she was simply being beneficiant.
With birds chirping within the timber and a tortoise sauntering across the backyard, we’d get pleasure from our breakfast, freshly squeezed orange juice and occasional within the sunshine.
Every day we’d hop in our rental automobile and set off to discover a unique space of Zakynthos. We had arrived on Might 11th, which is taken into account the low season / shoulder-season. Many retailers had been nonetheless closed, or had been simply opening up once we arrived.
For us, this was the very best time of 12 months to be right here because it meant there have been sufficient eating places open to provide us some consuming choices, there have been some vacationers round so it didn’t really feel like a ghost city, but it wasn’t full of individuals zipping round on ATV’s and motorbikes!
We visited 9 seashores throughout our 9 day keep. Every stretch of sand, or pebbles, was completely different. From the huge, marine protected Gerakas Seashore, to the cavernous, crystal clear water of Porto Limnionas, and all the things in between. We cherished all of them.
Lazing round on seashores isn’t a foul factor, however we had been invited to set off on a speedboat with the fellows from Luxurious Island Occasions to get a unique view of the island. And naturally, we jumped on the probability!
The limestone shoreline supplied pure archways, hidden coves and caves, and pristine water. We had been in awe of the pure magnificence.
After zipping across the rocky coast, we arrived the bottom of Marathonisi Island. This island is dubbed “Turtle Island” because of its form, in addition to the truth that the Loggerhead Sea Turtle lays its eggs right here yearly.
Greeting us had been sea caves, a sandy cove and extremely turquoise water. This was the spot to leap in and funky off. From the bottom to the entrance aspect of the island, we moored up on the seashore and jumped off for one more swim. There have been a number of different boats right here, and a few distributors, however aside from that, we had the place to ourselves.
There are quite a few seashores in Zakynthos, some extra accessible than others.
As a part of our journey with Luxurious Island Occasions, we had been planning to go to the well-known Shipwreck Seashore. Nonetheless, because of climate situations, the waves had been too aggressive and the winds had been too robust. Our captain made the choice, we weren’t going to be visiting at the moment.
Shipwreck Seashore is the venue for the well-known seashore picture that you just’ve in all probability seen on the web quite a few occasions. In 1980, a freight liner was caught in a storm and located its option to this cove, the place it crashed on the shore. The aptly named Shipwreck Seashore (additionally referred to as Navagio Seashore or Smuggler’s Cove) is finest seen from each the water, and the towering cliffs above it.
We could not have been capable of get up near the beautiful seashore, however we had been capable of view it from above, and it was really spectacular!
Arriving on the small viewing platform, with its little steel railings for security, we thought it seemed like an OK vantage level, however not the best. Venturing previous the safety of the railings, we set off alongside the sting of the sketchy cliffs. With nothing to carry us again from plummeting to our deaths, we held on to one another and made sluggish, correct actions to get to the sting.
We wished the shot.
We will need to have mentioned “Watch out!” 50 occasions inside an hour.
Whereas we had been being meticulous with our actions, transferring one inch at a time, different vacationers from Japan, Germany and the Netherlands had been barreling in the direction of the sting, stumbling a number of occasions of their flip-flops whereas snapping a number of photographs and hurrying again to the tour bus.
Nick and I held our breath every time. Cliffs are fabricated from rock. Rock crumbles. These had been additionally overhangs, which means that they weren’t all that secure.
After enduring some vertigo and the extraordinary warmth, we made our manner again to our rental automobile. We had received what we considered “the” shot.
Zakynthos was a superb introduction to the Ionian Islands and our upcoming month of journey round Greece. Every day was spent getting misplaced in little villages, interacting with native individuals, consuming conventional meals, watching the solar set and visiting pretty seashores. What extra might we ask for?!
Though we had nothing however superb experiences throughout our 9 day keep, there was one, only one, factor that irked us. The rubbish. Not like the opposite Greek Islands, Zakynthos doesn’t have a landfill and has points getting its rubbish off of the island. We got here throughout quite a few overflowing dumpsters and piles of rubbish, which is unlucky. Other than that, we now have nothing adverse to say about this glorious place and would most positively wish to return to see extra.
Keep tuned as we try the islands of Kefalonia, Corfu, Chios and Lesvos throughout our one month of travelling in Greece ? Have you ever been to Zakynthos? What are your impressions of the island?
- Visiting Greece within the low season or the shoulder season is an effective way to search out reductions on resorts, meals, excursions and transportation. We arrived Might 10th and it isn’t excessive season till mid-June.
- In our opinion, it is advisable have a rental automobile on the island. Try web sites like Expedia.com for discounted rental automobiles. Ours was $14 / day and was value each penny.
- Try web sites like Reserving.com for reductions on flats in Zakynthos. We stayed at Katerina Rooms and extremely advocate it. The rooms had been comfy, properly stocked and Katerina herself was pretty. We spent $22.50 / evening.
- If you wish to rent a ship with a driver and head out on the ocean for the day, try Luxurious Island Occasions. Additionally they lease out boats to people – and also you don’t want a ship license! The speedboat we had was virtually model new and we had an amazing afternoon.
- There are quite a few locations to eat on Zakynthos, however one in all our favourites when it comes to the view, service and meals was Lofos. The sundown views listed here are nice!