A Last Minute Travel Decision to Visit The Greek Islands
After a long hard winter in Britain, I often find myself longing for some much-needed sunshine. When I thought about the beautiful beaches, great food and local experiences I had enjoyed on my last trip to Greece, I made an immediate decision to travel to Greece. I wanted to venture away from the more mainstream islands such as Mykonos this time.
There were various reasons why this last-minute decision of mine was not really a good idea. One reason was that I had an assignment due the following week. My best friend knew how much I needed the trip and suggested that I use assignment masters to help me complete it.
The Ionian Islands
I remembered that the last time I was in Greece I had wanted to find out more about the Ionian Islands. These seven islands lie west of mainland Greece. At a time when the rest of Greece was under Ottoman rule, they were under Venetian rule. This is why there is some Italian influence when it comes to cuisine and culture and today many people on the islands still speak Italian.
Accommodation in Zakynthos
I decided on the island of Zakynthos because I was wowed by photographs of the beaches. After a flight to Athens and another to Zakynthos, I was more than ready to settle in to my accommodation.
I always look for accommodations on travel because it’s possible to find discounts on apartments. I wanted a room with a view over the sea and chose Panorama Apartments, located 300m from Agios Nikolaos Beach. It was not only close to the beach but to restaurants too. Another essential was Wi-Fi as I wanted to do some work while I was away and these apartments offer free Wi-Fi.
I was greeted warmly by the hosts, Stefano and his mother and father. Nothing was too much trouble for them during my stay and they would offer me coffee and fruit in the morning. My studio apartment was clean and comfy and opened on to a balcony.
I would start my day by sitting on the balcony with my cup of coffee and gazing out at the view. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a view of the vivid blue of the sea, especially after having been cooped up inside for months.
I knew I had to do some work while I was away but it was a pleasure to do it in such amazing surroundings. I used online writing service www.easy-essay.org during my stay to save time and give me more opportunities to sight-see. I even managed to have some dissertation editing done too.
Agios Nikolaos in North Zakynthos is very picturesque and unspoiled. The small and lovely village has an original feel and consists mainly of a boat harbor and many small restaurants. The whole environment is peaceful and relaxing.
After breakfast, I’d go off sightseeing in a rented car. I managed to visit a number of different beaches during my stay, each of which had a unique appeal. My first trip was to Gerakas beach, 18kms south of Zakynthos.
Gerakas is a vast beach with pristine sand sloping gently into the sea. The beach has a sense of seclusion and water sports are limited to protect the turtles that nest there.
It is probably the best-known turtle beach and because of the nesting sites, no building is allowed above the beach, making it undeveloped compared to many of the other beaches. There is a parking area at the top of a cliff path leading down to the beach. I had a pleasant lunch in the shade at a beach bar.
This was my favorite swimming beach on the island. I found out about from some of the locals. I loved the crystal-clear water with its gorgeous turquoise color and the amazing cliffs as a backdrop. I lay on a sunbed on a terrace overlooking the narrow inlet with my sunshade.
After lying in the sun for a while, I took the concrete path down to the sea where you can jump off a flat platform of rock into the clear water. I love this kind of rocky sea swimming, although it’s not so easy to get out of the water if there’s any swell. There are no sandy shallows to lie around in here! I watch some people exploring around the rocks and sea caves. Some were even climbing up the rocks and jumping into the water from quite a height.
Tsilivi beach is another good beach for swimming and relaxing with its clear water and long sandy shore. This beach was quite busy when I visited and is probably one of the better beaches for families, especially those who enjoy water sports.
If you’re interested in water sports, restaurants, traditional taverns and souvenir shops, this could be the spot for you. It is about 6km from the town and the beach has the Blue Flag of cleanliness.
Of course, I had to see the famous Shipwreck Cove. There are only two ways to see it – by boat or from the cliffs. It is one of the most idyllic beaches, sitting in an ultramarine blue bay framed by towering cliffs.
The name comes from the fact that a ship apparently ran aground during a smuggling operation and can still be seen on the sands. Whether you believe this romantic story or decide that it’s just a cargo boat that ran ashore, it definitely adds to the charm.
In Porto Vromi, you can take a boat tour out to Shipwreck cove for about $25 per person. Although I wasn’t lucky enough to make it on a boat tour to the beach itself, I managed to get a view of it from a small viewing platform above it. Some tourists were going past the metal railings and along the cliff edge to try and get photos. I was afraid for their safety and stayed securely behind the railings.
A boat ride to Marathonisi Island
If you find the best essay writing service, it can help a great deal if your time in a certain place is short and you don’t want to miss out. One of the adventures I may not have had if I didn’t do this was a trip to Marathonisi Island (Turtle Island).
I went out on a speedboat with a driver from Luxury Island Events who took us around the rocky coast to this island where the Loggerhead Sea Turtle lays its eggs every year. The natural beauty is awe-inspiring with sandy coves and clear water. We had soon moored up and jumped off the boat for a wonderful swim.
When you go for a boat trip, it’s better to book a smaller boat as some of the larger boats are too big to get near the beach. You can also rent small boats you drive yourself to explore the shoreline.
Swimming at Keri Caves
I went on another three-hour boat trip, starting at the small harbor at Agios Sostis. We went into Laganas bay in the hopes of seeing a loggerhead turtle but we didn’t see one and were told that sightings are becoming increasingly rare.
We skirted around the headland past limestone cliffs and sea caves. The boat took us through a sea cave where we admired the intense turquoise, glas-like water. We dropped anchor for a swim and a snorkel.
Food and Culture
There are many places to eat on Zakynthos but I had a great experience at Lofos. A beautiful winding road leads up to the restaurant and I had reserved a table with a view. I was not disappointed as the view was quite breathtaking and I enjoyed my starter of fried aubergine and feta followed by roast lamb.
The eateries often use fresh local ingredients and products like olive oil, honey, yogurt and cheese are often the basis of a tasty dish.
If you want to eat at a beach bar, one of my favorites was Porto Paradiso. Delicious food, great service and cheap cocktails made this a great place to sit on a beach chair and enjoy the sights.
The people of Zakynthos are friendly folk who are proud of their heritage. They are likely to break into a traditional serenade at every opportunity and you’re sure to be serenaded while sitting in a tavern during your visit.
I was not sorry I had decided to rent a car. I think it would have been difficult to explore a bit further afield without it. It gave me the freedom I needed to see as much as possible during my visit without costing a fortune. There are plenty of cheap options to travel around including public buses, boats and radio taxis.
My trip to Zakynthos was exactly what I needed – plenty of the beauty of nature, lovely sun and sea, great food and friendly people. I will certainly be visiting this magical island with its breathtaking shoreline again.