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Review: Zakynthos (Zante)

City/Town/Region/Island

Greece

Jim and Kath's Tour of Zakynthos 2012

  • By SilverTraveller barnwood

    7 reviews

  • Sep 2012
  • Wife

47 people found this review helpful

Having done quite a lot of back packing around the Islands over the last few years, and not getting any younger, we decided that by way of a change, we would have a month on Zante, but instead of staying in one resort, we would divide our time into three resorts. The resorts we chose were Vasilikos, Alykes, and Tsilivi, in that order.

Vasilikos: After a good flight from Manchester by Thomson which landed about 20 mins early. Our pre ordered car was waiting outside of baggage collection. Angelos from Euro Alpha was very helpful and we were on our way within 10 mins. A drive of about 35 mins had us quite close to our hotel. I had looked up the area on Google earth so I did have a little pre knowledge; we stopped at a small supermarket, bought a few items, like water and milk to get us started, then asked directions. I patted myself on the back when the lady told us we were about 400 metres away from the Kuris apartments. For those who know the area the Kuris is close to the Koukis hotel complex, and 3 tavernas and a couple of small general stores. Although we had a hire car we had no plans to explore the wider area as we had driven all around the Island on previous visits. Our days were spent mainly on the beach or beside a pool. St Nicks beach was a 5 min stroll away. So we headed there on day two. The beach was quite nice and ticked all the usual boxes, On the down side it got rather busy after midday as Thomson brought all their customers from Argassi by bus. Apparently Argassi has lost most of its beach. So good luck to the Thomson crowd but it was a little too packed for us. The next day we drove to Naveraties beach just a short 5 min drive away with a car park very close to the beach. We arrived at about 11am and were surprised to find only two other couples there on a beach with beds and brollies for at least 100 people. A few more arrived as the day went on but there was never more than 20 beds taken up. Again the beach and taverna ticked all the boxes but we thought that it was much prettier than St Nicks. So we went back there most days. On our fifth day the weather was a bit uncertain so we strolled down to the Koukis complex to spend a few hours by the pool. The complex was only half full but looked excellent and spotlessly clean. With really nice beds etc and the usual pool bar, we were made up plus there where only a handful of guests around, so plenty of space for all. Another plus was the fantastic view over the sea and St Nicks beach. To move on to food, most days we had breakfast on our lovely veranda, with local cheese, ham and honey. The only cooking we did was boiled eggs. The local bread was to die for. We did have one English breakfast at the “Coffee House” in the nearby village of Potamis. It certainly lived up to its reputation and the staff were super people. For our main meal in the evenings we tried all three of the tavernas near our digs. The “Familia” was our favourite. Closely followed by The “Zakynthos Taverna”. However we were not impressed with the “Veranda Taverna” but they were all busy for a couple of hours. All in all we had a really nice chilled out week in Vasilikos. Our Rating 8/10. Would we go again? Yes but I would say that a hire car is essential, and it is very quiet and peaceful.

Alykes: We drove from Vasilikos to Alykes in the hire car in about 45 mins, just taking it very easy. Angelos from Euro Alpha (Tsilivi) was waiting to collect it at our new apartment on the main street close to the crossroads. So we had packed, moved, unpacked and were on the beach by 12 midday. Our apartment which we have stayed at several times is very nice, clean, central, and we love it. But I don’t really want to give the contact details as they only have two apartments. So sorry but it’s our little secret. Most of our days were spent on the beach in front of the Asteria where Vladi is the manager. Just a couple of days when it was a little overcast we had a stroll around with a coffee here and a coke there and a little shopping. We particularly liked the patisserie next to Whispers bar, very Moorish. In the evenings we tried lots of restaurants. Our favourite was Fantasia just off the main junction. Very large portions and lots of freebies. Some of the others that we would recommend would be The Asteria beach taverna and not to forget Shorties Cosy Corner in Alykanas. This was the best of our month. After being on the island for about 10 days Kath and I both fancied some good home cooking. Having heard some excellent reports about the Cosy corner, we took a walk down to Alykanas to give it a try. There is some nice indoor seating but we chose to sit in the lovely garden. From a very extensive menu Kath chose a double chilly burger, whilst I chose a plate minced beef pie. Both came with real chips and veg, and super gravy if required. The portions were massive but we are in the England team for eating so we put them away no problem and followed them up with desert. Mine was the Baileys cheesecake, Kath chose the apple pie with ice cream. Again generous and excellent. Shorty also has an extensive Greek menu, and I feel that had we been staying in Alykanas we would have been there every night, so thanks to Shorty and Jules for the best meal of our month’s tour. For evening drinks, we again tried several bars. Some that stand out for either service, ambience, or just good crack, were the Palm Tree, Whispers, The Yriani and the Iris bar which hits all three buttons. The quiz night at the Iris bar is becoming quite well known and the hosts work extremely hard to ensure a good night is had by all. To sum up. Would we go to Alykes again YES YES YES. It is our favourite resort on Zante everything about it is the best on the island. “We will be back”.

Tsilivi: For the final hop on our trip we had chosen the popular resort of Tsilivi. Firstly I must say that the effects of the dreaded all inclusive bug. Seemed more apparent here than the previous two resorts the place is still quite lively but the effects on some bars and tavernas were quite severe and obvious. We had booked in at the Anetis hotel right on the beach with its own beach bar called the “Life time bar” this works on the premise the you arrive as visitors and leave as friends for life. The whole family do their best to make that come true. The hotel itself is a small friendly place with about 14 rooms. Smack bang on the beach next door to its bigger neighbours the Phoenix and the Zante Maris. Set in nice gardens it is very clean. and homely. They only charge for the room but breakfast and all other meals are available at the bar at reasonable prices with large portions. We spent several days on the beach as could be expected being so close, very pleasant with lots of nice people who we seem to see every year. Other days we went to the pool at the Saint Dennis complex just 100yds from the Anetis. The pool area was spotless and again a lovely bar with good snacks the BLT was as good as I have ever had. Once again we had a couple of days where the weather was not great, but it did not keep us in, and although these days were dull it was never cold, so we had a couple of good walks. We also spent a very special half day at “ Bowl em over” which as the name implies is a ten pin bowling alley. Also several pool tables and crazy golf, snacks bar, and internet cafe and children’s play area. A very good experience with surprisingly low prices. As for the evenings, there are so many good restaurants in Tsilivi that it would be impossible to try them all of course. We can only judge the ones that we dined at and please remember that we might have missed the best. The Majestic on the main drag was one of our favourites. They do a set menu with about 6 choices of starters, mains, and desserts for 9 Euros each -very good for families. We went there on 4 occasions and were never disappointed. Also worthy of note The Olive Garden, and Moby Dicks, down on the beach. The best restaurant for fish we found quite by accident. When we were at Shorties cosy corner in Alykanas. Shorty told us that he and his music partner Yani where playing a rock gig in Tsilivi every Friday at the Ariadne hotel Tsilivi . As we had 2 Fridays in this resort we decided to take a trip up to the gig on our first Friday 17 Sep. The gig was to start at 9.30 pm. So the plan was go at about 8 o'clock have something to eat there, then watch the show, however we found that the hotel didn’t do evening meals. So we went back down the rather steep hill to the first restaurant that we came to which was the “Drosia” grill and fish taverna for our main course we both had the fish platter, excellent. By far the best fish meal we have ever had in 30 years of Mediterranean holidays. If you’re a fish lover I implore you to visit the Drosia, the fish platter is worth the flight ticket. What about the gig ? Shorty and Yani Played a really fantastic set with super rock music, The Stones, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and on and on for about three hours with only a quick comfort break. Collectively known as “too short” they were the best rock band that I have heard for a long time. And suffice it to say we went back the following Friday. The couple who own the Hotel (Yanis's parents) did their absolute best to get everyone in a rocking good mood by going round giving the most outrageous hats and Elton John type specs along with copious helpings of free shots. Certainly a night to remember and not to be missed even if you are in another resort it’s worth the taxi fare. Write it down now The Hotel Ariadne Tsilivi on Friday nights. Well I hope you enjoyed the review of our superb month on this beautiful island, I could have said much more, but please feel free to send me any questions.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • brimax
    over 6 years ago
    Wow, a month on Zakinthos, what could be better? The last time I was there I stayed In Tsilivi and was most distressed to find a MacDonalds had been built there, apparently the Local Mayor had objected and it had not yet opened. Please tell me it wasn't there for your visit.
  • JennieSilver
    over 6 years ago
    This sounds just incredible and please can I come with you next time! You clearly know where the good times are at. What a wonderful review, I will be thinking about going there next year. Your detailed restaurant and beach information is so useful fornewcomers to the island. Thank you.