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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Two weeks in Zakynthos

This summer has been the best as of yet, Alex and I decided to run away for two weeks and enjoy the summer away from home, well hello Greece!
If you're from the UK you probably associate it as 'Zante', where most college students go for a heavy week fueled by clubs and alcohol. Yes, we knew that, but either way, we wanted to go to Greece and experience the famous shipwreck, and all the little-hidden beaches.

The Shipwreck
You can only get to the Shipwreck beach by boat, or, if you want to reach the top to see the whole view you can either jump on a bus or rent a car, which we did.
Don't plan your trips beforehand, I can't express how many tourist sales stands there are around Laganas which sell great day trips for a much cheaper price, which you can always get discounts, that's if you know how to handle the sales representatives.
Most people see the images of the beach online but when you're there right in front, it's a whole new world. A moment where you realise how lucky you are, to be able to travel, which sadly not everyone can afford nor feel the need to.
It is a pretty scary feeling being so high and looking down at a drop which can be fatal, so make sure you bring a good pair of shoes, that was our mistake!
We chose the half a day trip that costs €20 which includes transport to the port, boat ride to the wreck which takes 1hour 20 minutes give or take, an hour on the beach and on the way back they stop around the coves which you can do a little snorkelling.

Turtle spotting
The sea turtle spotting in Zakynthos is a must, costing between 10-15€ depending which company you go with,  it's a 3 hour trip to the turtle island, a 15-minute swim around the coves and a turtle spotting experience. Zakynthos is famous for its turtles, the Greeks look after them with care and respect. They have a few rules of not going to the beach after sundown or not anchoring your boats at certain areas, this is for the privacy of the turtles to lay their eggs in the evening.

Banana Beach
This is the best beach you'll go to in the Island, if you want great sunbeds with restaurant service right at your feet this is the place to be. It's a long sandy beach with many different water sports to choose from, free buses depart at every hour from Laganas and Zakynthos town with a free return ride! All you need to do is keep your receipt from your sunbed and hand it over to the driver on your return trip.

Port Vromi & Xigia beach
These two beaches are hidden away from most tourists, reachable by only with car makes it that extra special. Port Vromi is a stunning, clear water and a pebbled beach, mainly used for a quick dip and boats leaving for the daily trips across the island. I didn't see any sunbathers there, probably as it's mostly pebbled and uncomfortable.
Xigia beach is definitely something else, a free, natural sulphur Greek spa! Sulphur springs have therapeutic healing elements, killing bacteria such as acne and even moisturizes the skin. If you've never been to a Sulphur beach, you will surely notice the smell!

Rent your own Boat
If you want to go solo, renting a boat is what you need to look for! Not only to have the independence to where and when you want to go but also to become your own captain! Alex and I rented a boat for the whole day, which was €100 plus petrol which was around €20 if I remember correctly.
Some stands charge €40 per hour so make sure you find yourself a good deal.
We drove around all the beaches, stopped in a few coves for a swim and simply just relaxed at the middle of the ocean with our homemade sandwiches!

The trip to Olympia was one of the best, I love a good old history lesson, if you're wanting something more than a sandy-beach holiday, this is what you ought to do. Olympia is where the Olympics was born, wow, I mean that's something you must visit if you're there right?!
This trip was €49, which included a pick up from your location to the Port in Zakynthos, you would then get on the ship to the mainland which a coach awaited, an hour bus drive to the site and a guided tour around the archaeological site, ending with two hours to stroll around the town and eat some lunch.

Zakynthos Town
Zakynthtos town was much quieter than I expected, which is a plus. It's small, full of restaurants, just as you would expect from a holiday. There wasn't much to see if im being honest, we only stayed there for an hour or so as there wasn't much to do, it's not as beautiful as other Greek Islands.

If you're into the party scene this is the place to be, thousands of people travel to this island to get reckless. Clubs next to one another, countless bars and restaurants filled with young people ready to party. They tend to come in groups, groups of boys and girls ready to have fun.
On the other hand, it could be quite dangerous, many fights and even deaths so I heard on the news whilst we were there, so if you're out and about late at night be aware.

Tips which I wish I knew before
Don't stay in Laganas if you want a quiet/romantic holiday.
Don't book day trips/boats/events until you get there.
Avoid the beach at Laganas, dirty and the music was too loud.
If you go out clubbing, be carefull from pickpocketers, Alex got his phone stolen.

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