I have just returned from a fabulous trip to my favourite Greek island. Zakynthos, or Zante as it is affectionately known by us Brits is in my opinion a true gem in the Ionian sea.
I went with my boyfriend and another couple, Erietta Apartments, the place where we stayed I have stayed before when on a weekend away with my mum and totally fell in love with it. A four star complex of immaculate one and two bedroom apartments poised on the cliff edge in an area named Akrotiri between Tsilivi and The Capital, Zakythos Town. Owned by the Kakolyri family, they have done an incredible job at making Erietta apartments the kind of place that guests return year after year, or in my case, twice in one year!
The first thing that strikes you about the place are the incredible views, from every angle you can see the something beautiful, the mountains of Kefalonia, the blinking lights of the mainland or the miles of glistening sea. Even from the shower room in our apartment I had a stunning sea view.
As well as indulging in the usual sunbathing, eating delicious Greek food and drinking copious amounts of wine and cocktails there is actually a lot to do and explore in Zante. One of the more verdant Greek isles in comparison to say, Rhodes, Zante has vast amounts of lush greenery and an abundance of flowers and accompanying butterflies.
You can hire mopeds for around 20€ per day, which we did a couple of times, it was a great way to see the coast of the 410km squared island. You can also hire a boat for around 85€ a day, which although I have done this many times before was easily the largest boat I have ever been given control over! It was actually very difficult to control and once we had explored the blue caves along the coast, nearly killed my boyfriend and several snorkellers we decided to give it back and go for a stiff drink!
There are a host of delicious restaurants in Zakynthos Town including one the locals frequent, Varkarola (Βαρκαρολα), in many of the restaurants the waitors double up as singers and Saturday night is the night when all of the local men, often three generations sing in the restaurants.
They serenade each table starting with their grandmothers who are usually in there having a meal and the whole evening becomes a raucous affair with lots of ouzo flowing and a great feeling of locals and tourists coming together. Even though it is for show you get a true sense that they are having a laugh, I was also told that many of the song lyrics are rather silly too which makes the locals laugh.
Also if you ever visit Zante try and go to Peppermint, in Argassi, about 10 mins drive from Zakynthos town, a stunning Mama Mia style garden restaurant with fairy lights and flowers all over the place, the food there is incredible with lamb cooked in the oven, steaks, beautiful wine and such good value at around 20€ per head including wine and starters!
The best thing for me about this holiday was the welcome we receive every time we arrive at Erietta, most of the guests that visit, including myself are returning year after year. They honestly cannot do enough for you, nothing is too much trouble and they are such lovely people. My mum has already booked to go back in September!