Ahh Zakynthos, the beautiful Greek island home to some breathtaking views, white sand, blue sea, turtles and more.
While this island has so much to offer in the way of culture and relaxation, it also happens to be home to Laganas, a town where there is an abundance of cheap accommodation, cheap alcohol and nightclubs open till 10am.
I’m so excited to be able to write about my first holiday away with friends as it was one of the best weeks of my life so far! In July 2015 we went to Zante to celebrate finishing our A levels and to go a bit mental without worrying about responsibilities. We chose Zante as it seemed new and exciting with great nightlife, while maintaining an element of class that some of the other ‘party islands’ lack. Even though Laganas was full of drunk teenagers at night, to me it never felt unclean or unsafe, everything was within walking distance and it was really easy to find our way around. While it’s not Ibiza-scale, it was absolutely perfect for us!
We went as a group of 7 and we all returned, more or less, in one piece. After losing my hat and boarding pass half an hour before we were meant to fly, I was sure the holiday was doomed from the start, but I was wrong. The whole holiday went pretty smoothly and we had no major disasters – so that was a success as we’re a bit of a dysfunctional bunch! This was partly due to the fact that everything was just so easy; we booked through Thompson and everything from payment, to flying, to airport transfer was basically fool-proof, so I highly recommend using them. I want to give a shout out to our Thompson rep Bill, who made us cry with laughter on the daily, probably for all the wrong reasons.
While in Zante we attended two pre-paid events, the Rescue Paint Party and the VVIP Sunset Yacht Party. We booked our yacht party tickets before the holiday because the VVIP Sunset Yacht Party is meant to be one of the best events out there, but it didn’t end up being the experience that they advertised. The website said we were going to be travelling on a 5* luxury yacht, go snorkeling with turtles, and explore hidden caves – none of this was true. What we actually did was jump in the sea, swam to a rocky beach, had a photo taken, then went back. Despite this, we still had a good time and the experience makes us laugh to this day! There was also an incident involving my sunglasses that is still brought up in conversation every time we all see each other, but let’s not get into that…
By far the best day of the holiday was when we travelled out of Laganas to St Nicholas Beach where they run water sports and activities. We missed the morning bus to the beach, but we were so desperate to get there that the man organising the trips there arranged for his brother and nephew to give us a lift. Thinking about it now, it probably wasn’t a great idea to jump in the back of two random guys’ cars which had no back seats or seatbelts, but hey, it was a spontaneous decision, and thankfully they were really nice guys who gave us a mini tour as they drove us to the beach.
As for the water activities, I couldn’t write about this holiday without mentioning the crazy sofa, it was basically the most fun thing we have ever done, with one of my friends saying “I don’t think I’ll ever experience the happiness I had while riding that crazy sofa again”. What’s more, they had a photographer taking photos as we were holding on for dear life, the photo below perfectly encapsulates our crazy sofa experience and it never fails to make me smile!
A Typical Day
While we had the odd excursion, most of our days were spent sleeping off our hangovers and chilling by the pool or beach. Our hotel, the Zante Atlantis, was constantly playing music and had a really good atmosphere to it (although it was definitely NOT family friendly), so we were happy to just hang out in the hotel, have a laugh, and annoy the other guests with our volleyball antics. Come the evening, we would have dinner at a local restaurant, start on the cocktails again, get ready, and go out! Although the clubs and bars are not huge in size, there are plenty of them and they are so much fun, our personal favourites were Linekers, Sin City and Cocktails & Dreams. The great thing is that the strip with all the clubs and bars leads right to the beach, so once we were all too drunk/tired to continue, we could sit on the beach and watch the sunrise which was always a lovely end to the night.
If you’re wondering about the price, the whole holiday was super super affordable, we were all A level students so only had a shoestring budget! I worked in a cafe on weekends and holidays, and managed to pay for myself, and save up spending money! You don’t need to worry about affording anything out there either, everything was ridiculously cheap, for example we could get a two course meal and two cocktails for about 10 euros each (around £8). The only thing that’s a bit pricey is the ticketed events such as boat parties, paint parties, foam parties etc – they are good fun but you don’t have to attend them all, if any.
To conclude this post I’ve enlisted the help of our group’s great storyteller, Joe. Here is Zante 2015 summarised in his words:
“Zante was one of the best weeks of my life, simply because technically it was one of the worst weeks of my life. You wouldn’t think that spending 99% of the time dying from a combination of extreme heat/ fatty food/ severe alcohol poisoning would be enjoyable, but it was. Whether we were being concussed on the crazy sofa or being banned from a bar within the first 3 hours of being in the country, we were laughing the whole time. I just wish it had been filmed so that I could relive it all again. Overall, nothing will live up to my week in Zante with my amazing friends.”