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Zante recommendations

(34 Posts)
AryaUnderfoot Wed 26-Feb-14 18:24:13

So, flight schedules for summer 2015 are released at the end of April, and I'm starting to have a think about where would be best to go.

I have always loved Ionian islands, particularly Kefalonia. However, the kids are water-slide mad, and I don't think there are any water parks on the island. I know there are a couple on Zante (attached to hotels but open to the public), so I think it could be an ideal destination for us.

Does anyone have any recommendations for best resorts and apartments/villas to rent? If possible, I'd like to avoid a package tour. The only essentails would be a separate room for the kids to sleep in, air-con and a pool (shared is fine).


Onykahonie Wed 26-Feb-14 19:09:10


What sort of resort? Would you want somewhere near the water parks or will you hire a car? We had a fab holiday in Vasilikos last year, but it's very quiet there, so not everyone's cup of tea!

AryaUnderfoot Wed 26-Feb-14 19:18:41

I originally wanted to stay at the Aqua Bay in Tsilivi, (attached to the water park), but it's totally out of our price range. I'm also not a fan of AI and feel my kids are at an age where they can happily sit in a restaurant without having to endure the 'dash and go' buffet style meals.

I'm not bothered about big resorts, but would like some choice of restaurants within walking distance.

We will definitely hire a car, so being in a resort with a water park is not a necessity - I think one of the bigger ones is in Kalimaki (?) and I'm not sure I'd fancy staying that close to the airport.

Onykahonie Wed 26-Feb-14 19:55:47

You'd find load of cheaper accommodation in Tsilivi if that's where you'd like to looks like you can pay to enter the water park if you're not staying at the hotel.
If you'd prefer somewhere quieter then maybe somewhere like Alykes/Alykanas?

LeBearPolar Wed 26-Feb-14 20:06:00

It depends what your budget is. We went to Zakynthos (apparently Zante is its Italian name and the Greeks aren't fond of it!) last summer (and have been to Kefalonia three times - I love it!) and stayed at these villas

A gorgeous little complex - just ten villas, each with its own little pool, and very peaceful. It is a little bit out of the way but we hired a car and had a great time exploring the island. There is a crossroads about 1.5 km away with a couple of restaurants, and supermarkets for self-catering within easy driving distance.

The villas are spacious - big kitchen/diner/living room with doors opening onto the patio and pool area. Ours had a huge double room downstairs with a bathroom off it, and two bedrooms upstairs (one double, one twin) and another bathroom.

The Thomson rep was brilliant! grin

LeBearPolar Wed 26-Feb-14 20:06:49

Oh and we went to the Kalimaki waterpark - we just bought our entrance tickets off the rep and drove there ourselves.

AryaUnderfoot Wed 26-Feb-14 20:52:39

LeBearPolar those villas look truly beautiful, but I'm not sure they would fit into the budget! I'd ideally like to spend an absolute maximum of £3000 for 10+ nights for accommodation and flights for August.

I'll price them up when the brochure is released, but I think they will probably only be availabe for 7 or 14 nights (the latter being totally off the budget).

Thanks for the advice.

Emjp Wed 26-Feb-14 21:01:33

We love the alykanas village which comes in at about £3k for 10 nights self catering in August and the water slides in the resort are great for kids

AryaUnderfoot Wed 26-Feb-14 21:08:52

Thanks for that Emjp. I just had a quick look at it on TripAdvisor and, as I'm logged in through my Facebook profile, I can see that one of my friends has stayed there (and reviewed it). I will have a chat to her about it next time I see her.

It looks like the ideal resort size for us. Are there many decent tavernas in the local area?

Emjp Wed 26-Feb-14 21:38:00

Yes absolutely, it's the eating out that we enjoy the most as we are also not an AI kinda family also all tavernas in alykanas have play areas attached which makes for an enjoyable meal out!

coalscuttle Wed 26-Feb-14 21:41:10

Blimey I went to tsilivi in 1982 and have just had a look at it online and can't believe how different it is. That has made me feel

AryaUnderfoot Wed 26-Feb-14 21:48:47

Haha coalscuttle I know what you mean. We went to Portinax, Ibiza in 1982 and back then it consisted of 2 hotels and a cafe that sold toasted sandwiches. The hotel we stayed in - the El Greco - is still being sold through First Choice.

I'm guessing the PacMan and Frogger machines that we spent so much time playing on have probably gone now....

GreenShadow Mon 10-Mar-14 15:12:13

Only just spotted this thread Arya.

We stayed at the hotel with the water park (The Caretta Beach Hotel) in Kalamaki last summer.

The waterpark was fabulous and I can highly recommend it - we spent many happy hours there with the DC. The hotel it'self wasn't quite so wonderful, but I think that was mainly because we ended up in a rather grotty room. I got the impression (from Trip Advisor) that most rooms are a lot better. Food was OK, though I've had better in other AIs.
The town itself is different in that it is not on the beach as development closer to the sea is banned because of the nesting turtles. It about a 10/15 min walk away.

Do let me know if you'd like any more info.

AryaUnderfoot Mon 10-Mar-14 19:56:52

Thanks for this GreenShadow. Caretta Beach is one of the hotels on our potential shortlist. The only thing that concerns me about it is the fact that it's so close to the airport. What is the aircraft noise like, and does it go on through the night?

I wanted a bit more variety than just AI, but the hotel is relatively cheap for AI so we'd probably eat out pretty regularly if we stayed there. Are there plenty of tavernas in the town/village?

I think the brochures are launched at the end of April, so we will price up our (several) different options and see what looks best value.

GreenShadow Tue 11-Mar-14 17:07:59

Most of the time the airport wasn't a problem, although, yes, it is VERY close. It seems to depend on the direction the planes come in and presumably the wind direction. There are some flights during the night, but we only noticed them one night. For us, the noisy dogs in the property next to the hotel were more of a nuisance in the early hours. We just had the misfortune to have a room right at the edge of the complex, so probably had it worse than most other guests.

Dining out certainly won't prove a problem. There are loads of decent and reasonably cheap places to eat in the small town itself which is only minutes walk away.

I think our main feeling was that we'd had a lovely holiday, but that the hotel definitely wasn't what we'd expect from a 4* (we've previously been to a couple of Turkish 4* AIs and the Caretta Beach was no where near the same standard.)

If you are interested, this is a link to my Trip Advisor report - but please feel free to direct message me if you want any specific info.

evertonmint Tue 11-Mar-14 17:19:30

Been to Zakynthos twice and love it. Tsilivi water park is great - clean and well cared for. Cheaper if you go after 2pm for the afternoon.

We stayed in Vasilikos which is very peaceful. Not much to do beyond beaches, but lots of tavernas so eating out is easy.

Even with our little ones (4 and 2 the first, 5 and 3 the next) eating out was never a problem as lots of tavernas have play areas, the Greeks are rely relaxed about children, and there's enough choice on the menu to suit them. Greek food is also not too exotic - meatballs, souvlaki, big beans on tomato sauce, chips, rice etc are all similar enough to British food that it's a great way to get even fussy children eating different food.

It's a wonderful island!

AryaUnderfoot Tue 11-Mar-14 17:50:30

That's a great review Greenshadow and confirms what I suspected about the hotel. The fact that the TC website fewatures about 9 billion photos of the water park but only one of a room says something.... I am used to 'basic' apartments in Greece (the studios we stayed in when visiting Kefalonia were very basic), but not if we've paid 4* prices! The water park looks fantastic, though, and well worth a visit if not staying in the hotel.

evertonmint did you hire a car to travel around? Did you go through a package tour or rent accommodation separately?

NigellasDealer Tue 11-Mar-14 17:53:10

Avoid Argassi (sewage beach) and Laganas

NigellasDealer Tue 11-Mar-14 17:54:12

to be honest I have been to many many Greek Islands and Zakynthos was probably the nastiest.

thereinmadnesslies Tue 11-Mar-14 18:01:22

Don't do it. It was the worst place we ever visited. We stayed in Alykanas. There was nothing to do except sit by the pool, sit on the dirty beach or go to bars / restaurants that served grim international food, mostly pizza or burger type stuff. Went scuba diving and didn't see a fish in several dives. didn't see any of the famous turtles and the beach at laganas (where the turtles were supposed to be ) were covered in bottles and broken glass.

NigellasDealer Tue 11-Mar-14 18:03:41

the reason you did not see any famous turtles is because they are being driven to extinction, Lagana was actually a nesting beach but greed for tourist money took over.
and the beaches are dirty because all the sewage from the Pelopponese drifts onto them.

evertonmint Tue 11-Mar-14 18:05:07

We hired a car because we like to explore. We went with Simpson Travel so on a package, staying at Periyali Villas. They are lovely but probably best for under 7s, with a lovely small kids club) and I think a bit higher than your price range (DH booked it but I think 5k for a fortnight).

Re it being the nastiest island, we didn't go anywhere near Kalamaki and just drove through Argassi. Vasilikos is lovely, as is the Keri area. Lots of nice places outside the bigger resorts. It's really not that bad, it just has a few bad resorts which are easily avoided. Most relaxing holiday ever with kids for us (hence us repeat booking for the first time in our lives)

NigellasDealer Tue 11-Mar-14 18:06:39

yes the Vasilikos peninsula is stunning, Banana Beach, Porto Roma, really lovely.

evertonmint Tue 11-Mar-14 18:18:19

Casa Playa next to Banana Beach is totally cool too. We would hang out there on our kids club mornings, drinking the chocolate milkshakes made by the coolest bartender in the world and listening to their Ibiza chill out then going for a long stroll down the beach. Then we'd return with the kids in the afternoon for lunch and beach fun. The cool teens were all out in force by then, but the vibe was never not family friendly. Love that place!

evertonmint Tue 11-Mar-14 18:19:34

And Gerakas Beach is great - very shallow and gentle, and Dafni is a bit more hippified but really away from it all, reaches by a mountainous dirt track. Vasilikos is fantastic smile

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