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7 days in Zakynthos, Greece

Posted in: Travel

I’m an avid traveller, and so when the pandemic happened and the borders were closed, it took away something I’m always itching to do. When travel started to open up again, you’d think I’d jump at the change, but it took a lot of soul searching to decide what to do. In the end, we (me and my fiance) decided to take the leap and treat ourselves to a mind-cleansing week away from the UK for the first time since February 2020.

With one of the worst UK summers (weather wise) I can remember experiencing, the number one goal was sunshine! And so we decided to visit Greece as I’d enjoyed Corfu so much. Zakynthos looked beautiful, seemed reasonable priced and had plenty to do that involved sea and sunshine and so we booked it. Then came the anxiety and confusion about all of the tests and forms we’d have to do. No tests on the way out, but a PCR form and the possibility of a random airport test. However we got through smoothly and so we arrived at our accommodation.

Donkey Bay Club

One of the best accommodations I’ve ever stayed in, Donkey Bay Club was the perfect combination of hotel crossed with Airbnb. A small resort (only accommodated 22 people) – it had everything you needed; pool, bar & restaurant plus paddle boards and snorkel gear, bikes and more for you to borrow for free.

The best part about the place was the other guests. It’s the kind of place you can spend some time alone, but mostly you mingle with other travellers at the bar, eat dinner together, and even make friends. One night we sang so much ABBA the hotel owners offered to book an ABBA tribute band for us for the following night (sadly, none were available 🥲)

The owners, David and Karen, were fantastic, as well as all the lovely staff, who couldn’t do enough for you. They not only owned the place, but were fantastic chef’s who put on a special dinner every evening for the guests.

Boats, boats, boats

I have to say most days of our holiday involved splashing around in the beautiful turquoise adriatic sea. Whilst we did go on one of the tourist boats to see areas such as the Shipwreck Beach and Blue Caves, these were our least favourite activities. Crowded boats and was very scheduled. However, once we got to know the island the best thing we did was rent a private self drive speed boat from Tsivili Boat Hire which you can book for half a day or a day, and then just cruise up the coast at your leisure.

Swimming with the horses

A lifelong dream of mine; we booked a trip with Laganas Riding Centre, which took us on a 3 hour trek to/from Laganas beach where we got to swim bareback with our horses. Was an absolutely incredible experience, and most importantly, the horses were well cared for and very safe to ride even for beginners.

A few tips

All in all we had an amazing time. The island itself is one of the most tourist driven places I’ve ever visited – we learnt that the locals themselves mostly only live there for the summer then return to the mainland. I’d recommend avoiding the main tourist traps and tours (although they are a cheap option to see the island), and instead look for private tours and boat hire.

The best restaurants were off the main strip (as with most places). El Greco in Laganas, and Avra Taverna in Tsivili were by far the best food, and the best value.

El Greco, Laganas

We only rented a car for two days in order to explore the West side of the island (which included a hair raising mountain drive!) but there are other ways to get around – moped, quadbikes (very popular) and their taxi service is very good. We had a taxi arrive usually within 10 minutes of calling one, no matter where we were on the island!

My biggest tip would be be to stay at Donkey Bay Club. You won’t regret it, the place is just fantastic!

Feel free to hit me up for some tips, or drop into the Zakynthos Informer Facebook Group which was very handy in the run up to the holiday, and whilst we were there.

Weather

Every Brit likes to talk about the weather, so wouldn’t be right to bypass that topic. We visited the 2nd week of September. The day we arrived we were greeted with thunderstorms and rain, and then it rained the following day, and so most of the day was spent playing pool in a sports bar in Tsivili. Wasn’t exactly the mediterranean dream we had planned, but we still had a lot of fun finding things to do in the rain.

However it was 27-30 degrees for the rest of the week so don’t worry, we got plenty of sunshine! I did see in the weeks that followed our trip there was a lot of rain and thunderstorms, so could be hit and miss that time of year!

GoPro 9 🤤

On this holiday I got a chance to try out my new GoPro 9 which was absolutely incredible. You can see for yourself in the footage shot below – this is with zero grading, just straight out of the camera (some of the shots in this film are iPhone 12 Pro Max and my fiance’s drone).

The shot of the horses from the ground was pure accident; I hadn’t secured the GoPro on the handle properly and it fell on the floor 😂 Thankfully none of the horses crushed it!

Where to next?

All being well with travel rules, we have a weekend in Bruges booked for the Christmas markets, as well as our stag/hen party booked for Prague next year 🤞


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