Travelling is one of my passions and I try to visit a new place every time I decide to get on a plane. I want to see it all and do it all and sometimes this leads me to miss things along the way.
This year money was a factor in deciding where to go on holiday and so I ended up booking a deal to Zakynthos, Greece. Greece is one of the countries in Europe I hadn’t yet been to and so I was quite looking forward to experiencing it. However, I had my reservations as in the UK Zakynthos is known as Zante and Zante is known to be one of those places that a great deal of young people go to to get really drunk and embarrass the rest of the British population with their indecent and disrepectful behaviour. This forced me to research a place to stay far away from the “clubby” part. Every time somebody asked me where I planned to go in 2017 my answer would be a shy reply followed by a reiteration that I am heading to the quiet part not “that part.”
So I managed to weed out the area to avoid and came across this hotel in Kipseli that seemed to be far away from all the hustle and bustle and boasted heartfelt reviews from previous guests. Reviews are always essential in finding the right spot to stay! A quick hit on Google maps gave the impression it was pretty beautiful so my mind was made up. I booked a perfect 5 days away for an amazing price and didn’t really think about it again until it was almost time to leave.
Well let me tell you that despite this being one of the cheapest holidays I have ever been on it was one of the most wonderful. The island is absolutely beautiful. It is the third largest of the Ionian islands and it has this tremendous natural, wild beauty. One of the reasons it was extra special though was because of the wonderful staff at Arkadia hotel. Not only was the hotel fantastic and had everything you needed, the family and the people they work with take you in as if you are one of their own. They fed us until we pleaded no more and made sure our stay was the best that it could be. The room was so clean and modern and designed to be kept cool in the hot weather. You could tell every little detail was thought about. They help you to make the absolute most out of your holiday. They gave us a fond farewell when we left and we will miss them all including their adorable little dog.
The island is not huge and if you visit I would thoroughly recommend hiring a car. Our hotel also provided this for us with no fuss. In those 5 days we pretty much saw most of the island. Some of the roads can be quite narrow and a little rough around the edges but I am a fairly inexperienced driver and I actually really enjoyed it. Roadside you can see an abundance of wild flowers alongside lemon trees and olive trees. We took a boat through some caves. We visited local shops and bought amazing local products. We hired a speedboat for a couple of hours of fun. We gazed upon a large shipwreck from some cliffs where you can imagine the views were spectacular. We took a boat out with a guide for some turtle spotting and seeing these guys in their true habitat was the highlight of the trip for me! Swimming would be a big thing on the island during the summer, however we visited in April when the weather was hot but the water was still chilly.
For people who know me or follow my blog you may have guessed I love my food by now! The food in Greece is so fresh and tasty. I had tomatoes picked right from the hotel owner’s farm every single day. Dinner was based on whatever meat they had hand reared themselves or fresh fish or meat that they received locally. I was in food heaven. The Greek people are so heart-warmingly friendly I just wanted to hug them all.
Sadly we all know Greece is having their troubles. We had a discussion with the hotel owner one night over a drink and I could see the emotion in him when he told us about the unfair way the people there are being treated. One thing we noticed on the island was the rubbish piling up everywhere by all the bins. Despite paying a significant amount of money for trash collection every month, this rubbish was still sitting there from October, over 6 months! It’s really humbling to realise how lucky you are and also saddens you to see what goes on in other countries that really isn’t just. At that moment I was so angry that I was completely helpless to the situation but by bringing the right kind of tourism to the country we are helping in a small way. Every country has it’s troubles, we should all remember that while we are enjoying our cocktails on the beach.
I always use booking.com in finding the amazing places I sleep in wherever I go. If you want to check it out go here
For the hotel we stayed in give this a click Arkadia hotel
****All photos are my own****