travel

Zante

Zante is well known for its stunning beaches and it’s turtles, and there are plenty of options to discover both on this island. With all but guaranteed sunshine and warm temperatures from May-September, plus loads of gorgeous beaches, this island is an ideal summer getaway.


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Greek

Resort: Alykes

Alykes is a lovely resort on the East coast of Zante with a long sandy beach and plenty of tavernas and bars to keep you occupied in the evenings. The sea isn’t tidal here, so stays at the same level on the beach all day. The water is totally clear and shallow a fair way out so it’s perfect for swimming.

There are plenty of beach bars and tavernas along the shore, offering drinks and ice cream in the day and relaxing evening meals at night. Buca Lounge Bar was a particular favourite – their ice cream selection was the best we found, and they had an extensive cocktail list.

There are plenty of options for trips from the town if you fancy a day out – We did a turtle cruise for €25 each, including a coach transfer to the South of the island and then three hours on a boat. Plenty of time for turtle spotting plus a couple of swim stops in crystal clear bays.


Hotel: Potamitis Studios

We booked the Potamitis Studios through TUI and had an excellent stay. The family run apartments are spotlessly clean, have a lovely pool area with plenty of loungers and there is a weekly Greek night that is not to be missed! They are in a great location, just a 10 minute stroll from the beach and all of the bars/tavernas in Alykes town.

The food at Potamitis is great, and if you choose to you have the option of breakfast, lunch and dinner here. Plus, the pool bar stays open late so you can have a drink after dinner with some of the new friends you’ve made (and trust us, you will – it’s super friendly here!).

Note that air conditioning is an extra €50 when you check in, but that’s quite common with Greece, and it was very much needed in the 34 degree heat!


Restaurants: Fidelio, Fishalida, Anatolikos, Koukounari

There is an impressive selection of tavernas in Alykes, and we were really spoilt for choice on where to eat.

For restaurants right on the beach, head to either Fishalida (excellent fresh fish, although lots of options if you’re not a fish fan too) or Anatolikos. The latter was described to us as ‘like something straight out of Shirley Valentine’ and that was so accurate! Cute chequered table cloths on tables right by the beach. Both have perfect settings for a meal as the sun goes down.

We ate at Koukounaria one evening which had a lovely outdoor terrace and an extensive list of home cooked traditional Greek dishes. Particularly recommend the beef stifado here. It was also recommended to book here as it gets very busy around 8pm.

Fidelio was another favourite, serving lots of Greek dishes with particularly good side salads with most dishes. The local wine here was also very good, and crazily cheap at €7 a litre!

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Kos

The island of Kos is located close to the coast of Turkey, and is well known for its long sandy beaches. With sunshine almost guaranteed for May-October, it’s the perfect place to go for a week of relaxing on white beaches or by a swimming pool overlooking a stretch of olive groves.


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Greek

Resort: Tigaki

The coastal resort of Tigaki is located in the North of Kos, and is a short 30 minute drive from Kos International Airport. With its crystal clear azure waters and soft white sand, it’s a family friendly resort that boasts a large selection of restaurants and tavernas, along with a good amount of bars for evening entertainment.


Hotel: Mayflower Apartments

We booked the Mayflower Apartments through TUI, and absolutely loved our stay. The family run apartments are perfectly located just a few minutes stroll from the nearest tavernas, and a pleasant 15 minute walk from the beach. The swimming pool was huge and always spotless clean, and there were always plenty of loungers regardless of what time of day we went to the pool.

The BBQ night on site (Monday evenings) was brilliant, and a great way to meet the other people staying in the apartments. Food was lovely and the Greek dancing afterwards was a fun way to end the evening. All for a very reasonable €13 – I definitely recommend it!


Restaurants: Alikes, Plori Taverna, Vassilis

Greek food is easily found in Tigaki, with plenty of tavernas serving local food and Greek specialities. For authentic Greek food in relaxed surroundings, head to Alikes & Plori Taverna by the beach, or Vassilis on the Main Street in town. All served excellent quality food for very reasonable prices – In particular Alikes, where bread for the table, two mains and half a litre of local wine came to €20!

If you’re after a quick lunch, head to the main road in Tigaki and make your way to Poilos Avnva. The pork gyros pitta is exceptional, and at only €2.50 won’t break the bank either! To satisfy your sweet tooth, Palapanis is the place to go for excellent crepes and waffles, cooked fresh to order and served with ice cream.

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Rhodes

The island of Rhodes is the largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, and has something to offer everyone. Whether it’s a quiet beach town you’re looking for, or a resort full of bars and clubs, Rhodes is the place to go for a Greek summer holiday that will keep everyone happy.


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Greek

Resort: Pefkos

If you’re after a sleepy Greek resort with plenty of tavernas and bars but the distinct lack of a club 18-30 feel, then Pefkos is for you. It’s quite a drive from the airport (about an hour and a half) but is totally worth the journey – Once you arrive, you’ll realise you’ve stumbled upon a gem. The stretch of sand is soft and clean, and the sea is a vibrant blue. Trips into Lindos can be taken by boat from the beach, and there are plenty of waterspouts on offer too.

In the evenings, things tend to revolve around the Main Street, where restaurants serve up traditional Greek dishes and cocktail bars tempt you in with sunset views and extensive drinks lists.


Hotel: Pefki Island Resort

Hotels in Pefkos are plentiful, and it was difficult deciding between them. We chose Pefki Island Resort, which is made up of studios and apartments housed in low level buildings scattered around the water. It sits on a shared site with two other hotels; Island Blue and Lindia Thalassa, and their facilities are also available to Pefki Island guests, which means in total the resort boasts 5 swimming pools!

Steps at the edge of the hotel will take you straight onto the narrow sandy beach, complete with loungers and parasols for those who like to relax by the sea. A walk along this sand will take you past some lovely beach side bars, perfect for an afternoon drink or to visit in time for sunset.

A fun, friendly hotel with great swimming pools and private access to the beach – What more could you want for a week in the sun?!


Restaurants: Philosophia Beach Restaurant, Spitaki Taverna

The choice of restaurants for dinner in Pefkos is excellent, especially considering the small size of the resort. There is one main road that contains majority of the dining options, however, there are a few situated a little further out, but that are definitely worth the walk! One of these is Philosophia Beach Restaurant, a few minutes walk from the main road and as the name suggest, overlooking the beach! (It’s also located very close to Pefki Island Resort). The welcome is warm, the views are amazing and the food is exceptional quality. This is not one to be missed!

A personal favourite on the main road of restaurants is Spitaki Taverna. Set in beautiful gardens with authentic Greek charm, the menu features all of the traditional Greek dishes you would expect, with emphasis on grilled meat. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a visit from a local cat or two while you wait for your food!

Other restaurants of note are: Ella, Enigma, Coralli and Taverna Nikolas.

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Crete

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete has many areas popular with holidaymakers, offering everything from sleepy mountain villages to coastal resorts with fine sand beaches. The best bit? Endless blue skies and temperatures that sit around 30 degrees all summer! 


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Greek

Resort: Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is one of the most popular resorts in Crete, and with good reason. The focus of this picturesque town is undoubtably the lake, which is lined with tavernas and bars with people spilling out onto the pavements, happily soaking up the afternoon sun.


Hotel: Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay

The Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay is a 5* hotel offering one of the best All Inclusive deals in the area.

The food here was excellent, and well above usual standards of an all inclusive. I stayed for a week and never ate the same meal twice! Breakfast is served buffet style, and can get quite busy, but it’s so lovely to be able to take your food out onto the terrace and eat overlooking the sea. Lunch options are plentiful, ranging from snacks at the poolside bar, a daily buffet in the main restaurant or an a la carte menu at Elia restaurant (I particularly recommend the salads here!). Dinner is again offered buffet style, but each guest also gets a visit to each of the a la carte restaurants on site (one Greek, one Italian) during their stay.

As expected of an all inclusive, drinks are available pretty much any time, and the cocktail list here is extensive. There is a lovely rooftop bar offering gorgeous views of the bay and I highly recommend leaving some time before dinner to stop by here and watch the sun go down with a glass of wine. As for after dinner, head down to the beach, where the bar stays open late and often offers evening entertainment too.


Restaurants: Patriko

Even if you’re staying at an all inclusive, sometimes you want to venture out of resort and try the local restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Agios Nikolaos, most situated by the water, although there are also several within easy walking distance of Mirabello Beach.

Located a pleasant 15 minute stroll from Mirabello Beach is Patriko, and I cannot recommend the food here highly enough. We went for a mixed souvlaki skewer, which was served with pitta break, tzatsiki and fries, and the quality and taste was exceptional.

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