October break to Kalamaki, Zante

My hubby and I recently went for an Autumn break to Zante.

I booked the holiday via Thomas Cook, I first saw it in their late deals and checked out the hotel – The Roseland – on Trip Advisor. The reports on there and elsewhere on the internet were favourable. I checked the price of the holiday if I booked the flights separately and by booking flights and the hotel as a separate package via Thomas Cook I saved over £100!

We flew out of Bristol on 11th October and arrived in a sunny Zante mid afternoon. We jumped in a taxi for the short journey to the hotel. We were warmly welcomed and shown to our room – number 208 (reminded me at the time of Radio 208 Luxembourg… those were the days.. and another post perhaps!) The room is pretty basic 2 single beds pushed together, clean bathroom and a balcony large enough to sit out on. All the rooms overlook the pool or garden, our room was just at the edge of the pool.
We unpacked and I went to reception to ask about paying for the safe and to ask if the fridge could be unlocked. Now here’s the rub…the fridge can be unlocked for a charge! They know you are going to keep drinks in there, hence robbing them of income at the bar. The safe and fridge cost €40 for the week which I personally thought a rip off!

Anyway that’s not going to spoil our week. We put on some cooler clothes and went for a walk. The hotel is situated on the edge of Kalamaki town so close enough to the bars/restaurants but far enough away to be quiet.
Kalmaki is basically a U-shaped road, some hotels including ours at one end, the main bars etc on the main road and a few more bars/hotels leading to the other end of the beach.
As it was coming to the end of the season some of the bars and restaurants were closing down. However many of the better ones were still open.

Our first full day (Wednesday) was mainly spent by the pool, we had lunch at the pool bar – pretty basic fare.  About mid-afternoon we went for a drink and found a lovely bar called Drunken Corner, like most places it’s set up for sport lovers but this bar also showed films /tv programmes if there was no sport on. Tassos and his wife that own it make you very welcome. We ended up here most nights!

On the second day we went to the beach and had second relaxing day.

On Friday we decided to do what most people do and walk along the beach to Laganas. The beach is a turtle sanctuary and turtle nests are marked and protected all along the beach.
It took us about 40 minutes to walk to Laganas, there are bars right down to the beach which offer free sunbeds if you eat or drink in their bar.
Mmm so glad we didn’t stay in Laganas, it is set up mainly for the 18-30 crowd and the main drag is full of nightclubs, it’s dirty and feels very unsavoury.  It’s a shithole….
We made our way back to Kalamaki on the bus and had a walk around then went back to the hotel pool. We knew the weather was due to break down and the clouds started to roll in about mid afternoon. The thunder and lightning started at about 5pm.
The barman at the hotel – Dennis – assured us it was unlikely to rain until about 9pm so we went out for dinner. We sat in the restaurant watching the lightning, I’ve never seen anything like it! After our meal we made our way back to the hotel.  It started raining  about 9.30pm and carried on all night and stopped about 1pm on Saturday. The thunder and lightning didn’t stop either, kept us awake most of friday night and carried on until well past midnight on Saturday. When we went out for dinner on Saturday it wasn’t raining but it came down in torrents late evening, being typical Brits we took no coats with us so were sat in Drunken Corner in summer clothing. Thank goodness for Tassos! He called a taxi that took back the mile or so to the hotel.

Sunday was chilly and the clouds were lifting. One of those days where you get cabin fever! Thank goodness the weather cleared!

Monday we decided to go to Zante town. It’s a cheap journey of €1.60 each and takes about half hour or so. The bus station is at the top of town and you walk down a hill to the town centre. The town faces the sea so you have the benefit of a lovely harbourside to stroll along and the streets run parallel to the harbour for the shops. At one end there is a square with lots of cafes.
If you’ve ever been to Limassol in Cyprus its very similar.
We had a great time in the town and  ambling along the harbour – one thing to bear in mind though – cars and bikes come at you from all directions and they seem to park wherever they want!
This was our last full day and the week seemed to fly by. We would like to return to see more of the island, it’s such a pity it rained for nearly 2 days.

Our favourite restaurants were:
The Olive Tree – good home cooking and free starter or desert.
Artemis – end of season 30% discount if eating between 5pm and 8pm.
Escape – down the road opposite Drunken Corner. Typical Greek place, fabulous food.
Giorgious – this is the far end of Kalamaki from the Roseland. We found it on Saturday and had an open Gyros for lunch – scrummy. We went back for dinner the same night, the evening service was slow but the food is terrific. If wasn’t so far to walk we’d have gone here most nights.

Well if you’ve read this far thank you! Please feel free to leave a comment.

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