If you’re pretty happy with the format of your usual lads’ break – sun, surf, sand, beer, rinse and repeat – and love the idea of getting away to Greece, one place should be at the top of your list: the fun-loving island of Zakynthos, or Zante as it’s also known (and a bit easier to say!).
Famous for its pumping nightlife and spectacular beaches, you’ll be able to get your fill of both on even a short break. Which is just as well because, let’s face it, it’s usually quality over quantity when it comes to a holiday with the boys!
If you want a taste of what you can expect on a short, action-packed holiday to this fabulous island, open wide and get ready for some good medicine!
What to do
It’s not going to be any surprise that most of the fun in Zakynthos is based around the water. It’s an island. There’s an ocean. It’s not rocket science.
Every year the boys say, “let’s do it”, and every year it just seems easier to have another ride on the Big Banana than commit to scuba diving lessons – but Zakynthos is the perfect place for everyone to try this exciting activity for the first time. If you head up to Vassilikos, the waters around the claw-shaped peninsula are absolutely teeming with underwater life, much of it really close to shore. After an introductory lesson with an instructor you’ll be ready to dive in and find out what all the fuss is about. But be warned, it’s more addictive than the last season of Game of Thrones – the more you see the better it gets. Next challenge: wreck diving.
St Nicholas Watersports offers a PADI Discover Scuba beginner’s course as well as wreck diving and experienced divers’ excursions. Find them at Paralia Agios Nikolaos, Vassilikos. Ph: +(30)26950 35324
Top Water Activities
Once you’ve conquered the scuba diving, it’s time to pledge your allegiance back to the good ol’ Big Banana, because…well because it’s about as much fun as you can have on a giant inflatable piece of fruit! St Nicholas beach at Vassilikos is the best place on the island to let yourselves loose on a great range of watersports. As well as your faithful old yellow friend, you’ll be able to try:
- Water skiing
- Ringo rides
- Flyfish (the inflatable kind not the rod kind!)
- Sofa ride (also the inflatable kind!)
- Jet ski
Once you’ve been whizzed, whipped, wahooed and waterlogged, you can head to one of the many beach bars for a cheeky beer and burger to recoup your energy before just one more ride…
St Nicholas Watersports offers all these options for fun in the sun starting from €40 for a package of three different activities.
Visit the Blue Caves
A visit to the Blue Caves counts as nature and culture in one, so make your mum proud and head up to Skinari in the north of the island to explore this awesome attraction. You’ll need to get on a local boat tour, which will take you deep into the caves to get up close and personal with the eerie rock formations and incredible crystal clear blue hue of the water. Choose one of the glass-bottom boats and you’ll also be able to see the abundant marine life as you pass above it. If you’ve got the bug for scuba diving, this is an absolutely amazing place for it – not only in the caves but also to the nearby shipwreck.
A guided tour of the Blue Caves and the shipwreck on a glass bottomed boat with the Potamitis Brothers starts at just €15. Tours leave from the Skinari Lighthouse every 10 minutes from 9am-7pm.
Head to Marathonisi Island
Pay a visit to a real life deserted Gilligan’s Island, situated off the shores of Laganas Bay. Also known as Turtle Island, it takes about 20 minutes to putter out there by boat (rent one yourselves or join a tour), and when you get there you’ll have the privilege of…absolutely nothing! Don’t expect bars, babes and sun loungers, but do expect turtles, sea caves and the opportunity to play castaway on the beautiful beaches for a couple of hours. Don’t worry, if you get hungry you won’t have to send out a distress signal, as there’s a ‘picnic boat’ that circles the island selling refreshments.
Rent a motor boat (seats up to seven people) from Big Blue Rentals, in Laganas Bay, to get you out to Marathonisi Island. Prices start at €20.
4 x 4 Jeep Safari
To finish up, if you want to dry out after all that time you’ve been spending in the ocean, the best solid land adventure you can have is on a 4 x 4 safari. Your multi-talented guide/driver will take you on a thrilling journey through the rugged interior of the island, stopping at tiny hamlets along the way. There are many different routes, but an excellent one takes you through Galas, Kiliomeno, Iperagakos, Louha, Gyri and up into the Vrachionas mountains to the highest point on the island. A 4 x 4 safari is a great way to remind you there’s more to Greece than just the amazing beaches!
The range of 4 x 4 Jeep safari excursions with Zakfari start at around €53 per person for a full day tour. You’ll be picked up at the door of your accommodation and dropped back at the end of the tour. Bookings on firstname.lastname@example.org
Zakynthos has everything you could ever want for a big boys’ short break. It may not be as famous as some of the other Greek islands, but it certainly punches above its weight when it comes to the huge range of activities. And there is that famous nightlife too…
Tip: Another great destination for a boys’ weekend you may want to consider is Lagos. This blog post might whet your appetite and it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead for next year…
How to get to Zakynthos
It doesn’t matter if you can’t say it, all you need to know is that it’s where you’re going! Flights from the UK to the Greek island of Zakynthos are readily available, with plenty of last minute online specials from budget providers like easyJet, Monarch and Thomas Cook starting from £29.
Once you land at Zakynthos airport, the fastest and most convenient way to get the crew straight to your accommodation without losing anyone or messing around with public transport is with one of the prebooked airport transfers to Zante. You’ll be able to book it online before you go and the friendly local driver will whisk you to wherever you’re based on the island.
Where to Stay
Zante Sol – Designed with a mates’ break in mind the Zante Sol puts all the fun within arms’ reach. Set right in the heart of Argassi, you’ll be able to walk to the ocean in under 10 minutes, stroll to to the bars and cafés of the village in about three minutes, or just hang around at the hotel and relax on a sun lounger by the pool. The perfect big boys’ home away from home.
Mirabelle Hotel – Fresh, funky and just 100 metres from the ocean, staying at the Mirabelle Hotel means you can spend all day living it up on the beach, and all night living it up in the bars and cafes of Argassi. Enjoy drinks with the boys in the onsite bar or your private balcony, meet up with old friends and new around the pool, or relax with a game of billiards before heading into town for sundowners. What more is there?
Hotel Palmyra – If you and the boys are looking to style it up for your lads’ break, the Hotel Palmyra in Argassi will have you living like princes without making you feel out of your depth. You’ll have use of the awesome pool and sun terrace, air-conditioned rooms complete with mini bar, and an onsite bar so you don’t have to go too far for some fun if you’ve had a hard day on the beach. Speaking of which, the beach is just 100 metres away.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct offers the best range of airport transfers to and from destinations throughout Europe and North Africa. No matter where you’re travelling, our services have got you covered. Choose from a budget-friendly shared service or a convenient private transfer just for you. Our easy to use online booking system means that all your onward travel arrangements can be made and confirmed before you leave home.