We were actually staying in Kalamaki, and I had booked an Opel Zafira from another company. However, 2 hours before we were due to leave for Gatwick, I got a phone call saying that the car needed a new clutch and would not be available. I quickly emailed 8 other companies, but had to leave before any responses arrived. As there were 6 people in our party, I am the only driver, and 6-seaters are hard to find at short notice, I started to panic. I thought that I might be spending the first day of my holiday trying to find a car. We had only been in our apartment for 3 hours when Aggelos from Euro Alfa arrived with a Zafira. He had driven over from Tsilivi just in case I had not been able to get a car. We did the paperwork on the spot. The price was very competitive and included all extras and insurances. The car performed just as expected, and I would strongly recommend Euro Alfa to anyone visiting Zante.
Having seen the comments on this website, I thought we would give this a try. We booked to go on the Shipwreck/Blue Caves trip, but on the day, Spyros told us that the weather around the north coast was too rough. You may be disappointed if this happens, but he has your best interests at heart. The boat is perfectly capable of handling rough seas, but if Spyros thinks you won't enjoy it, he won't go. Note that many of the other boats will still run their trips - and you will hear their passengers complaining afterwards! We re-arranged for a few days later, by which time the weather had calmed down. The trip was excellent, and Spyros is a real character. Because Levante is faster than the other boats, we got to the shipwreck beach early and had it all to ourselves (Levante holds 24 passengers - some of the bigger boats carry up to 300). As someone else has said, this means that the beach is largely in the shade, but I think this made it more atmospheric. My wife and children all had a go at steering the boat, though thankfully not while we were in the caves. Spyros makes manoeuvering the boat look deceptively easy. We enjoyed the trip so much that we booked for the Keri Caves/Turtle Island trip as soon as we got back to Tsilivi. This trip was even better. Spyros got the boat right inside the caves, then we stopped off at Marathonisi (Turtle Island), then went slowly around Laganas Bay until we saw a turtle (Spyros will take as long as it takes to find one - but didn't go too close so as not to distress it). We then went on to St. Nicholas beach (one of the best on the island) before heading back to Tsilivi. Spyros is a real showman and creates a good atmosphere on the boat, and Levante, with it's twin 7.4 litre V8 engines, makes every minute on the water exciting. 35 euros each is a bit pricey, but those 2 boat trips with Spyros and Tasos were the high points of our holiday and gave us many memorable moments, so we think of it as money well spent. You can get cheaper trips, bit I reckon you get what you pay for. Don't bother with the naff excursions the rep tries to sell you - go and see Spyros instead. Note: If you're not staying in Tsivili, follow the main road through Tsilivi then take the side road opposite the Hotel Mediterranee. Follow that road, turning left at the end towards the small harbour. The best time to catch him is between 1.00 & 1.30.
Got back from Kalamaki yesterday. Anagenessis Village Hotel (to give it it's full name) is highly recommended. The whole complex is very well presented and the rooms are cleaned daily. It's a small, family-run complex and this comes across clearly in the way in which you are treated and made to feel welcome. Nothing is too much trouble for them. The bar area is good and the food excellent. The pool area is good, and there was hardly ever any problem getting a sunbed. The only word of warning is that the pool is 1.3m deep at the shallow end & 2.7m at the deep end, so anyone who can't swim or isn't very confident in the water will quickly get out of their depth. However, there is nice little paddling pool for the very young. The aircon in the rooms was very welcome, especially as there was no extra charge for it. We went to one of the Friday Greek Nights. This involves a BBQ, Greek dancing & Dan the barman turning into a human flamethrower. Those who paid to go on the Greek Night excursion said that the one at Anagenessis was better. The price you pay for such a lovely relaxed setting is that it's a mile or so from the beach & most of the restaurants. Also, the road from Anagenessis to Kalamaki has no lighting, no pavements, & some blind corners. This didn't bother us as we had a hire car for the fortnight, but some of the people we saw walking along the road looked rather vulnerable (and very hot). Make sure you know how you're going to get around before you book (e.g. walk, taxi or hire car), & budget accordingly, then you'll have no cause for complaint. Anagenessis (& Kalamaki in general) is close to the airport and you can hear some noise, but it's only really noticeable during the relatively few early morning take-offs (Zante airport isn't exactly Heathrow!). We went with Eclipse, but I note that it's not in the Summer '05 Eclipse brochure. I think Unijet will be using Anagenessis next year. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a friendly, relaxing base from which to explore Zante.
We tried most of the 10/10 rated restaurants during our stay, and I have to say that I thought a few of them were over-rated - but not this one. Excellent service, great food and good prices. Not situated on the main strip, so quieter too. All in all, the best in Kalamaki.
Not quite as good as we'd hoped, having read some of the other reviews. Everything was OK, but nothing exceptional, so overall we felt it was slightly over-hyped. Also, the corner we were sitting in (near the road) smelt of drains.
Ate there twice during our stay. Food, service & price were all excellent. We rated it a very close second to Michaelo's. Highly recommended.
During our stay we tried most of the 10/10 rated restaurants. Dias was very good and well worth a visit, though not the best in Kalamaki. We rated it 8/10.
During our stay we tried most of the 10/10 rated restaurants. Parthenon was very good and well worth a visit, though not the best in Kalamaki. We rated it 8/10.
During our stay we tried most of the 10/10 rated restaurants. Zepos was very good and is well worth a visit, though not the best in Kalamaki. We rated it 8/10.
During our stay we tried most of the 10/10 rated restaurants. Stani is one of the best and is well worth a visit, a bonus being lovely setting with views of the sea & the mountains. We rated it 9/10.
Very picturesque setting. Lovely sandy beach. Warm, clear water, shallow for quite a long way out. Yes, it does get busy, so walk along a bit further where there's fewer people. Definitely one of the best on Zante.
Great beach, warm clear sea, very safe for kids. Gets a bit crowded near the entrance, so you need to walk a bit further along. As someone else said, there's quite a few fag ends in places - another reason to walk to a quieter area where there aren't so many.
We went on the Levante speedboat trip, which is usually the first boat to get there every day, so there were only 24 of us on the beach. It was very atmospheric, and the sea was an amazing colour, though it does get deep very quickly. As has been mentioned in other reviews, there's not much sand - it's mostly limestone pebbles.
Excellent beach, though as it's one of the 'in' places it does get busy. Good for watersports and the Taverna at the southern end does good food.
We booked with Eclipse, the direct booking part of First Choice. The flight was as expected - minimum seat pitch physically possible, etc. Take-off was around midnight, & we were surprised that Gatwick North pretty much shuts down at around 10.00pm, so it was impossible to get anything to eat after that. Arrived at the accommodation at around 07.00 local time. (See separate comments against Anagenessis Apartments in Kalamaki). The rep was friendly enough, though we didn't need to use him. The only downside was the leaving arrangements. We had to be out of the apartment at 10.00am, but the coach pick-up wasn't until 03.00 am the next day!! From 01.00 onwards (when the bar closed), we were left sitting under the veranda outside the bar, in the dark, getting eaten alive by the local mosquitoes. By the time we got home, we felt like we needed a holiday! There has to be a better way of organising things - I would rather have waited 3-4 hours to get into the room when we arrived than hang around for 17 hours waiting to come home. As someone else has said, we paid for 14 nights accommodation, but only had 13 full nights in the room.
If you've been reading all the comments in this section, you will have noticed a few common threads :-
The trips using the bigger boats take a long time.
You are more likely to feel seasick on the bigger boats.
Some of them still go even if the sea's too rough.
The bigger the boat, the less you'll see of the caves.
If you're on a slow boat, you'll find that the shipwreck beach is over-run with fellow tourists by the time you get there.
The big boats can't get close enough to the beach, so you'll often have to swim from the boat to the beach.
We found the solution to all these problems - go with Captain Spyros on the speedboat Levante. Yes it's more expensive, but as it's like comparing a bus with a chauffeur driven sports car, you'd expect it to be. You're on holiday, so why compromise?