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DESTINATIONS — GREECE & CYPRUS


Upping the Zante


This Greek beauty can keep clubbers, couples and kids happy, finds Katie McGonagle


waves and ends on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches is bound to be a good one, so Zante should have no problem capturing your clients’ attention. It was October 1982 when


A


smuggling ship the Panagiotis, said to be ferrying contraband Turkish cigarettes for the Italian Mafia, was spotted by the Greek Navy and pursued across the seas, running aground in a tiny bay on the island’s northern shore. Its rusting shell remains there to this day, lending it the name Navagio (‘shipwreck’) Beach, now one of the most-photographed spots in Greece.


This isn’t the only thing


attracting holidaymakers to Zante, the third-largest of the Ionian Islands, known to locals as Zakynthos. It’s one of those rare destinations that really can cater equally to fun-loving families, the 18-30 crowd, and even those in search of a quieter getaway.


l STAY: BEACH BEAUTY Zante has been a tourist haven for decades, so if there’s one


ny story that starts with a high-speed chase across the


thing it has plenty of, it’s hotels – mostly three-star, with some notable higher-end openings over the past few years. Thomas Cook alone features 84 hotels across eight different resorts, from Greek brand Manos’ small self-catering properties to the all-inclusive resorts of its mainstream Thomas Cook and Airtours brands. Most beach towns are dotted along the eastern and southern coasts as the north and west are more mountainous, putting the tourist areas within easy reach – generally less than half an hour – of the international airport. Alykes and Alykanas: These neighbours are the quietest and most traditional resorts on the island, with the tourist bars and watersport-heavy beaches of the south still in the minority. With that comes relatively basic accommodation, including Olympic Holidays’ two-star entry-level property, the Elpida Hotel, and a handful of three-diamond-rated hotels and apartments from Cosmos Holidays. Tsilivi: With a water park and bowling alley on hand, Tsilivi is the most family-friendly resort.


Mavrikos Hotel & Apartments is Cosmos Holidays’ top seller here, offering a flexible choice of rooms – studios and two-bedroom apartments – and board bases ranging from self-catering to all-inclusive, so clients can tailor it to suit their budget. The four-star Filoxenia Hotel is another popular choice with a separate children’s pool, practical extras such as free cots and high chairs, and all-inclusive ice cream from 10am to 6pm. At the upper end of the


market, it’s also home to Olympic


Azure Hotel Resort & Spa, Tsilivi


Holidays’ leading five-star property, Lesante Luxury Hotel & Spa, and this year’s new opening, the four-star-plus Azure Hotel Resort & Spa. Argassi: Despite a small beach, Argassi has prospered thanks to its proximity to the capital less than three miles north, so visitors will find the usual array of bars and shops here along with numerous mid-range resorts. Olympic Holidays has added the 120-room Diana Palace to its Summer Sun brochure this year, sister property to Filoxenia Hotel in Tsilivi.


destination DOWNLOAD


7 May 2015 — travelweekly.co.uk • 59


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PICTURE: LESANTE LUXURY HOTEL & SPA


PICTURE: JET2HOLIDAYS.COM


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