Our week in Zante was primarily for nothing other than relaxation, sunbathing, swimming, eating and drinking, which we did for six out of the seven days, but what’s a holiday without a bit of adventure? I was desperate to visit the iconic Navagio Beach, also known as Smuggler’s Cove and Shipwreck Beach, but unfortunately due to horrific stormy weather most of the trips for the week were cancelled. We spoke to out TUI rep about getting a taxi to the viewpoint instead which was approximately a forty-five minute drive from our hotel, but at €100+ for a return journey, we couldn’t quite justify it. What was the only other way to get there? Quad bikes. Those terrifying four wheeled things that have zero protection around them. So of course we did that. The things I do for a good photo opportunity. After finding a semi-professional looking place, the sun cream went on, the helmets were fastened and we hit the road ready for a day of sightseeing.
“There’s only one road, you can’t possibly get lost”, they said. What an outright lie! We managed to get horrendously lost, but luckily this worked in our favour because we found the most gorgeous beach to spend a quiet fifteen minutes, which was a welcome sight after bombing around Zante’s track-style roads, dodging borderline reckless drivers who clearly were a little more used to seeing quad bikes on what is considered a ‘main road’ than we are. As we didn’t have the most amazing beach at our resort, fresh white sand and crystal clear waters with Kefalonia out ahead of us was the perfect stop for a little water and Tuc biscuit refuel. Truly living on the end, aren’t we?
Take two at getting to the Smuggler’s Cove viewpoint, and of course it couldn’t just go smoothly, could it? We broke down on a hill, in-front of a lorry, in the middle of a quiet village. If that’s not the kind of scene fit for an episode of the Inbetweeners then I don’t know what is. Thank you to the nice Greek man in the blue shirt who directed us to the nearest petrol station, which by some serious luck was only 300 metres away. So picture this, I was sat on the quad directing it down the hill with zero power, whilst Darryl, complete with broken toe (don’t ask), was running alongside, pushing me around the corners as we lost speed. So yeah, shoutout to the quad bike shop who failed to tell us that our petrol tank wasn’t full when we left. Thankfully after that things began to go more to plan, and we spent the next hour or so drifting up through the mountains with the sun above us and not a cloud in the sky, discovering a gorgeous little hillside orange juice bar along the way with views that were unbelievable.
A few hours later than planned and a few more wrong turns later, we finally made it to the viewpoint, and it really was something else. I have never seen such blue, glistening waters in all my life, and we both agreed that this sight sat right up there with Whitehaven Beach. I can see why Shipwreck Beach is such a key tourist attraction in Zante, though unfortunately as it is only accessible via boat you have to go via an organised excursion to get there, so unless you have more time, it’s a case of choosing one or the other. For me, the viewpoint in a sense was even better as I was able to sit on this gigantic cliff edge, which by the way had nothing in the way of a safety barrier, looking down at the beautiful aqua blue mass beneath me.
After an ice-cream stop we hopped back on our quad with the intention of heading back to the resort. But of course, typically, we decided to go another way to see more of the island. Half an hour later and a seriously steep decline down towards the ocean, we found ourselves at a Porti Vromi, which is a dead end. A very stunning dead end, but a dead end nonetheless. While the port was definitely worth a look, we now had to go back up that insanely steep hill on a low grade quad bike that was not in any way meant for mountainous driving. Watching people fly past on their top of the range quads whilst we literally shuffled our way up this hill was something in-between hilarious and mortifying. And to top it off? Our petrol was almost empty, again. Once we reached the top we sped our way through the Zakynthos wilderness to find the nearest petrol station, which thankfully we found just in time, and we were soon on our way once again. But clearly we hadn’t had enough problems for one day, because we then drove about five miles in the wrong direction, passed Tsilivi and straight towards Zante Town. It was another eventful drive, but thankfully we made it back in one piece, albeit a bit sore and covered in about two inches of road dust. After eight hours on the road it’s safe to say we were in desperate need of a hot shower, a glass of wine and a very large, carby meal. What an experience to remember. Until next time, Greece!