Holidays: Wild about the west of Greece.Byline: Robin Gauldie
ITOS ITOS Improved TIROS Operational Satellite
ITOS Improved TIROS Operational System (polar-orbiting US weather satellites)
ITOS Integrated Test and Operations System (NASA) horses for courses on GreeceOs wild west coast. From buzzy Corfu and Zakinthos to quieter islands like Ithaki and Paxos, the Ionian Sea Ionian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea, S Europe, between Greece and S Italy. It is connected with the Adriatic Sea by the Strait of Otranto. The Gulf of Taranto and the Gulf of Corinth are its chief arms. The Ionian Islands lie in its eastern part. is a big crowd-pleaser. ROBIN GAULDIE picks the best beaches and resorts for summer 2005.
GET away from the crowds and stay in a villa on Corfu. Who needs a crammed beach when you can lie by a private pool with a view of olives groves and vineyards and a quiet village taverna ta·ver·na
A café or small restaurant in Greece.
[Modern Greek taverna, from Medieval Greek tabern just a stroll away? Just avoid the overcrowded stretch of kiss-me-quick beaches from Benitses to Kavos. But if youOre looking for a cheap and cheerful resort with bars, music pubs, tavernas and water sports water sports Urophilia, see there , look no further than the sweep of resorts north of Corfu Town from Gouvia to Dassia and Ipsos I where there are usually lots of last-minute holiday bargains.
Try Roda, on the north coast, for family holidays with shallow sandy beaches and warm water.
The west coast is a good bet too, with quieter resorts such as Aghios Gordios, which has a mile-long sandy beach Sandy Beach (location ) is on the South Shore of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. It is known for its shorebreak for bodyboarding and bodysurfing. The area is also known for its strong current and dangerous shorebreak. lined with loungers and umbrellas. Corfu Town, which is well worth a visit, is only 10 miles away. ItOs one of the prettiest towns in the islands, with good shopping, quaint old houses and heaps of good restaurants and pavement cafes.
STAY in a cottage with shared pool in Sgombou, Corfu, for pounds 621pp, including flights from Gatwick and a weekOs car hire with FILOXENIA (01653 617959, www.filoxenia.co.uk)
CORFUOS tiny, olive grove-covered neighbour, Paxos, has plenty of villas and houses (with and without pools) at Lakki and Longos and watersports (from windsurfing and sailing to water-skiing, parascending and scuba) making it a good choice for families with active teens. Fly into Corfu, then catch the shuttle-ferry (about one hour) to Paxos. But be prepared to make your own evening entertainment.
ONE weekOs half-board at the Paxos Beach hotel costs from pounds 550pp with www.sunvil.co.uk
IS Lefkas (also called Lefkada) really an island? ItOs a stoneOs throw from the mainland, and you get there by bus across a long causeway (flights from the UK land at Preveza, about an hourOs drive away on the mainland). But that doesnOt really matter I because Lefkas is a brilliant place for a family holiday, especially with a motley crew of restless teens. With its white pebbly beaches and deep blue water, Lefkas excels at water sports. Nidri, on the east coast, is the best place in Greece to learn to sail dinghies, yachts and windsurfers, and for more experienced sailors itOs a jumping-off point for flotilla cruising through an archipelago of tiny islands.
A WEEKOS B&B at the Hotel Odyssey from Oct 2 with flights from Gatwick costs pounds 395pp through Ionian Island Holidays (020 8459 0777, www.ionianislandholidays.com).
TINY Meganissi is the best-kept secret in the Ionian Sea I but it pops up in a few of the more discerning holiday brochures. You get there via Preveza and Levkas, and once youOre there itOs blissfully peaceful I this is no place to look for rowdy nightlife. There are three villages, Vathi, Spartohori and Katomeri, with plenty of little pebbly beaches scattered round the coast. Get your walking shoes on, and you can find your own private beach I but there are a couple of super small hotels with pools too, like the Hotel Meganissi in Katomeri, which is offered by Ionian Island Holidays.
B&B at the Hotel Meganissi (0030 264 505 1240) costs pounds 20pp per night.
FISKARDO, the dinky port at the islandOs north tip, is the prettiest place on Captain CorelliOs island. Yachts at anchor next to little fishing boats, an esplanade of tavernas and bars, views across to the neighbouring isles of Lefkada and Ithaki I what could be nicer? The beach is on the scruffy side, so rent a James Bond-style speedboat to scoot scoot
v. scoot·ed, scoot·ing, scoots
To go suddenly and speedily; hurry.
Upper Southern U.S. around the sheltered waters nearby in search of solitude. Assos is a quiet, pretty village with a tiny harbour overlooked by a Venetian castle. You can rent speedboats here, too. KefaloniaOs south coast, closer to the airport, has better beaches and heaps of affordable hotels and apartments at Skala and Lourdas, both with huge sand-and-pebble beaches and a bunch of cheerful tavernas. The newest spot is Spartia, an off-the-beaten- track village with a small square, which makes its debut in SunvilOs Specialist Greece brochure this year.
Kefalonia isnOt the greatest sightseeing island I which is nice, because you donOt have to feel guilty about staying put. But if you do get itchy itch·y
Having or causing an itching sensation. feet, the much-hyped Melissani Cave really does what it says on the packet I visiting its underground lake is a trip to another world.
TAPESTRY (020 8235 7788, www.tapestry holidays.com) have two weeks at Villa Afroditi in Fiskardo costs from pounds 850.
KEFALONIAOS tiny neighbour was home to the inventor of the Wooden Horse of Troy, Odysseus I played by Sean Bean in this yearOs movie and by Kirk Douglas in the 1967 classic Ulysses, about his 10-year struggle to get home to Ithaki after the end of the war.
Greek ferry services have improved a bit since then, and it only takes an hour to get to Ithaki from Kefalonia (itOs too small to have its own airport). Vathy, the islandOs capital, is a typically dozy do·zy
adj. do·zi·er, do·zi·est
Half asleep; drowsy.
dozi·ly adv. harbour town that comes to life only when the ferry comes in I and after dark, when it has some great and really authentic fish restaurants and grill tavernas. It has no beach, and the most popular places to stay are sleepy Kioni and even quieter Frikes, both set on sheltered bays on the north west coast. But the beaches here arenOt much cop, either, so look for accommodation with a pool.
SEVEN nightsO at the Apirilis Studios costs pounds 415pp including flights from Gatwick on Oct 1 through Ionian Island Holidays (020 8459 0777, www.ionianislandholidays.com).
ZAKINTHOS (also called Zante) has had some bad publicity recently with a rash of assaults on British visitors. But it is still one of the jewels of the Ionian, with pretty mountain scenery, blue seas, lots of cheap and cheerful nightlife and some fantastic beaches.
YouOll share the sea and sands of Laganas Bay with endangered loggerhead loggerhead: see sea turtle. turtles, which come here to lay their eggs each summer.
Nesting females, eggs and hatchlings are all at risk from seemingly innocent beach activities I your beach umbrella could crush a clutch of eggs I so do obey the rules that restrict access to parts of the beach at nesting times. Laganas gets the lionOs share of tourism I and this is very much a British holiday spot, with plenty of Union Jack shorts in evidence. ItOs right next to the airport and has a huge choice of restaurants pubs, bars and clubs I a mixed blessing if youOre an early-to-bed sort.
For somewhere quieter, try one of the resorts on the islandOs east coast I Argassi, Tsilivi, Alykes or Alikanas. Zakinthos lost most of its buildings and traditional villages to an earthquake in 1953, so thereOs not a lot of sightseeing I but there are fun boat trips to the Blue Caves at the north end of the island, where you can swim and snorkel snorkel, tube through which a submarine or diver can draw air while underwater. When in use, the top of the snorkel tube extends above the water surface into the air. in glowing azure azure /az·ure/ (azh´er) one of three metachromatic basic dyes (A, B, and C).
Any of various dyes used in biological stains, especially for blood and nuclear staining. water, and to Shipwreck shipwreck, complete or partial destruction of a vessel as a result of collision, fire, grounding, storm, explosion, or other mishap. In the ancient world sea travel was hazardous, but in modern times the number of shipwrecks due to nonhostile causes has steadily Beach, where the wreck of a freighter that ran aground a·ground
adv. & adj.
1. Onto or on a shore, reef, or the bottom of a body of water: a ship that ran aground; a ship aground offshore.
2. lies on a crescent of white sand.
SEVEN nights at Cronulla Studios is priced from pounds 219pp through Argo Holidays (0870 066 7070, www.argoholidays.com).
THE EPIRUS COAST
LOVE that island feeling but want more to explore? Take a look at the pretty mainland resorts of Sivota and Parga, on the wild and mountainous shore of the Ionian Sea, where there are big sandy beaches, attractive family resorts I and the option of renting a car and heading off into the wild blue yonder of Epirus and the Pindos Mountains, where there are hidden valleys, lost villages, lakes and ancient ruins. Both resorts are reached through Preveza airport, but you can also hop on a boat from Parga or Sivota for a day trip to Corfu or Paxos.
FOR hotels in Parga or Sivota go to www.greek-hotel.ws and check out ferry timetables on the Greek Travel Pages website www.gtp.net
Watersports in Dassia on Corfu; Peaceful Paxos; Beautiful beaches on Lefkas; Take to the water to explore Kefalonia; Stunning Melissani Cave, Kefalonia; Family-friendly Roda on Corfu