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I visited Laganas in Zante (Zaknythos) in July 2008. I had heard some pretty bad things about the town, as a boy was killed when bouncers threw him down some a steep staircase the week before I flew out. We flew with Thomas Cook which was, as always, pleasent as ever. Our group of 6 were 18 so obviously we wanted to have fun whilst in Zante.
WHERE WE STAYED-
We stayed in the Alexander Hotel (also known as Alexander the Great) around 10 minutes away from the airport and as most places, it was not as described as in the brochure. We were greeted by around 20 teenage drunk teenage boys even though it was around 7 o'clock in the morning. We soon found out that our hotel had a 24/7 bar serving alcohol the whole time- not such a good idea if you want to sleep! The rooms were tiny with three small beds, and a small balcony off it. The rooms got quite hot however you could buy air-con, we found it was just as effective to open the balcony doors with the blinds shut. The bathroom was disgusting, and tiny, I actually had to sit down in the shower as it is just a corner of the room with a shower curtain, and the water would have gone all over the floor had i not sat down and actually held the shower head to wash myself. The pool was clean, and not too cold. There were always plenty of spare sunbeds even in the afternoon, so we didn't need to get up early or anything. I only ate from the small cafe bar once, and the food was horrible. We never were up in time for breakfast.
WHERE WE ATE
Some of the restaurants around Laganas were excellent, we would barter between two restaurants outside out hotel and ended up with as much as 25% off our meals and free cocktails. Also interesting mixes of food such as an Italian/Chinese restaurant which catered for everybody in the group really.
THINGS TO DO-
We went on a Thomas Cook booze cruise, was a bit disappointed. Took us to some nice sights though of beautiful beaches. Got to jump off the boat into the sea to cool off which was quite good, didn't have much alcohol available though and it was just one thing- sex on the beach (was sick of it by the end!). We went on a speed boat, went out to a small island and some caves, they were quite good! One problem, its really easy to break the motor, ours kept smashing agaisnt the rocks, managed to get it fixed though, oops! Also some water sports apparently but in local towns because Laganas and Zante as a whole are famous for the turtles here and they don't want to disturb them with water sports. Turtle watching is also an activity option.
The weather was gorgeous every day we were there. The first day was slightly cloudy and we were really apprehensive about it despite the good weather reports. The sun shone from about 8 in the morning til 7 o'clock at night so brilliant for the serial tanners. One day a Thomas Cook represenative even said over the intercom that it had reached 41 degrees C. Brilliant weather especially for those who can stand the heat!
We went to the local beach once, and I cannot say I was impressed. The sand was not as we expected (white sandy beaches) it was more of a grey colour, however I guess tourists have ruined it. Apparently there were some great beaches in towns nearby. We did go on a booze cruise one day from Zante Town and saw some beautiful beaches from the boat, however couldn't really go on them whilst sailing!
The nightlife was brilliant for young people, generally 18-30s. Most were in late teens/twenties and there were so many different bars and clubs to choose from. One of our favourites was an Irish bar called Mad Murpheys. We also liked Cocktails and Dreams (this was the bar the boy was killed at) it is always so brightly lit. This town is seriously not for families, older couples or those wanting a relaxing time. The noise is very loud, and everybody ends up on the beach at night (probably a reason why it isn't very nice). A lot of the bars are open front, and a lot just have a door at the back saying "club entrance". So once your in the bar, you think its quite big and cool and walk through the back door and theres a whole new massive room with lots and lots of people in there!
As an 18 year old, I loved this holiday and would recommend anybody in the same situation as me, wanting to go on holiday with mates and do the whole party holiday. I really would not recommend if you had small children or were not up for this sort of holiday. I recommend you to stay in quieter areas on the island. I can appreciate why people wouldn't like this sort of holiday...... but hey thats you!