After many years of doing the annual family trek to France my husband and I arrived at middle age with grown children and for the first time we could afford a holiday with flights abroad. So having seen the delights of Greece via Shirley Valentine :) I booked us a package deal to Tsilivi with Olympic Holidays. It was the first week of the season in May 2008. We arrived at the Zante Star (Yanni was still alive then for those who met him) and were amazed at the quality and service at the hotel.
Having ventured into town I was shocked. Of course I knew about Spain being very anglicised but knew nothing of the kind about Greece. English breakfast every where, English writing everywhere and then I passed Magdalena's Bar and Peter Kay was on the telly lol. I thought "am I really in Greece?" A part of me was a bit disappointed. Too many garish shop fronts. Having been used to little French villages and a holiday where for 3 weeks every summer we had to speak nothing but French to come to Greece and see very little that seemed to be Greek was a disappointment.
We enjoyed our trip but resolved to go to places that seemed more Greek if we returned to Greece in future. Since then we've been to Halkidiki, Symi, Samos and the most Greek we found was Agios Nikolaos in the Mani Peloponnese. While doing that we also returned to Tsilivi a further 2 times and this summer will be our 4th time there. There are many other areas of Greece I want to visit, and will, and also I must go back to Symi which took my breath away but Tsilivi seems to have a hold on me that I cannot quite understand and my husband feels the same.
I just love the interesting layout of the resort. The fact that it's not just one straight strip of shops and bars but a myriad of little off shoots all with tavernas and bars and shops. The resort is never boring even at the quietest times. I love taking a trip into Zante town and having a drink in the bars on st Marcos square and walking along the sea front watching the fish and the boats. Taking lunch outside near St Dionysius church in the restaurants opposite the sea. In Tsilivi I walk from one end to the other. From the Balcony Hotel to Alexander Beach Hotel and beyond. Usually finishing at the Olde Vineyard Taverna (now sadly closed) then inland to all the different areas. I have spent a wet October inside Planet bar and appreciated Gyroland when the resort was closing but it remained open until the last. Discovered Popeyes. Had always walked past thinking it was too fast foody looking. Popped in one day and had the best Moussaka ever and was back the next night for the chicken. Chicken like we used to taste in the UK. I love the Olive Tree and used to go to The Olde Vineyard also. I also love Magdalena's although I always move on when the Karaoke starts lol. Freddies Beach bar also. Beautiful food and wine. This years must do's are Balcony hotel for sunset drinks as it's never been open when we've been low season. I want to enjoy a peaceful drink by the beach in the evening. Will see what Alexander's beach party is like. If no other 50 + codgers are they will leave it to the kids lol. I want to go into Zante town a few times but also look at visiting another resort while there just to compare.
I looked and researched all over Greece for this years summer break and ended up thinking I'd like to see Tsilivi high season for a change. In all its gaudy glory when everything is open:) The resort I thought I'd never return to has me hooked. I think one word sums it up. COMFORTABLE. I feel comfortable, welcome, at home there. It all feels so easy and relaxed. I can see why so many keep returning. It's like visiting an old treasured friend.Edited: 10:20 am, June 20, 2013