Our long-standing customers, Jane and Zlatan, enjoyed a two-centre trip to Ithaca and Kefalonia. On their return, Jane kindly wrote this wonderful blog. Read all about their experience...
We were lucky enough to travel to two beautiful Greek Islands with Sunvil in August. Having booked last October and with the world now in turmoil, and in the midst of a global pandemic, we were not expecting our holiday to go ahead. It was with some trepidation that we set off with assurance from Sunvil that Greece was open and ready for visitors.
Gatwick Airport at sunrise was a hive of activity. Although the queues were beyond anything I had experienced before, it felt safe and organised, although I would advise people to make sure they have enough food and snacks on them and not to rely on airport restaurants. On the plane, cabin crew were well organised and ensured all passengers were complying with the Covid-19 precautions. Any drink purchases must be made contactless, so make sure you have your card to hand.
As soon as we touched down in Kefalonia airport it became apparent that the Greek authorities were extremely organised and had efficient, well thought out systems in place. You are required to wear a face mask at all times in the aircraft, airport and transfers but this is a small price to pay.
Our first week was spent on Ithaca in the small resort of Kioni. We were lucky enough to stay in the Kyparissia Apartments. The Kyparissia are under-sold as apartments. They are more a small terrace of pretty town houses situated in a prominent position overlooking the beautiful village harbour. The properties are an ideal place to stay if you do want a completely isolated holiday. The properties are large enough to host a family of four adults without you being on top of each other. The balconies are secluded and afford you spectacular views of the bay. Calli, the property’s owner, is nearby and has perfect English. She is warm and welcoming and lets you know that she is there if you need her.
Kioni is a small resort with small shingle bays. The walks are quite steep but, with well laid out paths, not difficult. There are always places to stop to get your breath and just marvel for a moment at the breathtaking views. We enjoyed sitting on our balcony watching the mega super yachts jostle for mooring spaces. The super yachts are like very expensive mushrooms sprouting up every evening then disappearing in the morning. It makes for an ever changing panorama. In the village there are 4 or 5 family run taverna’s. These can get a little busy around 9pm but the staff were very good at putting an extra table on the small shingle beach for you to enjoy your dinner. It feels very much like a scene from ‘Shirley Valentine’, to sit with your table literally in the water. There is a lovely roof top bar where you can enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset. The perfect way to round off the evening.
Kioni is not a place where life moves at a fast pace. It is a little corner of paradise where you have nothing to do but relax and while away the hours. The walk to ‘Cemetery Beach’ is lovely. A well laid out path meanders through the lush olive grove. The sound of crickets is almost deafening as you walk through and the turquoise waters peeking through the olive trees is quite breathtaking. A ‘selfie’ opportunity around every corner. There is a little ‘Cantina’ on the beach that serves simple, fresh food. I would advise anyone visiting Kioni to hire a small motorboat from the harbour. They will supply you will a cool box, so pack your picnic and see the island from its best vantage point. In August there are not many places where you can moor for lunch on a beach and be the only living beings there (apart from the occasional goats which sometimes wander along the beach). This is social isolation at its absolute best.
The village has a small but well stocked ‘supermarket’. If you do not want to carry your shopping bags up the hill to your apartment the owner will wiz them up for you and leave them on the doorstep. Although the restaurants were busy in the evenings it does not feel unsafe. The tables are spaced so you are not on top of each other and the staff all wear masks. If you do not want to sit in the restaurants, you can order from the restaurant and have the food delivered to your apartment.
The second week was spent in the larger resort of Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia. The pace of life here is busier than Ithaca but it still feels safe. We stayed in the Waterfront Apartments. Number 9 is exceptional. It has a quaint little cottage feel with beautiful views of the bay. You have your own terrace under a pergola laden with bunches of grapes from the vine. This affords you a beautiful shaded spot to enjoy your breakfast or lunch. The water laps to the edge of your private terrace. You literally dive from your sunbed into the sea. We spent hours snorkelling around the steps to our terrace which seemed to attract goldfish every afternoon. Although there are a few apartments in the Waterfront, there is sufficient room for everyone to sunbathe whilst still socially distancing.
A short walk takes you into the village where there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Fiscardo is a yachting mecca and can get busy with all the people coming ashore in the evenings for dinner but, again the place feels safe and not overly crowded. If you prefer to eat in your apartment there is a wonderful traditional baker in the village that has not only morning pastries and breads but wonderful Greek pies. There are two very well stocked supermarkets to pick up everything you need to self-cater. On one occasion we were lucky enough to have Stravroula, the owner, cook us a traditional Greek dish. We picked it up from her house and enjoyed it sitting on our terrace.
Kioni and Fiscardo are always special places to visit. We like to combine the two as a twin centre holiday. To visit them during the Covid-19 pandemic makes you feels like the luckiest people on earth. You have these wonderful places just a few hours away from home where you can enjoy social distancing at its most beautiful.
Thank you to Sunvil and your resort reps for helping us to have the holiday of a lifetime. One where we felt safe at all times.