EntertainmentTravel

Holiday was a Greek banker

Zante, Greece
Zante, Greece

IT’S 30 degrees and the sun is setting, everyone is wearing white, the music is blaring, people are swimming out to a dance floor floating in the ocean and the cocktails flow – for the first time in a long time, I feel young, wild and free.

I’m on the Greek island of Zante (Zakynthos) and for one week I’m reliving my college days... sleeping all day and partying all night.

I’ve signed up to the Falcon #NRG programme (or Thomson’s version called Scene), where you attend a party every night of your holiday – and so far it’s been paying off.

The infamous white party takes place just one day before we have to leave this paradise island, and it’s a perfect ending to our trip.

On arrival at The Ionas Art Hotel in Laganas, Zante, and before we’d even had a chance to check-in, we were taken straight to the bar. Instead of asking for our passports we were asked if we wanted shots (it was a rhetorical question, of course).

A few minutes after landing the first party began and two Falcon/Thomson representatives bring us on a pub crawl — it’s the perfect way to meet people, discover the area and kick-start your party holiday.

I can honestly say that I haven’t had a week of partying since my college days, but this is all about reliving the time.

I’m not ancient just yet, but at 25 I did think I might be too old for a party island. However, it seems this is actually the perfect place for people in their 20s.

Every night there is a different event scheduled and it costs €190 to attend every single party — with most of them including two hours of free alcohol.

These parties include a Beach Party, a Booze Cruise, a Full Moon Party (where you drink out of buckets, of course) a Foam Party and a Paint Party (don’t worry, they give you spare T-shirts). It’s all very messy, but all good fun.

Not to sound like an old spoilsport, but if there are parents out there worrying about Leaving Cert students heading off then I really would recommend the Falcon programme, because once they sign up for the events they are with the same reps every day and there’s always security at the parties.

One place you have to check out is Republic Beach Club in Laganas.

Just a few days before I arrive the multi-award-winning rap artist Professor Green had performed there, with a lavish pool party club overlooking the ocean.

His wife, Made In Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh, posted a host of Instagram photos inside the club as well as around Zante — so if this place is good enough for Millie, it’s good enough for me.

We head there for the Beach Party and to keep us entertained there’s free BBQ food, cheap drinks and some fun games — which include getting the guys to persuade girls to give them their bikinis and make-up — first one back dressed as a woman wins a free drink.

From vodkas floating around the pool on lilos to water hoses unexpectedly soaking people, it’s a fun and silly day out.

But you don’t have to sign up for all of the #NRG events. During the day there are plenty of fabulous places on the beach that offer free sunbeds and free wi-fi.

My favourite spot was a place called Malibooze (you get the theme here) and strawberry daiquiris were my drink of choice.

If you want to party only one or two nights instead of committing to all seven then you can definitely head out on the town yourself.

In fact, going out on the strip with your friends is easy and the drinks are ridiculously cheap anyway.

For example, we head into a club called Zeros, where two drinks and two accompanying shots are just €5... we paid for that night the next morning, I can tell you.

Zante is definitely the perfect place to dance well into the night, meet new people and just have fun. Walking home when the sun is coming up is a pretty nice feeling.

And there’s a real sense of community, since everyone has signed up for the same package holidays, we keep bumping into the same people and it’s nice to see friendly faces.

While most people sleep off the night before during the days, myself and my sister made sure to do some exploring.
After spending some days hanging around the pool at the Ionas Art Hotel, chatting to groups of people mainly from the UK and playing pool tennis, we decided to actually leave our hotel.

As much as it is a party island, there are actually some excellent sight-seeing opportunities.

We headed to Olympia to get a tour of the grounds where the original Olympic Games took place and where the infamous Zeus statue was created.
The tour only cost €47 and included bus transfers and a tour guide.

The ocean around Zante is definitely the clearest I’ve ever seen and the sunlight reflection looks like sparkles of magic.

We chose a full day cruise around the island which brings you to the well-known Shipwrecked island, a swimming stop at Kerri Caves and a tour of the unforgettable Blue Caves.

Unfortunately the weather was a bit rocky the day we went out so we couldn’t stop off at the Shipwrecked island — where there is an actual scuttled ship still on the beach — but it’s definitely a must see.

Zante is also famous for turtle spotting. You can choose from multiple different journeys out to Turtle Island where you’re guaranteed to see some turtles.

For me, the perfect holiday involves sipping a cocktail, reading a book and laying by the pool.

With the Falcon #NRG programme you definitely get more than your fair share of cocktails, and I spent my afternoons getting some reading in by the pool, so I still got everything I wanted.

The highlight was definitely the White Party.

Trying to replicate the infamous parties in Marbella’s Nikki Beach, you won’t get a more stunning view of the sun going down and when else do you get the opportunity to dance in the ocean?

Leaving Zante I thought I would be wrecked from all the partying but actually I felt rejuvenated and, most importantly, I felt young again.

Falcon has #NRG package deals to Zakynthos on July 21, including a week in the Hotel Laganas, room only for €559pps or B&B in the Ionis Art Hotel from €619pps.
On July 28 they have seven nights at the Blue Bell Apts, self catering from €559pps (based on four sharing )
#NRG by Falcon specialises in a selection of young and lively destinations in the best Mediterranean party hotspots. Their destination range includes Crete, Rhodes, Zante, Corfu, Bulgaria, Majorca and Ibiza.
For more falconholidays.ie