Laganas Travel Guide
Laganas beach, Zante
The hottest spot on the Greek island of Zante (or Zakynthos), particularly with the British 18-30 party crowd, is the holiday resort of Laganas, situated on Zante's south west coast. The resort boasts one of the longest beaches on the Mediterranean, with five and a half miles (9km) of golden sand, washed by warm, translucent waters. The beach is a conservation area for about 1,300 loggerhead turtles that nest on it each year, and visitors are asked to take care not to disturb the nests. This is also the reason for a ban on watersports on Laganas beach. The beach is lined with hotels and apartment blocks, and the town is crammed with restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Having been turned into a holiday fun-spot, there is not much of the traditional Greek island atmosphere left in Laganas, but just a little way out of the resort one can still find authentic Greek villages and peaceful countryside.
Laganas abounds with shops for holidaymakers to enjoy browsing through, from grocery stores where self-caterers can find all they require (including favourite British brands) to hundreds of souvenir shops that line the main street. Good buys are jewellery, leather goods, designer clothing and local crafts. Don't miss out on the delicious fresh bread and sweet pastries from local bakeries.
Laganas is positively awash with a huge range of restaurants for holidaymakers to enjoy, including snack bars and fast food outlets offering all sorts of cuisine from curry or kebabs to pizza or pies. Of course most visitors prefer to go Greek, and there are tavernas aplenty offering delicious Greek dishes. A firm favourite for local cuisine is the Akropolis, set a bit out of the way off of the central crossroads, with good food and good prices. For a quick snack any time of the day or night seek out Mama's Place which serves delectable gyros (kebabs), souvlaki, pizza slices and other fillers, particularly handy for clubbers heading home at dawn (it is opposite one of the top clubs, Rescue, on the main strip). Also scoring top marks is The Blue Sea, which is right on the beachfront, family run and offering Greek favourites in a very relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
By night Laganas seethes with party people and holidaymakers filling up the numerous bars and clubs. Reputable DJ's spin all the popular R&B and hip-hop tracks from late night through to the small hours and beyond. The top club is Rescue, which is always packed to capacity, offering reasonably priced drinks and very entertaining bar staff who literally set the place on fire with flame-throwing routines. Another hot favourite is the Cherry Bay Beach Club where the DJ occupies a speedboat, the staff wear wetsuits, and patrons can take a communal shower on a podium. There are also more relaxed cocktail bars and English-style pubs, as well as karaoke bars.
Laganas is dedicated mainly to fun, sun and partying, but there are some very worthwhile excursions to undertake from the holiday resort. Boat cruises around the island, particularly to view the turtles at the east end of the beach, and to visit Zante's extraordinary sea caves, are very popular. Holidaymakers can also easily access Zakynthos town to explore some museums, historic sites and churches and enjoy a shopping expedition. Watersports are not offered at Laganas beach, but a regular shuttle bus carries visitors to nearby Agios Nikolaos beach, where it is possible to indulge in a variety of aquatic pursuits.
Laganas is one of the biggest and busiest resorts in Greece, and holidaymakers looking for a quiet, traditional Greek island will be wildly disappointed. The beach is always jam-packed in the height of the season, and the resort is continually full of noise and commotion. Many visitors have complained about over-insistent touts outside clubs and restaurants, and some have reportedly been misled on the quality of their accommodation. There are no watersports offered at the resort because of the nesting loggerhead turtles on the beach.