Traveling around the island can be pretty difficult if you don’t have a car. The public transportation does not cover the whole island but just a small part, therefore a lot of tourists rely on organized trips. We did it too and it was a nice experience so I want to share it with you. We bought the island tour, Kefalonia tour (blog article coming soon) and Navagio boat trip. Also, we visited the capital, Zante, on our own using public transportation.
Navagio boat trip (25 euro/person) – or between paradise and nightmare
The day we arrived, the Ionian sea was very agitated, with big waves. We enjoyed the view, as all the strong currents have colored the water in an incredible turquoise. And the waves were the missing puzzle in order to have a surprising wild landscape. The problem was with the timing of each planned trip. What should we do with Navagio boat trip? We waited for a couple of days hoping that the sea will calm down (and it happened just when we were on the island tour) in order to buy the tickets.
On Sunday, we had a free day – no trips, just relaxing. As the sea was calm, we reserved the seats for an unforgettable trip (and when I say unforgettable, I mean it, you will see later why). The local agency had tickets for 2 trips: 9:30h or 13:30h. We chose the first trip for the next day.
On Monday morning it was sunny and the sea was quiet so we were prepared to start our adventure. And what adventure! In the first part of the trip, everything was perfect! I was taking photos, admiring the view and enjoying the ride.
When we got to the northern part of the island, the nightmare started: the boat started to move a lot (and when I say a lot, just imagine a small boat facing some high waves). I couldn’t believe that on one part of the island the sea can be so calm and on the other side to be…the worst nightmare. Our first mistake was that we changed our seats with the ones from the frontal part (I thought that the bus principle: if you have car sickness, just seat on the front seats, will work for the boat) Hell, no! It is the other way around for boats: it’s better to stay on the back as you will not feel the movement that strong. We didn’t know that so we proudly moved to the frontal part.
And the boat was moving: up and down, left – right, some water drops were entering the boat…and I was starting to feel more and sicker. A staff member saw me and asked if I’m ok. Hmm, not really, I answered. He told us that we will have an hour break at Navagio so enough time to feel good again. This was my hope also.
After 25 minutes of torture, we were approaching Navagio. I felt it because the boat had slowed down and the movement was not that strong. All the other people were approaching the deck with cameras. I didn’t see where we were and if we finally got there as I was sitting down and vomiting. However, I was waiting for the boat to anchor in order to get off from that terrific boat.
Suddenly, a staff member said:
– Sea is bad, let’s go!
What? I was feeling like hell, I was mentally down and unprepared for another 30 minutes of torture and they just told us that we will return? without seeing anything?? Well, yes! They could not anchor as the sea was agitated and the boats are not allowed to anchor when the sea currents are strong. So, they returned the boat and got back.
A staff member forced me to get out and to stay in the back side of the boat (as there is more convenient for someone with seasickness). This was the moment when I could see all that beauty, the crazy blue of the water, the giant rocks…everything was unreal.
But unreal was also my mood. I took 3 photos (this was my freedom time) and then I approached the bathroom. I stopped in front of it and I started vomiting there. I fall on the floor, I was not able to get up while vomiting a lot. In the end, I don’t know how I got up and reached the bathroom (where I spent the majority of the journey). Fortunately, our boat arrived quickly in the eastern part of the island, where the sea was calm and everything came back to normal.
I lay down on a bench and tried to fall asleep. All I wanted was to get home healthy. And you can imagine how sick I was if I was unable to get up and take some photos of Blue caves! We had a 30 minutes stop there.
Then, we stopped at Xigia beach. In that moment, I was feeling better so I got up and admired the beautiful scenery. This beach is famous for its sulfuric water used in some medical affections. The boat stopped pretty close to the beach but one had to swim in order to reach the beach. I stayed in the boat and captured some shots:
After this stop, we finally!!! got to Alykes and Alikanas. I was so damaged that I couldn’t eat anything all day. However, I was grateful that I got home alive (jajaja).
Some thoughts after this boat trip:
Boat trips to Navagio are a tourist trap!
- You are forced to buy the trip in advance (if you want to go in with the first tour, at 9:30 o’clock) and you will not know if the sea is calm that day. Or even worse, maybe the sea is calm on the eastern part (as it usually is) but on the western part is the hell!
- If the sea is bad, it doesn’t worth to go on a boat trip as they are not allowed to anchor at Navagio.
- They will not inform you if they can anchor at Navagio (and to be honest, they know for sure how is the weather on the other part of the island). In my case, it was even worse: they told me that we will stop one hour at Navagio and I was shocked to see that we were returning soon after we got there.
If I were to go again, I would:
- Choose a bigger ship. On the island there are a lot of options, so choose the biggest one (they have around 200 seats). We chose a smaller one (with 60 seats) and felt the movement a lot!
- Search on the internet for weather conditions (including wind speed).
- Take some pills for seasickness in advance. Sea bands are also useful.
- Eat lighter the night before and in the morning.
- Sit on the back (the movement is not that strong and you always have fresh air).
Island tour (30 euros/person)
I liked the island tour a lot as it helped me to have a full picture of this beautiful island. The narrow and sinuous road with a lot of ups and downs gave me the creeps, especially as we were in a big bus (the driver is a hero, I swear!). However, every curve was showing us other beautiful hidden beach, other small hill full of olives, other surprising view!
I liked that during the trip, the guide explained to us some interesting details about the island. For example, did you know that the eastern part is where the soil is fertile so that the locals can plant vegetables and have olive groves! On the western part of the island, the soil is not fertile, so limestone rocks and pines are predominant (do you wonder now why the unreal Navagio is located on the western part?)
Wine cellar – they will quickly show you the place and the process of obtaining wine. For me it was quite boring as I don’t drink wine. Presenting the wine cellar lasted for 10 minutes and the tasting part for about 20 minutes. You can buy wine after that. A bottle is around 10 euros.
Then, we headed to the northeastern part of the island. On the way, I have captured some shots of the beautiful landscape:
Second stop: Panoramic point above Alykes-Alikanas region. What I liked there was the combination of hills, trees (a very green landscape) with the Ionian sea and coastal part. It is a stop only for photos for 5 minutes.
Agios Nikolaos was the next stop. There, we had 2 options: either to go to the Blue Caves with the agency or wander around the harbor. We chose the second option and stayed at a tavern with other tourists. It was a nice opportunity to get to know each other better.
The part that I did not like was that Blue Caves trip delayed a lot our departure and instead of staying 30 minutes there we ended up staying one hour. (and the next stop was Navagio!)
Navagio panoramic point – I dreamed so much about getting there! The story is: I was in high school and it was a boring summer day. I was scrolling down on social media however nothing impressed me. I came across a spectacular photo which caught my attention: it was a giant rock surrounding a small beach and an incredible blue water all around. I did not know where it was so I searched for more information and I discovered that it was in Greece! (so close to Romania). In that moment, I promised myself that I will do everything possible to get there. It was my secret dream, my motivation. And it caaaaame true this year!
From the moment we got there (when we couldn’t see too much) I felt something special, a good vibe. Then the guide told us “We will stay here until you make some photos from the arranged area”. There was a queue formed in that place and we were not sure if we will have a good angle from there so we decided to walk further, on the next hill. We saw that it was a trail there so we decided to follow it. Then, the adventure started: it was so hot, the wind was blowing, we were running like crazy on the trail which was full of sharp rocks and bushes… from time to time we were stopping to see the view but we were not content so let’s run again, “take care”, “omg I hurt myself”, “wait a minute to take a photo”.
I hurt my feet as I was not attentive to the road. The way until there was 10 minutes long and the view was spectacular! My only regret is that we were in such a rush that we didn’t have time to admire all that incredible landscape. I had only some minutes to breath and enjoy the view. However, it was a nice experience and we were content that we succeeded to get there without having a car.
Lunch break – After all the rush, we received a well deserved break for lunch. The view of the restaurant was very beautiful and the food was delicious.
The next stop was to admire an olive tree of 2000 years old.
Olive oil factory – last stop. They have a wide range of olive oil, body and face lotions. Prices are around 10 euros.
Around 7 o’clock, we were home with a lot of memories and landscapes kept in our heart.
Have a nice trip,
Travel. Enjoy. Repeat.