Highlights from the Harrison’s 2013 summer holiday

 

There was much anticipation as we travelled the short distance from Preveza airport on mainland Greece, across the causeway to the island of Lefkas, and then along the coast road to Perigali. We were on our way to Villa Nisos.

We were a bit earlier than our scheduled arrival time, so we took the opportunity to pop into Nidri town, where the boys were more than ready for the great club sandwiches served at Café de Paris on the waterfront!

It’s been a few years since we last stayed here and it was great to see that our fond memories of the villa were justified. The villa was spacious, spotless and comes with stunning views as standard.

Immediately the race was on to see who would make it into the pool first – something of a family tradition! As usual it was Joseph, our youngest, who was the winner. A holiday at Villa Nisos has properly started when you jump into the inviting pool, from where you can enjoy views across the Ionian.

Our second family tradition at the start of any holiday in Greece is to enjoy some local moussaka, accompanied by a large glass of Mythos beer for dad. This was easily accomplished to everyone’s satisfaction on our first evening, with a great meal at the Pinewood restaurant, located right on the beach close to the villa.

We spent the first couple of days unwinding at the villa, with lots of fun and games in the pool, involving a wide variety of inflatable sea creatures! There was also time to relax on the sun loungers and start the inevitable holiday novels.

With such a superb villa and pool, it was tempting to spend the majority of our time enjoying the views and the pool, but we made a point of getting out and about to see the island and to do a range of activities.

One of our first excursions was to the local Vafkeri waterfalls, a very short drive from the villa. Whilst relatively small in scale, they were worth the trip. We went early, before most of the tourists and were rewarded with the place to ourselves. The falls were beautiful and Joseph and his dad took the plunge into the pool at the base, that could best be described as refreshing!

 

With two boys aged 11 and 13, it wasn’t long before it was time for some action on the water. This was easily achieved by a visit to Denis water sports next to the Sail Inn. Joseph enjoyed the adrenaline rush of a high-speed ride on a large inflatable sofa. Dad went along to hold him in place! And Benjamin had a water ski lesson, that resulted in him progressing from ‘holding the bar’ to skiing ‘at the end of the line’. Both boys were happy and proud of their exploits.

Another of our excursions was to the very highest point on the island. As a family we are recent converts to the game of ‘Geocache’ – basically a global treasure hunt. Guess what? There were some ‘caches’ to find on Lefkas and one of them was at the Chapel of St. Ilias, known as the White Church, some 1000m above sea level!

We set off on our journey with confidence, but as the twisting road went ever higher and the roads got narrower, we wondered if we’d ever get there. Our persistence paid off however when we arrived at the White Church. There we were rewarded with stunning panoramic views across the island, even if we didn’t find the cache!

After enjoying views from the villa of so many boats travelling from island to island, it wasn’t surprising that we fancied a piece of the action!

First we tried dinghy sailing, under tuition from the guys at Ocean Elements on the beach at Nidri. On a windy day, this proved to be a very exhilarating experience. After an uncontrolled jibe (dad on the tiller), we all ended up in the water after capsizing! All ended well though, thanks to the efficiency of the rescue boats that are always on hand to provide swift assistance.

Our next sailing experience was much more relaxed and enjoyable for all concerned.  We booked a day sail on one of the Nisos yachts, with one of their experienced and friendly skippers at the helm. Richard met us first thing in the morning and provided a few options for our day sail. Once we’d agreed our preferred route, it was up with the anchor and we were underway.

Our day sail offered a great opportunity to experience a yacht under sail, with the option to either relax or help out and learn some of the ropes. Pun intended! We visited the mainland, stopping off for swimming and snorkelling in a quiet bay along the way. We shared an enjoyable lunch together at a recommended taverna, where dad had moussaka again! Then it was back under sail for the afternoon, returning to Nidri at the end of the day.

Our final day on the water was when we hired a motorboat. Our 30hp boat enabled us to visit Meganisi and stop off at some of the smaller islands we could see from our villa. Our journey was very choppy at first, but great fun when the wind had settled down. It was great to be in control of our own boat and to stop off in little bays for a swim.

As well as all the activities on the water, we also explored some of the island by car and visited a couple of local attractions, including the beautiful Monastery of Faneromeni.

After two weeks we were thoroughly relaxed. We had enjoyed the best of what the island has to offer, on land and on the water, from the comfort of our luxurious villa. We celebrated on our last night with a fantastic meal at The Seaside restaurant at Geni, where we enjoyed excellent service from Kosta and his team. It’s only a short drive from the villa and provided a great end to our Ionian experience – booking required by the way, as it’s now rated no.1 restaurant on the island on Trip Advisor!

 

Submitted by Mark Harrison