A Geocaching Holiday on Zante

Known as the ‘Flower of the East’, Zante is one of the most picturesque Greek islands and is famous for its stunning landscapes, beautiful blooms and wonderful sights.

However, whilst it’s a treat to escape from the chilly British climate and bask in the warm sun of the Ionian islands, it can be difficult to know exactly what to see and where to go. Geocaching offers individuals the perfect chance to stretch their legs and be guided to parts of the island they may not previously have thought to visit. Here’s a beginners guide to geocaching and some places you might want to visit on Zante to enjoy your new hobby. If you look online, cheap holidays to Zante are available, just do your homework.

What is geocaching?

Geocaching started out as an underground cult hobby which has exploded in popularity and is now enjoyed by thousands of people. Completely free to take part, it is suitable for old and young, singletons, couples and families and some routes are also accessible to wheelchairs and buggies.

The concept is simple. A box is hidden by a geocacher, out of sight of passers-by, and usually in a particularly scenic, unusual or interesting location. The box contains a few items of interest and a notepad. The co-ordinates for the box – the geocache – are then published on the geocaching website together with some information about the location and a few hints about where to look for those that want a bit of a helping hand.

The only equipment you need is a GPS unit; many smartphones come automatically equipped with one. Entering in the co-ordinates will guide you to within a few feet of the geocache and then it’s up to you to discover where it’s hidden! Take care however that no-one spots you – secrecy is the name of the game.

Once you find it, you are welcome to take one of the items in the box – on the proviso that you leave something in return. Add a message and your name in the notepad, and then bingo! Congratulations, you are now part of the geocaching community!

Geocaches vary in size – some are tiny whereas others can be really quite large! – and the routes can be either over easy, medium or rough terrain. Geocaches are found in towns and cities as well as in the countryside and are in more or less every country in the world!

The Blue Caves

The west part of Zante is renowned for its intricate rock faces and mountainous terrain, difficult to access but with breathtaking views.

Caves feature heavily in the area, and the best known are the Blue Caves which can be found close to the Cape of Skinari. The caves gets their name from the refraction of light, absorbing the vibrant blue of the sea and creating an almost eerie effect.

The geocache hidden in this location has been awarded four stars out of five for difficulty, primarily because the caves can only be reached via sea. However, at the time of writing, 162 people have been to the cache site and 152 found it without any problems. A rather unique and unusual method of reaching a geocache, visitors have commented how much fun they had combining the visit to the stunning caves to collect their prize with a boat trip.

The beautiful Blue Caves which can easily be reached on one of the many boat trips available

The beautiful Blue Caves which can easily be reached on one of the many boat trips available

Sun, sea, sand….and geocaching

For geocachers that fancy squeezing in a prize or two without sacrificing valuable beach time, the next location should tick all the boxes.

Finding a geocache doesn’t always have to be about venturing into the middle of nowhere; one of the most fun things about the hobby is that geocaches are nearly always surrounding you….but people don’t realise!

The co-ordinates lead geo-cachers to a lovely spot where the pristine sands and the deep blue waters  are edged by extraordinary cliffs made from gypsum, known locally as the Gypsolithoi.

Spend the day by the gentle waves and take a break half way through to wander along the beach to search for the geocache – what better way to enjoy Zante?

A Greek legend

Greece is full of mythology and folklore and it would be a shame to visit Zante without experiencing some of its history first-hand.

Herodoto’s Spring is an ancient water source where it is said the famous Greek explorer and historian, Herodoto stopped to quench his thirst when he visited the island. Lying within the peaceful fishing village of Keri Lake, geocachers can enjoy exploring the traditional narrow streets and spend an afternoon in one of the many tavernas where local cuisine is also readily available. There are also many shops to while away the day whilst drinking in the serene atmosphere and picturesque views.

Oh – and if you want a clue where to look for the cache, let’s just say it’s not on the ground…

A different kind of wild life

For some holidaymakers heading to Greece, wild life means a crazy night out on the tiles. However, for those willing to seek out the quieter spots it is possible to see some of the native animals that live on the Greek islands, such as the loggerhead turtles.

An endangered species, the loggerhead grows to around 90cm and is a beautiful example of marine turtle.

This cache takes you back to the sands of Zante, but this time to the south western part of the island;  Laganas.  Despite being one of the most popular beaches with tourists, at 9km long there is plenty of room for everyone! The turtles create nests on the pristine beach and if you arrive at the right time of year you are almost guaranteed to get the chance to marvel at the natural phenomenon. The females lay their eggs in the peak of summer and with an unerring sense of drama, the babies emerge onto a moonlit beach at night. For this reason, tourists are not permitted onto the sands after sunset.

This cache has been marked as being particularly suitable for beginners, easy to find and a gentle walk. You won’t need to go rummaging through the sand or disturb any turtles nests to find it!

The other interesting part about this geocache is that Laganas is one of the busiest parts of the island. There is more or less every kind of shop you can imagine and if you are looking for gifts or souvenirs, you will find the loggerhead turtle features strongly! The resort is lined with tavernas, bars and restaurants and there is plenty of entertainment, no matter what you are looking for; whether it be a traditional Greek dance or a throbbing nightclub!

The endangered loggerhead turtles which can be seen swimming freely in the waters around Laganas

The endangered loggerhead turtles which can be seen swimming freely in the waters around Laganas

 

Conclusion

Zante is one of the most beautiful Greek islands, known for many things including its lush greenery, scented blossoms and stunning views. However, whilst there is plenty of opportunities for those that want a quieter holiday, resorts such as Laganas offer non-stop entertainment and every facility imaginable. But wherever you opt to stay, fitting in a spot of geocaching during your break could lead you to some of the loveliest spots on the island so why not give it a try for yourself?

 

Image credits: Frosted Peppercorn and RobW_ 

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