This List is an updated version by Chris C for 2007 of those posted over the years and are his personal tips for visitors to Kalamaki! If you feel something should be added or changed, let me know!
I`d advise anyone to check with their airline and Departure Airport as to what you can take currently, as it seems to vary from airport to airport, well in advance of going on your holiday, there are drastic changes so please check carefully!
Yes, DEPARTURES is small, but it is in the process of being rebuilt eventually and remember it is a tiny fraction of your holiday! The new ARRIVALS LOUNGE is open and running. On your return journey, take water,hat and sunblock in high season as you do have to queue outside to avoid crowding inside. Avoid the FOOD KIOSKS, they are extortionate and the food not good! The Duty Free shop up the stairs has a fridge at the back selling cold beer and pop at normal prices, buy from there.
Please be courteous, allow people with kids, older people or ladies to have your seat!
Regarding AIRPORT NOISE in the hotels, I have never been disturbed by it, in fact it`s enjoyable watching the planes coming in and out!
TRANSFERS, TOURS and REPS
A taxi costs very little to any of the resorts if you haven`t a transfer or don`t want to wait for the bus. I normally advise to book tours locally rather than the reps as they are cheaper by far, HOWEVER some cut price tours locally have been poor quality and so it may be best to book these via your rep, especially if it is a trip with any risk eg 4x4 tours, watersports etc, as there may be problems on insurance if you use a local company.
I would NOT recommend a full day boat trip, the potential to burn and be seasick is very high! If you do wish to take part in one please take loads of sunblock. Apparently some do not allow you to take your own food and drink on them so check first.
I use Hermes (next to Mermaids,ask for Yiannis) or Merlis (see Julie who is very helpful), and always check the small print! Always get the DAMAGE WAIVER and check it covers everything including underside damage (there are a lot of pot holes!!). I would never, ever recommend tourists hiring mopeds or Quads .I would advise anyone to hire a 4x4 and drive wherever you feel like it, it is a small island and you will find breathtaking views, traditional shops and tavernas and beautiful beaches, it is a fantastic experience to get out of the resort and do this!
TAXIS and HORSE and CART RIDES
There is a recommended price for any taxi journey, and here is the link
The Horse and Cart rides are, to be honest, very expensive.
With taxis or horse and carts, agree the fare BEFORE you set off
Don`t drink the WATER, it has a very high mineral content, and I don`t even brush my teeth with it. Mineral water is very cheap, stock up from the shops. I avoid ice in drinks, and anything like fruit salad etc that is prepackaged.
The best MOSQUITO KILLER I have found is the Boots own brand Liquid plug in, very effective and essential.
Please avoid HENNA TATTOOS, people have been poisoned and in some cases permanently burned by the ink.
Make sure you have TRAVEL INSURANCE and also the new E111 CARD, you can apply for the E111 and it is free, at your Post Office.
You don`t need any particular vaccinations to travel to Greece.
In the main summer months it is well worth paying for the airconditioning to cool your rooms.
EATING OUT and NIGHTLIFE
The beauty of Kalamaki is there is a bar and restaurant for everyone`s tastes. Everyone has their own favourites, and you will see the better restaurants as they are busy, people go back for quality and service.You can choose quiet places in secluded spots, a light snack or a takeaway if you wish anywhere in the resort. Everyone has different tastes though, so I always think it better if people DON`T ask for people`s recommendations on various Kalamaki forums, they may well have different tastes to yours....go where you think you like the look of the restaurant, try different ones, and see which are busy as people tend to go back for good food and service!
There is a cover charge of about 80 cents in most restaurants, it includes bread.
Please IGNORE some of the reviews on websites and try places for yourselves. If you have a problem with your hotel, meal, drinks or whatever please ASK TO SEE THE MANAGER, Greek people want you to enjoy your holiday and will do their utmost to solve any problems.Also the odd review that says Kalamaki is tacky, these people obviously didn`t get out and about and try different places!
If you have good service, please tip well! To Greeks you are seen as a guest to be welcomed, if you offer friendliness back (or the courtesy of a tip) you will be remembered in years to come, I have never met friendlier people in my life, and can count many from Kalamaki as true friends.
Remember you are 2 hours ahead and in summer very few eat out before 8pm, the reason being it`s just too hot!!!!
You can use any pool bar you wish, but please buy your drinks from the bar whose pool you are using. Also there will be a crackdown next year on towels being deposited to save sunloungers when people then go off for the day, as happens a lot!
Another tip, buy a LI-LO, you can use it if no sunbeds are available and when you go to the beach use it to lie on rather than pay 7 euros a day for a sunlounger!!!! I also buy beach towels in resort for about 4 euros, it saves a lot of suitcase weight if you`re going for 2 weeks and may be over limit!
The rate is always higher in Greece, on a £600 budget per person for a fortnight you will save up to £30 by changing your money in resort rather than in England! I take Sterling in cash and change as required.
There is an ATM Machine outside Limnos Supermarket. I think £600 per person per fortnight is more than enough and that includes all meals and drinks out!
Cigarette prices are set by the government, Embassy No1 were 28 euros (about £20) in September 2005, you are allowed 3200 (16 boxes) to take home. Spirits etc are also 30% cheaper than the UK. I buy my duty free from LIMNOS (near Mermaids) or SOFIA`S stores, they also tend to give the best exchange rates. You can also buy duty free on the airport. Remember you cannot buy spirits and tobacco on the plane!Get aftershaves on the airport, don`t waste money on fake rubbish in the shops!Zante Town is good for a shopping trip with some excellent jewellery and clothes if you hunt around, just remember they close for siesta!
I have to include a bit about the resort of Laganas which was a major news item in the press in 2005 and 2006 and had a huge detriment to the island due to irresponsible reporting, and not making any distinctions between one resort and the whole island.
Basically the tour operators shifted the organised `booze holidays` from Faliraki to Laganas in 2005. In 2006 it continued but on a lesser level as Cancun and others became the next `recipients` of this. Basically it is a Party Resort which like in many UK towns involves heavy drinking, loud music, big groups of lads and lasses and basically at night is a British Town with sun. If you wouldn`t go into a town centre here at night or take your kids, then don`t go. If you want something a bit more wild then give it a try.Laganas is NOT Zakynthos,it is not Kalamaki or Argassi or Alykes, it is just one small resort, and the irresponsible press must share some blame for fuelling the hysteria over this.Let`s not make any bones about it, the people to blame for this are the press who by reporting the sordid details encouraged certain types to go, the tour ops and above all the people who behave in these ways. News has filtered through in the last 12 months of the Police now taking a hard stance on improper behaviour and also that organised Bar Crawls in Laganas may have been banned, long may this continue!
There is the very occasional problem with crime, but far less than in the UK, but simply behave as you would in the UK ie lock your windows and doors on leaving your rooms, be watchful on unlit paths late ant night etc. The Rose Sellers are a nuisance, keep an eye on valuables when they are around.
If someone phones or texts you you do pay part of the call, my advice is to use the payphones at SOFIA`S or LIMNOS shop, never use the hotel ones. If you are taking your mobile, ask people not to ring you unless essential, they can be quite sure you are having a great time! For big users, there are three options also to using your normal sim.
or you can even get a Greek SIM if you have an unlocked phone
Tour ops have been a bit strict on this in 2006, check your allowance as some late deals cut the amount you can take.Leave any half used shampoos, shave foams etc for your maids in the rooms when leaving, they will be very appreciative, and you free up valuable baggage space.200 Cigs saves you £30 on UK price, a half bottle of shampoo is worth a quid for the same weight as the cigs! If you are over expect to pay about £4/kg.
ROOMS FOR EXTRA NIGHT
This is a very nasty trick pulled if you have a night flight and arrive at say 9am at your hotel, that counts as your first night. If you have a late flight back on departure, pay NO MORE than 30 euros for the room for the extra night, and if it is to just shower and store your luggage why not pool the cost with friends you`ve made on holiday!
FAUNA and BUGS!
You will see cats and dogs which are stray but are totally harmless, they are only wanting fuss or some food! You will also see lizards which like to climb walls but they will flee before you get near. The wasps are large, just ignore them and they fly off.The turtles are best viewed towards evening, please be aware that the beach is a nesting area at night and as such is off limits