If you’re a party-going person under the age of 25, you enjoy getting pissed up and having a laugh with your mates and maybe getting off with someone, then please stop reading this. Sure go to Faliraki, I’m sure you’ll have a smashing time among like-minded people, but this series of posts is not for you.
If you’re over 25, enjoy holidaying in Greece and have for some reason inexplicably chosen to go to Faliraki, maybe taken in by those marketing guys at Jet2 or TUI, who said that the resort has changed, then maybe this short series of posts will provide you with some insight on where to go and where not to go. You can still have fun. Follow in my footsteps and you’ll be okay, but just watch out for loose rocks.
It’s been three years since Siggy and I have been to Greece and it’s great to be back. Although we’ve been to the island of Rhodes before, neither of us have been to Faliraki. For good reason some might say. The town has a reputation for being party central for young drunkards intent on being sick in a gutter at 4am, waking up with a complete stranger, and/or getting a regretful tattoo that might give them their 15 minutes of fame on a TV show like Tattoo Fixers later in life.
Siggy assured me that it wasn’t like that anymore more, but the masses of raucous sweaty teens jumping around to banging tunes in the clubs on beer street, or is it bar street, didn’t seem to have got that memo. Neither had the dodgy-looking guys sat outside the doors of the pole dancing clubs on the main road. If this is Faliraki now it’s smartened up its reputation, then Christ knows what it was like before.
However, I can assure you it’s far from a chav-filled disaster. Siggy did a splendid job of finding an adults-only hotel at the far end of the town away from all the hoopla. It has all the amenities you’d want and zero sugar-frenzied kids or crying babies. It’s called Kouros Exclusive Hotel & Suites and it was great.
I’m not going to heavily amend or edit what I wrote each day on my phone, so please excuse bad grammar, slips of present/past tense, and follow me day by day where I hope you can see a progression of chill perhaps linearly related to how much food, drink and sleep (and saxophone) I got on each day:
Day 1 – Monday – Antz
Our first and second day were poles apart in terms of relaxation perhaps not helped by my choice of book James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man which I will write about, along with all the other books I read, in a different post – Holiday Books 2022.
Having checked in very late (once I’d found a member of staff to do it) the night before (actually technically it was the morning of the same day, thanks to German air traffic control causing our take-off from the UK to be delayed) we woke to our first view of the hotel grounds from our wide but narrow balcony. And it was a pleasing view – well-kept grounds, good modern furniture providing various choices of lounging around and good bar facilities.
The shower confused me – unable to switch between rain head and ‘phone head’ as one of the staff described it when asked how it worked. But we weren’t the only ones – later in the day we heard someone asking exactly the same question and a fellow guest Siggy asked hadn’t figured it our either. Apart from that short-lived mystery, the room is great.
After breakfast – which was a spread similar to those in the Scandic hotels in Norway but having ever-changing components like locally baked bread, different smoothies daily, traditional Greek cakes etc. – catering to all the various patrons’ tastes, we opted for the nearby Kathara beach, which was a short walk away.
Kathara beach compared to Faliraki’s approximate 4km stretch is relatively small but still holds plenty of options. We opted for the area of sand furthest left by a small harbour, a car park and very near where the main Faliraki beach starts. We went for lunch (Greek Salad, tomato and cucumber salad) at the taverna opposite and were a bit disappointed by their limited lunchtime choices although the service was great.
Like Anakin Skywalker, I’m not a big fan of sand and I’d forgotten what a pain in the proverbial it can be when combined with sun lotion. Also I had forgotten how fucking hot Greece can be even in early July and so spent most of the day under the shadow of the umbrella slogging my way through Joyce. Highlights were a Snickers ice cream bar, seeing my first lizard near the pool at breakfast and tasting the local beer Zythos for the first time instead of the ubiquitous Mythos or Alpha.
That was in the evening at the Iama taverna (yes, ‘I am a taverna’) in town where I had pork souvlaki and Siggy had moussaka. Nice portion size, and of course the chips were great. Then we had a walk around the town which struck me as a charmless concrete rat run created to satisfy any urge a tourist might have. You want a huge pancake filled with marshmallow, Nutella and bananas at 11pm? Sure we can do that, do you want that with or without slippery nipples? Of course I exaggerate for effect, but it did feel like Blackpool but hotter and I guess to some a genuine pleasure beach.
We went to a couple of the cocktail bars that were less aggressively marketed toward yoof culture called Aruba and The Colossus which is just across the road from the top of bar street and sports a giant statue of the legendary colossus said to stand in Rhodes Town harbour in ancient times.
Of course we had a look at bar street because Siggy liked the music but it felt a bit like a trip to the monkey enclosures at a zoo, at feeding time during mating season. I’m old. And I’ve never really been into that kind of nightclub scene. Funnily enough all the touts trying to pull people into their establishments ignored us – we were rendered invisible by our age. I imagined we were Frodo and Sam traversing Mordor wearing our Elven cloaks of invisibility while the orcs frolicked around us.
Day 2 – Tuesday – “Quite ordinary”
Spent at the hotel and actually found myself relaxing and winding down from work and the stress of the day before, when the afternoon on the beach felt like we were in the middle of a kindergarten. We occupied a couple of loungers on a grassed area flanked by banana trees between our block of rooms and the daytime bar.
Spent some of my time watching a line of ants marching to and from the base of one of the trees near the leg of my lounger and trying to figure out where their nest holes were among the blades of grass. Reminded me a bit of that film A Bug’s Life.
Had a few dips in the pool to cool down. Ate a very tasty pulled pork brioche sandwich and vanilla milkshake for lunch at the hotel daytime bar. Saw another lizard, this one emerald green, dart from underneath one bit of decking to under another.
Siggy and I later went on a short walk where we realised the small Madomata beach to the right of Kathara beach is also the nudist beach. We spied them from above on a rocky headland that separates the two bays, but didn’t go down – no one needs to see that thank you. Siggy stood on a thorn that went through the sole of her flip flop and we agreed to go back to the hotel to administer some antiseptic cream. So another prick to add to the collection.
Back on our loungers, I finally finished Joyce’s sodding book and moved on to the much more entertaining Bob Mortimer biography and had a large Alpha beer to celebrate.
We went to Acropolis taverna for tea – it’s one of those big soulless places setup to turn as many covers as possible per night but held back by the kitchen’s inability to keep up with orders. Our food, when it finally arrived, was okay but I did smile when the possibly Dutch man on the table beside us, there with his son or younger lover, replied to the waiter’s question ‘did you enjoy it?’ With “well it was… quite ordinary”. Brilliant.
Had a pretty lacklustre Long Island iced tea at Paparazzi, although Siggy had a better White Russian there than at the Colossus. Then we wandered around a bit, had a very nice but expensive cocktail each at Coco with a big bowl of salted peanuts and watched three self-obsessed girls pouting at their cameras and living their lives through a lens. Had a cheeky beer at the bar next to the mini golf which looked like fun and then called it a night.
Day 3 – Wednesday – “… a mojito, yes or no?”
We love a long walk in the blazing heat, so we walked almost the full length of Faliraki beach in the morning with a few diversions through hotel pool areas and receptions when we ran out of wooden slats to walk on. The hotels were big multi-storey all-inclusive outfits with impressive reception areas but totally unappealing to me compared to our much smaller hotel which had a boutique feel to it but also a kind of family vibe despite the lack of children staying there.
We had lunch at one of the many beach front bars. I had a citrus salad – very nice rocket, grapefruit, orange, Parmesan, balsamic etc Siggy had a ham and cheese croissant. I am going to try and avoid eating two lots of meat a day and less bread too as I didn’t lose any weight before we came and while I’ve brought over-50s multivitamins and plant sterols with me, I know I need to be more careful about what I eat. The Mars Bar ice cream on the way back to the hotel didn’t help I guess. But I am on holiday for Christ’s sake.
Then we chilled out in the hotel grounds in the afternoon. I kept my Primal Scream tee shirt on all day to protect by sun-burned chest and read The Bob Mortimer biography cover to cover while sitting in the shadow of a banana tree. I’m no botanist but from the shape of the leaves I think that’s what these things are and there’s plenty of them around Faliraki. There’s also palm trees with lovely furry flowers dangling from them. Very exotic.
Went to Greek Spirit restaurant for dinner – best meal so far – good portion of chicken souvlaki and nice roast vegetables. Siggy had the moussaka. Then up past Paparazzi to On The Rocks for cocktails. I ordered a mojito and got a margarita and the bar man was quite aggressive when I questioned the nature of my drink “do you want a mojito, yes or no?” Waiter said he’d misheard but I drank it anyway. I was actually holding out for them to let me have the margarita for free and then make me a mojito, but the guy called me bluff. It was a good margarita anyway. Quite a chilled bar with water features, just in an unfortunate location up the road from KGB and Paparazzi. All three were generally quite quiet.
Then we walked further along the main strip past yoof doing punch bag strength tests and noisy bars. Almost discounted Kings Castle Bar as another chavvy place but took the risk and finally got a decent mojito (in fact two as it was buy one get one free). The Women’s Football Euros has started but hardly anyone was watching it.