Chalkmarks: Lakitira Beach Resort, Kos, Greece

SPRAWLED across two sun beds, I drop off to sleep with a racket in my hand. I hadn’t even been playing tennis. I’d just finished an 18K mountain bike ride on the Greek island of Kos.

Considering I haven’t been on a bike in years I figure I’d earned a little lie down.

But I don’t stay still for long. Since arriving at the Mark Warner Lakitira Beach Resort I’ve been in such a good mood that I can’t help trying new activities.

With a hotel and village area set within big grassy lawns and the deep blue Aegean Sea in the background, it’s an easy place to unwind. But with so much going on – including swimming pools, yoga, aerobics, pilates and watersports – I can’t help feeling a bit sporty, and, I must admit, competitive.

With the bike ride, there were three levels of routes to consider. The easy course was just a short pedal along the main road into nearby Kardamena to visit the seafront tavernas and shops.

The most gruelling was the Marathon, a two-and-a-half-hour ride up a mountain. I knew I wasn’t ready for that – but a gentle trip into the village didn’t seem enough of a challenge.

So, I opted for the intermediate level, which was called the Yellow Brick Road and took us to the 14th century ruins of the fortress Antimachia.

Chalkmarks Kos Pool
Poolside at Mark Warner Lakitira Beach Resort, Kos, Greece

I jump on a bike and set off with our small group of other holidaymakers staying at the resort, on the south of the island. I had been a bit sensitive about being unfit but at one point I dash ahead of our peloton.

I soon fall behind though but I don’t mind as it means I can enjoy the scenery rather than worry about staying out in front.

Nobody looks like Bradley Wiggins or acts as if they are going for the Tour de France crown, so we just roll along merrily.

Soon we turn off the coastal road and are on to the narrow yellow tiled mountain path that gives the route its name. It becomes very quiet and we can see the ruins high above.

On the ascent to the summit, I grit my teeth and push down on the pedals. But it’s no good. I get off and walk – and so does everybody else.

When I make it to the top I lean on my bike like I am some kind of pro.

After taking some time to rest and stare at the view we head back to base. I was looking forward to soaking up the sun on the beach and taking a refreshing dip in the sea.

But when we return I’m not even exhausted. My transition from beach bum to cyclist has been easy and that’s when someone suggests tennis.

I had never expected to feel so sporty but not only is there so much to do at Mark Warner the activities are a short walk from my room.

I reckon I could get used to this exercise lark, especially when you know a game of tennis ends with a cold beer in the beach bar just steps away from the court.

Or I can relax with a classic cocktail while watching the sun go down in the Dodecanese – the group of 12 islands that include Rhodes.

Try the Lakitira special in the main hotel bar, which comes with rum, apricot brandy, lime syrup, lemonade and grenadine. It’s delicious.

The food on offer is also impressive with self-service options at the various restaurants dotted around the resort. Exercise requires time to feast, so in the evenings the buffets at the Italian Trattoria, Terrace Restaurant and The Greek Taverna cover everything I need.

And for families there are kids’ clubs, creches and childcare in the evenings.

The next day I am again lured away from the sun lounger with the prospect of learning to windsurf. Seeing so many people out on sailboats, kayaks and paddleboats I thought it was worth giving it a go.

Everyone is encouraged to try, and qualified British instructors offer on-beach tuition and demonstrations before heading out with us in to water.

I had never even expected to stand up but that was the easy part. I feel pretty stable on the board but getting the hang of them holding the mast and steering was difficult.

I couldn’t believe I’d never tried this before. I love it. Even though I fall in a few times, I have no thought of giving up so I spend a whole morning trying to master sailing down, and up wind.

With the way things are going, I am ready for more tennis. It starts out as lobbing the ball over the net and hoping for a good rally. But soon that competitive streak comes out again.

I start taking it seriously and throw in some proper serves. I am playing games and even winning points.

On site there’s an award-winning tennis centre with 11 courts offering clinics, coaching and one-to-ones to help improve technique.

For now, I feel I’ve played enough to take on Andy Murray – so I head to the bar for a cool drink.

And that’s when I finally exercise my power to lie down and doze off to the sounds of laughter as a volleyball game starts up on the beach.

Suggested contents and articles.
Suggested Contents
Hang on, this is great fun. Why did no one tell me Croatia’s so beautiful?
I HAVE two thoughts in my mind while dangling 80metres in the sky is not to feel scared. The other is to keep my arms back.
High drama in the Andes
THE Colca Canyon is 11 London Shards deep and a must see for anyone visiting the Andes.
Feeling at home in Malta
MALTA is like being in the UK but with the heat turned up. No wonder hundreds of Brits visit each year.