Mar 16, 2023
At the heart of the Ionian Sea lies Zakynthos (also known as Zante), an island paradise that is waiting for you to discover. With its crystal-clear waters, golden beaches, and abundant marine and night life, Zakynthos has something for every traveller.
This island has a rich cultural heritage that can be traced back to ancient times. From the Venetian fortresses to the Byzantine churches, Zakynthos has a unique blend of architectural styles that reflect its diverse history.
Lets not forget one of the worlds most famous beaches Navagio Beach or also knows as Shipwreck Beach.
Getting to Zante is easy, with direct flights from most European cities, and ferry connections from the Greek mainland and neighbouring islands.
If you are travelling domestically, flights are available daily during the summer season from Athens. Athens is the hub for most air travel between Greek cities. If you are planning on travelling to Zakynthos from Thessaloniki you will have a stop in Athens for a connecting flight. So when planning your summer holiday in Greece plan out your trip with this in mind.
Flights from Athens take 45 minutes
The ferry to Zakynthos departs from the port of Kilini, on the eastern side of the Peloponnese and the trip takes about 1 hour. There are no direct ferries from Athens.
Navagio (Shipwreck) beach: Located on the west side of the island, The beach of Navagio or Shipwreck cove is one of the most famous beaches in Greece. The iconic shipwreck and crystal clear blue waters make this a must visit.
The beach is not organised and during summer it can get very crowded as it is a hotspot for tourists.
To reach Shipwreck cove, you are able to take a little boat from the small port of Porto Vromi. These taxi boats are leaving every hour and the trip is about 30 minutes.
Private boat tours are also available, which is best coupled with the tour of the blue caves
Xigia Pigadi beach: Located 20km from Zakynthos village in the Xigia region, this narrow sandy pebbly cove boats beautiful teal waters.
The cove is serviced by the nearby hotel which rents sun beds, umbrellas and serves food. The beach provides a different landscape to the beaches on the island, and due to its pebbly nature is great for snorkelling.
Pelagaki: Located on the eastern side of the island Pelagaki beach. The small pebbled bay is known as little Xigia. It is the preferred beach for travellers who are after a secluded beach and turquoise waters. There is a steep set of stairs that lead down to the beach which make it hard for some travellers to access the beach.
Snorkelling and diving is great here as the pebbles provide a great hiding place for sea-life.
There are no facilities on the beach, but there is a snack bar at the top of the stairs before your journey starts down to the beach.
Families are recommended not to visit this beach due to trek to get to down to the water.
Tsilivi beach: Located 6km west of the old town, Tsilivi is known for being the best resort on the island. The area is popular with tourists as it boasts luxury resorts, great restaurants and bars. It is a very popular beach and resort and caters for all types of travellers
The sandy beach is long and is organised and serviced by the local restaurants, hotels and resorts. The waters a crystal clear and sporting activities are available.
The beach is very busy during summer with families and young travellers.
There are over 20 beaches and coves in Zakynthos, we have mentioned but a few here. We will be adding more beaches to our list over the coming months so be sure to check back so you can discover that gem beach on your next trip to Zakynthos.
Whether its visiting the blue caves or Shipwreck beach, getting around Zakynthos is a breeze. There are many options to get around the island.
Car and motorbike rental: There are plenty of car rental and motorbike rental shops on the island. It is the best way to travel on the island allowing you to visit all of the coves and villages the island has to offer. It is best to book your car rental in advanced as during the summer period and with the popularity of this Greek island it may be hard to find a car to hire.
Taxis or private hire: If driving on your holiday is not your thing, then a private car hire or a taxi might be a good alternative option. If you are after a private car it is best to organise this through your hotel. If you are after a taxi they are usually located around the port and main centre of town.
Public buses: The bus service on Zakynthos will get you to most parts of the island with its extensive bus routes. The central bus station is located in the main town of Zakynthos, with bus stops all over the island. A timetable of the bus routes can be found here: www.ktel-zakynthos.gr
Organise tours: An organised tour can be the best way to see what an island has to ofer. Visiting its natural surroundings and its exotic beaches! Some of the must-visit locations include Navagio beach, the Blue Caves and of course Marathonisi.
Where to eat
Avli Restaurant in Tsilivi: Located in Tsilivi beach, Avli offers modern Greek food - the first restaurant to do so on the island. They serve tasty meat and seafood dishes with the restaurant tucked away in a the backstreets of town.
Porto Azurro: Located in Vassilikos. If you are searching for the perfect lunch or dinner by the sea, this is your place. Serving all fresh and local produce, this place is a must visit.
Marathia Star : Located in Marathia this family owned restaurant serving traditional Greek food with most of their produce being grown in their own farm.
The restaurant sits above sea level and boasts a beautiful sea view and is surrounded by olive groves and a lush garden. This is a perfect place to relax and enjoy a delicious meal or just have a drink.
A must eat is the stewed rabbit in red sauce, do not miss out on this dish!
Pandesia: Located in kalamaki. If you are after a traditional Greek taverna with live music and great traditional Greek food, Pandesia is the place!
Located at the centre of Kalamaki, the restaurant is easily accessible from Laganas and Zante Town, with their highlight dishes being Beef stifado, kleftiko and stamna beens.
Things to do in Zakynthos
Navagio (Shipwreck) beach: The most beautiful destination in Zakynthos. To get there you will need to organise a boat (either in a group or private options are available). Swim in the crystal clear waters and visit the famous shipwrecked boat.
The beach took this name in 1982, when a cargo ship that was illegally carrying cigars, wrecked in that bay. Since then, the rusty ship is the symbol of the beach. To get a great view of the cove take a car up to the cliffs to grab a spectacular view of the shipwreck and the bay.
Zakynthos Blue Caves: Also known as the caves of Volimes, the caves are located on the west coats. The caves are only accessible by sea so a boat tour is a must. Kayak tours are also available for the more sporty traveller. Snorkelling at the blue caves is allowed and you will see some great sea life.
Duel tours of Shipwreck cove and the blue caves can be organised to see both sites in the one day.
Marathonisi Islet: Best known for the sea turtles or Caretta Caretta. The islet is the breeding ground for the sea turtles. Because of this, the island during summer is not actually available for tourists to stay overnight on the island. You are able to stay on the beach for the day to swim and sun bake.
Also on the islet are the also endangered Monachus Monachus sea seal.
The best way to get to the islet is to hire a boat - best to ask your hotel about the boat schedule.
The Venetian Castle of Zakynthos: Sitting above Zakynthos town on Bohali hill is the Venetian castle. Excavations have uncovered that the castle was constructed on the site of the ancient acropolis and also on the site of a former Byzantine castle. The best way to get to the castle is by car but can also be reached by a 20 minute walk from the main town.
Entry into the castle is free
Laganas: Zakynthos is also famous for its nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and tavernas that cater to all tastes. Laganas, located on the south coast of the island, is the main party hub, with a lively atmosphere and a wide selection of bars and clubs.
Alykes: If you're looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, head to the smaller villages and towns, where you can enjoy a quiet drink or a traditional meal in a local taverna. The village of Alykes, located on the northeast coast of Zakynthos, is a popular destination for families, with a long sandy beach and a range of water sports and activities.
Need help organising your trip through the Greek islands? Do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your possible itinerary options