Discover the ultimate guide to the top attractions in Zakynthos! Immerse yourself in the beauty of this stunning Ionian Island with our curated list of must-see places, breathtaking sights, pristine beaches, captivating tours, and delectable dining options.
Uncover the secrets of Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach and the mesmerizing Blue Caves on an unforgettable boat tour. Explore Marathonisi island, the birthplace of Caretta Caretta turtles, and witness their incredible journey. And when the sun sets, indulge in endless beachside festivities at the vibrant resorts.
Ready to embark on an extraordinary adventure? Dive into our comprehensive table of contents for the top 15 things to do on Zakynthos Island. Let the exploration begin!
1. Visit the famous Navagio and the Blue Caves
Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, holds the crown as the most renowned destination on the island. This picturesque beach has graced the lenses of countless photographers, making it a global sensation. Adorned with pristine white sand and framed by vibrant turquoise waters, it boasts a captivating contrast against the backdrop of a weathered shipwreck. Every summer, this enchanting scenery lures innumerable visitors, who can only reach Navagio by sea due to the imposing cliffs that enclose it, rendering it an exclusive and secluded paradise.
In the same vicinity lies the captivating Blue Caves, a natural marvel formed by the relentless sea sculpting the rocks into magnificent arches and grottoes. What sets these caves apart is the mesmerizing play of light and water, casting ethereal reflections that create an illusion of cerulean blue. It is an ethereal place to explore, swim, and immerse yourself in an otherworldly panorama. The underwater world surrounding the caves is equally fascinating, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling enthusiasts.
To embark on an unforgettable journey to Navagio Beach and the Blue Caves, booking a guided tour is highly recommended. These expert-led excursions grant access to these remote treasures, allowing you to revel in the breathtaking landscapes that Zakynthos has to offer.
2. Swim in the waters of fantastic beaches
Just like the other Ionian islands, Zakynthos is renowned for its stunning beaches. Therefore, one of the absolute must-dos is to explore as many of them as possible! Most of these beaches boast golden sands and crystal-clear waters. They offer both organized sections with tourist facilities and unspoiled stretches. Accessing them is a breeze by car.
Laganas and Banana are perfect for those seeking the convenience of tourist amenities, while Kalamaki is partially organized. Agios Nikolaos and Agios Sostis are highly popular among the youth and water sports enthusiasts. For visitors in search of a tranquil beach tucked away in a remote location, offering an untouched natural landscape, Gerakas is highly recommended.
3. Stroll around Zakynthos Town
Zakynthos Town, the capital of the island, is a bustling city with a population of approximately 10 thousand residents. It serves as the main port, offering a gateway to the island’s wonders. The architecture of Zakynthos Town is a captivating blend of Venetian, French, and English influences, showcasing a rich cultural heritage. To immerse yourself in the charm of bygone eras, a visit to Solomos and Agiou Markou Squares is a must, where you can admire the grandeur of the most significant buildings. Additionally, scattered throughout the town, you’ll find a few old mansions that managed to survive the devastating earthquake.
Among the notable landmarks in the area, the Church of Agios Dionysios stands tall with its majestic bell tower, while the Church of Agios Nikolaos of Molos and the remnants of the Old Venetian Castle exude a sense of historical allure. As you explore Zakynthos Town, don’t miss the delightful seaside promenade adorned with charming cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and indulgence.
4. Enjoy a cruise to Marathonisi – the turtle island
Marathonisi, a small exotic islet near Zakynthos, captivates with its turquoise waters and lush greenery. This enchanting island boasts a golden beach, magnificent caves, natural arches, and awe-inspiring rock formations. However, its true allure lies in the frequent visits of the majestic Caretta Caretta sea turtles, who come to lay their eggs on the sandy shores. Embarking on an organized cruise allows you to immerse yourself in the exotic landscape of Marathonisi, where you can swim in the crystal-clear waters and witness the wonder of the turtle nests.
5. Feast on delicious meals at the local restaurants
Zakynthos, with its bountiful land and surrounding sea, provides the locals with a variety of treasures. From succulent fish to luscious grapes, often transformed into exquisite wine and raisins, and the golden elixir of olive oil. The island’s restaurants proudly showcase these top-notch ingredients, crafting delectable dishes for visitors to savor. With a diverse range of dining options, everyone can indulge in their desired culinary delights.
6. Enjoy the upbeat party scene
Zakynthos is renowned for its vibrant nightlife. With a wide array of bars, pubs, beach bars, and nightclubs hosting legendary parties, it’s truly a haven for party enthusiasts. Spending at least one night on the island is an absolute must if you revel in the excitement of the nightlife! The island holds immense popularity among young people and students from Greece and around the globe who seek a lively summer destination that never sleeps.
7. Snorkel and discover underwater beauties
Embark on a captivating snorkeling boat tour and uncover the hidden underwater wonders of Zakynthos’ Sea! Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear blue waters, perfect for snorkeling enthusiasts, as we guide you to the most enchanting spots on the island.
Witness the vibrant marine life teeming in the Keri area, while also exploring the intriguing underwater geology unique to this region. This extraordinary experience is an absolute must for those with a passion for the sea, even if you’re new to diving.
8. Visit the Solomos Museum
Situated in Zakynthos Town, the Museum of Dionyssios Solomos, Andreas Kalvos, and Other Eminent Personalities of Zakynthos awaits your visit. This stunning neoclassical edifice gracefully stands out at Agios Markos Square, catching your eye as soon as you arrive. Serving as both a museum and the mausoleum for the Solomos and Kalvos families, it showcases a rich and diverse array of treasures. From captivating paintings and ancient manuscripts to exquisite coats of arms, archaeological discoveries, and ancient coins, this collection holds something for every history enthusiast to marvel at.
9. Visit the Venetian Castle
Perched on a hill above Zakynthos Town, the Venetian Castle stands as an open-air museum, showcasing artifacts from the Byzantine Era to the English Occupation of the Ionian Islands. Despite enduring significant damage from earthquakes and wars throughout the centuries, remnants of ancient walls, gates, churches, and other structures can still be glimpsed in the area. This architectural marvel has undergone two reconstructions during the Venetian and English Rule, preserving its historical significance.
10. Have fun doing watersports
Nestled along the expansive and sandy shores of Zakynthos, visitors are greeted with a vibrant array of watersports centers that offer a plethora of exciting activities. Agrassi, Tsilivi, and Banana beaches serve as the prime locations for these thrilling adventures. Among them, Saint Nicholas Watersports and Diving Center stands out, providing a haven for safe and exhilarating water sports sessions, promising an unforgettable experience on the island. Equipped with everything you need, from top-notch gear to experienced instructors, the center ensures you make the most of Zakynthos’ crystal-clear blue waters, guaranteeing an extraordinary and memorable time.
11. Make a family visit to the waterpark
If you’re looking to treat your family to an unforgettable and fun-filled experience on Zakynthos Island, visiting a water park is a must! Zante Water Village, a sprawling water park, offers a wide variety of slides, rides, and games suitable for all ages. Whether you crave an adrenaline rush or prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, this park has something for everyone.
For those seeking water sports and diving adventures, Saint Nicholas Watersports and Diving Center is the perfect choice. They provide a safe and enjoyable experience, equipping you with all the necessary gear to fully immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters of Zakynthos. With their experienced instructors, you’re guaranteed to have an incredible time!
12. Make a family visit to the waterpark
If you’re looking to create lasting memories with your family on Zakynthos Island, a visit to a water park is an absolute must! Zante Water Village is a sprawling water park that boasts a wide array of slides, rides, and games suitable for all ages. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or prefer more laid-back entertainment, the Water Village has got you covered. Additionally, there’s a mini-golf course, shops, and dining options available. Rest assured, the experienced staff and lifeguards are dedicated to ensuring everyone’s safety while having a blast.
13. Visit picturesque churches and monasteries
Despite the destruction of many of the island’s old buildings, there are several churches and monasteries that have been exceptionally well-preserved and boast fascinating architecture. These religious landmarks hold great cultural and historical significance, making them a must-visit. Among the easily accessible ones are the Church of Agios Dionysios and the Church of Agios Nikolaos Molos in Zakynthos Town.
For those seeking a blend of sightseeing and countryside exploration, a visit to The Monastery of Anafonitria is recommended. This is where Saint Dionysios, the patron saint of the island, spent his final days. Another option is the Monastery of Skopiotissa, offering captivating ruins and breathtaking views of Zakynthos’ natural landscape.
14. Explore the traditional Volimes village
Immerse yourself in the charm of rural life by visiting the picturesque village of Volimes in the northwest of the island. This traditional settlement boasts quaint neighborhoods, scattered ruins, and a delightful natural backdrop of lush fields and verdant vegetation. As you leisurely wander through the serene streets of this small village, you’ll notice a distinct absence of tourist facilities, save for a handful of taverns and cafes frequented by locals, as well as a few shops where you can indulge in traditional products. In addition to the historic buildings, the area is dotted with intriguing landmarks, including ancient churches and abandoned windmills.
15. Take a full-day tour of Kefalonia island
Once you’ve taken in the breathtaking beauty of Zakynthos, we highly recommend embarking on a day trip to Kefalonia, a neighboring Ionian island. This fully guided tour will whisk you away by boat and bus, allowing you to immerse yourself in all the prominent attractions the island has to offer. Marvel at the iconic landmarks in Kefalonia’s enchanting capital, Argostoli, and venture into the awe-inspiring Drogarati Cave, as well as the mythical in-cave lake of nymph Melissani. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the majestic monastery of Saint Gerassimos.