Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is an exquisite Greek island nestled in the captivating Ionian Sea. Renowned for its world-famous Navagio (Shipwreck) beach and the presence of the endangered Caretta Caretta sea turtle species, it stands as one of Greece‘s most alluring and beloved destinations.
This enchanting island boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, from its pristine beaches to its picturesque hilltop villages and traditional monasteries. Exploring Zakynthos, you will be captivated by its spectacular scenery and tranquil ambiance. The island’s beaches, adorned with fine white sand, serve as nesting grounds for the endangered sea turtles, as they carefully bury their eggs beneath the surface each year.
Navagio beach, with its iconic shipwreck, serves as the highlight of Zante’s charm. No photograph or postcard can truly capture the beauty of this secluded paradise. Accessible only by boat, Navagio beach entices visitors with its turquoise waters, pristine white sands, and towering cliffs that surround it. Taking a dip in its crystal-clear waters is an experience that will leave you in awe.
While Shipwreck beach is a must-visit, Zakynthos offers a myriad of other stunning beaches to explore, such as Laganas, Gerakas, Vasilikos, and Spiantza. Some of these beaches are nesting sites for the Caretta Caretta sea turtles during the spring and summer months. With luck, you may witness these graceful creatures emerging from the sea to carefully hide their precious eggs beneath the warm sand. Remember, it is of utmost importance to respect and not disturb these magnificent creatures.
After indulging in the emerald bays and coastal beauty, take a break from the beach life to visit Zakynthos Town, the island’s charming capital. Imbued with a rich Venetian influence, the town is often referred to as the “Fiore di Levante” (flower of the east). Here, you can uncover hidden gems such as Saint Mark Square, the Venetian Castle, Solomos Square, and the Post-Byzantine Museum. These cultural treasures offer a glimpse into the island’s vibrant history.
As for activities, Zakynthos presents an array of options to keep you entertained throughout your holiday. From lively parties to scuba diving, tours, and water sports, there is something to suit every taste and preference.
Prepare for an extraordinary holiday experience as you float upon the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, just south of Kefalonia. Zakynthos truly embodies the essence of paradise on earth.
Best Things to Do in Zakynthos
Discover the island by exploring some of the best things to do in Zakynthos. Here you will find a brief list.
1. Visit the famous Navagio and the Blue Caves
Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, reigns as the most renowned destination on the island. This picturesque beach has captured the lenses of countless photographers, propelling it to global fame. 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 entices countless visitors, who can only access Navagio by sea due to the imposing cliffs that enclose it, creating an exclusive and secluded paradise.
In close proximity lies the captivating Blue Caves, a natural wonder shaped by the relentless sea sculpting the rocks into magnificent arches and grottoes. What sets these caves apart is the mesmerizing interplay of light and water, casting ethereal reflections that create an illusion of cerulean blue. It is an ethereal place to explore, swim, and immerse oneself 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, it is highly recommended to book a guided tour. These expert-led excursions provide 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
Zakynthos, like the other Ionian islands, is renowned for its breathtaking beaches. Thus, one of the absolute musts is to explore as many of them as possible! These beaches boast golden sands and crystal-clear waters, offering both organized sections with tourist facilities and unspoiled stretches. Accessing them is a breeze by car.
For those seeking the convenience of tourist amenities, Laganas and Banana are perfect options, while Kalamaki is partially organized. If you’re a youth or a water sports enthusiast, Agios Nikolaos and Agios Sostis are highly popular choices. And for those in search of a tranquil beach tucked away in a remote location, offering an untouched natural landscape, Gerakas is highly recommended.
3. Snorkel and discover underwater beauties
Embark on a captivating snorkeling boat tour and discover 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 thriving 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.
4. Feast on delicious meals at the local restaurants
Zakynthos, blessed with fertile land and surrounded by the sea, offers its residents a treasure trove of delights. From succulent seafood to luscious grapes, often transformed into exquisite wine and raisins, and the golden elixir of olive oil, the island is a culinary paradise. Its restaurants proudly showcase these premium ingredients, skillfully crafting delectable dishes that delight visitors. With a wide range of dining options, there is something to satisfy every palate and indulge in the finest culinary delights.
5. Stroll around Zakynthos Town
Zakynthos Town, the capital of the island, is a vibrant city boasting a population of around 10 thousand residents. It serves as the main port, providing a gateway to the island’s enchanting wonders. The architecture of Zakynthos Town is a captivating fusion of Venetian, French, and English influences, showcasing a rich cultural heritage. To truly immerse oneself in the charm of bygone eras, a visit to Solomos and Agiou Markou Squares is an absolute must, where the grandeur of the most significant buildings can be admired. Moreover, scattered throughout the town, a few well-preserved mansions stand as testaments to their survival through the devastating earthquake.
Among the noteworthy landmarks in the vicinity, 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 captivating sense of historical allure. As you explore Zakynthos Town, be sure not to miss the delightful seaside promenade adorned with charming cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops, offering the perfect blend of relaxation and indulgence.
6. Enjoy the upbeat party scene
Zakynthos is famous for its vibrant nightlife, offering a wide range of bars, pubs, beach bars, and nightclubs that host unforgettable parties. It truly is a paradise for party enthusiasts. If you love the excitement of the nightlife, spending at least one night on the island is an absolute must! This destination holds immense popularity among young people and students from Greece and around the world, who are in search of a lively summer getaway that never sleeps.
How to get to Zakynthos?
Zakynthos, a charming island, is easily accessible via ferry or plane. It boasts an international airport that welcomes flights from Athens and various European cities. Additionally, there is a ferry connection to the Greek mainland (Peloponnese). To make the most of your visit, be sure to familiarize yourself with local transportation options, arrange transfers to your hotel, and effortlessly explore every corner of this beautiful island.
Zakynthos is easily accessible from the port of Killini, located on the western Peloponnese. The ferry journey takes approximately 75 minutes, offering travelers a convenient and efficient way to reach the island.
During the summer season, visitors also have the option to travel between Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Ferries depart from Agios Nikolaos and Pesada, with two daily routes available. The crossing between these two beautiful islands typically takes around one and a half hours, allowing ample time to enjoy the scenic voyage.
With these transport options, exploring the wonders of Zakynthos and its neighboring islands has never been more accessible and enjoyable.
Zakynthos Airport, located just 3 km from the Town, serves as the international gateway to the beautiful island. It connects Zakynthos with the International Airport of Athens, facilitating travel between Athens and abroad. As a popular summer destination, the airport welcomes flights from various countries including Italy, France, Germany, and the UK. Whether you prefer to travel by car, bus, or taxi, reaching the airport is convenient and effortless.