The Venetians, who ruled the island from 1484 to 1797, called the island “ Fioro di Levante” (flower of the East) due to its huge variety of flowers and plants. Zakynthos, or Zante as it is internationally known, is famous for its fertile valleys and secluded sandy beaches. It is the third largest of the Ionian islands and definitely one of the most beautiful. Crystal-clear blue waters, wide sandy beaches, underwater caves and green mountain scapes are only some of the reasons that make Zante such a popular destination. People heretake great care of the two endangered animal species that it hosts: the caretta caretta sea turtle and the monachus monachus seal. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this Greek island and have a swim accompanied by sea turtles. Read our guide and discover all the reasons that make Zante an earthly paradise!
Cost of Living:
When to Visit
September & October Less tourist crowds and good deals on hotel rooms. Some taverns or places you want to visit may be closed, especially the last half of October.
June – August The busiest months in Zakynthos with more expensive accommodation especially in the tourist areas. In the end of June and early July, the Backgammon and Poker Festival is held and is ideal for game enthusiasts and visitors who want to start a new hobby.
Located at the east side of the island, Zakynthos Chora, or Zante Town, is a contemporary city that was built after an earthquake that occurred in 1953. A number of historical buildings and churches burned to the ground; however, they rebuilt them respecting their previous traditional Venetian style. It is also home to the main bay of the island that connects Zante with Peloponnese, the peninsula in southern Greece. Filled with shops, cafés, and accommodation services, Zante Town can be the ideal base for excursions around the island.
The airport of Zakynthos receives internal flights from Athens all year round and during summer it receives low cost flights from many European airports. Ferries also depart to the island from Killini, a port town on the western side of Peloponnese.While your stay on the island, we advise you to rent a car because there are big distances between the attractions and the access with bus can be difficult.
Surrounded by traditional buildings, Solomos Square is the town’s main square and a favorite meeting place for locals. Its delightful atmosphere and beautiful views make the area an ideal place for those who seek relaxation and pleasure. The square is named after a famous Greek poet and a key figure in the Greek War of Independence against the Turks, Dionysius Solomos whose most popular poem was Hymn to Liberty, the Greek National Anthem. During the warm summer evenings, Solomos Square is the perfect place for children to play, and for adults to enjoy the Greek island atmosphere.
Situated in Solomos Square, the museum is housed in one of the city’s oldest buildings and was opened in 1960. It consists of Byzantine icons carved in the woods, original frescoes of the 15th, 16th and 17th century made by Cretan artists, sculptures as well as 18 th century paintings.
Open: 08:00AM-03:00PM (Sundays & Mondays closed)
Price: €4/reduced ticket €2
For more information about the museum please call at +30 26950 42714.
Laganas beach, the most visited spot in Zante, is located 9 kilometers north of the main town. Filled with sunbeds, umbrellas and canteens, Laganas is the most cosmopolitan resort in the island. It offers plenty of water sports facilities as well as beach bars and seaside taverns.
Laganas Beach is a protected area due to the migration of the endangered species of caretta caretta sea turtles here. You can take an unforgettable tour in Laganas bay in order to observe the careta careta turtles. Comfortable boats either glass bottom or catamaran will drive you to Marathonisi, or else called the turtle island. The tour guides guarantee that you will get a full refund in case you do not see any turtles. However, we advise you to better rent a paddle boat and take a tour at Laganas Beach on your own. The possibilities of seeing a sea turtle are really high.
Famous especially among young people for its nightlife, Laganas is boarded by numerous pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés. Explore the roads of the area and enjoy the swimming pools and the other facilities offered by a variety of luxurious hotels. Ideal for those who want to spend an unforgettable night partying all night long; however, if you seek for some quietness, we advise you to avoid the area due to the fuss caused by the drunken people being here, especially after midnight.
Another important shelter of the endangered sea turtle caretta caretta is Gerakas beach. Considered one of the most charming beaches of Zante, it is located 18 kilometers south of the capital. Its warm turquoise waters and golden sand make Gerakas beach one of the most preferred places to spend a relaxing day sunbathing and swimming. It is also facilitated with umbrellas, toilets and a nice place to have a meal or a drink, only 100 meters away from the beach.
The beach of St. Nicholas is a beautiful sandy beach located in the area of Vasilikos, south of Zante. This cosmopolitan area takes its name from the small picturesque white church of Saint Nicholas that stands in the end of the coast, on a small hill. Visit this beach and enjoy the shade of the tropical umbrellas or have a drink ta the beach bar nearby while listening to music.
Along with the relaxation that the place offers, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of water sports, such as water ski, canoe, pedaloes and many more. In addition, you’ll have the chance to rent a Jet-ski-bike or follow scuba-diving or diving lessons into the blue waters of St. Nicholas beach.
The blue waters here are not only clean and pleasant but also healing. Xigia is a sulfuric beach due to the sulfur springs in the surrounding sea caves. Sulfur is being mined in here, and as a result there is a strange distinctive smell filling the area. Its healing properties make Xigia an ideal place for those who suffer from bone, joint and skin related diseases. You can get here only by carbut the access is easy and there is also a parking area. Visit this tiny pebble beach and enjoy Xigia’s natural sulfur spa!
Founded in 1999, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos is located in Laganas Bay. Marked as the first national park established for the protection of sea turtles in the Mediterranean, Zakynthos Marine Park protects and conserves the caretta caretta turtles and the monachus monachus seals as well as their natural habitats. Other specimens that the park protects are the migrating birds, swallows, sea gulls, frogs, iguanas, water snakes, porcupines and dolphins. Visit the Zakynthos Marine Park and learn about the Mediterranean ecosystem, whose conservation is important not only nationally but internationally as well. For more information about the marine park please visit http://www.nmp-zak.org/en.
One of the most beautiful and wild parts of the entire island. Porto Limnionas is a hidden place worth visiting, filled with stunning caves. Located near the village of Agios Leon, you can get here by car driving down an asphalted road running down to the sea. As soon as you end in a small parking area, you have to get down a few steps in order to reach the fiord. There is no shade nor place to put an umbrella, so be well prepared for the blazing sun. It is a fiord famous for its clean blue waters, ideal for adventure-seekers who would like go diving or snorkeling into the refreshing water of the Ionian Sea. You can also enjoy a meal at a tavern located here while admire the rocky landscape.
Just like Porto Limnionas, Porto Roxa is an ideal place for snorkeling with lots of sea caves to explore. This secluded resort is popular for its deep waters and craggy rocks. It is a perfect place for those who look for a quiet, beautiful area where they can have some fun. Do not hesitate to dive straight into the water from the spring board! As for the facilities provided here, there are a few taverns and a snack bar.
The huge rocks that surround the Porto Vromi beach create a quiet atmosphere which matches perfectly with the picturesque seascape. With soft white sand and clear blue waters, it is a natural harbor for small ships, sheltered by rocky cliffs. The water is deep so families with children should be careful. You can rent boats or pedaloes in order to enjoy a better view of the beachscape.
Also known as Shipwreck Cove or Smugglers Cove, the Navagio Beach is the most famous and commercial place on the island. In 1983, the shipping vessel known as the Panagiotis crashed on this secluded beach due to bad weather conditions while being pursued by the Greek Navy. It has been rumored that the ship was smuggling cigarettes and maybe even humans. The crash site soon became a popular tourist destination and it is only accessible from sea. There are many tour operators that run day trips from nearby Porto Vromi located to the south, or from the Harbor of Saint Nikolas in Volimes, located to the north of Shipwreck Cove. It is also possible to take a boat from the island’s capital city; however, there is the possibility of reaching the upper side of the beach, either by car or by foot, if you wish to take some pictures.
In order to avoid overcrowding, we advise you to visit Navagio Beach early in the morning or later in the afternoon; however, keep in mind that the heat from the sun radiates off the white cliffs and there is no shade. There are no facilities offered in this beach, such as sunbeds, umbrellas or snack bars, sotake the necessary precautions!
Located on the north coast of the island and close to the Navagio Beach, Blue Caves is one of the best known sights of Zante. This natural attraction was discovered in 1897 by Antonio Komouto and it attracts thousands of visitors each year. The area owes its name to the blue waters that create the illusion that objects or people who enter the water turn blue. The Blue Caves are accessible only by boat; hire a boat or join one of the boat trips that are organized from the Skinari Lighthouse, Laganas, the St Nikolas Port or the town of Zakynthos.
Situated in the middle of the Bay of Laganas, Marathonisi is a small islet that provides home to plenty caretta caretta turtles. It also looks like a giant turtle floating on the sparkling sea surrounded by crystal clear deep waters. There are two beautiful beaches on Marathonisi; a white sandy beach on the front of the islet and another one around the side of the island with stunning sea caves to explore. Marathonisi has no inhabitants since it is only used as a nesting home of the caretta caretta turtles and is protected by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. There are no facilities offered on the island; however, you can grab a snack from the little picnic boat that sails around the island.
Keri is a small mountain village filled with old, stone-built houses and narrow streets. Situated 19 km south-west from the town of Zakynthos, the village produces the best quality olive-oil and wine in the island. Keri is also famous for the nearby Keri cliffs, which rise over 300 meters from the Ionian Sea and offer one of the most spectacular sunset views. Another popular sight of the area is the lighthouse of Keri, a nine-meter-tall lighthouse located on top of a cliff. Do not miss the opportunity to spend a romantic evening, admiring the sun diving in the sea at sunset. The place is accessible by car, which you can park in near the lighthouse. The views from this place offer an unforgettable experience!
If you are a party-lover then this is your place! Cameo is a small island off the shore of Laganas, popular for its nightlife. Home to one of the most unusual beach clubs in Zante, it combines loud music and partying with the tranquil beachscape. Cameo island is the ideal venue for clubbers who would like to listen to good music but also for those who are interested in exploring the cozy beach of the island with the white pebbles and the blue waters.
Argassi is a famous tourist attraction near the town of Zakynthos, only 4 kilometers away. It serves as a resort that combines a nice beach along with an intense nightlife; there are plenty of bars, restaurants, taverns and shops. Popular among Greek and foreign families, Argassi offers a variety of hotels, apartments and bungalows placed at different spots of the area. As for the beach, there are showers, umbrellas and sunbeds for rent and there are water sports allowed, such as sea-skiing and sea-biking.
Situated on the highest spot of the town of Zakynthos (only 2 km away), Bochali is a charming little village popular for the breathtaking panoramic views that it offers. Home to the oldest neighborhoods of the island, it is worth visiting the narrow streets with the old houses of this picturesque village. We advise you to stop off at Bochali for refreshments while admiring the magical view of the Ionian Sea. The access to the village can be difficult; in order to arrive here you need to drive through a narrow and uphill road.
Shiza is a cliff which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the island’s beautiful landscape. On top of the cliff, there is a huge concrete cross in memory of the deceased of the civil war, and a few villages such as Kampi, Exo Chora and Maries. In those villages you can buy hand made products or natural food such as honey and oil. Next to the cross, there is an amazing tavern, named Tavern Stavros, which was opened in 1987 and has been visited by people from all over the world. Visit this area and enjoy a delicious meal while viewing the incredible views of the Ionian Sea.