Discover Zakynthos: Top Attractions and Experiences
A pocket guide to Zakynthos
· 6 min read
Nestled in the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, Zakynthos is a captivating Greek island that beckons travelers from all corners of the world. Also known as Zante, this picturesque destination boasts stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant culture that will leave you enchanted. Whether you're seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, exploring natural wonders, or immersing yourself in the island's rich history, Zakynthos has something for everyone.
Getting Around in Zakynthos
Getting Around the Island
Renting a car is the best option to see the whole island. While there is public transportation available, it primarily connects major towns, and taxi fares can be quite expensive. By renting a car, you'll have the freedom to explore Zakynthos at your own pace, discovering hidden gems and breathtaking viewpoints along the way.
But if you will be driving, take note that there are a lot of narrow and curvy roads. Take additional caution when driving, and be sure to always keep your eyes on the road. When driving around Zakynthos, it's common to encounter roads that require vehicles to pull over to the side to allow oncoming traffic to pass. Take your time, be patient, and embrace the scenic drives as part of the island's charm.
Exploring the Island's Coastline
Taking a boat is the best way to explore the island's magnificent coastline. From short one-hour trips to full-day adventures, there are numerous tour companies offering boat excursions in Zakynthos. However, it's important to do a little research before making a reservation to ensure you choose a reputable and environmentally conscious company that respects the island's natural treasures.
Top Things To Do in Zakynthos
Go Turtle Spotting
The Caretta-Caretta sea turtles are one of the main attractions of Zakynthos, with thousands of visitors heading to the Marine Park every day to watch these turtles in their natural habitat.
The best way to spot these turtles will be to join a turtle-spotting tour. These tours will take you on a boat ride and bring you out to locations where you can watch the turtles up close without being too invasive. It is also recommended to pay an extra few euros for the tour to take you to Marathonisi, which is also known as Turtle Island.
Or if you are up for something more adventurous, you can also choose to rent a kayak or pedal boat and follow behind these tour boats. And if you will be swimming and snorkeling, there is also a chance that you can spot these turtles during your swim!
If you are visiting the island at the end of July, that would also coincide with the hatching season. You could try your luck at catching the eggs hatch. The hatching takes place at night, and to see the hatching, you will likely have to stay out on the beach for a couple of hours. Some of the best beaches to catch the hatching will be Kalamaki Beach and Gerakas Beach.
Explore the beautiful beaches
One of the best things to do in Zakynthos is to explore its beautiful beaches.
No trip to Zakynthos would be complete without a visit to Navagio Beach, often referred to as Shipwreck Beach. Surrounded by towering cliffs and accessible only by boat, this iconic beach boasts crystal-clear waters and a shipwreck that has become an emblem of Zakynthos. And for the perfect photo spot, head to the Navagio Beach Viewpoint and capture the breathtaking panorama.
Another really popular beach is Banana Beach, a vibrant and lively spot perfect for those seeking a mix of relaxation and excitement. With its beach bars, water sports, and energetic atmosphere, this beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Spend the day sunbathing, sipping cocktails, and trying your hand at thrilling water activities.
And if you are looking for a slightly less touristy experience away from the crowds, head to Pelagaki Beach. This serene and secluded stretch of coastline offers tranquility and stunning natural beauty. Unwind on the soft golden sand, take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, and soak up the peaceful atmosphere away from the crowds.
Visit the Blue Caves
A tour of the Blue Caves is also at the top of the list of must-dos in Zakynthos. The Blue Caves of Zakynthos offer a breathtaking natural spectacle that captivates visitors with its stunning beauty. As you approach these magnificent sea caves, the crystal-clear turquoise waters beckon you to explore their hidden wonders. The interplay of light and water creates a mesmerizing blue hue that envelops the caves, casting a magical ambiance.
The Blue Caves are situated along the rugged coastline of Cape Skinari, which is the northernmost part of Zakynthos. The Blue Caves are accessible only by boat or kayak. Numerous boat tours and excursions are available from various harbors and resorts around the island, and a tour to the Blue Caves often includes a visit to the Navagio Beach that is nearby.
Visit the Hidden Mountain Villages
While the popular tourist spots are fascinating, Zakynthos is also home to hidden gems that offer a unique and authentic experience. Head to the traditional mountain villages of Volimes or Keri to immerse yourself in the local culture, visit the charming tavernas, and enjoy panoramic views of the island.
Nestled on the southwestern side of the island, Keri is a traditional mountain village that provides a tranquil escape from the bustling coastal areas. Surrounded by lush greenery and olive groves, Keri offers panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and the neighboring islet of Marathonisi. The village features narrow streets lined with stone houses, charming tavernas serving local delicacies, and a quaint village square where locals gather. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Keri Lighthouse, located on the edge of a cliff, providing breathtaking vistas of the coastline.
On the other hand, Volimes is a quaint village known for its local craftsmanship, particularly the production of handmade textiles and embroideries. Exploring the narrow streets of Volimes, you'll come across traditional stone houses adorned with vibrant flowers. The village is also a gateway to the famous Navagio Beach, and you can find various viewpoints where you can admire the iconic beach from above.
Experience its vibrant nightlife
As much as it is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, Zakynthos is also known for its wild nightlife. When the sun sets, Zakynthos comes alive with its vibrant nightlife and entertainment options. From beach clubs and cocktail bars to live music venues and nightclubs, there's something for every night owl. And if you want to be in the center of it all, head to Laganas, a popular village and beach resort. Experience the Greek zest for life as you dance the night away and create unforgettable memories.
Responsible Tourism in Zakynthos
Zakynthos is home to the endangered loggerhead sea turtles, and visitors have the incredible opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Engaging in responsible tourism practices is essential to protect the turtles and their nesting sites. When encountering sea turtles, maintain a safe distance, refrain from using flash photography, and avoid interfering with the hatchlings' journey to the sea. By respecting these guidelines, you can help preserve the delicate balance of Zakynthos' ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.