Every year thousands plan their Zante holidays in this Ionian island of Greece. Zante is also known as Zakynthos or Zakinthos. Why the two different names?
That is easy: Zakynthos is a Greek word, and Zante is an Italian word. In the old times, most of the Ionian islands were influenced and occupied by Italians. Many Italian particulars remained on these islands (architecture, customs, dialects, foods, and more).
A trip to Zante island lands you on one of Greece’s most beautiful and green islands. The fantastic views and perfect crystal-clear water are a sight to behold.
With minimum rain chances from May to September, a visit to Zante (Zakynthos) is simply the best. The sunny moments give you the best photo caption moments and best times in the Ionian sea.
Zante holidays are known for the crazy nightlife in the village of Laganas & Tsilivi and more as the famous view of the Shipwreck Beach.
Most to do things in Zakynthos that are beach related as you will realize this is what the island is known for. It’s simply a perfect relaxing holiday spot.
This Ionian Sea Island lying on a 406 km2 land might be mistaken as very small. It is small enough to be navigated by car but large enough to offer a great diversity of landscapes.
Don’t plan a single-day visit to Zakynthos.
You will be frustrated by the many things, sites, and activities you have not achieved.
Three days at a minimum would give you better exposure to the well-known summer resort.
Best Zakynthos Beaches
Zakynthos has more than 25 beaches, and almost all are good to visit and swim.
The sum of beaches of Zakynthos are:
- Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach
- Agios Nikolaos
- Porto Zoro
- Porto Vromi
- Limni Keriou
- Agios Sostis
- Makris Gialos
- Porto Kaminia
- Porto Roma
Top Things to do in your Zante Holidays
If you have been planning a trip to Zakynthos, let’s start the journey with a list of what you need to include on the to-do list.
This stunning destination is in the Mediterranean climate with high humidity levels. This means the island is evergreen.
It’s covered by abundant vegetation and fauna. Do not forget the island is the loggerheads of sea turtles.
Shipwreck (Navagio) viewpoint
These are the most famous views in Greece.
This point is in the western part of the island and on an easy to get a trail.
Any trip to Zakynthos has to be opened of climaxing with a visit to Shipwreck viewpoint. It’s the destination that confirms that you had a visit to the island.
It’s one of the views that gives you this feeling that you are now at the tip of the world.
To enjoy the best of the viewpoint, be there near sunset or between 7-8 pm in the summer season.
Here the temperatures are very high, especially when you are at the island’s top.
The area has many -and sharp- rocks.
You can either use a car, a quad, or a scooter to get to this location. The island has many signs that will lead you directly to the shipwreck.
You don’t have to worry about getting lost in the woods. An alternative way to get to the site is taking a bus which makes tours of the island.
Jeep Safari tour, for instance, is renowned for the tours and travels within the island.
You can book an adventure with them, and you will rest assured to get to the hidden sites on the island.
Navagio Beach Zakynthos
A site of the famed 1980 shipwreck, which rests on a sandy cove framed by cliffs.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
It’s a must destination on your Zante tour. Traveling up the hill to see the shipwreck from the top is insufficient. It would be best if you had a close focus in close proximity. Come to the beach.
Getting here, you are welcomed by the crystal clear water and the soft sand.
The beach is very famous for the spectacular shipwreck here, a significant delivery vessel for illegal cigarettes.
The clarity of the waters is another thing that adds to the island’s uniqueness and popularity of the beach.
The Blue Caves of Zante (Zakynthos)
Another point of attraction in Zante and must-do part of your Zante holidays.
These are located in the Northwest part of the island. To get there, it is easier when you use a car. For more views and better experiences, however, rent a boat.
A boat will give you more flexibility to explore each of them in detail.
Another unique expense with the blue caves is swimming. Spare a couple of hours and swim across the caves. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. I would also advise that you bring your diving gear since there is more to see.
The underwater life will offer you the best experience.
Keri cave is a great experience that is worth every cent you pay.
Located in the southern part of the island, it is a point of interest for your trip to Zakynthos. You will experience the blue waters here, which offer the perfect spot for swimming as well as fishing.
You can either rent a boat or book a boat tour with the many tour companies on the island. You can, however, access this destination only through the sea. Therefore, you need to hire a boat to maneuver through the site.
There are cases where the cave is relatively small which will only get accessed through swimming, but others are big enough, and you can take your boat with you.
Keri caves are also incredible to explore via sea kayaking. Don’t worry about how to do it; there is always an instructor who will train you on how to do it.
Snorkel, Zakynthos Marine Park
In the same sentence, you cannot lack the word Zakynthos and the giant Caretta Caretta turtles.
Zante is known for the giant turtles that you can quickly get in the waters. You will also see them getting their eggs laid on the beach if you are lucky enough.
The Marine Park is located in the southern part of the island, called Turtle Island or simply Marathonissi Island.
These beautiful creatures will also be spotted in the Zakynthos Marine Park.
This destination with beautiful and transparent waters makes it very easy to spot the turtles in their natural habitat. You can go kayaking or use a taxi boat from Laganas Beach to get to this fantastic destination.
Here you need to go with a company that practices safe animal snorkeling. You, therefore, need simple research to get the best company that will protect the interest of the animals as much as you have fun.
Getting too roundy on them makes them stressed, and you get to harm their ecosystems.
The giant turtles are not the only thing you will see in the Ionian Sea.
You need to see so many complex and soft corals and probably take a souvenir.
The park is full of fish and wonderful crustacean life.
The Venetian Castle of Zakynthos
It’s time to get out of the beach at some point.
The best place you might want to consider is the old ruins of the Venetian Castle. The site at least gives you a little history.
In the old days, the Ionian island was occupied by the Turks, British, French, Venetians, and the Russians. In their course of stay, the Venetians left behind some of the most imposing sites, evident in the form of a fortress on the Zakynthos, Kefalonia, and Corfu Islands.
The castle has quite a historical experience and is near Zante Town.
Its date of construction, however, is still unknown. It’s considered to be very old. It was, however, destroyed by the Turks in 1480 and later restored in 1515.
With the history of the destruction and reconstruction, the castle today stands as a testament to the former glory of Zakynthos.
It’s a military stronghold where visitors can come and walk around an old prison, gunpowder rooms, bastions, churches, and even the old sewage system in the vicinity.
A Boat Tour in Zante
This is one of the most extraordinary things you need to accomplish during your visit to Zakynthos.
You can choose to enjoy luxury island events through a private boat tour.
Renting a boat is much fun as it comes with a captain, and the only cost you have to incur is the renting charges plus the price for the gas, as you will agree with the boat provider.
You can either drive along the coastline by yourself or use the boat captain as you enjoy your time with your loved ones.
The heavy winds and high waves might deter you from getting to some locations like the Shipwreck Cove with the boat, but you still have a chance of ripping around from one bay to another.
You can find you’re on stopping zones, get out and swim by yourself and go back to the base later.
Guided Tours in Zakynthos
Since Zante (Zakynthos) is an island, there are various hired services for tours around the beaches’ points of interest that are not otherwise accessible. Here are the most preferred ones, but you can always explore all (approx. 20) from here.
- Navagio Shipwreck Beach and Blue Caves Full-Day Tour
- Boat Trip to Keri Caves and Loggerhead Turtle Watching
- Zakynthos: Shipwreck Beach Boat Tour from Porto Vromi
- From Zakynthos: Kefalonia Island Full Day Tour by Bus & Boat
- Zakynthos Water Park Entry Ticket and Bus Transfers
The moment you thought you had exhausted the entire Zakynthos Island, you discover there are other better sceneries that you have not yet set your foot in.
Porto Limnionas is the most scenic coves on the island.
Limnionas is located in the deep natural harbor, surrounded by multicolored cliffs offering the best photo caption site on the island.
It also hosts some of the most transparent water you will ever see anywhere. The green rocks in the harbor reflect the sun rays from below, thus lighting the sea just like an aquarium.
It’s a superb view that gives you a great experience.
Without much saying, this is one of the most scenic cities in Greece.
It is also known as Zakynthos Town.
The town contains many restaurants. It has an excellent seafront promenade that faces a natural harbor filled with ferries, fishing boats, and sailboats.
Around Zante town, you will get many open plazas, plenty of shops, and many markets where you get to refresh your groceries during your stay in the town.
It’s a seaside capital that you will enjoy walking around.
The beauty of Zakynthos is inexhaustible.
The Cameo Island is off Zakynthos and has green trees with a beach bar that features top DJs.
This means one thing, happy nightlife.
To get to this beach, you need to go through Laganas Beach, where you walk through a beautiful great bridge made of wood.
It’s an extraordinary photo caption moment.
You have to visit the village of Kampi
What happens with that village? It has no archaeological sites. There are no cultural-related things to do and see.
However…. the village location makes it interesting, along with the two taverns on the edge of a cliff. The view to the Ionian sea from these taverns and their food is famous for Kampi village.
Kampi is about 40 minutes from Zante town of Laganas and 50 mins from Tsilivi. You have to visit this place at least once for the food and view.
As you spend your entire day exploiting the beautiful beaches and exciting activities in Zakynthos, you need a place to let go of the daily stress.
After all, you came to the island to enjoy life. Laganas is located on the eastern side of the island is a very famous city for crazy parties.
The parties are mainly known to last till morning.
This is a place where you will easily find all types of clubs, and you can dance to them until the sun comes up. The town’s main bars in the city are Sugar bar and the renowned Cheeky Tikis Bar.
How to get to Zakynthos island, Greece?
Flights to Zakynthos
There are flights from Athens, Greece (it takes around 45min). The airport is near Laganas. Charter flights from European flights regularly fly during the summer months. Use Skyscanner to find the best price.
Ferries to Zakynthos
You won’t find a ferry from Piraeus (Athens) Zakynthos. You need to get to Killini (Peloponnese), one hour away from Patras city (around 3 hours from Athens), and board from there. If you take a bus from Athens to Killini, have plenty of time and don’t just calculate the 4 hours timeframe.
Better to be at the port of Killini 2 hours ahead than miss the ferry. Usually, the ferry waits for the bus to arrive if it delays 30-60 minutes but still…
Make sure you book ahead as in summertime ferries lack of tickets fast and if you have a car you need book a space for that too. Use this service for ferry tickets.
If you travel from Kefalonia to Zakynthos and vice versa, there is a ferry serving between Pessada port (Kefalonia) and Shinari port (Zakynthos). That is a 1.30 hours trip.
Zakynthos Hotels – Where to Stay?
Depending on what kind of accommodation you prefer or what nightlife you like, you need to choose your hotel/apartment accordingly.
Laganas is rather “noisy,” while Tsilivi is less. Zante town is for those who want to do long walks in the city while choosing to stay in small hotels (there is one near Kampi too) means you need some quiet time.
Moving in and out of the major cities of Zakynthos (Laganas, Zante town, Tsilivi) does not require lots of driving time, but with 25 beaches, you will be “forced” to explore this island in and out. Here are some options for the “fun” cities of Zakynthos.
Best Laganas Zante Hotels Suggestions
Best Tsilivi Zante Hotels Suggestions
- Olea All Suite Hotel
- Katerina Studios
- Kymothoe Elite
- Sofia – Yiota Studios & Apartments
- Contessina Hotel
Where is Zakynthos?
Zakynthos is at the Ionian Sea and is part of the Eptanese (means seven islands) islands group. The Eptanese islands are Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Corfu, Kythira, Ithaca, Paxoi, Lefkada. When you look at the map of Greece, you see that Zakynthos is very close and to the west side of Peloponnese (that is why it is easy to cross by ferry from Patras).
Zakynthos and Ionian islands are ideal for island hopping when you have lots of days to spare. This is because the nearby Kefalonia and Corfu in the North are way too big islands, and you can’t cover them in a few days each.
To sum it up for your Zante holidays…
Zakynthos is a must-see destination.
It needs to be on your list for the following summer holiday visits.
This island has so many things that you need to see and do. It’s a venue you will fall in love with the first time you get here.
With all said, get your hat, sun cream, and your total energy as you explore the most fantastic scenery in Greece, Zakynthos island.