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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

The most beautiful places to visit in Zakynthos

Updated: May 12

ZAKYNTHOS - A COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS GREEK ISLAND


Greece is definitely in the top of my favorite countries, especially when it comes to delicious food and heavenly beaches. It is a destination that I would choose without thinking too much when I want to enjoy crystal clear water and beautiful beaches. It can be more difficult to choose the exact location in which to spend the holidays in Greece, considering that in addition to the superb locations on the mainland, there are also 227 inhabited islands, with a total of up to 6000, if we include the islets.

This time I can say that it was easy for me to choose Zakynthos Island. You can't ignore the views of Navagio and Myzithres beaches, especially when you spend a lot of time online and you see photos of them everywhere. I can say that the beauty of the landscapes was beyond expectations, especially at the long beaches with fine sand, which I normally avoid because I don't like them, but the ones in Zakynthos completely amazed me.


The island of Zakynthos was under Venetian control for 3 centuries, thus having many Venetian influences, even the name of Zante, another name by which the island is known, is given by the Italians. It is a rather simple and modest island, quite mountainous, with infrastructure that leaves a lot to be desired, in some places, but which makes up for it in terms of beaches, turquoise water and superb places for swimming. Honestly, I don't think there is a better place to enjoy the beauty of the Ionian Sea. Also on this island, with a little luck you can see Caretta-Caretta turtles, an endangered species that lays its eggs here.



HOW TO GET TO ZAKYNTHOS


There are two ways to get to Zakynthos Island:


-By plane. There are direct flights from the most destinations in Europe, with low cost companies or charters;


-By ferry-boat. You can consider this option if you want to come with your own car, or if you rent from mainland Greece. The journey from the Port of Killini to the port of Zakynthos is approximately two hours, including embarkation and disembarkation. The ticket is paid both for the car and for each passenger separately and can be bought both online and at the port, but it is recommended to buy online in advance, especially in full season. We traveled with Levante Ferries and paid a total of €127 round trip for two passengers and car (in 2023).



TRANSPORTATION ON THE ISLAND OF ZAKYNTHOS


Once you arrive on the island, transportation is one of the most important aspects. If you choose the option of coming to Zakynthos by personal car, then the problem is solved.


If you choose the fast option, by plane, then it is necessary to find a way to move on the island, especially if you want to visit and enjoy the beauty and diversity of the landscapes. You have the option of renting a car, ATV, scooter, bicycle or purchasing organized excursions, either by coach or by boat.


Being a very mountainous island, with many serpentines, narrow roads and hard-to-reach beaches, I recommend a scooter or ATV rather than a car. To rent them, there are many places in the towns, such as Laganas or Kalamaki (and not only) and you can compare prices and offers. Prices do not differ from one location to another within a town, you may find different offers from one town to another.



If you consider the organized trips, I leave some of the ones that seem the most interesting to me:


- Guided tour Agalas, Keri, Cameo Island and Damiano Cave. Details here.

- Off-road buggy tour, departing from Laganas. Details here.

- Excursion to Kefalonia with departure from Zante Town. Details here.

- Boat trip with a glass floor, looking for Caretta-Caretta turtles. Details here.

- Boat trip around the island. Stops are made at the Blue Caves and near Navagio Beach (without access to the beach). Details here.



THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO SEE IN ZAKYNTHOS


Plakaki Beach is in the top of my favorite places in Zakynthos. Although it is called "beach", in reality it is only a place where you can swim, entering the water directly from the rocks, there is no beach, and the places where you can place the towel are quite limited. The access is quite difficult, to get here you have to do a hike. The descent is quite steep and quite dangerous in some places. I recommend wearing appropriate footwear, not flip flops or sandals, and water shoes for entering the water because the rocks can hurt your feet. Also, snorkeling lovers may be disappointed because there are not many fish in the water.


The experience of swimming among the huge rocks makes all the effort to get there worth it. Do not forget to take supplies of water and snacks before entering the road to the beach, because there are no shops or taverns, the area is very wild. It is also a wonderful place where you can enjoy the sunset.



Filippoi Beach is in the same style as the one presented above. It is not a beach in the real sense of the word, but rather a place where you can swim. The road to this beach is quite long, but it was recently paved and is quite good. The water has an absolutely gorgeous colour and is perfect for snorkeling.

filippoi beach zakyntos greece

Porto Steniti is another great place where you can swim and snorkel among high rocks and gorgeous caves. At the end of the narrow corridor between the rocks, a small pebble beach has formed, to which you can only access by swimming or by kayaking/paddelling


The road is only partially paved. The most recommended is that you cover the unpaved part on foot or by ATV. We didn't go down by car because we thought it would be difficult to go back up, since the road is very steep and full of gravel.

porto steniti zakynthos greece

Korakonissi is a cove with turquoise water, perfect for snorkeling. The star of this location is the arch formed in the rock, which if you have seen other places in Zakynthos, you will not find it so spectacular. The places to sit on the towel are just few, and the access to the water is very difficult, but it is incomparably easier to reach than Plakaki Beach.


Porto Vromi is a miniport with two small beaches, which geographically are very close to each other, you can swim between them, but if you travel the distance by car, they are separated by a few kilometres.


The beaches are quite narrow and small, with white pebbles, and swimming among the boats doesn't seem the safest. The landscape is gorgeous, and the colour of the water gives the place a heavenly aspect. It is the place where you can buy boat trips to the Blue Caves and the areas in the north-western part of the island.

porto vromi beach seen from above, on zakynthos island greece

Porto Limnionas is a small swimming place with crystal clear water, a bit more crowded and better developed compared to the ones presented above. There are both free areas (just few) to put the towel, as well as sunbed areas. There is also a tavern nearby, and the parking lot is free and quite large. It gets very crowded during the day and for this reason we did not spend a lot of time in this place.

porto limnionas zakynthos greece

Porto Roxa is a small swimming place quite close to Porto Limnionas. There are many areas with sunbeds and umbrellas, but also areas to sit freely on a towel. Sunbeds and umbrellas are free, if you buy a drink from the tavern they belong to.


This beach seems to be the ideal place for diving, I saw people equipped for this sport entering the water directly from the rocks.

porto roxa beach zakynthos island greece

Xigia Beach is a swimming location where you can enjoy the sulphurous water, which has therapeutic properties. The beach is quite small, with stones and to reach it you have to go down some stairs. At this beach, it is not allowed to leave the car on the side of the road, so you will have to park in a private parking lot, which is not free. On the beach there are some sunbeds with umbrellas, and right before going down the stairs there is a tavern where you can have a meal.

xigia beach after the rain in Zante Island, known as Zakynthos Island

Pelagaki Beach is located at a very short distance from Xigia and you will also find it under the name of Xigia Pelagaki Beach. Here you can actually choose between two beaches. One to be found on the left side, and Pelagaki on the right. The one on the left is a bit wilder, with pebbles, and on the one on the right you will also find sunbeds and umbrellas, where you can order drinks and refreshments without going up to the tavern.

pelagaki beach zante island

Porto Zorro is a beach with a fairly smooth entrance into the water. Near the rocks, the sand is finer, and the rest is pebbles and even quite large stones, so don't leave your water shoes at home. There are many sunbed areas on the beach, the towel areas being quite limited.


There are two ways to get there: on the road to Porto Zorro and on the road to Porto Azzuro. I recommend that you come to this beach as early as possible, because during the day it gets very crowded and yu risk that both the parking spaces and the sunbeds are occupied.

porto zorro beach zakynthos island

Cameo Island is a small private islet with its own beach, connected to Zakynthos by a wooden footbridge. The entrance fee is €5, including a small souvenir. In the past, a drink was included, but probably because of inflation, they made changes. Being an island of only a few square meters, during the day it can seem quite crowded, especially if you are unlucky enough to arrive on the same time with tourists buses. I recommend getting there as early as possible in the morning.

cameo island, agios sostis zakynthos greece

Laganas Beach is one of the longest beaches with fine sand in Zakynthos. Here you can enjoy the beach both on the sunbed or on the towel. There are many taverns that provide sunbeds, but there are also places to sit on a towel. It was one of the beaches that pleasantly surprised me and I'm glad I decided to put it on the list to visit.

This beach belongs to Laganas Resort, the liveliest in Zakynthos. Here you will find the most clubs and bars, being the ideal resort for party lovers. Moreover, here you will also find many offers for excursions and boat trips, although I noticed that regardless of the company, the prices are identical.

laganas beach zakynthos island

Kalamaki Beach


If I liked Laganas Beach a lot, well, Kalamaki Beach completely won me over. It is a fairly large beach, but to which tourists have access only in certain areas because there are many nests with turtle eggs. The sand is fine, and the entrance to the water is smooth. There are both sunbeds and towel areas.

kalamaki beach at sunrise, zakynthos island

Agios Nikolaos is a locality, somewhat smaller than a normal village, with only 42 inhabitants. It's that place that attracts you with its simplicity and naturalness, or at least that's what attracted me the most. The beach is small, with pebbles, the entrance to the water is smooth, and the sea has an unreal beautiful colour. Right at the end of the beach is a tavern that puts sunbeds with umbrellas at the customers' disposal.

agios nikolaos beach, zakynthos

Gerakas Beach, located in the south of the island, is considered the turtle beach, and access here is prohibited at night, more precisely from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. There are both sunbeds and towel areas, and the water is crystal clear. It would have been perfect for snorkeling, unfortunately it is quite poor, I didn't see any fish, only a starfish. It is possible that there is a better snorkeling area next to the rocks, where I did not reach.

gerakas beach zakynthos

Dafni Beach is one of the beaches in Turtle Bay. If we ignore the road to get there, which is a bit bad, this beach is in the top of my recommendations when it comes to beaches with fine sand and smooth entry to the water. There are places to sit freely on a towel, but also areas of sunbeds made available for free by the taverns near the beach if you buy drinks or food.

Dafni Beach is one of the beaches in Turtle Bay, zakynthos

Banana Beach is a long beach with fine sand. There are several taverns that manage a good part of the beach, offering sunbeds, and access with drinks bought from other places being completely prohibited. This beach is considered the place where you can enjoy various water sports. It is also considered the most expensive beach on the island.

banana beach, zakynthos greece

Skinari Cape is a place where you can enjoy amazing views of the sea, admire one of the oldest windmills on the island, or if you are braver, jumping into the water from one of the spring boards.

potamitis windmill skinari cape zakynthos

Navagio Viewpoint


Navagio was voted the most beautiful beach in the world, so a visit to the viewpoint is a must on the list, especially when it promises not to disappoint. The beach itself cannot be visited, it was recently closed due to falling stones. The viewpoint and the view from the boat are the only ways to enjoy it.



Myzithres is another beach of unreal beauty, which you can admire from above, where the view is the most beautiful, or you can choose boat trips and stop there as well. From below, it doesn't seem so special anymore, but the view from above is unmissable.

myzithres viewpoint zakynthos

PLACES TO VISIT IN ZAKYNTHOS, WHICH ARE NOT BEACHES


Askos Stone Park is a kind of zoo where you can interact directly with the animals. We weren't really convinced that we wanted to visit this place, since we are not fans of zoos and the price of 12 euros/person doesn't help much either, but we had some days with a bit more ugly weather, not suitable for the beach, so we decided to we give it a chance and I don't regret it. It really is a special place, the deer are absolutely adorable, and the best part is that you can feed them and interact with them.

askos stone park zakynthos

Volimes is a village that seems a little forgotten by the world and is only worth seeing if you are in the area. In 20-30 minutes you can see it all (walking distance). Unfortunately, the houses are quite unkept, but even so it does not spoil much of the beauty of the place. The points of interest are the church and the street to the right of it, towards the south.

volimes village zakynthos

Anafonitria Monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and would have been built in 1429. It is one of the few buildings that have withstood the numerous earthquakes that have occurred on the island and is considered the oldest monastery in Zakynthos. I could say that you can see the passage of time on its appearance, some parts being a bit older, others seem to have been built more recently.


Zante Town, the largest city and capital of the island, should not be missed. The city was largely destroyed by earthquakes, especially the one in 1953, so you won't find very old buildings in this city. You will find all the hustle and bustle, taverns, bars, various shops and the holiday vibe starting with the Solomos Square area.


The olive oil factory is another place you can add to your list of places to see in Zakynthos. The Greeks have found a cute way to sell olive oil, by bringing tourists to visit their mini-factory, with free entry. You can taste the oil before deciding what to buy or whether to buy.

There are several such places on the island, but the largest is this one, which you can find under the name Olive Press Museum.

olive press museum zakynthos

WHERE TO STAY IN ZAKYNTHOS


5 star hotels:


- Lesante Cape Resort & Villas - The Leading Hotels of the World - is one of the highest rated hotels in Zakynthos. It has 4 swimming pools, 4 restaurants and a private beach. The rooms are apartment type and can accommodate more than two people, depending on the need.


- Olea All Suite Hotel - it is an apart-hotel, with a swimming pool, spacious and modernly furnished rooms, in neutral colors. It is located in Tsilivi, and breakfast is included in the reservation price.


4 star hotels:


- Alykanas Beach Grand Hotel by Zante Plaza- is an apart-hotel that can accommodate up to 4 people/apartment. It has two swimming pools, green areas and view to the sea.


- Avalon Palace Hotel - Adults Only - is a hotel with spacious rooms and a swimming pool, located in Bochali.


3 star hotels or less


- Tzante Hotel Zakynthos, Adults Only - hotel located in Laganas, with swimming pool, internet included in the price and parking.

- Cactus Hotel - located in Laganas, has two swimming pools, internet and parking included in the price.


- Sofia - Yiota Studios & Apartments - apartment type accommodation, located in Tsilivi, with kitchenette, internet and parking included in the price.


WHERE TO EAT IN ZAKYNTHOS


Greece is in the top of my favorite countries when it comes to food. As expected, Zakynthos Island doesn't make a discordant note either, so the food was delicious, at least from our point of view, compared to what we like to eat.


Most often we chose to eat at Pita Break in Alykes. Although the location is not very modern, the food was fresh and tasty every time. We never waited more than 15 minutes to be served, and the prices were the lowest in the resort.

gyros at pita break in alykes, zakynthos

In every place there is at least one restaurant with good food, and among the best rated are:


- Premier Restaurant - Tsilivi

- Elia Restaurant - Tsilivi

- Cielo Kitchen Bar Cafe- Laganas

- Sizzlebang House - Laganas

- Grecos - Laganas


Below, I leave reviews for two quite promoted restaurants in Zakynthos, in case you had them on your list:


Grampsas Winery and Restaurant- it is promoted as a winery, where you can taste various varieties of wine, old or new. The prices seemed (for me) a bit high and if you are not passionate, then I don't necessarily recommend it.

grampsas winery and restaurant zakynthos

Diakofereiko Restaurant - it is considered the oldest restaurant on the island. It is an absolutely gorgeous location, vintage and very instagrammable. The atmosphere is very pleasant and I recommend the location, but not for the food, it is not the best, and the prices are a bit high. There are many other restaurants on the island where you can eat very well, at a better price.

diakofereiko restaurant zakynthos island

CONCLUSION ABOUT ZAKYNTHOS


Although the first impact with the island, the roads and the general appearance of the island do not promise much, I am convinced that the beauty of the beaches and landscapes will conquer you as well, as it conquered me. I can say that in Zakynthos you can find some of the most beautiful views in Europe, some of the most beautiful beaches and at the same time, it is one of the cheapest locations you can visit (comparing the price of accommodation and restaurant meals).


I hope that this article will be useful in organizing your vacation on one of the most beautiful islands in Europe.



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