21 Jun 2021 | Destinations, Europe, Greece
Greece is a popular holiday destination for many reasons. A trip to Greece or one of the smaller islands can also be very affordable. In this post, I am sharing an epic Zakynthos travel guide to help you plan yours. Find all the amazing and beautiful things to do in Zakynthos and more.
My trip to Zakynthos was special, as good friends of ours were getting married there. They wanted to celebrate both of their bachelor parties in Zakynthos Greece. So in no time, a date was arranged, and we boarded the plane to Greece with ten men and nine women.
This was my first visit to Greece – is it just me, or are you also super excited when you’re about to discover a new country? The moment I get off the plane my eyes start to sparkle, I’m instantly happy and I’m ready to take on a new adventure. This time was no different.
** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links which means that purchases made through these links reward Bey of Travel a small commission without any additional charge for the purchaser.**
Ultimate Zakynthos Travel Guide
Zakynthos is located on the western side of Greece.
Zákynthos is also known as Zante. The town is home to a ruined castle of the Byzantines, the beautiful Cameo island, a belfry of the 16th-century Agios Markos Church, an epic Solomos Square, and art in the form of frescoes and icons.
The weather in Zakynthos is super pleasant. Greek food, especially Greek Meat Pie, is delicious and you must give it a try.Although the island itself is relatively small, there are countless fun activities to experience.
Within the space of approximately 410 km², you can find all the ingredients for a diverse holiday under the sun. Zakynthos is a super popular tourist destination for bachelor’s parties, friend’s trips, and family summer holidays.
How to get to Zakynthos
Zakynthos is located in Greece. It is a European Union member and uses Euro as its currency. Passport holders from other EU countries, the US and Canada can enter Greece without a visa. For others, a Schengen Tourist Visa is required for entry.
When arranging your trip to Zakynthos, keep in mind that it’s a tourist destination so it’s not easy to get there by plane during the off-season. Most airlines only fly here during the summer season – which is from the end of May until September.
Cost-wise it isn’t too pricey. On our trip, we paid 90€ for a return flight from Zaventem Brussels.
The nearest airport to Zakynthos is Zakinthos (ZTH) Airport. You can also connect via other nearby airports like Kefallinia (50.9 km/ 31.62 miles), Preveza (128.4 km/79.90 miles), Corfu (220.4 km/136.702 miles), and Athens (268.2 km/166.52 miles).
You can pick up a rental car from the airport or use a private transfer. Here is a private transfer from the airport to Zakynthos town.
Zakynthos and the Ionian Islands are connected to the ports of Patras and Kyllini. From Zakynthos, you can visit the nearby islands of Ithaka, Lefkada, Kefalonia, and Corfu.
Depending on the day and the ferry company you choose, the journey can take around 3 to 5 hours. Ferries run daily from Kyllini, Patras to Zakynthos all year round. In summer, there are several boats that sail out daily.
How to move around in Zakynthos Greece
Once you’re in Zakynthos, the best way of traveling around is by car. To ensure you get the cheapest option, organize your rental online – we paid 50€ for a car for 4 days, including insurance.
If you fancy a more adventurous approach, you can also rent a quad. Take into account longer travel times, as you can only drive an average of 40 km/h on the winding roads.
When is the best time to visit Zakynthos
For those vacationing in Zakynthos, the months from March to May and from September to early December are best for travel. During this time the weather is pleasant, and you can experience all the wonderful outdoorsy activities. There is no extreme heat or sunlight in these months.
It also makes it easy for traveling back and forth to the nearby islands and explore more attractions in Zakynthos.
If we have to pick one month, I would say June is the perfect time to visit Zakynthos. We visited the island in June, and each day it reached the lovely, pleasant temperature of 30 degrees.
In July and August, temperatures can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius (and that’s just a bit too much for me personally!).
Where to stay in Zakynthos
Many tour operators offer packages with activities and accommodation and this is generally the easiest and cheapest way to arrange your trip to Zakynthos, especially if you are traveling with children.
Pro tip: Be sure to reserve boat tours and hotels ahead of time in the peak seasons.
If you feel like something a little more authentic, though, here are some great options.
Olea All Suite Hotel
The five-star Olea All Suite Hotel lies right in the midst of nature, surrounded by beautiful olive trees. Surprisingly, it’s still within walking distance of Zakynthos town and the beach. The question is whether you want to leave this beautiful hotel at all! More info and booking can be found here.
Zante Maris Suites
In this beautiful adults-only hotel, enjoyment comes first. It is a five-star venue – you can even book a room with a private pool. For more info and booking click here.
Read More Travel Guides on Accommodation:
What to pack for Zakynthos Island trip
With stunning locations, and amazing photo opportunities you must pack right for Zakynthos or Zante Island. I have highlighted my top picks below:
- Beach or swimwear: You will be spending a lot of time at the beach, don’t forget to carry cute beachwear and swimsuits
- Beach towel: With that add a beach towel and other accessories like flip flops, and a cover-up
- Sunglasses: It is hot and sunny in the Greek Islands, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen is a must
- Mosquito repellent: Mosquito bites can be annoying, and when you are out and about they might make you uncomfortable, so make sure you buy and pack some before your trip
- Outfits: Because the weather is warm, carry lightweight and airy/flowy outfits like comfy dresses or rompers. Linen pants and shorts are also a good idea. Style your outfits with a nice hat and a beach bag
- Beach Bag or Tote: A beach bag or tote is handy to carry sun protection, and swimwear when you go island hopping
- Comfortable sandals: Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking sandals and water shoes
12 Top things to do in Zakynthos Greece
Here are my top recommendations of things to do during your stay in Zakynthos:
Rent a boat and explore the islands
The waters surrounding the Greek islands range from astonishing azure to beautiful blue-green, and immediately make you think of a tropical paradise.
What better way to enjoy it than on a boat? For boats with a maximum of 30hp, they’re free to use without any license or experience. You can rent a boat from around 100€/4h and you can find many places to rent them along the shore.
Spot turtles in Zakynthos
Huge Caretta turtles live in the waters around the island and can be spotted while snorkeling or on a boat. The optimum time to spot them is during their breeding season from mid-May to early October, and the best places are the coast of Laganas and Turtle Island.
Go on a turtle spotting cruise in Zakynthos on a glass-bottomed boat. Learn more about it here.
(Fun fact: Our return flight was almost canceled because normally no planes are allowed to depart from the island after 10 pm during the breeding season. The lights from the planes stress the turtles, making them less likely to lay eggs.)
Visit the Blue Caves
Take a trip up to the far north of Zakynthos and see the beautiful Blue Caves. The north of the island is much quieter, with idyllic roads among olive trees. You can buy local olive oil, herbs, and organic products here at various places along the way, so it’s definitely worth stopping for souvenirs!
When traveling from north to south, be prepared to spend approximately 1.5 hours on the road.
Book a combined Navagio Shipwreck Beach & Blue Caves Boat Tour.
Take a trip to Navagio Beach
The island’s must-see shipwreck landmark. Situated on the west coast of the island, the bay is famous for high white cliffs, a beautiful sandy beach, sparkling blue water, and a rusted shipwreck. To snap the best photos, stop at Navagio’s viewpoint.
You can easily book a day tour to explore Navagio’s Shipwreck Cove and gaze down into the sea through the boat’s glass bottom. Tours also include a swim time in turquoise waters whilst enjoying a breathtaking view of the world-famous shipwreck beach.
Sunbathe at the Gerakas beach – National Marine Park
Located in the protected area of the Zakynthos Marine Park is Gerakas Beach. This beach is perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. For 10 euros you can get sunbeds and an umbrella to enjoy a backdrop of plant-covered hills.
If you wish to explore wildlife in Greece then head to the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, or the Askos Stone Park.
Askos Stone Park is amazing. It is a wildlife sanctuary, a forest reserve, a natural zoo, and an agricultural research center. Here you can not only see wildlife but also explore ancient stone structures.
Take a Half-Day Trip to Marathonisi and Keri Caves
Keri Caves is located on the southern coast of Zakynthos, and this is a perfect half-day trip idea where you can go swimming.
When you start from Zakynthos town, you will arrive at the Argassi Bridge which was constructed in 1885. Stop here for photos, and then continue on to Kalamaki Beach to learn about the turtle nests in the area.
Up next is the town of Laganas and the island of Marathonisi. At Marathonisi, you can admire beautiful caves and white sand beaches and soak in the sun.
From here, you will finally get to the Keri Caves for a swim. If interested you can also travel to the Aristeon Olive Oil Press, and learn about the long history of olive oil production on the island and taste some samples in the Greek Islands.
You can also book a day tour here.
Go horse riding
Fancy surprising your other half with a romantic date? Go horse riding along the beach during sunset.
We did this activity during the bachelorette’s day and were really pleasantly surprised. Laganas Horse Riding Center guided us wonderfully – you can enjoy a ride even with no experience at all.
Explore a Greek Farm and visit Zante Town
The Greek island of Zakynthos is known as “the flower of the East”, and you can experience all of it by embarking on a guided tour at an organic farm.
As part of the tour, you can also enjoy samples of the local produce.
You must also explore the town of Zante or Zakynthos. By joining a tour with a local you get to learn about the port city’s history and its art and culture.
Visit the Greek Orthodox St. Dionysios Church, which was named after the patron saint of the island. Spend some time here, and see the silver casket that houses the remains of St. Dionysios.
You will also get to visit Solomos Square where you can hang out, shop, grab a meal or drink at one of the numerous taverns or restaurants. This is perfect for a walk around the vibrant town, and soak in beautiful harbor views in the evening before returning to your hotel.
One of the coolest things about Zakynthos is that you can enjoy beach vibes, cultural exploration and indulge in water activities including scuba diving.
Turtle Beach Diving Centre, located at Limni Keriou Beach is great for new and advanced divers. You can sign up for a lesson, and they train you and also provide you with diving equipment.
Swim at Porto Limnionas Beach
Other than scuba diving, you must go swimming at Porto Limnionas Beach. This is one of the prettiest beaches in Zante.
Although small it is truly breathtaking with a secluded cove surrounded by jagged cliffs. This beach does get crowded though (as it is picturesque), so do plan ahead.
Climb to the Panagia Skopiotissa monastery
Love to hike? Head to the Panagia Skopiotissa monastery. This Monastery is situated on the top of Skopos on the Greek island of Zakynthos, and takes you through a scenic 4-km climb.
It starts from Argassi Village to the remains of Panagia Skopiotissa via a well-marked walking trail. The old monastery is beautiful and has gone through recent renovations, plus the view from here is magnificent – highly recommended!
Eat delicious food in Zakynthos – Where to find the best restaurants and markets in Zakynthos
Holidays and good food go hand in hand (or so my husband always says!).
Fortunately, there are several restaurants in Zakynthos where you can enjoy delicious meals in a beautiful setting.
Here’s a list of where you can find the best Greek food during your stay in Zakynthos:
- Nobelos SeaSide Bio Restaurant – The name says it all. The restaurant is located directly on the waterfront, and from your cozy wooden table, you look out over a small beach, a blue-green bay, and many fishing villages. The ultimate holiday feeling! The cocktails can definitely be recommended here as well.
- Porto Roma – Enjoy traditional Greek cuisine, fresh seafood, and fish, with a beautiful sunset and the sound of the waves in the background. Be sure to try the specialty of the house – delicious lobster spaghetti.
- Tropic’s Beach Bar – The perfect restaurant for anyone who likes good food, tasty cocktails, and a romantic setting.
- Porto Limnionas Tavern – The menu is full of delicious Greek dishes, all reasonably priced. From the terrace you can enjoy a beautiful view over the sea – it’s a place where the people of Zakynthos like to go to relax and enjoy the beautiful nature.
- Mythos Restaurant – Experience the ultimate holiday feeling here. The dishes are simply heaven, and the setting is beautiful and romantic.
Read next|The best hotels in Zakynthos
Zakynthos is a great destination for couples, groups, and families. Keep in mind that it is touristy especially from late June onwards as travelers flock there to have a good time.
For us it was not an obvious destination, in the beginning, we prefer something along the Amalfi Coast. However, Zakynthos is definitely a beautiful place to explore and one with gorgeous scenery, crystal clear waters, art, and great food.
I hope you found this post useful in planning your trip. If you have any questions do let me know in the comments below.
Pin for later: Ultimate travel guide to Zakynthos Greece
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Zakynthos is famous for its unspoiled natural environment, home to the endangered species of the sea turtle Caretta Caretta which goes there during the reproduction period. The monk seal Monachus Monachus also goes to Zakynthos to give birth.
If you enjoy hot perfect sunny days the best time to visit Zante is between June and September. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily maximum of 34 C and an average low of 20 C. The coolest month of the year is January with an average daily maximum of 14 C and an average low of 6 C.
Zakynthos island is famous for its wild nightlife, particularly in the region of Laganas. Many all-night bars and clubs are located in Laganas, a British-frequented resort on the southern side of the island, and things often get extreme.
The island of Zante is still empty with few tourists and it's the ideal time to find lonely and relaxing beaches. The sea is mostly flat as there aren't strong winds and Zakynthos has a gorgeous nature full of flowers. June: it starts to be very hot and beaches become the perfect place where to stay all day long.
If all you want to do is eat gyros and lay on the beach, your trip will be cheap as chips. Conversely, those wanting to go on multiple day-trip tours and boat parties will end up spending far more. That said, the usual cost of a week-long trip to the island can range anywhere from €600 to €1500 per person.
- Pershing 40. Cranchi Mediteranee. Bruno Benetti 50. D-Tec Rib. ...
- Tours. (Rib Speed Boat) Turtle Island - Keri Caves - Turtle Spotting. (Rib Speed Boat)
- Boats. 5,4m. License Free Boat. (From Maries)
- Activities. Buggy off Road Tour. Jeep Safari Tour.
- Book Online.
Drink prices range, in most of the big clubs they around €5 for the big cups. If you want smaller ones you can get them for around €2-€3 each. In the bars, drinks can be a little bit cheaper PLUS you can get great deals from the PRs.
The disco opens at midnight, with a different program every night of the week. A guarantee of fun for your evenings on the island of Zakynthos. Open daily from 21.00 to 5.00.
- Nightlife. Thomas Elena Beach Bar. 5.0.
- © Nightlife. The Melon Cocktail Bar. ...
- © Nightlife. Busters Bar. ...
- © Nightlife. RED TAIL COCKTAIL BAR. ...
- © Nightlife. Iguana Cocktail Bar. ...
- © Nightlife. Main Stage Bar. ...
- © Nightlife. Magdalena's Cocktail Bar , Tsilivi (Planos) ...
- © Nightlife. Traffic Bar , Tsilivi (Planos)
HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED IN ZAKYNTHOS ISLAND? The island may be small but seeing that it has so many different beaches that are worth visiting and fun tours that you should not miss, I'd say that 3 to 4 days should be enough. Locations such as Navagio beach may require half a day to fully enjoy the experience.
Is the tap water on the island safe to drink? No, due to the high mineral content the water isn't safe to drink and can cause an upset stomach. It's better to drink bottled water. You can use tap water to clean your teeth or cook with though.
The likelihood of rain in Zante in the winter however is high, with an average of 165 mm in November and 147 mm in December. December, January and February will see the fewest hours of daily sunshine, with as little as 4 hours.
The average temperature is of 23.4 °C (74 °F), with a minimum of 18.6 °C (65.5 °F) and a maximum of 28.1 °C (82.7 °F). On the coldest nights, which normally occur at the end of the month, the temperature usually drops to around 14.5 °C (58 °F). However, it dropped to 10 °C (50 °F) in September 1996.
July is the hottest month in Zante with an average temperature of 26°C (79°F) and the coldest is January at 11°C (52°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 13 in July. The wettest month is December with an average of 170mm of rain.
Zante Drinks Prices
Zante is actually very reasonable and you'll find 2 cocktails and a shot for about 6 euros in lots of clubs and bars on the strip, and 1 cocktail and a shot for 6 euros in the most popular clubs & bars.
A Sensible Budget
Aim to spend 150 – 250 euro on events if you buy them from ticket sellers, hotel reps or outside the clubs in Zante. So, that's about 600 euro for a week which is about £500. You can do a week easily on £300 if you have a couple of quiet nights and you're not a massive drinker.
You should be able to pay for retail transactions with debit and credit cards as you would elsewhere, but always check beforehand as not all business hold a machine for processing card payments.
Local public buses do not serve the entire island; therefore, getting around without renting a scooter, quad or car can present some difficulties. An alternative to reach places not connected by public transportation is using a shuttle service or a taxi, renting a bike or booking a bus with driver.
Definitely Santorini over Zante. As others have said, you can get good value beachside accomodation in Perissa or Kamari. Santorini is beautiful, has a lot to see all around the island, and doesn't have to be expensive if you stay in the eastern beach resorts.
The dreamy island of Zakynthos is definitely a worthy destination to visit. You and your loved ones will not regret traveling and getting lost there because of the numerous exciting things to do and sights to see. Just make sure that you plan your trip well by doing sufficient research and proper budgeting.
You don't need ID
You will never be asked for ID in any Zante bar, club or restaurant or at any event. However, a word to the wise. This policy is so relaxed because young Greek people don't down litres of cider and get themselves paralytic drunk, this style of drinking is alien to their culture.
Prices in supermarkets in Zakynthos.
|Milk (regular), (1 liter)||1.30 EUR (1.20-1.50)||1.30 USD (1.10-1.50)|
|Vodka||19 EUR||19 USD|
|Gin||19 EUR||19 USD|
|Domestic Beer (1 pint draught)||4.50€|
|Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)||4.00€|
|Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle)||1.35€|
Symptoms: You feel like you have glass in your throat and overnight you have suddenly developed the cough of a 40-day smoker. There is a photo of you doing Zante's most hardcore drink. The flaming Lamborgini. Prognosis: This cough is going to be with you for days & weeks, enjoy!
The famous strip is known for parties that rival Ibiza and Magalluf. It's a mile-long stretch of road lit from head to toe in neon lights and lined with bar after bar. There are more than 50 different places to go to, each with their own unique music and style.
In fact, Zakynthos is one of the most idyllic islands anywhere in the Ionian region. It continues to attract a wide demographic of tourists, including young families. We're here to dispel the myth that Zante is exclusively a party-goers' paradise.
The party never ends in Laganas, during the week the clubs close at 4am and on the weekends at 7am!
How long does it take to drive around Zakynthos? It's 1 hour and 10 minutes between the furthest towns of the island.
The White Party EVENT is Zante's classiest night time EVENT attracting over 1000 partiers at the Karma Beach Club. This summer for Zante 2022 The white party will be opening its doors Every Sunday from 18:00 – 23:00, throughout the months of June, July, August and September.
Lads wear shorts during the day, during events, during parties, during POOL parties, during nights out – you name it, shorts are included! So definitely leave the spray on jeans at home lads – with Zante's heat, you definitely won't be needing them! Have a look at Rum & Raybans below..
Don't flush toilet paper in Greece
There's a very simple explanation: Greek sewage pipes are approximately two inches (50mm) in diameter. American and British plumbing is twice as large (four inches/100mm). The Greek pipes just get clogged. They don't call them 'modern conveniences' for nothing.
Around the Laganas Beach you'll see a large number of purple jellyfish. Stay clear of these creatures as jellyfish stings are extremely painful and can leave a scar. Pay attention to signs placed on the beach about jellyfish, which means you'll want to stay clear of the water.
The beach can be accessed only by boat and plenty of boat trip offers are available. There is no way to climb up the cliffs or go down them and before you start wondering - the distant photos of Navagio you have seen from above were shot from an observation platform above the beach.
White beaches, sea turtles and a party atmosphere make Zante – or Zakynthos as the island is known in Greek – a favourite holiday destination in the magical Ionian Sea. The Venetians called Zante Fiore di Levante, the Flower of the East, and its nobility and fertility made it the jewel of their empire.
It's fine for washing, showering, teeth cleaning etc.
The risk for mosquito activity is low.
Located on the north-west shore of the Ionian island of Zakynthos (also known as Zante), Navagio Beach, previously known as Agios Giorgos, became an impromptu ship graveyard when the MV Panayiotis washed up on its shores in October 1980.
The name Rat Islands is the English translation of the name given to the islands by Captain Fyodor Petrovich Litke in 1827 when he visited the Aleutian Islands on a voyage around the world. The islands are named so because rats were accidentally introduced to Rat Island in about 1780.
Zakynthos (Greek: Ζάκυνθος), also called Zante (its Italian name), is the third largest island in the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of Greece. The island is named after Zacynthos, son of legendary Arcadian chief Dardanos.
(ˈzæntɪ ) noun. an island in the Ionian Sea, off the W coast of Greece: southernmost of the Ionian Islands; traditionally belonged to Ulysses, king of Ithaca.
Dolphins can sometimes be spotted swimming in the waters of the island of Zante. They are beautiful sea mammals that enjoy interaction with humans often choosing to swim alongside boats.
A shark swimming without a care in the world off the caost of Zakynthos. In particular in the deep sea where most fisherman love to fish. According to the competent bodies in Greece, there are 17 species of sharks.
Zakynthos also has several species of snakes, none of which are dangerous (although you may need antihistamine if bitten). Those most frequently seen are the four-line snake and the Montpellier, both of which can be spotted on most walks on Zakynthos.
Is the tap water on the island safe to drink? No, due to the high mineral content the water isn't safe to drink and can cause an upset stomach. It's better to drink bottled water. You can use tap water to clean your teeth or cook with though.
The location in question, known as Kalokairi in the film, was the Greek island of Skopelos. One of the Sporades, it sits pretty off the eastern shore of the mainland and was largely known for its abundance of plums until, in summer 2007, Hollywood arrived.
The local beer (Mythos) is served in a glass so cold as to keep it's cool to the end.
The Laganas Strip is the nightlife and party area in Zante with thousands of people rolling in and out of the bars and clubs, Laganas is hectic, fun and a great night out!
Zakynthos is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) long and 20 kilometres (12 miles) wide, and covers an area of 405.55 km2 (156.58 sq mi). Its coastline is approximately 123 km (76 mi) long.
Where Is The Zante Strip? The Zante strip is located in the resort of Laganas which is in the South of the Greek island and where you'll be wanting to stay. It's just a 15 minute taxi drive away from the airport which only costs approximately €20.
Its snorkel spot, easily accessible from the Greek island of Zakynthos, is one of the best in Europe for swimming with sea turtles. Snorkeling in Cameo is not to be missed under any circumstances if you are visiting Zakynthos!
Laganas Bay lies at the southern part of Zakynthos Island in the Ionian Sea, and hosts one of the largest nesting populations of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), an endangered species, as listed in the 92/43/EU Directive, in need of strict protection (annexes II and IV), in the Mediterranean Sea.