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Zakynthos Island

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White beaches, sea turtles and a party atmosphere make Zante – or Zakynthos as the island is known in Greek – a favorite 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. Today’s visitors to the southernmost Ionian Island (known as Zakynthos in Greek) would agree, though they come mostly for its iconic beaches – Lagana, Tsilivi, Argassi, Kalamaki, Alykes – where British, French, and Italians know how to have a good time.

Looking for lifelong memories? You’ll find them when you swim at the famous Shipwreck Beach, watch the sunset from the cliffs of Keri and Kryoneri, listen to the islanders sing their cantatas, and see the endangered caretta caretta sea turtles lay their eggs in the island’s white sands. Welcome to your holidays in Zante, the Ionian island that has it all.

16°C

drone shot breathtaking shore porto timoni with deep tropical blue clear turquoise sea at Zakynthos Island
zakynthos the main square in the old city of zaky 2021 08 30 00 54 33 utc at Zakynthos Island
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Zakynthos Experiences You Can't Miss!

Read bellow!

You won’t be the first to fall in love with Zante and you certainly won’t be the last. The Ionian island (known as Zakynthos in Greek) has a way of connecting with its visitors. The beaches alone are enough … and that’s before you’ve set eyes on the sunsets or tasted the local sweets. There are wines, villages and a Venetian castle to discover on an island that has inspired each of its settlers to contribute to its rich cultural identity. So let’s get your heart thumping by sharing some of the best things to do on your holidays in Zante. 

Marathonisi Turtle Island Zakynthos Cruises 3 at Zakynthos Island
01 — Spot the sea turtles in Zakynthos’ marine park

Spot the sea turtles in Zakynthos’ marine park

The sea around Zante was picked for Greece’s first marine park. This is where the rare caretta caretta sea turtles lay their eggs. In spring, these endangered creatures set off from the Libyan Sea and the southern Adriatic, not because they like the swim but because nature tells them to lay their eggs in the sands of Gerakas, Dafni, Kalamaki, Marathonisi and, especially, Sakania, east of Laganas, as they always have. If you’re lucky enough to witness this spectacle, please don’t disturb these beautiful creatures or their eggs.

zakynthos at Zakynthos Island
02 — Shipwreck Beach

Add Shipwreck beach to your Instagram feed

There’s no heart capable of resisting the beauty of Zante’s most-photographed spot. It’s Shipwreck beach, of course (Navagio, by its given name) … the envy of every self-respecting Instagrammer. Electrifying blues, a dramatic cliff backdrop and the mysterious shipwreck at its centre

Yes, the iconic shot is from the viewpoint at the top (please follow the safety instructions) but the real love comes when you arrive by boat and swim in those mesmerising waters. Porto Vromi and Agios Nikolaos are the closest starting points for boat trips. It’s No.1 in our list of things to do in Zante for a reason.

Blue Caves Keri Caves at Zakynthos Island
03 — Blue Caves & Keri Caves

Discover the colour of love at the Blue Caves

When it comes to Zante, the colour of love is blue. But not just any blue. It runs through all the shades, from navy to turquoise and back again. You can visit the Blue Caves (yes, no other name would do) at the north of the island or the Keri Caves in the south and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

And if you’re looking for a hidden gem of an experience, then then visit the Blue Caves by kayak. Unforgettable. .

ec937bf198ff8c92acbf24f2a6bb7f998e15d96027096d643aad59b1141ceabf 1 at Zakynthos Island
04 — Culinary Experience

Uncover the meaning of love at first bite

And second, third and fourth. Just a nibble of a local sweet and you’ll be hooked. There’s Mandolato (nougat and roasted almonds), pasteli (sesame-and-honey bars) and semolina-based fitoura. Or if you’re the savoury type, how about taking a bit of Zante home with you? You’ll discover aromatic honey (from bees feeding on local mountain herbs) and peppery olive oil. Or perhaps cheeses (smooth myzithra or spicy graviera), fruit (sweet melons and zingy wild strawberries) and any number of specialities created from local producers.

aerial drone view ionian sea coast zakynthos greece 2 at Zakynthos Island
05 — A different beach every day of your holiday

Find beaches you’ll fall for … over and over again

There are so many great beaches in Zante, it seems wrong to highlight just a few. But love’s a matter of taste, so it’s up to you to find the perfect match. To feel close to nature, head to Gerakas which (beyond the fine sand and shallow blue water) is a protected nesting site for sea turtles. The umbrellas and sunbeds have been placed away from the protected zones and access is forbidden after sunset. For a feeling of discovery, head to Porto Limionas (more of a lagoon than a beach). Keri beach is considered one of the most picturesque and family-friendly, with clear, shallow waters and fine pebbles. Agios Nikolaos, taking its name from a little chapel by the beach, is one of the liveliest and most fun-filled, with many water sports. As is Laganas (the busiest but so long that it rarely fills too busy). And, finally, Porto Vromi (near the boats heading to Shipwreck beach), a secluded, narrow beach that isn’t as busy as its more illustrious neighbours.

thomas schaefer ApoYbda6 3Y unsplash at Zakynthos Island
06 — Wine Tasting

Raise a glass to the passion of Zante’s wine-makers

There are over 19,000 acres dedicated to growing vines on Zante and dozens of different grape varieties. A few have become closely associated with the island – like the red Avgoustiatis (grown since the 14th century) and yellow-gold Robola. You won’t need any encouragement to learn about them and even less to drink them. So be sure you plan a trip to a local winery, where you can meet the winemakers and learn all about the passions that drive them.

zante sunset at Zakynthos Island
07 — A different beach every day of your holiday

Search for the sparkle hidden in a Zante sunset

Every great love affair needs the spark that ignites it. Zante offers its in the form of sunsets. The one we’ve chosen for you is near Keri village, eating a romantic dinner-for-two at a taverna high up on the cliffs.

Ahead of you are the imposing Myzithres rocks and the Ionian Sea, stretching into the distance. As the sun sets here, it plunges into the water, radiating every shade of red and yellow and gold. If that doesn’t light a spark, nothing will.

panoramic aerial night view of zakynthos city in 2021 09 02 12 42 59 utc at Zakynthos Island
08 — Bochali

Be inspired by Zante’s deep cultural roots

It’s not for nothing that the Venetians called Zakynthos Fiore di Levante, the Flower of the East. Every inhabitant and settler seems to have been inspired by the island. So for your inspiration, head to Bochali, a small village on a promontory at the back of the main town. Here you can explore a Venetian Castle and become acquainted with Dionysios Solomos, a local 19th-century poet who wrote (amongst other verses) the Hymn to Freedom that gave birth to the Greek national anthem.

Understandably, Solomos has a monument and a museum in his honour. The museum also commemorates fellow poet Andreas Kalvos. But it’s the author of the Hymn to Freedom we salute here.

on horseback in zante mountains 1 at Zakynthos Island
09 — Hiking & Horse Riding

Get active… from hiking to horseback riding

Zante is an island made for exploring. There is range of hiking paths and trails to choose from, with charts you can follow and even apps you can download with the walks that take you past vineyards, monasteries and olive groves. Hiking is definitely one of the best things to do on Zante, but how about trying something different… exploring on horseback? There are a few options and some will even take you into the sea! Finally, keen swimmers should head to Korakonisi, with water so clear you’ll snorkel for hours.

agios georgios kastari at Zakynthos Island
10 — Villages with rich history

Head to the villages and fill up on authenticity

Love is nothing if it’s not authentic. And when it comes to finding authenticity amongst all the things to do in Zante, the villages have it all. There’s Kiliomenos, with its bell tower from another time, and Loucha, with its stone houses and cobblestone streets. For beautiful views, Kambi overlooks the bay of Schiza and Katastari the gulf of Alykes. And definitely head up to Ano Gerakari with its fabulous 360-degree view. If you time your village visit to coincide with a festival, you’ll experience the kantathes. Sung in the streets to the accompaniment of the mandolin and guitar, they were traditionally how islanders expressed joy and grief … and, of course, love.

Marathonisi Turtle Island Zakynthos Cruises 3 at Zakynthos Island
01 — Spot the sea turtles in Zakynthos’ marine park

Spot the sea turtles in Zakynthos’ marine park

The sea around Zante was picked for Greece’s first marine park. This is where the rare caretta caretta sea turtles lay their eggs. In spring, these endangered creatures set off from the Libyan Sea and the southern Adriatic, not because they like the swim but because nature tells them to lay their eggs in the sands of Gerakas, Dafni, Kalamaki, Marathonisi and, especially, Sakania, east of Laganas, as they always have. If you’re lucky enough to witness this spectacle, please don’t disturb these beautiful creatures or their eggs.

zakynthos at Zakynthos Island
02 — Shipwreck Beach

Add Shipwreck beach to your Instagram feed

There’s no heart capable of resisting the beauty of Zante’s most-photographed spot. It’s Shipwreck beach, of course (Navagio, by its given name) … the envy of every self-respecting Instagrammer. Electrifying blues, a dramatic cliff backdrop and the mysterious shipwreck at its centre

Yes, the iconic shot is from the viewpoint at the top (please follow the safety instructions) but the real love comes when you arrive by boat and swim in those mesmerising waters. Porto Vromi and Agios Nikolaos are the closest starting points for boat trips. It’s No.1 in our list of things to do in Zante for a reason.

Blue Caves Keri Caves at Zakynthos Island
03 — Blue Caves & Keri Caves

Discover the colour of love at the Blue Caves

When it comes to Zante, the colour of love is blue. But not just any blue. It runs through all the shades, from navy to turquoise and back again. You can visit the Blue Caves (yes, no other name would do) at the north of the island or the Keri Caves in the south and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

And if you’re looking for a hidden gem of an experience, then then visit the Blue Caves by kayak. Unforgettable. .

ec937bf198ff8c92acbf24f2a6bb7f998e15d96027096d643aad59b1141ceabf 1 at Zakynthos Island
04 — Culinary Experience

Uncover the meaning of love at first bite

And second, third and fourth. Just a nibble of a local sweet and you’ll be hooked. There’s Mandolato (nougat and roasted almonds), pasteli (sesame-and-honey bars) and semolina-based fitoura. Or if you’re the savoury type, how about taking a bit of Zante home with you? You’ll discover aromatic honey (from bees feeding on local mountain herbs) and peppery olive oil. Or perhaps cheeses (smooth myzithra or spicy graviera), fruit (sweet melons and zingy wild strawberries) and any number of specialities created from local producers.

aerial drone view ionian sea coast zakynthos greece 2 at Zakynthos Island
05 — A different beach every day of your holiday

Find beaches you’ll fall for … over and over again

There are so many great beaches in Zante, it seems wrong to highlight just a few. But love’s a matter of taste, so it’s up to you to find the perfect match. To feel close to nature, head to Gerakas which (beyond the fine sand and shallow blue water) is a protected nesting site for sea turtles. The umbrellas and sunbeds have been placed away from the protected zones and access is forbidden after sunset. For a feeling of discovery, head to Porto Limionas (more of a lagoon than a beach). Keri beach is considered one of the most picturesque and family-friendly, with clear, shallow waters and fine pebbles. Agios Nikolaos, taking its name from a little chapel by the beach, is one of the liveliest and most fun-filled, with many water sports. As is Laganas (the busiest but so long that it rarely fills too busy). And, finally, Porto Vromi (near the boats heading to Shipwreck beach), a secluded, narrow beach that isn’t as busy as its more illustrious neighbours.

thomas schaefer ApoYbda6 3Y unsplash at Zakynthos Island
06 — Wine Tasting

Raise a glass to the passion of Zante’s wine-makers

There are over 19,000 acres dedicated to growing vines on Zante and dozens of different grape varieties. A few have become closely associated with the island – like the red Avgoustiatis (grown since the 14th century) and yellow-gold Robola. You won’t need any encouragement to learn about them and even less to drink them. So be sure you plan a trip to a local winery, where you can meet the winemakers and learn all about the passions that drive them.

zante sunset at Zakynthos Island
07 — A different beach every day of your holiday

Search for the sparkle hidden in a Zante sunset

Every great love affair needs the spark that ignites it. Zante offers its in the form of sunsets. The one we’ve chosen for you is near Keri village, eating a romantic dinner-for-two at a taverna high up on the cliffs.

Ahead of you are the imposing Myzithres rocks and the Ionian Sea, stretching into the distance. As the sun sets here, it plunges into the water, radiating every shade of red and yellow and gold. If that doesn’t light a spark, nothing will.

panoramic aerial night view of zakynthos city in 2021 09 02 12 42 59 utc at Zakynthos Island
08 — Bochali

Be inspired by Zante’s deep cultural roots

It’s not for nothing that the Venetians called Zakynthos Fiore di Levante, the Flower of the East. Every inhabitant and settler seems to have been inspired by the island. So for your inspiration, head to Bochali, a small village on a promontory at the back of the main town. Here you can explore a Venetian Castle and become acquainted with Dionysios Solomos, a local 19th-century poet who wrote (amongst other verses) the Hymn to Freedom that gave birth to the Greek national anthem.

Understandably, Solomos has a monument and a museum in his honour. The museum also commemorates fellow poet Andreas Kalvos. But it’s the author of the Hymn to Freedom we salute here.

on horseback in zante mountains 1 at Zakynthos Island
09 — Hiking & Horse Riding

Get active… from hiking to horseback riding

Zante is an island made for exploring. There is range of hiking paths and trails to choose from, with charts you can follow and even apps you can download with the walks that take you past vineyards, monasteries and olive groves. Hiking is definitely one of the best things to do on Zante, but how about trying something different… exploring on horseback? There are a few options and some will even take you into the sea! Finally, keen swimmers should head to Korakonisi, with water so clear you’ll snorkel for hours.

agios georgios kastari at Zakynthos Island
10 — Villages with rich history

Head to the villages and fill up on authenticity

Love is nothing if it’s not authentic. And when it comes to finding authenticity amongst all the things to do in Zante, the villages have it all. There’s Kiliomenos, with its bell tower from another time, and Loucha, with its stone houses and cobblestone streets. For beautiful views, Kambi overlooks the bay of Schiza and Katastari the gulf of Alykes. And definitely head up to Ano Gerakari with its fabulous 360-degree view. If you time your village visit to coincide with a festival, you’ll experience the kantathes. Sung in the streets to the accompaniment of the mandolin and guitar, they were traditionally how islanders expressed joy and grief … and, of course, love.

Texts & Image: discovergreece.com, visitgreece.gr

FAQs about Zante, Greece

Are Zakynthos and Zante the same place?
The Ionian island goes by both names – Zakynthos, which is its Greek name, and Zante, its name in Italian. It was first mentioned as Zakynthos thousands of years ago in Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
What is Zakynthos, Greece known for?
The most famous sight in Zante is Navagio beach, meaning shipwreck in Greek. The island is also a breeding place of the endangered caretta caretta sea turtles.
When is the tourist season in Zakynthos?
It starts in April and ends in October. The last tourist flights generally leave the island in the last week of October.

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