This wonderful place is so beautiful – check out these top things to do in Zakynthos! That island alone makes Greece well worth visiting <3
This beautiful Greek island was one of the main reasons I decided to visit Greece this year (the other was the Melissani lake in Kefalonia).
Travelling to Greece turned out to be quite the adventure. I’ve been to Northern Greece when I was little and I was absolutely fascinated by the orange trees that were all around. The Ionian sea, however, quite stunned me with its beauty, even more than I expected.
Why visit Zakynthos?
Zakynthos has a few world-famous landmarks – the Shipwreck beach (or Navagio), the Blue Caves and the Turtle Island (Marathonissi). The Greek also call this beautiful island “Zante” for short, so don’t get confused if you hear this around. Or, you know, pretend you’re super-prepared and familiar and call it Zante as well 😀 The Venetians had possession of the island during the 15th-17th centuries and called it “The flower of the East“. No wonder, Zakynthos is absolutely breathtaking!
How to get to Zakynthos
Luckily, the island of Zakynthos has its own airport, which is located by the capital city – Zakynthos. If you do decide to travel from other parts of Greece, however, it might turn out to be a bit of a challenge. We decided to stay in Kefalonia and to go on a day trip to Zakynthos. I would highly recommend organized trips, if you can find such, since public transportation is very very limited on these Islands. On our day trip, we had to take:
- one rent-a-car from our hotel to the port (Pesada)
- the ferry from Kefalonia to Zakynthos
- another rent-a-car in Zakynthos
As you can see, there was quite a bit of logistics involved in visiting Zakynthos (unless your plane lands directly there). We got up at 5:40 am in order to be at the port at 7:15. There are only two ferries a day from Kefalonia to Zakynthos – one at 7:45 am and one at 6:00 pm. So, basically, we took the morning ferry and came back with the evening one.
However, if indeed you are going only on a 1 or 2-day trip to Zakynthos, make sure it is not the day before your flight leaves. If the weather is bad and if the waters are rough, the ferry might be cancelled. Yep, the island of Zakynthos is indeed the perfect place to be stranded and stuck in, but it would still be a great idea not to miss your flight. We met a wonderful woman from Venice when we were waiting for our ferry back, which was insanely worried whether the ferry would come at all, since her flight was early the next day. So – be smart and plan ahead!
Top things to do in Zakynthos
And here it is – one of the most famous beaches in Greece – Navagio! You can book it on the spot (but it might sell out for the day!) or get this guided tour in advance.
What is this ship doing here?
In late 1980s, a freightliner ran aground Navagio due to pretty bad visibility and stormy weather. It is rumored that this ship was actually a smuggling one and it was trying to escape the coastguard, as it was carrying cigarettes, wine and women (whaat? 😀 ). This is, in fact, how the famous Zakynthos beach got it’s name – the Shipwreck beach.
Swimming at the beach
Pro tip: Don’t wait on the long line – take the small path to the right for an even better view!
If you visit the Shipwreck beach in Zakynthos very early in the morning – bear in mind that it will be in the shadow (the sun rises behind it), so it might not be perfect for photos. The cliffs of this beach are 200 meters high! When we arrived at the Zakynthos port of Agios Nikolaos, we saw many street stands offering trips to the Blue Caves and Navagio, the Shipwreck beach, together. So we had a quick coffee to wake us up and went on one! Prices were between 30-40 euros per person for a 3-4 hour trip. The waters were quite rough, so actually the afternoon boat trips got cancelled, we managed to go on the last one (leaving at 10:30 am). If you get seasick, make sure to get some anti-motion sickness pills beforehand.
To swim in the dreamy blue waters of the Shipwreck beach in Zakynthos, you need to take a boat – the breathtaking cliff side is impenetrable by land. Naturally, we dove right in when we arrived! I was sooo glad I got my fins with me, since due to the rough waters and high current, it was pretty hard to get back to our boat. But it was well worth it swimming to that ship!
The view from above
Renting a car in Zakynthos is an absolute must. You cannot see the beach from above unless you have a vehicle (there is a parking up there, so no need to worry about that). The afternoon is the perfect time to do that, as you will see the beach in all its beauty, the sun will be perfectly aligned! A very very important tip – when you arrive, you’ll see a long line for the viewing platform. Don’t wait on it, it’s a waste of time! Instead, take the small path to the right. You’ll get an even better view, as the neighboring cove is visible from there too. But please, be careful and don’t take selfies near the edge of the Shipwreck beach. Safety first 🙂
Want to be even more amazed by the beauty of the Ionian islands? Check out the top things to do in Kefalonia!
2. Take a tour around the Blue Caves
After swimming in the perfect blue waters of the Shipwreck beach, our half-day trip continued to the blue caves. There, our very very skilled boat captain managed to enter into a few of the caves with the boat. The water inside was glowing with blue magic, take a look:
We parked the boat and went snorkeling in one of the calm coves. We even swam into one of the low-hanging caves to explore the inside. It was dark and cold, but soo exciting! I think I might be into cave diving now 😀
3. Visit Turtle Island (Marathonissi)
If you have time, make sure not to miss Turtle Island! It is one of the places where the famous species of Caretta-Caretta turtles lays its eggs. This turtle can actually be spotted in a few places in Kefalonia as well – the earlier in the morning you go, the better the chances are of spotting one. After seeing the giant tortoises in the Seychelles, I am the ultimate turtle fan <3 There are also organized half-day trips to the Turtle Island in Zakynthos, which can, again, be booked right on the spot (bear in mind they can sell out, though!)
Other things to do in Zakynthos
4. Scuba dive
The island is home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and a variety of colorful fish. There are also plenty of shipwrecks to explore, making it a great spot for wreck diving. The best time to go scuba diving in Zakynthos is during the summer months, when the water is warm and the visibility is excellent. There are a number of dive sites around the island, ranging from shallow reefs to deep walls. If you‘re a beginner, there are plenty of dive centers on the island that offer courses and guided dives. Experienced divers can explore the island‘s many dive sites on their own.
5. Go around Zakynthos city
The main town of Zakynthos is Zakynthos Town, a charming port city with a rich history. Here you can explore the old town, with its Venetian architecture, and visit the many churches and monasteries. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as a lively nightlife.
6. Kayak in Keri Caves
The Keri Caves are located on the south–west coast of Zakynthos, just a few kilometers away from the popular tourist town of Laganas. The caves are a stunning sight to behold, with their jagged limestone cliffs and crystal–clear waters. The kayaking experience in the Keri Caves is truly one of a kind. You can paddle through the caves and explore the hidden coves, marveling at the incredible rock formations and the diverse marine life. The waters are calm and the scenery is breathtaking. The experience is even more special when you take a guided tour. The guides will take you through the caves and explain the history of the area and the unique wildlife that lives there. You’ll also get to learn about the traditional fishing methods used in the area and the local culture.
7. Visit Bohali castle
This castle is a must–see when visiting the island. It is perched atop a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea and provides stunning views of the surrounding area. The castle was built in the late 16th century by the Venetians and was used as a defensive structure. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1953 and remained in ruins until the 1990s when it was restored. The castle is now a popular tourist attraction and offers visitors a glimpse into the past.
The castle is made up of two levels and is surrounded by a stone wall. Inside the walls are a number of buildings, including a chapel, a guard house, and a gunpowder magazine. The castle also features a drawbridge, a moat, and a number of cannons. The castle is open to the public and is a great place to explore. There are several paths around the castle, allowing visitors to explore the area and take in the stunning views. There is also a cafe and a souvenir shop inside the castle walls.
The beautiful island of Zakynthos in Greece is the perfect destination for thrill–seekers and adventurers alike. With its stunning beaches, lush forests, and breathtaking views, the island has something for everyone. And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, why not try parachuting in Zakynthos? Parachuting in Zakynthos is an experience like no other. You’ll soar through the sky, taking in the stunning views of the island from a unique perspective. The scenery is truly breathtaking, with the crystal–clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the lush forests, and the rugged cliffs all visible from the sky.
The experience starts with a briefing from your experienced instructor. They’ll go over the safety procedures and explain the basics of parachuting before you take off. Once you’re in the air, you’ll be able to enjoy the views and the feeling of free–falling before you deploy your parachute. The landing site is located in a secluded area, away from any built–up areas. This ensures that you’ll have a safe and peaceful landing. Once you’ve landed, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views of the island from the ground.
9. Go wine tasting
Zakynthos is a stunning island in the Ionian Sea, located off the west coast of Greece. It is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. But what many people don‘t know is that Zakynthos is also home to some of the best wineries in the world. If you‘re looking for a unique experience, why not try wine tasting in Zakynthos? The island is home to several wineries, each with their own unique style and flavor. You can choose between red, white, and rose wines, as well as sparkling wines.
Many of the wineries offer tours and tastings, so you can learn more about the production process and the history of the wineries. The best way to experience wine tasting in Zakynthos is to book a tour with a local winery. You‘ll get to sample a variety of wines, learn about the different types of grapes used, and even get to meet the winemakers. Most wineries offer tours that last a few hours, so you‘ll have plenty of time to explore the vineyards and learn about the winemaking process. Once you‘ve sampled the wines, you can purchase bottles to take home with you. Many wineries offer discounts for larger purchases, so you can stock up on some of the best wines in the world.
10. Visit Cameo Island
This tiny, secluded island is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some much–needed relaxation. The island is just a short boat ride away from the main island of Zakynthos and is easily accessible by ferry or water taxi. Once you’re there, you’ll be surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in the Mediterranean. The crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and lush green hillsides provide a stunning backdrop for your stay.
Cameo Island is the perfect place to unwind and relax. There are no cars or roads on the island, so it’s the perfect place to get away from it all. Spend your days lounging on the beach, swimming in the sea, or exploring the island’s many hidden coves and bays. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a boat trip around the island and take in the stunning views from the sea. The island also offers plenty of activities for those looking for a bit of adventure. From scuba diving and snorkeling to hiking and kayaking, there’s something for everyone. And when you’re done exploring, you can head back to the beach and enjoy a delicious meal of fresh seafood and local wines.
Best Beaches on Zakynthos
The beaches of Zakynthos are some of the best in Greece. From the golden sands of Kalamaki Beach to the secluded coves of Gerakas, there is something for everyone.
11. Kalamaki beach
Kalamaki beach in Zakynthos is one of the most beautiful and serene beaches in the world. Located on the south–eastern part of the island, it is a long stretch of white sand and crystal–clear waters. The beach is framed by lush green hills and the deep blue of the Ionian Sea. Kalamaki beach is perfect for a relaxing day of sunbathing and swimming. The water is shallow and calm, making it ideal for families with young children.
There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas available for rent, and a few beach bars and restaurants to keep you refreshed. The beach is also a great spot for snorkelling and diving. The waters are home to a variety of marine life, including turtles, sea urchins and colourful fish. You can also explore the nearby caves and coves, which are teeming with wildlife.
12. Laganas Beach
Welcome to Laganas beach in Zakynthos! This stunning beach is a popular tourist destination and a great place to relax and enjoy the sun, sea and sand. The beach is located on the south coast of Zakynthos, just a few minutes‘ drive from the capital city of Zante. It is known for its crystal clear waters, white sand and stunning views of the Ionian Sea. The beach is also home to the endangered loggerhead sea turtle, which makes it a great spot for wildlife lovers.
The beach is well–maintained and has plenty of amenities, such as sun loungers, umbrellas, showers and toilets. There are also several beach bars and restaurants offering a variety of delicious local dishes. Laganas beach is a great place to spend a day or two. Whether you want to relax and soak up the sun or explore the nearby sights, there is something for everyone. The beach is also great for swimming and snorkeling, as well as a variety of water sports.
13. Gerakas Beach
If you’re looking for a beach that offers the perfect combination of beauty, seclusion and adventure, then look no further than Gerakas Beach in Zakynthos. Located on the southeast coast of Zakynthos, this stunning beach is a must–visit destination for any traveler looking to explore the Greek islands. The beach itself is a stunningly beautiful stretch of white sand, fringed by crystal clear waters and framed by lush green hills. The sand is soft and powdery, and the waters are a deep blue–green hue that is simply breathtaking.
The beach is also home to a variety of wildlife, including loggerhead turtles, which can often be seen swimming in the waters. The beach is also known for its excellent snorkeling opportunities. The waters are teeming with colorful fish, and the visibility is excellent. This makes it a great spot for both beginner and experienced snorkelers. One of the best things about Gerakas Beach is its seclusion. Despite being located on the southeast coast of Zakynthos, the beach is surprisingly quiet and peaceful. This makes it the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or a relaxing day of sunbathing.
14. Xygia beach
The beach itself is a sight to behold. With its crystal clear waters, white sand, and rocky cliffs, it‘s the perfect place to relax and take in the beauty of nature. The beach is also home to a variety of wildlife, including loggerhead turtles, which makes it a great place for wildlife watching. The beach is also known for its therapeutic mud baths, which are said to have healing properties. The mud is said to be therapeutic for ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, and skin conditions. I had the opportunity to try it out for myself, and it was an amazing experience. The beach is also home to a variety of restaurants and bars, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. I had the pleasure of trying out some of the local cuisine, and it was delicious!
Protect the environment!
Forest fires are a common sight in Zakynthos, unfortunately. Please be careful, don’t litter and pick up your trash. Don’t leave any lit items near the forests, otherwise you would be helping increase views like these:
So, what do you think about Zakynthos? Would you visit? <3 Let me know in the comments!