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Discover the best things you can do in Zakynthos

The hidden gem of the Ionian

A few words about the island of Zakynthos

When you think about vacations in Greece, the first things that come to mind are the sun, the sea, and relaxation. However, have you ever dreamed of an island with turquoise beaches, turtles swimming around you, and endless beach parties?

Zakynthos, the flower of the East, is there waiting for you with its enchanting beauty and unique Greek and Venetian architecture. Visit this hidden gem of the Ionian and it will leave you with an unforgettable experience.

In this article, you will find detailed information about the best things to see and do on the beautiful island of Zakynthos.

A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) swimming in the turquoise waters of Zakynthos

Visit the best beaches

One of the first things you should do in Zakynthos is to visit its beaches. Zakynthos is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, with its crystal-clear waters and distinctive natural beauty. On the eastern side of the island, you’ll find the organized beaches, while the western side is home to the unspoiled ones. Below, you’ll discover the top 10 beaches that you absolutely must visit for swimming and exploration.

"Beautiful turquoise waters and golden sand on the best beaches of Zakynthos.

1) Shipwreck

Impressive, unique, and enchanting are just a few words that can describe this place. Navagio, the most famous and photogenic beach on the island, is truly something special. Its name, which means “shipwreck” in Greek, is derived from the iconic shipwrecked vessel called the “Panagiotis” that you’ll encounter when you arrive at the beach. However, this ship was involved in smuggling cigarettes and has remained at this spot since 1980 when it suffered mechanical failure.

Aerial view of Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos.

There, you will encounter crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine white sand, and dramatic cliffs that will leave you amazed. The beach is equally impressive from above. Between the villages of Volimes and Anafonitria, there is a parking area. From there, descending a few steps, you will behold the panoramic view of the entire beach.

This vantage point offers a breathtaking perspective of the beach, the shipwreck, and the surrounding natural beauty. It is a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.

Access to this particular beach is by boat from Porto Vromi, from Agios Nikolaos Volimos and from Skinari.

2) Gerakas

Gerakas serves as a nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles, known as caretta caretta, which reproduce here. Its golden sandy beach and crystal-clear waters have made it one of the most popular spots for swimming and sunbathing. This organized beach is ideal for families as well, with shallow waters and a peaceful atmosphere.

Gerakas Beach, Zakynthos, a pristine sandy beach with crystal-clear blue waters and lush greenery

After sunset, access to this beach is prohibited, as it is a place of protection for the careta careta sea turtle.

You are not allowed to bring your own equipment with umbrellas and sunbeds as you may damage some turtle nests.

3) Porto Limnionas

This hidden gem is a terrestrial paradise due to its unique topography. This rocky cove, shaped like a horseshoe, awaits your discovery, inviting you to plunge into its emerald waters and explore its caves. To swim, you’ll need to jump off the cliffs.

4) Agios Nikolaos

The beach of Agios Nikolaos combines lush vegetation with azure waters and yellow-white sand. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the underwater world through diving. If you’re seeking some adventure, Agios Nikolaos beach offers a range of water sports such as jet skiing, banana boat rides, and parasailing.

Agios Nikolaos Beach, Zakynthos, a picturesque sandy beach with turquoise waters and stunning coastal scenery.

5) Tsilivi

The beach of Tsilivi offers a perfect blend of relaxation and water sports, making it a popular destination for tourists. The beach boasts sandy shores, shallow waters, and provides sun loungers and umbrellas for your comfort.

6) Xygia

The beach of Xygia is renowned for its natural sulphur springs, as the water in the area contains sulfur and collagen, which have therapeutic properties for the skin. The beach is surrounded by lush hills and cliffs, providing a stunning backdrop to the shoreline, and features incredibly clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Xygia Beach, Zakynthos, a natural wonder with sulfuric springs and turquoise waters.

7) Laganas

The beach of Laganas is popular for its combination of water sports, entertainment, and natural beauty. If you want to party late into the night and continue the fun at nearby clubs and bars, this is the perfect choice. The beach of Laganas is also known as a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles.

8) Banana

A beach bar, water sports, shallow and crystal-clear waters await you at the largest beach in Zakynthos. Its vast expanse makes it ideal for families, couples, and groups of friends. On one side, you can enjoy tranquility, while on the other, you can have fun at the organized parties that take place.

There is a free bus that departs daily from Laganas, Kalamaki and Argassi.

9) Makrys Gialos

Smooth pebbles, lush landscapes, and emerald waters stand out at Makry Gialos. The waters are so clear that snorkeling with a mask and snorkel will capture your interest, allowing you to explore the underwater world and caves. Surrounding the area, you will find numerous taverns where you can indulge in a delightful lunch.

Makrys Gyalos Beach, Zakynthos, a stunning sandy beach with crystal-clear blue waters.

10) Porto Zoro

The colossal boulders combined with the azure waters create a unique landscape. The rhythm from the beach bars in the area resonates strongly on Porto Zoro Beach, with rock parties attracting all the young crowd.

Experiences

Cruise to the Blue Caves

Cruise to the Blue Caves, Zakynthos, a mesmerizing natural wonder with turquoise waters and stunning rock formations.

Embark on a unique cruise that will soothe your soul with the wonders of nature. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the natural sea caves with their unique rocky formations and breathtaking azure colors. To make your experience even more unforgettable, opt for the small boats that can venture inside the caves, allowing you to fully enjoy your dives.

The Blue Caves are a series of sea caves located on the northern coast of Zakynthos, known for their mesmerizing blue waters and unique rock formations

Most cruises depart from the port of Agios Nikolaos. Make your reservation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Cruise to Marathonisi

During our stay on the island, we rented a private boat and visited Marathonisi. It was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had, as we got to see sea turtles up close. 

So, go ahead and live this unique experience yourself on this uninhabited island and swim at its two beautiful beaches, one with sand and the other with pebbles. Along with Marathonisi, make sure to visit the caves of Keri at the tip of Marathia.

Cruise to Marathonisi, the Turtle Island, in Zakynthos, Greece, a serene and picturesque destination.

Stock up on water and food as there is no place to provide them.

Visit the sights

The island covers a considerable area. In the northern part, you will encounter the wild and traditional beauty of the island, while the southern part is more developed, with many resorts having been established.

1) Walk in the city center

Take a stroll along the seaside road that starts from the Monastery of Strofades and leads to the Church of Agios Nikolaos tou Molou. Explore the most significant historical squares of the island, Agios Markos Square and Solomos Square, located in the heart of the town. 

City center of Zakynthos: A vibrant and bustling hub in Greece.

Visit the Byzantine Museum to see wooden-carved Byzantine icons. Take a walk on Alexandrou Roma Street, as the pedestrian sidewalk is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it an excellent place to enjoy the local atmosphere.

 Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s rich heritage or simply savoring the local cuisine and ambiance, the city of Zakynthos has something to offer everyone.

The city center of Zakynthos, also known as Zakynthos Town or Chora, is the capital and main town of the island of Zakynthos

2) Bohali

Visit the hill of Bohali to unwind and enjoy an incredible view of the city of Zakynthos and its harbor. Explore its narrow alleys, admire the colorful houses, and marvel at the local architecture. Choose one of the many taverns that offer traditional Zakynthian cuisine and local wine.

Panoramic view of Bohali Hill overlooking Zakynthos Town

Many concerts and festivals are organized in Bohali. Check the local events calendar to find out what’s happening during your visit.

3) Church of Agios Dionysios

Visit the magnificent cathedral of the city and be amazed by its grandeur, especially on the inside. You’ll be greeted by stunning stained glass windows, marble columns, icons, and the intricately carved iconostasis featuring the depiction of the Saint.

4) Venetian Castle of Bochalis

At the top of Bohali Hill, you’ll find the Venetian Castle, which stands as a historic landmark for the island and offers a glimpse into its rich history and culture. 

During your visit, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of both the city and the sea. Explore the ruins of the castle walls, the gate, and the tower. The castle is also home to the Solomos and Kalvos Museum, dedicated to two renowned Zakynthian poets. Here, you’ll learn about their lives, works, and the history of Zakynthos.

Ruins of the Venetian Castle of Bochalis in Zakynthos

5) Volimes village

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the largest mountain village on the island, situated in a picturesque area surrounded by mountains and forests. Head to the harbor and enjoy a coffee or meal while overlooking the small island of Agios Nikolaos. Take a hike through the surrounding countryside and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

6) Argasi

In Argasi, you’ll encounter beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, taverns, and nightlife. If you enjoy hiking, climb Mount Skopos to enjoy an incredible view. Visit local wineries like Callinico Winery and Grampsas Winery for tastings of some of the island’s finest wines.

Watch the sunset

Captivating sunset at Kampi, Zakynthos

Wondering where to experience the perfect sunset in Zakynthos? Watch the sky transform into vibrant hues as the sun sets on the horizon.

 Keri Lighthouse

At Keri Lighthouse, you can enjoy an idyllic landscape with a view of the Myzithres rocks. The ever-changing colors unfolding in the endless June sea will enchant you. 

Kampi

The location of this village turns the sunset into a painting, as it sits on the edge of a cliff. From a height of 300 meters, you’ll admire the cliffs, the azure waters, and the caves with a unique sunset palette.

An amazing cliff

Live the night entertainment

It’s impossible to visit Zakynthos and not experience its vibrant nightlife.

 Below you will find the best places to go out and have fun on the island of Zakynthos.

Laganas

The party hub is located in Laganas, which is why Laganas and fun are synonymous. Within a 2-kilometer stretch, you’ll find numerous and diverse establishments that cater to every taste. Some of the most famous clubs in the area, featuring top DJs, include Rescue Club, Cherry Bay Beach Club, and Cubaneros.

City Center

In the city of Zakynthos, you’ll also find a vibrant nightlife scene, with a variety of bars and cocktail lounges in the city center and along the waterfront.

Tsilivi

Tsilivi is another area that offers a vibrant nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and pubs where you can enjoy drinks, music, and entertainment.

Argasi

Argasi is a popular resort that offers a combination of beach bars and clubs. It has a more relaxed atmosphere compared to Laganas, but still provides options for those who want to have an enjoyable night out.

Where to eat

Try traditional foods

Some of the most famous traditional dishes of the island include Mantolato, stuffed garlic eggplants, beef with pasta, and frigania.

Marathi

This restaurant offers a flavorful experience with fresh ingredients sourced from their own farm. What sets it apart is that it serves traditional Zakynthian dishes with a modern twist.

Windmill

If your journey takes you to the village of Kambi to enjoy the sunset, make sure to visit the Windmill Restaurant afterwards. It is built around an old windmill and serves traditional Zakynthian dishes, such as fresh seafood and homemade pasta.

Porto Schiza

Do you want to savor the freshest seafood of the island while enjoying an incredible view of the sea? The Porto Schiza restaurant is located on the eastern side of the island and awaits your visit.

Perasma

This traditional tavern in the village of Volimes serves delicious meat dishes such as lamb and pork. The tavern stands out for its warm atmosphere and friendly service.

Agala's bakery

This traditional bakery in the village is renowned for its homemade bread, pastries, and pies. It uses local ingredients and traditional techniques to create delicious baked goods.

Where to Stay

Where you will stay in Zakynthos depends on your preferences and budget. Among the most popular areas to stay in Zakynthos are the island’s capital, Laganas, Tsilivi, and Argassi. 

The city of Zakynthos offers a wide range of accommodation options. Additionally, Laganas is a popular beach in southern Zakynthos, offering many hotels, resorts, and luxury accommodations. 

Tsilivi is located on the northwest coast of Zakynthos and provides a peaceful landscape with beautiful nature. Here, you can find luxury resorts and hotels for a tranquil and relaxing stay. Lastly, Argassi is located on the southern coast of Zakynthos, near the city. 

It offers various accommodation options, from budget hotels to luxurious resorts. Here you will find all the accommodations for your stay in Zakynthos.

Exensian Villas & Suites

These villas offer breathtaking views of the sea and Marathónisi. Built-in the Zakynthian style, these villas provide all the modern comforts you need for a comfortable stay.

Eptanisos Beachfront Suites Zante

This boutique hotel is located in the village of Keri and offers an amazing location near Keri Beach. It has a warm atmosphere and features modern decoration.

Alba Boutique Apartments

The Alba Boutique Apartments is located in Laganas, Zakynthos, just 500m from the beach. It offers a barbecue area and garden views. Additionally, it is within walking distance from the center, allowing you to easily enjoy the nightlife.

Olea All Suite Hotel

This luxurious hotel is located in the village of Tsilivi and offers breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding olive groves. The hotel features a spa, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

Transportation on Zakynthos

Car Rental 

The island of Zakynthos is particularly large, so the best way to explore it is by renting a car. This way, you’ll have the freedom to see the island at your own pace and easily visit as many places as possible. Here you will find the best prices for renting your car. 

Buses 

Buses in Zakynthos are the public transportation method that serves many destinations across the island. KTEL Zakynthos is responsible for these transfers and provides routes connecting the main cities, villages, and beaches of Zakynthos. Routes are more frequent during the summer season, while they are more limited in the winter months. You can find information about routes, departure times, and stops on the official website of KTEL Zakynthos.

Useful tips

  1. Best time to visit: Like any Greek island, the best time to visit Zakynthos is from May to October when the weather is warm and sunny. July and August are the peak tourist season, so prices tend to be higher, while June and September are more affordable. 
  2. Getting around: The easiest way to get around Zakynthos is by car or scooter, as the island is large and distances can be significant. However, there are buses that connect the main towns and villages, although they can be crowded at times. 
  3. Beaches: Zakynthos is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, including the famous Navagio Beach. Keep in mind that some beaches can get crowded during the peak season, so it’s best to visit them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. 
  4. Food and drinks: Zakynthian cuisine is known for its fresh seafood, olive oil, and local wine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the local dishes, such as moussaka, stuffed peppers, and grilled octopus.