A Complete Travel Guide for Zakynthos Greece
by: Dionisis Vitsos
Zakynthos, also known as Zante Island, is a picturesque and captivating small island located in the Ionian Sea of western Greece. It’s no surprise that this island has quickly become one of the fastest-growing travel destinations in the country, given its outstanding accommodation options, fantastic restaurants, welcoming locals, and some of the best beaches in Greece.
Zakynthos remains one of our favorite islands to visit. Zante island, divides itself into 4 different sections. The sandy-south, the rocky-north, the bumpy-west and the civil-east.
The south side of Zakynthos island includes all the golden sandy beaches, such as the famous Kalamaki Beach, Banana Beach, Porto Azzuro, and many more. With water sports, pool parties, amazing restaurants, and organized beaches, the southern side of the island is the most organized part of Zakynthos.
The north side of Zakynthos, and its cliff-strewn coastlines, boasts breathtaking white sand beaches tucked away in secluded coves and sheltered by dramatic skyscraper cliffs, along with one of the most famous beaches in the world, Navagio Beach.
The west side of Zakynthos as rugged, as it remains largely undeveloped. This presents a unique opportunity to rent a 4×4 and venture through the island, but be prepared for a bumpy ride! Discover monasteries, quaint villages, secluded beaches, renowned vineyards, and rocky terrain – an adventure that is definitely worth taking!
The east side of Zakynthos includes Zante Town, which is the main port and hub of activity on Zakynthos Island. However, the eastern coast is also home to several developed beach towns that span out on both sides of the capital.
If you’re in search of a perfect beach holiday, Zakynthos is one of the best options in Greece. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that beaches are all that Zante has to offer.
In this comprehensive Local guide to Zakynthos, we’re going to provide you with all the essential information you need to know before traveling to this fascinating Greek island. Discover the best beaches in Zakynthos, top-rated accommodation options, delicious restaurants, friendly locals, and a host of exciting activities that will make your trip to Zakynthos unforgettable.
About Zakynthos Greece
During the season, which sees as many as 2.9 million travellers visit Zakynthos and the other Ionian islands, the island’s population of around 40,000 swells. The charming seaside city of Zante town serves as the capital, offering plenty of restaurants, bars, and historical sites for visitors to explore.
While our visit to Zakynthos was during a quieter period, it’s worth noting that this port city is likely to be bustling in the high season. For a comprehensive travel guide for Zakynthos, including information on popular attractions like Navagio Beach, be sure to check out our website.
Where is Zakynthos?
Zakynthos, one of the most popular Greek islands, is situated in the southernmost part of the Ionian island group, about 20 kilometers west of the Greek mainland and 249 kilometers from Athens. Kefalonia, another famous island, is located 50 kilometers north of Zakynthos.
Additionally, there are several small islets surrounding Zakynthos, including Marathonisi and Kalonisi to the south, which are worth exploring during your visit to the island.
How Big is Zakynthos?
Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is a beautiful island located in the Ionian Sea, about 20 kilometers west of mainland Greece and 249 kilometers from Athens.
With an area of just over 400 square kilometers, the island is around 40 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide. The highest point on the island is Vrachionas Mountain, which stands at 758 meters above sea level.
The island boasts approximately 123 kilometers of coastline, featuring stunning beaches like Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, as well as craggy cliffs and dramatic rock formations.
The total population of Zakynthos is 40,759, but during peak tourism season, as many as 2.9 million travellers visit the island, outnumbering the locals 10 to 1.
The Best Time to Go To Zakynthos Greece
If you’re planning a visit to Zakynthos, you’ll want to consider the best time to go. The island is accessible throughout the year, but the ideal seasons for lower prices and fewer crowds are Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November).
During these months, you could save up to 50% on accommodation. On the other hand, the Summer (June to August) is perfect for those who don’t mind the crowds and want to experience the vibrant energy of Zakynthos. During this time, you can always take a refreshing dip in the sea to cool down.
I, as a local, personally enjoy Zakynthos during the Spring, with hot days and cool evenings that made for comfortable sleeping conditions. However, peak times like Easter, Christmas, and July & August can be expensive, so plan accordingly.
Winter (November to March) is still an option, but swimming may not be an option due to sea temperatures dropping to 12°C (54°F) in January and February. Additionally, many restaurants and hotels may be closed during this time.
Getting There & Away
Zante, also known as Zakynthos in Greece, offers convenient accessibility due to its close proximity to the mainland. There are several transportation options available to travelers when arriving at and departing from the island.
Looking for a way to travel to the Peloponnese from mainland Greece? You might want to consider taking the ferry from Kyllini, which has around 3-5 departing routes at 5:30. With a travel time of approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, the ferry is a convenient and popular mode of transportation.
The cost of a one-way trip varies depending on the season, but you can expect to pay around €20 – €40 per person. This route is one of the most frequently searched for and sought-after travel options for those looking to explore the beautiful Peloponnese region.
Zakynthos Island is a popular tourist destination, and if you’re planning to visit this Greek gem, flying is likely the quickest option. You can book a flight with Olympic or Aegean airlines from Athens, or choose a direct flight from major European cities such as London, Amsterdam, Prague, Edinburgh, and Rome.
These direct international flights are more frequent during the summer months when Zakynthos receives a surge in tourism. For those looking for convenience and speed, flying to Zakynthos is the way to go. With its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife, Zakynthos is a top-rated vacation spot that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Zakynthos Island is a top destination for many travelers, and renting a car is a popular choice for exploring the area. Driving from Athens to the Ionian Islands is a common route, but be aware that you’ll need to pay a fee to bring your rental car on the ferry to Zakynthos.
If you prefer to rent a car once you’re on the island, that’s also a great option. With your own car, you can easily explore the most popular attractions in Zakynthos, such as Navagio Beach and the Blue Caves. Plus, it’s much more convenient than relying on public transportation or expensive taxis.
Where To Stay
If you’re planning a trip to Zakynthos and wondering where to stay, let me introduce you to one of the best-kept secrets on the island: our family hotel Dennys Inn in Kalamaki.
Our family-run hotel, Dennys Inn, is located on the south coast of Zakynthos in Kalamaki, known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and relaxed atmosphere. Dennys Inn is perfectly situated close to popular attractions such as Turtle Island, Laganas, Zakynthos Town, and the airport, and is just a short 5-minute walk from Kalamaki Beach. Our hotel offers a unique experience, combining traditional Greek hospitality with modern amenities and personalized service.
Dennys Inn is family-owned and operated since 1991, so you can expect a warm welcome and personalized service from the moment you arrive.
Don’t just take our word for it – our guests rave about their experiences at Dennys Inn, citing the excellent location, great Greek food, clean and comfortable rooms, and friendly staff as some of the highlights of their stay.
EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT - 30%
Check out our Summer Deals!
Zakynthos’ capital city is a charming town located right on the sea. However, it may not be the best option for a stay as it’s a bustling port city with plenty of hotels and restaurants but not the nicest beach. For a more tranquil and scenic vacation, consider staying in the island’s south coast towns such as Kalamaki or Laganas, where you can find beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed atmosphere. These areas are also in proximity to popular attractions such as Turtle Island and the airport.
Kalamaki beach strikes the perfect balance of being neither too crowded nor too isolated. With nesting turtles, the beach is a protected area (National Marine Park of Greece) and there are no hotels on the sand or any water sports, creating a serene and peaceful environment. This makes Kalamaki a fantastic destination for couples and families looking for a relaxing beach holiday in Zakynthos.
When it comes to where to stay in Zakynthos, Laganas is a popular choice for many travellers. This bustling town is known for its very lively nightlife and is especially popular among young visitors and European students on short breaks. Laganas offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from budget-friendly apartments to luxurious resorts and trendy boutique hotels. If you are not interested in partying, then I wouldn’t recommend Laganas as an option.
Agios Sostis is a quieter alternative to the bustling Laganas, located just 2 kilometres to the west. It is within walking distance of Laganas, making it a popular spot for day-trippers who come to see the picturesque Cameo Island connected to the mainland by a charming little bridge. Additionally, Turtle Island is located nearby and attracts many visitors.
Tsilivi & Planos
Tsilivi and Planos are two of the most sought-after beach destinations in Zakynthos. The picturesque, family-friendly, and shallow “Blue Flag” beach in Tsilivi stretches for 2 kilometres and is one of the most stunning and secure places to swim on the island. There is an abundance of lodging options in both towns, as well as excellent seaside eateries that offer delicious food with stunning sea views.
Psarou & Ammoudi
Situated between the well-known towns of Tsilivi to the south and Alykes to the north, Psarou may not be one of the top tourist destinations in Zakynthos, Greece, but it’s definitely worth considering.
If you choose to stay in Psarou, I highly recommend renting a car because there aren’t as many restaurants and entertainment options as in other more touristy cities in Zante.
Located on the Vasilikos peninsula, Argassi is a charming town situated between the bustling capital of Zante and the beautiful beaches of Banana Beach and Porto Azzuro. With its great selection of hotels and apartments, delicious Greek restaurants, and easy access to public transport, it’s the perfect base to explore the island. Whether you’re looking to spend your days lounging on the beach or exploring the historic sites of Zante Town, Argassi has something for everyone.
Vasilikos, located on the southeastern peninsula of Zante Island just a few kilometers south of the capital, is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by travellers. This unspoiled town boasts some of the island’s most stunning beaches, including St. Nicholas, Banana Beach, and Porto Azzuro. Despite being less developed than other areas of the island, Vasilikos offers excellent accommodation options and authentic Greek dining experiences.
Keri Village and Keri Beach are two separate areas on the opposite ends of Zakynthos island, offering great options for accommodation. Keri Beach, located in the southeast, boasts several beautiful resorts and hotels near the shoreline, while Keri Village, on the west, offers breathtaking views of the cliffs overlooking the Ionian Sea and the charming lighthouse. Both areas are just a short 10-minute drive apart, providing easy access to the attractions of the surrounding regions.
To enjoy a natural spa treatment and a serene vacation spot, head over to the beautiful Alykes beach. Although it has a distinct smell of sulfur, the geothermically heated mud pouring into the beach creates a unique cloudy glow in the water that leaves your skin feeling great. This traditional Ionian seaside village is perfect for those looking for a quieter holiday spot than some of the more developed beach towns in Zakynthos.
Agios Nikolaos, a small port town located north of Alykes, is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse of Zakynthos’ natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains and cliffs, this once sleepy fishing village is transforming into a charming destination. If you’re heading to Kefalonia, the ferry departs from here, but it’s worth taking some time to explore the town and its offerings. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the hidden gems that Agios Nikolaos has to offer.
Things To Do
Zakynthos offers numerous attractions and activities for tourists to enjoy. In our complete Local Travel Guide, we have listed a wide range of things to do on Zakynthos island. Here are some of our top picks for the best things to do in Zakynthos.
One of the top attractions in Zakynthos that you simply cannot miss is Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Cove. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and dramatic limestone cliffs, Navagio Beach is without a doubt one of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches in all of Greece, and voted one of the best beaches in the World
. There are two ways to see the beach – one is from the cliffs above, offering that iconic photo opportunity, and the other is to take a boat to the beach itself, the only way to actually set foot on the sand.
However, it’s important to exercise caution when visiting Navagio Beach. If you’re checking it out from the cliffs, be sure to stay within the blocked-off area to avoid the dangerous drop-offs. It’s also worth noting that the beach can get quite crowded during peak season, so plan your visit accordingly.
To learn more about visiting Navagio Beach and other top attractions in Zakynthos, check out our detailed guide. We also recommend taking a look at our post which lists the Top 10 Best Beaches in Zakynthos, as there are plenty of other stunning beaches on the island worth exploring.
Rent a Boat
To fully experience the beauty of Zakynthos, renting a boat is a must-do activity. With numerous beaches, hidden coves, and stunning coastline to explore, renting a boat is an affordable and easy way to see the island’s natural wonders.
Whether you choose to hire a boat with a captain for a guided experience or drive one yourself, there are plenty of options to fit your needs and budget.
Ask at the Reception of your Hotel for guided experience, or you can choose from one of the many companies that line the beaches.
Renting a boat for the day usually costs around €100 plus gas, which is well worth the opportunity to discover the island’s hidden gems at your own pace. Don’t forget to ask the receptionist at your hotel for boat offers, they usually work with agencies and have better deals!
Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience!
To appreciate the marine life in Zakynthos, be sure to visit the Zakynthos Marine Park where you can spot the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.
This protected area boasts healthy coral reefs and is a nesting site for these beautiful sea creatures, which can be seen laying their eggs in the evenings.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of these fascinating turtles, consider joining a guided tour into the marine park, such as a trip to Turtle Island. These tours typically start at around $30 per person and can be booked at nearby ports or from your hotel’s reception. Usually, the hotels work with agencies and are able to offer discounts.
When choosing a tour company, make sure to read reviews and opt for one that prioritizes eco-friendly practices to preserve the beauty of the marine park for future generations to enjoy.
Shipwreck Cove (Navagio Beach)
Yes, I have already mentioned Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Cove, but I cannot stretch how much of a must-visit, in Zakynthos, it is.
It is arguably one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches not just in Greece, but in the world. The crystal-clear azure waters and the gleaming white sand are truly a sight to behold.
One day may not be enough to fully experience this stunning beach – you’ll want to plan for at least two days to explore it from different angles, including from the cliffs above and by boat.
Check out our detailed guide to visiting Navagio Beach and get ready to be blown away by its breathtaking beauty.
Explore the breathtaking Kalamaki Beach located in the southern part of Zakynthos, Greece.
This picturesque beach boasts a wide stretch of golden sand and calm shallow waters, perfect for a relaxing swim or sunbathing.
It is also recognized as a critical habitat for the endangered Loggerhead Turtle and is protected by the Greek law. Kalamaki Beach is part of the National Maritime Park of Zakynthos, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and beachgoers alike.
Bonus Tip: Kalamaki is a great area to set your base of operations, either with adventurous friends or either seeking family moments. Check out our Family Hotel, Dennys Inn, with 32 years of experience and 5 minutes from the gorgeous Kalamaki Beach. Click Here!
Discover the unparalleled beauty of Porto Limnionas, one of the most unique beaches in Zante. This rocky, U-shaped cove boasts crystal-clear, emerald-green waters and is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers looking to dive-jump, snorkel, and explore the numerous caves in the area.
Despite the mild challenge of getting down to the beach, the breathtaking views and tranquil atmosphere make it worth it. Ideal for couples and boho travelers, Porto Limnionas offers a canteen for refreshments and is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Zakynthos.
Don’t miss out on the chance to experience this hidden gem, while sitting on a comfy sunbed, enjoying cocktails!, in front of a Greek taverna!
Add Porto Limnionas to your Zakynthos itinerary today!
- Amenities: A few sunbeds & umbrellas, parking, taverna
- Access: By road & steps
Agios Nikolaos Beach
Agios Nikolaos Beach, a must-visit destination in Zakynthos, is located on the southern peninsula of Vassilikos. Don’t confuse it with the port of the same name to the north. T
his well-known beach in Zante is renowned for its stunning green-blue waters and soft yellow-white sand, making it a popular spot for families and thrill-seekers alike.
Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the shore or enjoy some scuba diving, paragliding, or water sports, Agios Nikolaos has it all. To top it off, the beach is surrounded by lush vegetation, adding to its natural beauty and making it a perfect representation of Zakynthos.
- Amenities: Sunbeds & umbrellas, beach bars, tavernas, water sports
- Access: By road
Xigia Beach in Zante is a unique natural spa that offers therapeutic benefits, including treatment for arthritis and other health conditions. It consists of two interconnected beaches known as Xigia Sulfur Beach, each with its own distinctive features.
The first beach features a rocky bay with a canteen and lush greenery that slopes down to the sea, while the second beach boasts white pebbly sand and a tavern.
The emerald-green waters and thick vegetation around the beach make it a popular destination for tourists seeking therapeutic benefits in Zakynthos.
Whether you prefer the rocky bay or the white pebbly sand, Xigia Beach is sure to provide a rejuvenating experience.
- Amenities: A few sunbeds & umbrella, snack bar, taverna, parking
- Access: By road
Summer Breeze Restaurant
After 3 restaurants in Chicago and 32 years of experience, Summer Breeze Restaurant returns home and relocates to Denny’s Inn, Kalamaki Zakynthos.
What sets Summer Breeze Restaurant apart from the rest is our long history of running successful restaurants in America, and we’ve brought that same level of quality and service to Zakynthos. Our menu features a variety of dishes that showcase the best of local ingredients, including our homegrown vegetables, seafood and traditional Greek dishes. We pride ourselves on offering affordable prices without sacrificing quality.
To show you what Zakynthos “taste” like.
Check out our reviews
The Nightlife in Zakynthos Greece
For those looking to experience the vibrant nightlife of Zakynthos, Laganas is the place to be. With a range of bars and clubs open until the early hours, it’s perfect for night owls. While it may not be as wild as some of the other popular Greek party destinations, such as Rhodes or Crete, Laganas has its fair share of party venues.
Some of the top spots to check out include the lively Rescue Club, the popular Zeros Club, and the stylish Pure Zante. Keep an eye out for posters around town advertising upcoming events and parties, as there’s always something happening in Laganas. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready for a night to remember!
Zakynthos is our enchanting Greek island that boasts stunning beaches, awe-inspiring coastlines, and a plethora of activities to enjoy. Finding affordable accommodation is easy with popular websites like Booking.com and Airbnb, particularly during the shoulder and off-season. Renting a car is highly recommended to navigate around the island with ease.
Traveling to and from the island is also convenient with direct international flight connections and various public transport options from Athens and other mainland destinations.
In summary, Zakynthos is undeniably one of the top destinations in Greece, and we are eager to return to discover more of its alluring charms.
Read More About The Best Snorkeling Spots In Zakynthos
Discover the Best Snorkeling Spots in Zakynthos (Zante) Island – A Local’s Guide
Are you searching for the best snorkeling experience in Zakynthos (also known as Zante)? Look no further, as a local resident, I’ve got you covered with the top snorkeling destinations in this breathtaking island.
With its crystal clear waters, stunning marine caves and arches, and abundant marine life, Zakynthos Island in Greece is one of the best locations for snorkeling.
The island is also famous for its diverse range of beautiful beaches, including sandy and rocky shores, and is a critical nesting site for the endangered Caretta caretta sea turtle.
Click the link below to find out the Best Snorkeling Spots In Zakynthos Island!
Read More From Our Local Zakynthian Guides
I hope that you found my guide on visiting Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos Greece to be both enjoyable and useful.
If you’re still feeling the urge to explore and discover new places, I have a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I would like to recommend for you to read next:
Written By Denny Vitsos
Denny is a member of the Dennys Inn Hotel family located in Kalamaki, Zante. After completing his studies in Tourism and Business Management at the University of West Attica, he created this website, along with its blog and numerous other activities. His aim is to foster a connection between his guests and the Greek family spirit that his family takes great pride in. The hotel has been in operation since 1991, and Denny is one of the newest members of the team. At the hotel, you will experience a traditional Greek family business, with multiple Vitsos family members on board, who give their utmost dedication to ensure the satisfaction of their returning guests.
Visiting Shipwreck Beach ( Navagio Beach ) in Zakynthos by: Dionisis Vitsos February 2023 Dennys Inn Hotel Kalamaki Zakynthos – Navagio Beach …
WONDERING WHERE TO STAY?
Whether you’re curious about dates, offers, or even about the island, we’re here to answer any questions.