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GREECE : Things to do in Zakynthos

The Greek island of Zakynthos is one of the largest islands in the group of Ionian Islands which are scattered along the west coast of Greece. The island, distinguished by crystal clear sea water, impressive mountains, amazing coastlines and lush vegetation, is located in the southern part of Greece and near Italy, and therefore is also influenced by Italian cuisine, pastel-colored architecture, and landscapes.

Zakynthos is best known as being Greece’s infamous “sin island”, to which many young people flock, especially from Western Europe, to enjoy parties and alcohol. But that is, in fact, only one aspect of the island, which is associated with the Laganas coastline. If you, too, are already past that age, you will be glad to know that on the other side of the island there is another tourist attraction known as Tsilivi – an amazing coastline with breathtaking bays fit for a romantic holiday or a more laid back family vacation.

Daniel and I spent five full days and four nights in Zakynthos, carefully planning all it is that we wanted to do during our stay on the island. Since the hotel we stayed at,  Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort, was so much better than we expected, we didn’t end up reaching all of the destinations we had pinned on our virtual map. Today, I share with you my experiences from the places we went to see in Zakynthos, and information about other places which we planned to visit but eventually didn’t get to this time around. {You know what they say, now we have a good reason to come back 🙂 }.

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

 

Greece travel guides

 

 

SO HOW DOES ONE GET TO ZAKYNTHOS?

 

There are several ways to reach the island of Zakynthos {listed here from quickest to least comfortable}:

  • A direct flight to the island during tourist season {starts around June and runs until September}.
  • A flight to Athens, followed by an internal flight to Zakynthos.
  • A flight to Athens followed by a car ride to a town called Kyllini and a ferry ride with the car.

Since we visited Zakynthos before the official beginning of tourist season, there were no charter flights yet from Israel to the island, leaving us no choice but to land in Athens {which turned out to be for the best – read my guide to Athens here}. We spent one day in Athens before and one day after our time in Zakynthos, and flew there on an internal flight. We found our flights on Sky Scanner – flew with Aegean Airlines from Israel to Athens, and from Athens we flew with Sky Express to Zakynthos.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL AROUND THE ISLAND?

 

If you’re not planning on spending the entire time at a resort hotel, I highly recommend renting a car to get around the island. Car rental prices in Greece are low {between $ 30-50 per day} and fuel costs are relatively inexpensive. We rented a car in advance from Enterprise, which is right next to the airport. The city center and the island’s main beaches can also be reached using public transportation, taxis, or organized tours, but it is definitely much easier to get around the island with a rental.

 

 

 

THE OLD CITY

 

Zakynthos Town, or the old city of Zakynthos, is exactly the type of place I like to visit when traveling the world. The city, which rests on the edge of a picturesque port adorned with boats and yachts, is made of small, picturesque alleyways, colorful buildings, boutique shops, and local taverns. It is a pleasure to walk around in during the day as well as around dinner time. After a tour of the beautiful alleyways, it is best to stop at one of the cafes in the main square for a cold drink or coffee.

An excellent tavern in which we had dinner several times is the Alektor Restaurant, which serves authentic Greek food based on local ingredients. Besides their famous Gyros served on a hanging skewer, don’t miss the excellent vine leaves served with a lemony sauce, the addictive zucchini patties, and the wonderful Moussaka.

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

 

THE VENETIAN CASTLE

 

The Venetian Castle is in Bohali, less than a ten-minute drive from the city. It was built during the time of the Acropolis and overlooks a magnificent view of Zakynthos. Best to check out the visiting hours before showing up.

 

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

 

NAVAGIO SHIPWRECK BEACH

 

Navagio, also known as Shipwreck Beach, is by all means the most famous beach in Zakynthos. The white sand, the mesmerising, crystal clear water, and the high cliffs surrounding the bay are what make it the breathtaking sight. But this is not the only reason this beach has become so famous.

On this little beach is a old shipwreck rumored to have been a cigarette-smuggling ship that tried to get away and got caught in a terrible storm. The ship attracts many visitors who make their way to the shore, even though the only way to reach it is by the sea.

We didn’t plan on getting to this beach because we like to skip the super touristy sites, especially when it is a tiny seashore packed with tourists, and we preferred to look out at the beach from the viewing platform.

 

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

 

NAVAGIO SHIPWRECK BEACH VIEWING PLATFORM

If you’d like to reach this amazing viewing platform and don’t feel like getting on an organized tourist bus, you will have to rent a car – but it is absolutely worth it!

For the perfect photo on this beach, without any shade, the afternoon is without a doubt the best time to visit. However, it is the busiest time of day and full of tourists… so we gave up the pleasure. We arrived pretty early in the morning, around 8:30 AM, and although there was a relatively large shadow over the bay, it was an incredible sight! We practically had the beach to ourselves and relatively nice weather, so the early hour had its advantages. Take into account that to reach the perfect spot for a photo you will need to do a bit of climbing up the cliff, and so it is best to wear comfortable shoes.

 

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

 

THE BLUE CAVES

 

The Blue Caves are another one of the island’s famous attractions. In fact, it is a strip of caves that circle the island, whose reflection in the deep, blue water creates a unique simulation of the caves to look as if they were blue. To get to the blue caves you can get on a boat at Porto Vromi, a small beach strip located just a short ride away from the Shipwreck Beach Viewing Platform. You can choose to sail around the blue caves, or go on a longer sailing trip that includes a visit to Shipwreck Beach. Some of the trips include a stop by the caves for swimming and snorkeling in the clear sea water. The prices vary, of course, between the tours depending on the length of the tour, the number of people on the boat and the type of boat {there are also those with a transparent floor!}. From what I have seen, the average price for a short trip to the caves only will cost around 8 Euros, while the price for a longer tour was 15 Euros {Of course this is a shared boat, a private boat can reach very very high prices}.

 

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece | אטרקציות בזקינטוס

 

XIGIA BEACH

 

Xigia Beach is another one of Zakynthos’ famous beaches, and is also surrounded by cliffs and clear turquoise water. It mainly known for its natural hot springs rich in sulfur and collagen.

 

MARATHONISI ISLAND

 

Marathonisi Island, near the Laganas coast in Zakynthos, is a famous nature reserve for brown sea turtles that are in danger of extinction. The island can be reached by a private or shared ten-minute boat ride. Read more about the island here.

These were definitely the island’s most well-known attractions, although I’m sure there are many more amazing beaches and views worth checking out next time. I hope you enjoyed my guide to Zakynthos 🙂

 

 

Which of the island attractions do you find most interesting?

If you’ve already been to Zakynthos – you’re welcome to write about your favorite places in a comment below!

 

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12 Responses

  1. Wow, it was just a great blog. Thank you very much for sharing such a valuable knowledge with us.I will definitely try out there amazing things.
    Thank you.

  2. A very nice blog for a very nice place. I would very much like also to go here! I just want to ask, how much sun it gets morning vs afternoon?

  3. Thank you so much for recommending port limnionas . This was my favourite swim spot on the island and never heard of it before your blog. Stopping at il sueno after our boat tour was also perfect – fantastic advice.
    We went paddle boating today on Laganas beach today and saw two turtles. One coming up for air and swimming a metre from our boat for a good 5 minutes.

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