Looking for awesome things to do in Zakynthos? This island positioned off the West coast of Greece, ranks as the third largest out of all the Greek Islands in the Ionian Sea. Zakynthos is the perfect spot for a vacation since it’s surrounded by warm turquoise waters, lush landscapes, and mountains with impressive views of the coastline. Although it is more common for locals to spend their holiday on the Aegean side, I find the islands in the Ionian Sea to be far grander, at least in my opinion! But, after your visit, pretty sure we will see eye to eye.
Zakynthos, this popular Europe beach destination has plenty to do for every type of traveler. Love to party, head to Laganas. For the adventurer, go diving and swim with sea turtles. If you’re looking to unwind, Zante has some breathing beaches to sunbathe or watch a sunset. There are plenty of family-friendly activities too!
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Information To Know For Things To Do In Zakynthos
Before we begin this exciting list of things to do in Zakynthos, there is some information you need to know. These are some helpful tips for when to visit, how to get there, and where to stay.
When To Visit Zakynthos
The Greek islands are a pretty popular destination to visit during the summer months which range from June up to late August. But, since this is high season the island will be pretty populated with tourists. If you visit during these months be prepared for overcrowded beaches, cramped alleyways, and packed restaurants. The costs of hotels may be a tad inflated too.
You can still visit Zante during the summer, just opt for going prior before the summer crowds arrive or after. Visit Zakynthos either in May or early September. Don’t worry you will still catch that lovely warm Zakynthos weather and get a bronzy body during these months.
How to Get To Zakynthos
Options are limited getting to Zakynthos. You can arrive by plane or ferry. Factors to consider when choosing depend on your budget and time.
Arrive By Plane
Athens has daily flights to arrive at Zakynthos during the season. Flight time is quick and you can find yourself on the island in 60 minutes. Depending on when you plan on visiting Zakynthos a one-way ticket can cost between $65-85 USD. This is the quickest way to start your vacation.
Arrive By Ferry
You can also reach Zakynthos by taking a ferry from Kyllini, which is the main port to reach the island. The ferry ride is quick and you arrive to Zakynthos is an hour. While cruising to the island, cocktails and food are available for purchase. One-way tickets cost a little over 10€. You can check availability right here.
If you are a tad bit adventurous, take a ferry. If you are staying overnight in Athens, their main port, Pireaus does not have departures to Zante, you will have to drive to the port of Kyllini. From Athens, it is around 178.5 miles ( 262.6 km), about a 4-hour drive. It is one scenic drive-through. Along the route, there are little towns to stop and grab a spanakopita or any other delicious Greek snack. I highly suggest renting a car, which you will need to get around Zante anyways. Cars can be transported on the ferry and you will have transportation to explore the island upon arrival. You do have to pay extra to transport your vehicle on the ferry. Cost does vary depending on the type and size of your car. You can get an estimate here.
How To Get Around Zakynthos
Zakynthos is not a walkable island. If you do not plan on lounging at the hotel or resort your entire trip, you will no doubt need a car to get around. There is public transportation and taxis available on Zakynthos, but you will find it much easier getting around with your own vehicle.
If you are going during peak season, reserve early! I am usually a last-minute and go-with-the-flow-when-I-get-wherever type of traveler. You absolutely cannot do this during high season in the Greek Islands. If so, you will be left without a car. Rental costs vary on the time of year and the type of vehicle you prefer. You can check out additional information on rentals on the island here.
Places To Stay In Zakynthos
If you are looking for amenities, it is recommended you book a hotel on the island. Some of the areas I suggest booking your room are Argassi and Vasilikos.
Language Spoken In Zakynthos
The primary language in Greece is over course Greek! However, most of the locals are fluent or speak some English. As I always mention, locals do consider it a thoughtful gesture when tourists make some attempt to speak their language. I always find they are more willing to help. Some words that will get you some brownie points are below:
- Good Morning (kaliméra)
- Hi (geia)
- Please (parakaló)
- Thanks (efharistó)
- You’re welcome (parakaló)
- Water (neró)
- Good Night (kaliníhta)
- Be well (na eiste kalá)
- Good (kalós)
- Delicious (nóstimo)
- Cheers (geiá mas)
Currency Used In Zakynthos
The national currency of Greece is the Euros. Don’t worry though, most places around the island accept major credit and debit cards too.
What To Do In Zakynthos
1| Navagio Beach – Shipwreck Beach
We all know Zakynthos is famous for Shipwreck Beach. It is one of the top things to do in Zakynthos when there.
Although it may be touristy, it is one incredible beach. You can only reach Shipwreck Beach by boat. When you arrive you will be welcomed with some of the bluest and clearest water along stunning vertical white cliffs. If you prefer to avoid crowds arrive early at Navagio Beach. The beach easily gets congested by noon.
The closest port to reach Shipwreck Beach is Porto Vromi Maries. During peak, season boats depart regularly. Other ports to depart from include Agio Nikolaso, Zakynthos, and Skinari. Check out the map below to find which port is closest to where you have bunkered down while there.
There are also tours available that usually last for 8 hours. Tours usually include hotel pickup-drop-off, a boat ride to Shipwreck Beach, and a tour of the Shipwreck Beach Viewpoint. We will discuss that later.
Average costs to reach Shipwreck Beach start at $30+ USD. Price depends on the port of departure and if you opted for a tour, which will be a little more expensive.
Some tips for your trip to Shipwreck
- Do bring plenty of sunscreen for your trip. Shade is limited on this sandy nook.
- Bring towels to lay on.
- Pack plenty of water and snacks. There are not any concession stands to make these purchases. We did see one lady walking around selling beverages and fruit. Just be prepared, she may not be there.
- Arrive early to avoid the crowds. Midday it gets extremely crowded.
- Go potty one last time before getting on the boat. There are no facilities to relieve yourself when there.
2| Navagio Beach Viewpoint
An aerial view of Navagio is one of the most popular and photographed beaches around the world. Which is understandable! No matter how many times you may come across a photograph, nothing can really compare to its beauty when there. No doubt I am sure you have seen that panoramic view of Shipwreck Beach before. Everyone knows it’s what Zakynthos is famous for and what tourist flock to capture themselves.
The viewpoint can only be reached by car. Be prepared there may be a long line to snag your photo. Hopefully, you will miss a tour bus and will avoid any line to capture your photo on the platform.
Do not and I will say it again DO NOT take any risks climbing where you don’t belong. The rocks are extremely slippery and a photo is not worth any risk of harming yourself or your life.
3| Daphne Beach
Daphne Beach is located on the south side of the island. It is one of the best places in Zante. This beach was one of the most picturesque beaches on the island and resembles what a Greek Island should be. White sandy beaches overlooking a crystal clear sea and the aroma of souvlaki from a tavern.
However, to reach this beach, the drive there is not for the faint of heart. To reach Daphne you must drive up a steep mountain with a very narrow dirt road. Keep in mind there are no barriers along the edge of the road. It is a long way down that mountain. I mostly kept my head resting on my lap while my heart was palpitating.
Do eat at Taverna Dafni while there. It’s right on the beach! Nothing like eating fresh Greek food with sand between your toes, a spectacular sea view, and a frothy Mythos in your hand. There has been a darling older gentleman who has been baking fresh bread on the island for years. The bread was perfectly chewy and is divine when dipped in that delicious Greek olive oil.
Please keep in mind Daphne is a protected beach of the National Marine Park due to the number of Caretta (long-necked sea turtle) nests.
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The area of Laganas is the most famous in Zante. You can find it in the Southern part of Zakynthos. It is extremely popular and the hotspot for overnight clubbing and getting rowdy. This part of Zakynthos is famous for its nightlife. If you are looking to party into the wee hours of the morning this will be your spot.
If you are looking for a relaxing holiday, I strongly advise you to stay in a different location on the island. But, do go visit Lagnas for a bite to eat for breakfast or lunch.
5| Taking A Boat To The Keri Caves
You cannot leave Zakynthos without renting a boat and cruising around the Keri Caves. It is one of the top things to do in Zakynthos. Get a boat, anchor, down, and take a dip in the temperate turquoise waters or hang out at the hidden sandy coves. The vertical white-washed cliffs are simply majestic and your mind will be blown!
You can rent a boat from the gentleman at Fun@Sea . They will also teach you the basic rules of operating a motorboat. However, if your sea legs still feel a tad bit shaky, for an extra 50€ you can hire one of their captains. The cost varies depending on the size of the boat you select. Price ranges from 120€-190€, plus the cost of gas. You can view their prices here.
6| Cameo Island
Cameo is a private island located off the shore of Laganas. It can be spotted easily with the long wooden bridge that guides you to the island. Shortly after you can spot fresh crisp linen gently swaying with the breeze.
It is a perfect spot to chill during the day and relax on the secluded bay. You can snorkel in the Ioania waters, take a dip to cool off from sunbathing, and sip on a lively cocktail.
The entrance fee to Cameo Island is inexpensive and only 5€. It includes a personalized souvenir. On Thursdays and Saturdays if you spend 11€ you get souvenir and a drink.
7| Marathonisi (Turtle Island)
Turtle Island is another island located in Laganas Bay deserving of a visit. The name originated due to its distinguished shape as a turtle. The island is only occupied by sea turtles and is part of the National Marine Park.
You can reach turtle island by renting a boat, you cannot miss it. Or you can opt for a tour to get you there.
This is a hatching ground for sea turtles. If you see the turtle eggs, please respect them and avoid messing with them. I know you’re an adult, but felt it needed to be said. My friend and I had to chase off some people stepping over the barriers possibly smashing the turtle eggs.
8| Zakynthos Town
The Zakynthos Town rests along the port. You will fall in love with this picturesque city. It is embellished with charming alleyways, colorful buildings, cozy boutiques, and an unlimited about of delicious taverns. Some things to do in Zante town are shops for souvenirs and mosey through the alleyways. When you get hungry pick a tavern and order a nice souvlaki and cold Greek beer.
9| Bochali Viewpoint
Overlook Zakynthos town from the Bochali Viewpoint. Bochali is a small village occupied by few inhabitants. You can visit the viewpoint morning or night, but I recommended heading to the viewpoint during the evening. Zakynthos Town looks so beautiful upon that hill and seeing the lights twinkle in the city. During your trip to the village, you may find it to be one of the best things to do in Zakynthos.
This is also a great spot for some of the best Greek desserts after your meal. When there order some of my favorite Greek desserts. Try Kormos or Galatoboureko your tastebuds will thank me later.
10| Gerakas Beach
Beach chairs and straw umbrellas align the golden sands of Gerakas Beach. By far one of the best places in Zante. This beach is located on the southern tip of Zakynthos. You can lounge in your chair and get served all your beverages while enjoying the sea view.
Gerakas Beach is known for its beautiful clay canyon which is medicinal mud. You can rub the clay over your body and rinse it off in the sea. It leaves the skin silky and smooth. However, I have heard the canyon has been closed to visitors since my visit due to deterioration.
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11| Taverna Xigia
If you want a scenic view and good food try Taverna Xigia. This is one of the best things to do in Zakynthos for a meal. You will be mesmerized by overlooking the sea on top of this mountain. Sit on the breezy balcony and grab a seat on the old wood tables. What to order? Everything! I married an Athenian, every meal has to be a feast! Everything we had was simply delicious. You will enjoy anything you decide to order.
Things To Do In Zakynthos Final Thoughts
Now I hope you see that Zakynthos is worth visiting. I believe you will find Zante to be very scenic with its massive white cliffs, electric blue waters, chummy locals, and exquisite food. Follow my guide for the top 11 things to do in Zakynthos and you will be planning your return quickly. Have you visited any of the Greek Islands before? Tell me in the comments below!
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