What's Zakynthos like
Off the western coast of mainland Greece, amid the deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea, Zakynthos Island or Zante enchants visitors from around the world with its pristine, natural beauty, landmarks of Greek tradition, and family-friendly resorts.
Fly into the airport of capital city Zakynthos Town and rent a car to any one of the island’s breath-taking beaches or charming mountain villages. The quintessential Mediterranean climate makes rest and relaxation easy to come by.
For the ultimate comfort and convenience on a family holiday, stick close to Zakynthos Town and the eastern coast, where you’ll find most of the larger resorts, like Tsilivi. On the other hand, if you feel the urge to escape tourist crowds, head for the west coast, where you’re more likely to find quiet beaches and tranquil hiking trails.
Nature lovers will want to head south to Laganas Bay, where the National Marine Park works to protect the endangered Caretta turtle species, also known as loggerhead turtles. Because of the natural preservation measures in place, this area of the island is a good midpoint between the developed resorts of the east and the unspoiled, but difficult to reach villages up north or out west. You’ll find ample accommodations and lively nightlife, but few water sports.
If water skiing, scuba diving, paragliding, and other water sports do tickle your fancy, steer clear of the National Marine Park. You’ll find the best selection on St. Nicholas Beach, on the farthest tip of the Vassilikos Peninsula, southeast of Zakynthos Town.
Throughout the island, you’ll see rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves, and the tasty wines and oils they produce are sold in village shops all over, along with traditional leather work, pottery, and other handicrafts.
You’ll also have no trouble tracking down an authentic restaurant, wherever your travels take you. Every beach and village is close to a traditional taverna, serving old-fashioned Greek meals, like moussaka and souvlaki.
Laganas is the only 18-30 style resort marketing to young adults with the widest variety of nightlife on the island, encompassing nightclubs, karaoke bars, pubs, and cafes. Tsilivi is of comparable size to Laganas, but the nightlife on this northeastern part of the island is of a more casual ilk – think pub quizzes, not dance clubs. Most other towns and resorts will have a few bars, but these two larger developments are your only options for serious late night partying.
For sightseeing, stick close to larger villages, like Zakynthos Town. Each village is anchored by a local church, which is typically home to an icon, relic, or some unique architectural feature making it a worthy attraction. You’ll also find several monasteries scattered across the island, which can be excellent opportunities for exploration.
There are also a wide range of boat trips. Nearly every beach offers guided tours to some major coastal attractions, including Marathonisi Island, home to several loggerhead turtles, the Blue Caves, and Shipwreck Beach, where Mary Magdalene purportedly crashed her boat and left a fossilized footprint in the cliffs.
Wherever you choose to journey on Zante Island, you’re sure to find two things: spectacular vistas and memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
How to get to Zakynthos
As Zakynthos has it’s own international airport it’s simple to get to, there’s regular, direct flights from all of the main airports in the UK. The flight time from the UK is around three and a half hours.
You can also get to Zakynthos via one of the other islands in the Ionian group with Kefalonia being the obvious choice as it’s the closest, you can also get there from the mainland via Kyllini port. so if you’re travelling around then there’s some good options to get to the island.
Best time to visit Zakynthos
The best time to visit Zakynthos is generally throughout the summer months from April to October. That’s not to say you can’t go in the off season but it’ll be harder to find flights and most of the hotels and restaurants will be closed.
What you’ll find is that the hotels, beaches and restaurants are busiest during the school holidays, this is also when it’ll be the most expensive so if you can go either before or after the schools go back then you’ll get better value and still great weather.
Who would enjoy Zakynthos
Zakynthos is the perfect destination for a summer holiday for anyone looking for warm weather, great beaches, tasty local food and some cultural sites to visit. Through in the chance to see the endangered loggerhead turtles and there really is something for everyone.
If you’re travelling as a single person, a couple or a family there’s options to suit your needs from upscale all-inclusive destinations in busy towns to quiet family run B&Bs in the middle of nowhere.
Where to stay in Zakynthos
As with most Greek islands, the type of holiday you enjoy will determine the best place for you to stay and that’s true for Zakynthos too.
There’s a lively resort called Laganas that’s perfect for the 18-30 crowd, plenty of drinking, late nights including clubs, bar crawls, drinking games and that kind of thing.
There’s also much more family friendly towns and villages, particularly those on the east and south east areas. This is where the best sandy beaches are as well as some of the most popular hotels too.
If you’re looking for quieter villages then check out those on the west coast. Here you’ll find secluded beaches and minimal tourists which is ideal when looking for some proper R&R.