Nestled in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece, lies the charming and serene island of Zakynthos. Spanning an area of about 405 square kilometers, this Greek island boasts of an awe-inspiring coastline stretching for 123 Kms (76 miles) in length.. The island’s stunning geography includes towering cliffs, picturesque beaches, and pristine waters, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience.
Zakynthos offers a diverse landscape featuring verdant hills, deep valleys, undulating plains, and rich farmland. The island is also renowned for its natural wonders such as Navagio Beach, Blue Caves, and its distinct Caretta-Caretta sea turtle nesting sites. Zakynthos’s geography presents a feast for the senses and caters to everyone, from nature enthusiasts to beach lovers and adrenaline junkies. According to Greek mythology, Zakynthos, was named after Zakynthos, the son of Dardanus, the renowned Arcadian chief.
When to Visit Zakynthos :
The best time to visit Zakynthos is during the summer months, from June to September. The weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 25-30°C. However, if you prefer fewer crowds and lower prices, you can also visit in May or October when the weather is still pleasant.
How to get there:
Zakynthos has its own airport, Zakynthos International Airport “Dionysios Solomos”, which receives flights from several European cities. The flight time from Athens to Zakynthos is about 45 minutes. The airport is located about 5 km from Zakynthos Town. You can also reach the island by ferry from the port of Kyllini on the mainland, on the western side of the Peloponnese, with a one-hour trip. For details about Ferry booking, timings and schedules, visit Zakynthos Ferry Schedules & Bookings
Where to stay in Zakynthos :
Zakynthos has a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses. The most popular areas to stay in are Laganas, Tsilivi, and Alykes, which have a variety of hotels, restaurants, and nightlife options.
Things to Do in Zakynthos:
- Visit Navagio Beach: Also known as the Shipwreck Beach, it is one of the most iconic beaches in Greece. The beach is only accessible by boat, but the stunning views of the shipwreck make it worth the visit.
- Explore Blue Caves: These are a series of natural caves along the coastline of Zakynthos. You can take a boat tour to explore the caves and see the crystal-clear waters.
- Marathonisi Island: Also known as Turtle Island, it is a small uninhabited island off the coast of Zakynthos. The island is home to the endangered loggerhead sea turtle, and you can take a boat tour to see them in their natural habitat. Swim with the Turtles: You can also swim with the turtles in Laganas Bay.
- Zakynthos Town: The island’s capital is a charming town with narrow streets, traditional buildings, and a beautiful harbor. Don’t miss the Church of St. Dionysios, which houses the remains of the patron saint of the island.The town offers a unique blend of Greek and Venetian architecture, and it is a great place to explore the local culture and history.
- Keri Village: A small picturesque village located in the southwest of Zakynthos. The village has traditional stone houses, narrow streets, and stunning views of the sea.
- Visit the Venetian Castle: Located in the town of Zakynthos, the Venetian Castle was built in the 15th century and offers stunning views of the town and the sea.
- Go on a Wine Tasting Tour: Zakynthos is known for its excellent wines, and there are several wineries on the island that offer wine tasting tours.
- Visit the Monastery of St. Dionysios: The monastery is dedicated to the patron saint of Zakynthos and houses his remains. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, and it also offers stunning views of the sea.
- Enjoy the Beaches: Zakynthos has several beautiful beaches like Banana Beach and Kalamaki Beach apart from Agios Nikolaos. They offer crystal-clear waters, golden sands, and plenty of opportunities for water sports. More Details Below.
- Go Hiking: Zakynthos offers several hiking trails that allow you to explore the island’s natural beauty and stunning landscapes. The most popular trails are the Vrachionas Mountain Trail and the Skopos Trail.
Zakynthos is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, which attract tourists from all over the world. Here are some of the top beaches in Zakynthos:
Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach): This is perhaps the most famous beach in Zakynthos, featuring crystal-clear waters and a shipwrecked smuggler’s boat that adds a touch of mystique to the scenery. Don’t miss out on the Navagio Beach Viewpoint that offers stunning views of the ridge, coastline and the sea. Located on a cliff overlooking the beach, this viewpoint provides visitors with a stunning panoramic view of the turquoise waters and the iconic shipwreck that gave the beach its name.
Gerakas Beach: Gerakas Beach is a beautiful and secluded beach located on the southern coast of Zakynthos. The beach is characterized by its soft golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and stunning scenery. It is also known for being a nesting site for the endangered Caretta-Caretta sea turtles, and therefore, visitors are asked to respect the beach rules and not disturb the nesting sites.
Porto Limnionas Beach: Porto Limnionas Beach is a picturesque cove located on the western coast of Zakynthos. The beach is famous for its crystal-clear waters, dramatic cliffs, and stunning natural scenery. This secluded beach is nestled in a cove surrounded by cliffs, making it ideal for snorkeling, diving, and exploring marine life. Visitors can also take a boat tour to explore the surrounding cliffs and sea caves. It is an ideal destination for those seeking a more secluded and tranquil beach experience away from the crowds.
Kalamaki Beach: Kalamaki Beach is a popular and bustling beach located on the southern coast of Zakynthos. The beach is characterized by its long stretch of golden sand, shallow turquoise waters, and numerous amenities. It is located around 7.2 Kms south of Zakynthos town and is just a 15 mins drive or a 1.5 hour walk (relaxed stroll). See the image.
Banana Beach: Nestled on the southeastern coast of Zakynthos island lies the magnificent Banana Beach, the largest beach on the island. It is located just 14 km or a short 20-minute drive from Zakynthos Town. The beach is famous for its remarkable turquoise waters that glimmer beautifully in the beaming sun, golden sand and picturesque cliffs that surround it.
Agios Nikolaos Beach: Situated in the north of Zakynthos, this picturusque and peaceful beach boasts of clear waters, fine sand, and an unspoiled atmosphere. The beach boasts crystal-clear waters and stunning panoramic views of the Ionian Sea. Its about 32 Kms from Zakynthos town and approximately a 50 minutes drive by car or taxi.
Alykanas Beach: Alykanas Beach, situated on the northeastern coast of Zakynthos, is a popular seaside destination that boasts soft golden sands and crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is enveloped by lush greenery and offers a picturesque view of the nearby mountains.
These are just a few of the many stunning beaches that Zakynthos has to offer, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers.
Where to eat:
Zakynthos has a wide range of restaurants and taverns that serve delicious Greek cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes to try are moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki. For seafood lovers, don’t miss the fresh fish and seafood dishes.
Zakynthos is a small island, and the best way to explore it is by car or scooter. You can rent a car or scooter from several rental companies on the island. You can also use taxis or buses to get around.
Zakynthos is a captivating island that caters to all kinds of travelers, offering a plethora of experiences. Whether you’re in search of a relaxing beach getaway, an adventurous expedition into nature, or an immersive cultural exploration, Zakynthos serves as the ultimate destination to satisfy your travel cravings.
Zakynthos is a Greek island that boasts several picturesque villages, each with its unique charm and character. Here are some of the villages worth visiting:
- Bochali: Located just outside Zakynthos town, Bochali offers panoramic views of the town and the harbor. The village is home to the Venetian Castle, which is a must-visit attraction.
- Alykes: Situated on the northeast coast of the island, Alykes is a small fishing village that is popular with tourists. The village boasts a beautiful sandy beach and a range of watersports activities.
The Map shows the Suggested Route to Follow
- Keri: Located on the southwestern part of the island, Keri is a traditional village that offers a glimpse of the authentic Zakynthian way of life. The village is home to the Keri Lighthouse, which offers breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea.
- Volimes: Located on the northern part of the island, Volimes is a mountainous village that is famous for its traditional architecture and handicrafts. The village is also home to the Blue Caves, which are a must-visit attraction.
- Agios Leon: Situated on the eastern coast of the island, Agios Leon is a quiet village that offers a glimpse of the rural way of life in Zakynthos. The village boasts a beautiful beach and several traditional tavernas where you can sample the local cuisine.
Zakynthos Historical Summary
Zakynthos has a fascinating history that goes back to the Mycenaean Greeks who settled in the area around 1500 BC. Throughout the centuries, Zakynthos has been under the rule of various empires such as the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. Under the Venetian rule, which lasted from 1484 to 1797, Zakynthos became a vital hub for trade and commerce. The Venetians left an indelible mark on the island’s culture, constructing many of the island’s most recognizable structures such as the Venetian Castle and the Church of St. Dionysios.
Zakynthos played a crucial role in the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century. The islanders supported the Greek rebels, and the island became a crucial base for the revolutionary forces. In 1864, Zakynthos joined the newly formed Greek state. During World War II, Zakynthos was occupied by the Axis powers. However, the local population’s brave actions saved many of the island’s Jews. When the Germans demanded a list of the island’s Jewish residents, the mayor and bishop refused to comply, and the Jewish population was hidden by the locals until the war ended.
Today, Zakynthos is a well-known Greek Island famous for its coastline, beaches, cultural heritage, that welcomes visitors from all over the world. The island’s rich history and cultural legacy are reflected in its remarkable architecture, museums, and archaeological sites that offer a glimpse into its past.