Greece is a popular holiday destination for many reasons. A trip to Greece or one of the smaller islands can be very affordable. The weather in Zakynthos is super pleasant, the Greek food is delicious and although the island itself is relatively small, there are still countless fun activities to experience. Within the space of approximately 410 km², you can find all the ingredients for a diverse holiday under the sun. To help you plan your trip, I’ve put together a handy Zakynthos travel guide.
This was my first visit to Greece – is it just me, or are you also super excited when you’re about to discover a new country? The moment I get off the plane my eyes start to sparkle, I’m instantly happy and I’m ready to take on a new adventure. This time was no different.
Zakynthos is a super popular tourist destination for bachelor’s parties, friend’s trips and family summer holidays. Good friends of ours were getting married in September 2019, and they wanted to celebrate both their bachelor’s parties in Zakynthos (and we didn’t need asking twice!). In no time a date was arranged, and we boarded the plane to Greece with ten men and nine women.
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When’s the best time to visit Zakynthos?
I would say June is the perfect time to visit Zakynthos. We visited the island in June, and each day it reached the lovely, pleasant temperature of 30 degrees. In July and August, temperatures can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius (and that’s just a bit too much for me personally!).
How to move around in Zakynthos
When arranging your trip to Zakynthos, keep in mind that it’s a tourist destination so it’s not easy to get there by plane during the off-season. Most airlines only fly here during the summer season – which is from the end of May until September. Cost-wise it isn’t too pricey – we paid 90€ for a return flight from Zaventem Brussels.
Zakynthos and the Ionian Islands are connected to the ports of Patras and Kyllini. From Zakynthos, you can visit the nearby islands of Ithaka, Lefkada, Kefalonia and Corfu. Depending on the day and the ferry company you choose, the journey can take around 3 to 5 hours. Ferries run daily from Kyllini, Patras to Zakynthos all year round. In summer, there are several boats that sail out daily.
Once you’re in Zakynthos, the best way of travelling around is by car. To ensure you get the cheapest option, organise your rental online – we paid 50€ for a car for 4 days, including insurance.
If you fancy a more adventurous approach, you can also rent a quad. Take into account longer travel times, as you can only drive an average of 40 km/h on the winding roads.
Where to stay in Zakynthos
Many tour operators offer packages – this is generally the easiest and cheapest way to arrange your trip to Zakynthos, especially if you are traveling with children. If you feel like something a little more authentic, though, here are some great options.
Olea All Suite Hotel
The five star Olea All Suite Hotel lies right in the midst of nature, surrounded by beautiful olive trees. Surprisingly, it’s still within walking distance of Zakynthos town and the beach. The question is whether you want to leave this beautiful hotel at all! More info and booking can be found here.
Zante Maris Suites
In this beautiful adults-only hotel, enjoyment comes first. It is a five star venue – you can even book a room with a private pool. For more info and booking click here.
Top things to do in Zakynthos
Here are my top recommendations of things to do during your stay in Zakynthos:
- Rent a boat – The waters surrounding the Greek island range from astonishing azure to beautiful blue green, and immediately make you think of a tropical paradise. What better way to enjoy it than on a boat? For boats with a maximum of 30hp, they’re free to use without any license or experience. You can rent a boat from around 100€/4h and you can find many places to rent them along the shore.
- Spot turtles – Huge Caretta turtles live in the waters around the island and can be spotted while snorkeling or on a boat. The optimum time to spot them is during their breeding season from mid-May to early October, and the best places are the coast of Laganas and Turtle Island. (Fun fact: our return flight was almost canceled because normally no planes are allowed to depart from the island after 10pm during breeding season. The lights from the planes stress the turtles, making them less likely to lay eggs.)
- Visit the Blue Caves – Take a trip up to the far north of Zakynthos and see the beautiful Blue Caves. The north of the island is much quieter, with idyllic roads among olive trees. You can buy local olive oil, herbs and organic products here at various places along the way, so it’s definitely worth stopping for souvenirs! When travelling from north to south, be prepared to spend approximately 1.5 hours on the road.
- Take a trip to Navagio Beach – The island’s must-see shipwreck landmark. Situated on the west coast of the island, the bay is famous for high white cliffs, beautiful sandy beach, sparkling blue water and a rusted shipwreck. To snap the best photos, stop at Navagio viewpoint.
- Go horse riding – Fancy surprising your other half with a romantic date? Go horse riding along the beach during sunset. We did this activity during the bachelorette’s day and were really pleasantly surprised. Laganas Horse Riding Center guided us wonderfully – you can enjoy a ride even with no experience at all.
Eat delicious food in Zakynthos – the best restaurants and markets
Holidays and good food go hand in hand (or so my husband always says!). Fortunately, there are several restaurants in Zakynthos where you can enjoy delicious meals in a beautiful setting.
Here’s a list of where you can find the best Greek food during your stay in Zakynthos:
- Nobelos SeaSide Bio Restaurant – The name says it all. The restaurant is located directly on the waterfront, and from your cozy wooden table you look out over a small beach, a blue green bay and many fishing villages. The ultimate holiday feeling! The cocktails can definitely be recommended here as well.
- Porto Roma – Enjoy traditional Greek cuisine, fresh seafood and fish, with a beautiful sunset and the sound of the waves in the background. Be sure to try the speciality of the house – delicious lobster spaghetti.
- Tropic’s Beach Bar – The perfect restaurant for anyone who likes good food, tasty cocktails and a romantic setting.
- Porto Limnionas Tavern – The menu is full of delicious Greek dishes, all reasonably priced. From the terrace you can enjoy a beautiful view over the sea – it’s a place where the people of Zakynthos like to go to relax and enjoy the beautiful nature.
- Mythos Restaurant – Experience the ultimate holiday feeling here. The dishes are simply heaven, and the setting is beautiful and romantic.
Zakynthos was not an obvious destination choice for us – it can be a little too tourist oriented at times. A trip along the Amalfi Coast is more our cup of tea. However it’s definitely still a beautiful place to explore with a partner, family or friends, with gorgeous scenery and food.
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