Greece is a popular holiday destination for many reasons. A trip to Greece or one of the smaller islands can also be very affordable. In this post, I am sharing an epic Zakynthos travel guide to help you plan yours. Find all the amazing and beautiful things to do in Zakynthos and more.
My trip to Zakynthos was special, as good friends of ours were getting married there. They wanted to celebrate both of their bachelor parties in Zakynthos Greece. So in no time, a date was arranged, and we boarded the plane to Greece with ten men and nine women.
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.
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Ultimate Zakynthos Travel Guide
Zakynthos is located on the western side of Greece.
Zákynthos is also known as Zante. The town is home to a ruined castle of the Byzantines, the beautiful Cameo island, a belfry of the 16th-century Agios Markos Church, an epic Solomos Square, and art in the form of frescoes and icons.
The weather in Zakynthos is super pleasant. Greek food, especially Greek Meat Pie, is delicious and you must give it a try. Although the island itself is relatively small, there are 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. Zakynthos is a super popular tourist destination for bachelor’s parties, friend’s trips, and family summer holidays.
How to get to Zakynthos
Zakynthos is located in Greece. It is a European Union member and uses Euro as its currency. Passport holders from other EU countries, the US and Canada can enter Greece without a visa. For others, a Schengen Tourist Visa is required for entry.
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. On our trip, we paid 90€ for a return flight from Zaventem Brussels.
The nearest airport to Zakynthos is Zakinthos (ZTH) Airport. You can also connect via other nearby airports like Kefallinia (50.9 km/ 31.62 miles), Preveza (128.4 km/79.90 miles), Corfu (220.4 km/136.702 miles), and Athens (268.2 km/166.52 miles).
You can pick up a rental car from the airport or use a private transfer. Here is a private transfer from the airport to Zakynthos town.
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.
How to move around in Zakynthos Greece
Once you’re in Zakynthos, the best way of traveling around is by car. To ensure you get the cheapest option, organize 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.
When is the best time to visit Zakynthos
For those vacationing in Zakynthos, the months from March to May and from September to early December are best for travel. During this time the weather is pleasant, and you can experience all the wonderful outdoorsy activities. There is no extreme heat or sunlight in these months.
It also makes it easy for traveling back and forth to the nearby islands and explore more attractions in Zakynthos.
If we have to pick one month, 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!).
Where to stay in Zakynthos
Many tour operators offer packages with activities and accommodation and this is generally the easiest and cheapest way to arrange your trip to Zakynthos, especially if you are traveling with children.
Pro tip: Be sure to reserve boat tours and hotels ahead of time in the peak seasons.
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.
Read More Travel Guides on Accommodation: The best hotels in Zakynthos – 15 beautiful places to stay for romance & nightlife
What to pack for Zakynthos Island trip
With stunning locations, and amazing photo opportunities you must pack right for Zakynthos or Zante Island. I have highlighted my top picks below:
- Beach or swimwear: You will be spending a lot of time at the beach, don’t forget to carry cute beachwear and swimsuits
- Beach towel: With that add a beach towel and other accessories like flip flops, and a cover-up
- Sunglasses: It is hot and sunny in the Greek Islands, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen is a must
- Mosquito repellent: Mosquito bites can be annoying, and when you are out and about they might make you uncomfortable, so make sure you buy and pack some before your trip
- Outfits: Because the weather is warm, carry lightweight and airy/flowy outfits like comfy dresses or rompers. Linen pants and shorts are also a good idea. Style your outfits with a nice hat and a beach bag
- Beach Bag or Tote: A beach bag or tote is handy to carry sun protection, and swimwear when you go island hopping
- Comfortable sandals: Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking sandals and water shoes
12 Top things to do in Zakynthos Greece
Here are my top recommendations of things to do during your stay in Zakynthos:
Rent a boat and explore the islands
The waters surrounding the Greek islands 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 in Zakynthos
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.
Go on a turtle spotting cruise in Zakynthos on a glass-bottomed boat. Learn more about it here.
(Fun fact: Our return flight was almost canceled because normally no planes are allowed to depart from the island after 10 pm during the 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 traveling from north to south, be prepared to spend approximately 1.5 hours on the road.
Book a combined Navagio Shipwreck Beach & Blue Caves Boat Tour.
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, a beautiful sandy beach, sparkling blue water, and a rusted shipwreck. To snap the best photos, stop at Navagio’s viewpoint.
You can easily book a day tour to explore Navagio’s Shipwreck Cove and gaze down into the sea through the boat’s glass bottom. Tours also include a swim time in turquoise waters whilst enjoying a breathtaking view of the world-famous shipwreck beach.
Sunbathe at the Gerakas beach – National Marine Park
Located in the protected area of the Zakynthos Marine Park is Gerakas Beach. This beach is perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. For 10 euros you can get sunbeds and an umbrella to enjoy a backdrop of plant-covered hills.
If you wish to explore wildlife in Greece then head to the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, or the Askos Stone Park.
Askos Stone Park is amazing. It is a wildlife sanctuary, a forest reserve, a natural zoo, and an agricultural research center. Here you can not only see wildlife but also explore ancient stone structures.
Take a Half-Day Trip to Marathonisi and Keri Caves
Keri Caves is located on the southern coast of Zakynthos, and this is a perfect half-day trip idea where you can go swimming.
When you start from Zakynthos town, you will arrive at the Argassi Bridge which was constructed in 1885. Stop here for photos, and then continue on to Kalamaki Beach to learn about the turtle nests in the area.
Up next is the town of Laganas and the island of Marathonisi. At Marathonisi, you can admire beautiful caves and white sand beaches and soak in the sun.
From here, you will finally get to the Keri Caves for a swim. If interested you can also travel to the Aristeon Olive Oil Press, and learn about the long history of olive oil production on the island and taste some samples in the Greek Islands.
You can also book a day tour here.
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.
Explore a Greek Farm and visit Zante Town
The Greek island of Zakynthos is known as “the flower of the East”, and you can experience all of it by embarking on a guided tour at an organic farm.
As part of the tour, you can also enjoy samples of the local produce.
You must also explore the town of Zante or Zakynthos. By joining a tour with a local you get to learn about the port city’s history and its art and culture.
Visit the Greek Orthodox St. Dionysios Church, which was named after the patron saint of the island. Spend some time here, and see the silver casket that houses the remains of St. Dionysios.
You will also get to visit Solomos Square where you can hang out, shop, grab a meal or drink at one of the numerous taverns or restaurants. This is perfect for a walk around the vibrant town, and soak in beautiful harbor views in the evening before returning to your hotel.
One of the coolest things about Zakynthos is that you can enjoy beach vibes, cultural exploration and indulge in water activities including scuba diving.
Turtle Beach Diving Centre, located at Limni Keriou Beach is great for new and advanced divers. You can sign up for a lesson, and they train you and also provide you with diving equipment.
Swim at Porto Limnionas Beach
Other than scuba diving, you must go swimming at Porto Limnionas Beach. This is one of the prettiest beaches in Zante.
Although small it is truly breathtaking with a secluded cove surrounded by jagged cliffs. This beach does get crowded though (as it is picturesque), so do plan ahead.
Climb to the Panagia Skopiotissa monastery
Love to hike? Head to the Panagia Skopiotissa monastery. This Monastery is situated on the top of Skopos on the Greek island of Zakynthos, and takes you through a scenic 4-km climb.
It starts from Argassi Village to the remains of Panagia Skopiotissa via a well-marked walking trail. The old monastery is beautiful and has gone through recent renovations, plus the view from here is magnificent – highly recommended!
Eat delicious food in Zakynthos – Where to find the best restaurants and markets in Zakynthos
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 specialty 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 is a great destination for couples, groups, and families. Keep in mind that it is touristy especially from late June onwards as travelers flock there to have a good time.
For us it was not an obvious destination, in the beginning, we prefer something along the Amalfi Coast. However, Zakynthos is definitely a beautiful place to explore and one with gorgeous scenery, crystal clear waters, art, and great food.
I hope you found this post useful in planning your trip. If you have any questions do let me know in the comments below.