20 Best Things to Do in Zakynthos
May 1, 2020
Located in the Ionian Sea, this Greek island is a popular holiday destination for the younger population and families. Stunningly beautiful beaches, endangered sea turtles and parties all day long, who wouldn’t want to visit this fantastic place.
It is the truth! Once you go there, you won’t want to go back.
We decided to visit Zakynthos because we wanted to party all day long. In the end, we were fascinated with the whole island, so we spend most of our time discovering all the jewels on this island. “Party all day long” was no longer important to us at all.
20 best things to do in Zakynthos
First spot on my top 20 to do in Zakynthos is Navagio or Shipwreck Beach. This is, without a doubt, an absolute must-see on the island. In my opinion, this is one of the top 5 beaches in Europe.
This amazing beach is surrounded by white cliffs covered with green vegetation. The shipwreck on the white sand and many shades of blue-colored water makes this place one of the most photographed places in entire Greece.
Unfortunately, there is no way to visit this beach with a car, but visiting the 300 meters high viewpoint above the beach is an unforgettable experience, and I wouldn’t miss it. While this place can really be crowded, you should arm yourself with patience and prepare for a lot of waiting. It is definitely worth it.
Don’t restrict yourself just to the official viewpoint. You can pass this viewpoint and explore further parts of the cliffs for a better view. And please don’t be like us. Don’t visit this place without water and in flip flops. I have to admit, sometimes I’m really unprepared for adventures like this one. Oh well, I survived. Let’s just move one 😀
Once you see this enchanting view, you will forget all the troubles you encountered along the way. Well, at least until the return.
If you want to explore the shipwreck from close and take a swim in the turquoise water, you will have to take a boat tour.
After the rockfall at Navagio in 2018, there are some restrictions for visitors. But don’t worry, you can still visit this wonder of nature. Just be careful!
Another popular attractions on the island are Blue Caves. They are located below the lighthouse at Cape Skinari. The name, Blue Caves, comes from the blue water inside them. If you go swimming in these caves, you will see how your skin tones turn blue under the water.
One way to explore the Blue Caves is by boat. I recommend taking tours with small boats, while those boats can go all the way inside the caves.
Another way is by car. You can drive to the Potamitis Windmill, and from there, you will have to go down the stairs to reach the coast where caves are located. At the bottom of the stairs, you will find a platform. From here you can start exploring caves by swimming and diving.
There is also a jumping board for adrenaline lovers. Not sure what the altitude is, but I know it took me a long time to decide to jump. I swallowed a LOT of water and coughed for at least 15 minutes, but never mind it was fun.
I even wanted to make a super slow-motion video for you, but someone didn’t press record on time. I didn’t want to do the jump one more time, for obvious reasons, so there is no video 😢
You can reach this small island by walking down the wooden bridge from Agios Sosti Beach. On the other side of the island is a small sanded beach. With white curtains flowing in the air, this place offers a relaxing atmosphere.
In the evening, this island turns into a trendy party destination. Cameo Island is a private island, so you would have to pay 4 Euro entrance fee.
Unfortunately, the island was closed during our visit. So, I can’t say much from personal experience, but it sure looks good in pictures. Don’t you think?
Surprisingly, Limnionas Beach is not a typical sandy beach, as the other beaches on this list. But this beach has something special. So, if you are tired of sandy beaches, Limnionas Beach is the right place for you.
Natural pool surrounded by cliffs, deep water and small caves waiting to be explored. Water is so clear, you can see the bottom of the sea from the rocks. This beach is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.
The good thing is that on top of the cliffs, you can find sunbeds and a restaurant. And I must say the food was excellent.
Porto Roxa Beach
If you want to see an amazing sunset, Porto Roxa Beach is your ‘dream come true place.’ Technically this is not a beach, and there is no sand, just rocks making small pools and diving board to take a jump into a deep sea.
I didn’t go swimming here, it was a little too rocky for me. There were a lot of people who didn’t mind it, even children jumped around in the small rock-forming pools. But I decided to relax on sunbeds and enjoy the sunset.
Marathonisi is a small island located 10-15 minutes boat ride from the coast. Also known as a Turtle Island, this island is full of turtle nests, and it has the shape of the turtle. You can sunbathe and swim at the small beach, or you can be more adventures and explore the caves.
There are no bars, facilities, or anything that can disturb the turtles. So, you should consider taking some food and water with you.
Kalamaki beach is part of Laganas bay and, in my opinion, is the most beautiful part of this bay. This sandy beach with warm shallow water is a perfect place for families with kids.
This area is also part of National Marine Park, and the Caretta-Caretta turtles lay their eggs here. So if you are lucky enough, you may even see a turtle. Along the beach, there are many hidden corners between cliffs. You can also climb on the prominent rock Gypsolithos and enjoy the beautiful view over the sandy beach.
If you are hungry or thirsty, you can grab a bite and cold drink in one of many beach bars and restaurants behind the beach.
St. Nicholas Beach
St. Nicholas Beach, located in Vasilikos, is a perfect place for water sports lovers. Golden sand, crystal blue water, and a view on a little church of Agios Nikolas, who wouldn’t love that.
Like you can see in this picture, sunbeds and umbrellas are covering a great part of the beach. If you are looking for a quieter corner just for you, you should go on the smaller beach on the right side. St. Nicholas Beach is ideal for the younger population and families. There is also a restaurant overlooking the beach and several beach bars.
On the left side (from where this photo was taken) is rocky cliff with a church of Agios Nikolas. We didn’t go inside, to be honest I don’t even know if you can. But you can explore surrounding and take a selfie with Greek flag and Ionian Sea in the background.
Gerakas is another beautiful beach in Vasilikos. It is a part of National Marin Park, and, like Kalamaki Beach, the Caretta-Caretta turtles lay their eggs here too. So, there are some restrictions on this beach. The beach closes half an hour before sunset until half an hour after sunrise.
With its torques shallow water and golden sand, it is a perfect place for families with small children. Also, water sports are not allowed here.
Banana Beach is another fantastic beach in Vasilikos. This beach is one of the most popular and largest beaches on the island. Here you can find soft golden sand and clear shallow water.
You can always find a place on this beach. Even in high season, when this place is packed with tourists, it doesn’t seem crowded at all. This fun-filled beach offers lots of water sport activities and beach bars with fantastic music. A perfect place for families and the younger population.
Porto Zorro Beach
Porto Zorro Beach is between Argassi and Vasilikos. If you are visiting Zakynthos in the high season, it may be difficult for you to find a place on this beach. But you should definitely try!
We managed to find a little space for our towels next to the rocky formation. It ended up being a perfect location. We could explore the rocks without being disturbed.
The beach is one of the best examples of natural beauty on this island. Surrounded with the Mount Skopos in the background and the rocky formations rising from the sea, Porto Zorro Beach has an exotic atmosphere. Grab a drink in the beach bar and enjoy the view.
Xigia Beach is a small beach in the northeast part of the island. Several sulfuric springs in this area give water a pure white color. Despite the strong smell of sulfur in the air, many tourists come to this beach to take a swim in this nature ‘spa’ area.
Later in the day, the sun comes behind the cliffs, so the beach is in shadow. Not a great time to take a swim, because the water here can be a bit colder.
If you are planning to stay here for a longer time, there is a small snack bar on the top of the rocks. And don’t worry, you will get used to the smell.
Porto Vromi is a small beach curved into the rocks. If you are reaching this beach by car, you will have to drive through a lot of sharp turns and twists. But it is worth it. On your ride, you will enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the rocky landscape.
The water is crystal clear, and pebbles and white sand give this place an extra wow effect. This is a start position for many boat trips to Navagio Beach.
Not a lot of people know about this beach, but Korakonisi is a hidden treasure of the island. Like several other beaches on this list, this is not a typical beach. I’d rather say it is a small rocky cove.
Korakonisi is 7 winding kilometers away from the main road, and a trip to this beach is not so simple. But once you are there, it is totally worth it.
You can climb on the island rock, go swimming with a lot of small fishes or explore the incredible underwater world. If you plan to sunbathe, this is not the best place to do it. Although there is a flat rocky part, it is not very comfortable to lie on it.
Cliffs of Keri and Mizithres Beach
Next to the Porto Roxa Beach, Cliffs of Keri are one of the best sunset spots on the island. The sights from this place, especially on a clear day, will be an unforgettable memory from your holiday.
If you take a look down from these 300 meters high cliffs, you will see the Mizitres, two rocks that are rising from the sea at the beginning of the Keri Caves. Please be very careful by exploring these cliffs!
You can also take a boat tour to explore Keri Caves and the small Mizithres Beach located between Mizitres rocks and the cliff.
Zante Town is the capital and the main port of the island. After a powerful earthquake, which had destroyed the city in 1953, Zante was rebuild in the traditional Venetian Style.
This town probably won’t win you at first, but it has its own charm and is definitely worth visiting.
If you visit the main square in Zante, Solomos Square, during the sunset, you will have the feeling like you are in some exotic place far away. During the sunset, the square is lit with beautiful colors and is really the perfect place for relaxation.
What to see in Zante Town:
- Church of St. Dionysios
- Byzantine Museum
- St. Marcus Square
- walk along the promenade
- Strani’s Hill where Solomos wrote the national anthem of Greece
Bochali and The Venetian Castle
Bochali Village, located on the Bochali Hill in the background of Zante Town, offers a spectacular view over the town. This photo above of the Zante Town is from the Bochali viewpoint.
You can climb to the Bochali viewpoint on foot, or you can go by car. The pathway to the top is steep in some places, but if you go slow, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Located on the top of Bochali Hill, Venetian Castle is a great place to escape from the sandy beaches and city life. You can walk around the ruins of the castle and explore this great example of Venetian architecture.
Monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa
The Monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa is the oldest church on the island. It dates back from the time before the mid 15th century. The church is built on the site tahat used to be the Temple of Artemise. Ruins of the old monastery surround the church.
If you are not a skilled driver, I will suggest taking a walk to the Monastery. Take a lot of water and proper footwear with you. It is not an easy walk but its wort of trouble. View from the road and from the Monastery itself is impressive.
Try some Greek food
Visit to Zakynthos, or any other place in Greece, would not be complete without tasting Greek food.
Here are some specialties you have to try during your visit:
- Greek salad
- Fresh fish and calamari
- Olives and olive oil
- Tzatziki, melitzanosalata and fava
Take a boat tour around the island
Last but definitely not least on this list is a boat tour around the island. It is a perfect way to explore the island. Like I have said before, there are plenty of options to choose from.
I would recommend doing that at the beginning of your vacation. You will get a rough picture of the island, and you will see which locations you want to visit again by car or bus.
We did the cruise tour around the island with several stops on the way, and it was really great.
And now a funny story from our vacation.
We booked our tour immediately upon arrival for the second day.
Unfortunately, the night before the tour, we went out in Laganas, and it might be that we drank a little too much. So, in the morning, none of us four in the apartment heard the alarms, and we missed our tour.
Luckily, our lovely host Stella was very kind, and she managed to rebook our tour for another day with no extra costs. For four students with a not so big budget, that meant a lot. Stella showed us all location that we should visit and staying in her apartment was really cozy.
What would you like to visit in Zakynthos?