When visiting the Greek islands make sure to put the island of Zakynthos on your list. This gem in the Ionian Sea is a must-visit destination, from the iconic Shipwreck Beach, accessible only by boat, to the mesmerizing Blue Caves, ideal for snorkeling and exploring marine life, Zakynthos offers a lot of unforgettable experiences. There are so many things to do on Zankynthos that you’ll want to spend at least three days enjoying the island’s attractions. If you have more time, even better!
We will show you the best way to explore Zakynthos Island from visiting its traditional villages, savoring authentic Greek cuisine, and even witnessing the endangered Caretta-caretta turtles in their natural habitat. Whether you’re an adventure seeker like us, a history buff, or simply looking to relax on pristine beaches, Zakynthos will definitely serve up a holiday filled with diverse and enriching experiences.
Best to do in Zakynthos, Greece
Sure, we love the beaches and natural beauty of this Ionian Island, but we also love that Zakynthos is known for its nightlife in towns like Laganas and its traditional villages such as Alykes and Vasilikos. Let’s not forget its crucial role in wildlife conservation, being a sanctuary for the endangered Loggerhead turtles.
When you are looking for the best things to do in Zakynthos, make sure to include at least some of the cultural and conservation activities, and look beyond checking out the famous Shipwreck Beach or spending your time in the clubs. If you dig deeper, you will fall in love with this Greek Island.
Zakynthos island is fast becoming a great alternative to Santorini or Crete. Actually, all the Ionian islands like Paxos, Anti-Paxos, and Corfu (all of which we visited this year) are becoming increasingly popular as the years go by. So, you know what that means; Get there now! In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the top attractions and activities that make Zakynthos
1. Blue Caves – Amazing scenery.
One of the best things to do in Zakynthos is to visit the Blue Caves. These natural arches have been carved out by erosion and are famous for the vivid color of blue water in its deepest hollows. We recommend getting out there early in the morning, not only for the best light but to avoid the crowds. Going snorkeling at the Blue Caves is one thing you do not want to miss. Once you dip your face in the deep blue azure water and see what is below, you will see what we mean.
You can hire a small private boat or take a tour of the many famous sites along the coast where you have the option to go scuba diving and snorkeling. Avid scuba divers will love diving through one of the 400 caves around the island, but they are also famous for snorkeling, swimming, and sightseeing on a boat tour. The fact that the Blue Caves are only accessible by boat should be reason enough to add it to your itinerary.
*Note: – cruises around the island last around 9-10 hours, so you be prepared for a long and beautiful day* Book your tour here.
2. Navagio Beach – Shipwreck Beach
Located on the west coast of Zakynthos, this cove is surrounded by white sea cliffs that are 900 feet tall. The famous Navagio Beach (Which means shipwreck in Greek) has become the symbol of the island and is one of the top things to do in Zakynthos. The amazing view gives me the chills.
This secluded beach is famous for its shipwreck, the Panagiotis, which adds a touch of mystery and intrigue to the picturesque setting. Surrounded by towering cliffs and accessible only by boat, Navagio Beach feels like it is a little undiscovered gem – when you look at it from the sea. In truth, it is anything but undiscovered.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, the sandy beach is closed, and you cannot go on the beach itself. You can still enter the bay by boat, check out the shipwreck, and take photos, which I would prefer to do anyway. Who wants to stand on a small beach with a bunch of people getting in your way?
The closure was due to rockfall from several small earthquakes and was put in as a safety measure. However, I also think it is an environmental issue as well, as in the past, there was overcrowding on the beach.
Shipwreck Beach is still a stop on almost all boat tours and is often combined with the Blue Cave. We recommend booking a boat tour that visits early in the morning or later in the afternoon so you are not crammed in there with a bunch of other boats.
3. View of Navagio Beach – Shipwreck Beach
The best photo opportunity of Shipwreck Beach is from the lookout from the top of the cliffs. This is the classic view that has been used to market Zakynthos Island and one you have probably seen on Instagram. Because of this, you can imagine the number of people who want to see it from this angle, and you would be right. If you visit Zante Island in high season, you will be standing in line with a bunch of other people just to get to the platform for the view.
You should also be aware of a couple of things. There is only a small stand selling coffee and drinks by the platform and no bathrooms. When you get to the platform, you will have to fight for a view with all the selfie-taking tourists and then crane your neck to get the postcard view above. Be careful not to drop your phone or camera as well. This view can be accessed by car or a van from Zante Town or Alyke. It’s crowded in the high season, but in the off-season, this place is a wonder of nature that gives chills to the bone.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on the island of Zakynthos (football is also popular with a professional football club), and it is one of the most exciting and adventurous things a visitor can do in Zante.
From absolute beginner to experienced divers, you can set out on an adventure to explore the depths of the Ionian Sea in the Zakynthos Marine Park. The crystal clear waters of the gulf that surrounds the main island of Zakynthos are pristine. There are many sea caves that lure you inside for some of the most unique snorkeling experiences you’ll ever have.
If you aren’t up for snorkeling, you can also book a glass-bottom boat tour that will allow you to take in the beauty of the turquoise waters and what lies below.
5. Loggerhead Sea Turtles of Laganas Bay
The island of Zante is one of the best places in the world to find the famous Loggerhead sea turtle. (Caretta-Carreta Turtle) The loggerhead sea turtle is endangered, but Zakynthos is a nesting area for them, and they lay their eggs on many of its beaches.
Note: Visiting places where turtles lay eggs are prohibited for tourists as Zante authorities protect them. (Kalamaki Beach is one of the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs, and when they are there, Kalamaki Beach is off-limits. The region between Laganas and Kalamaki Beach also has some restrictions.
You don’t need to see them laying eggs through; this giant gentle turtle can be seen swimming at Laganas Bay. If you book a snorkeling or diving trip on Zakynthos, you can see the Caretta-Caretta turtle. Trust me, the enjoyment when you see one of those will give you goosebumps. Book this boat trip to Laganus on a glass bottom boat to spot turtles.
As we suggest, with all water activities and wildlife, do your research and ensure you go with a company that practices safe snorkeling with wildlife. If you see a ton of boats pulling up alongside a turtle and everyone jumping in at once, just tell your boat captain that you don’t agree with this and to move on. The last thing we should do is cause unnecessary stress to any animal.
6. Marathonisi – Turtle Island
Marathonisi is an islet just off the southern coast of Zakynthos and is has one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the region. It is also known as Turtle Island as it looks like the shape of a turtle when you approach from Keri or Marathia. The island is also home to the Loggerhead Turtle, and the beach itself is only accessible for the first 3 meters from the shore. You will see it roped off beyond that as it is their nesting ground. This private boat tour takes you on a luxury cruise to Turtle Island, Keri Caves, and Mizithres.
The islet is located in the Marine Park, and the blocked-off sections are monitored. The best way to get to the island is to take the Taxi Boat that shuttles from the beach to Marathonisi Island, which is about 15 minutes. The other options are renting your own boat or jumping on an organized tour. Whichever way you choose, you will be glad you added this island to your trip.
7. Keri Caves
Just outside of Zakynthos Town are the Keri Caves. The Keri Caves are a series of sea caves located along the island’s southwestern coast. Their extraordinary beauty and crystal-clear waters make them a popular spot for tourists. These caves are accessible only by sea, and many visitors explore them via boat tours that include opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Combine the beauty of the underwater world with white sea cliffs reaching up from the clear azure waters, makes for a spectacular day trip.
If you are an avid scuba diver, the caves are very popular to explore. The clear waters provide excellent visibility to explore its underwater formations and nooks and crannies of the caves. When the sun shines down, the light dances over the rocks creating an interesting display of light. Divers can also encounter a variety of marine life, from octopuses to sea turtles. Plus, the calm waters and range of depths make the Keri Caves suitable for both beginner and experienced divers.
Like most popular snorkeling spots in Zakynthos, you can also go via a glass-bottom boat. The waters are so clear; these are very popular on the island. A Keri Caves tour stops at Turtle Island to spot sea turtles as well.
8. Banana Beach
The golden sandy beach of Banana Beach is the longest beach in Zakynthos. Located in the Vasilikos region, Banana Beach is easily accessible to make a day out at the beach full of sun, sea, and sand. Its sheer size ensures there’s always a spot on the soft, golden sands, making it perfect for families and groups.
There are activities and water sports like jet skiing and parasailing to more relaxed options such as sunbed rentals and paddleboarding. The beach area is dotted with a variety of restaurants and beach bars making it the perfect place to spend the day. Plus, the clear, inviting waters of the Ionian Sea make it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
9. Porto Limnionas
There’s no shortage of scenes of white sea cliffs plunging into crystal clear waters along the coast of Zakynthos. And Porto Limnionas is one of its stars. Porto Limniona is considered the best swimming spot in Zakynthos, which was once undiscovered.
This secluded cove tucked away on the west coast is yet another place that has calm azure waters. This popular snorkeling and swimming area is surrounded by impressive rock formations and cliffs. And there are chairs with beach umbrellas to rent.
With the Limnionas Tavern nearby, visitors can enjoy local Greek cuisine while soaking in the tranquil views or Porto Limnonas. The cove’s location, away from the bustling centers, makes it an ideal spot for visitors seeking a more relaxed, authentic experience in Zakynthos.
More people are starting to find out about Porto Limnionas beach, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty.
10. Horseback Riding
There are plenty of outdoor activities on Zante, including horse riding on the beach (highly recommended!) The Laganas horseriding center offers rides through sand dunes, forests, and the beach, with an unforgettable experience swimming with horses in the Ionian Sea.
The Laganas Horseriding Center is family-run by the Tsourakis family, who have been leading tours since 1994. They are ranked as one of the top 10 list of the best riding centers in Greece. You can choose rides to the Sand Dunes, Pine Forest, Laganas Valley and Beach.
11. Laganas Beach Party
We mentioned that Zakynthos is known for its nightlife. The island of Zante is not called “The Party Island” for a reason. The central part that gets this attribute is a resort area called Laganas. A vast number of clubs, bars, and restaurants are placed here for a reason. The area attracts a hip and youthful crowd with its mix of international DJs, lively bars, and nightclubs right on the sand
This is the epicenter of all the parties. The crowds rush to hit the strip every night from 10 p.m. and party in packed clubs until morning. The vibe and energy pulses in every direction and it is easy to go bar hopping all night long. The beachfront is lined with venues offering a variety of music and themes, ensuring there’s something for every tastes where guests can enjoy cocktails and snacks under the stars.
The themed parties can get pretty wild where they pour neon colors on people, bathe in vast amounts of white foam, and the clubs put on special fireworks displays almost three times a week. So you get the idea of the atmosphere and vibe you can experience on Zante here.
12. Agios Nikolaos Beach, aka St Nicolas Beach
Located about 30km west of Zakynthos Town in the scenic village of Volimes, on the northeast coast of the island, during the day, this beach offers a tranquil escape with its clear, blue waters and pebbly shores. Ideal for families and couples alike, Agios Nikolaos provides excellent facilities including sunbeds, umbrellas, and a variety of beachfront tavernas serving delicious Greek cuisine.
The beach is also a hub for water sports enthusiasts, offering activities such as snorkeling and diving, with dive centers available for equipment rental and lessons. The nearby port offers boat trips to the famous Shipwreck Cove and Blue Caves, making Agios Nikolaos a convenient starting point for exploring Zakynthos’ natural wonders.
It is not a surprise that Zakynthos is one of the best islands in Greece for a party, and at night St Nicolas Beach is another party beach on Zakynthos.
13. Korakonisi Ridge
Zante is a party island but there are many places where you can relax, away from the crowds and the noise.The island doesn’t have to be that much “Party” as it is mentioned in the media.
Many of the resorts are scattered on the quiet parts of the island, and with it only being 410 square kilometers, you can go from one end to the other in few hours of driving. Many places offer a peaceful environment, where you can chill out, and shake your stress away just listening to the sea.
14. Museums & History
The island of Zakynthos also has many historical attractions. The rich history of Zakynthos dates from 1600. B.C. One of the most famous people who lived in Zakynthos was Dionysios Solomos. He was a native of Zakynthos and Greece’s national poet, who wrote the Greek national anthem.
The Town of Zante (Zakynthos Town) contains two of them. One of them is the remains of the Venetian Castle located and if you take a hike up from Zante Town, you’ll discover the Venetian Fort that dates back to the 15th century.
Other Museums and historical places on Zante are:
Roma Mansion – This 17th-century mansion survived the earthquake of 1953. It hit Cephalonia and Zante, practically destroying both islands, with only a few buildings that managed to survive the impact. Monastery of St. Denis – In the mountain village of Volimes, you’ll find the Monastery of St Denis. St. Denis was the patron saint of Zakynthos who was born on the island in 1546.
15. Zakynthos Town (Zante Town)
As mentioned above, much of Zakynthos Town was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake, but it is a nice place to wander, do some shopping and eat some traditional Greek food.
Things to see in Zante Town are Agios Dionysios, The Venetian Castle above the city that offers beautiful views from the village of Bohali and the Byzantine Museum which houses a replica of the town before the earthquake.
16. The people of Zante
We Greeks are really nice, polite, and great hosts. We are happy to help and give you the best service anywhere. Often times you’ll find that you’ll receive a gift, just to make you feel more comfortable. We love to strike up a conversation and you’ll instantly feel like an old friend. Hugs are also a common.
The experience of having Greek friends has many advantages over the normal “tourist”. You may receive special treatment, or get free stuff. Many times the people of Zante will treat you to free drinks in bars. So what are you waiting for? Make friends in Zante today!
Olive oil, wines, hand made carpets, ceramic statues of Greece historian symbols, the small turtles, and many more.
The best thing about the holidays in Zante is that chances are you will meet somebody new, interesting, and experience some great things.
The Greek Cuisine of Zakynthos
Greeks are great gourmands. Their food is one of the most delicious ones you will ever taste in your life, especially on Zante. No matter what are your preference is. As a part of their hospitality, Greeks load so much food on the plates. It’s literally unbelievable. So, food lovers, this island will be like heaven to you.
Anywhere you go, there is a beautiful smell of fresh food, great oil (one of the most produced products in Zante) as well as a great atmosphere in restaurants, where you can experience fire dancing, and plate smashing.
(Those are common Greek traditions) With the expansion of tourism on the island lately, the gourmet side of it is blooming almost everywhere.
The best part of this – the food is affordable in Zakynthos, and Greeks take their hospitality and level of service to another level, so they will get you the best of the best, just to show how they value your visit and choice to eat at their tavernas & restaurants.
How to Get Around Zakynthos Greece
There are many ways to explore the island. You can go hiking, ride a bike, or take a small train to explore the resorts on the island.
You can also rent a motorcycle, quad bike or a car to do your own exploring.
So now that you know everything about Zakynthos, let’s get ready to make new friends. There is no better reward in life than this. This is why we travel, and this is what keeps us going.
“Life Is Not Measured By the Number of Breaths We Take, But By the Moments That Take Our Breath Away.”
And these are the best things to do in Zakynthos, Greece. Have you been to Zante? If you are planning to come, stop by for a visit and say hello.