The Ultimate Zante Travel Guide

The Flower of the East that amazes with its striking diversified ecosystem

Zante

Zante Ionian Islands

The Destination

Sharing the stunning natural beauty of all Ionian Islands, Zante or Zakynthos offers a great variety of holiday activities for all types of travellers including spectacular shores, sites of historical and archaeological importance, intense nightlife, gastronomic delights and eco-touristic experiences.

Apart from its touristic value, Zante is also the home of one of the most popular endangered sea turtle species, the Caretta – Caretta turtle. Due to the soft, thick sand and the clean waters of its coasts, the Caretta – Caretta turtle comes to shore to lay its eggs on numerous of the island’s beaches. Thus, visitors must pay great attention to the protected areas on the coasts to avoid damaging the hyper-sensitive little turtle eggs that have been meticulously laid by their mothers in the sand in order for the little ones to hatch and return to the sea.

As most of Greece’s islands and mainland regions, Zante also boasts a deep history and authentic tradition, still prominent in all island living aspects: mouth-watering local products and delicacies, monumental archaeological sites, traditional villages, remarkable museums and a gorgeous Venetian Castle overlooking the capital of Zakynthos and the emerald Ionian Sea.

Highlights

Zante Highlights

Navagio

A landmark spot and one of the most stunning beaches of all Ionian Islands, Navagio (shipwreck), or the Smugglers’ Wreck, owes its name to an old cargo ship from Syria that was supposed to smuggle cigarettes and eventually ran aground this secluded coast during the early 80’s. This extraordinary coast is surrounded by very high, steep hills and, although it is only accessible by boat, it has been one of the most popular places on the island not only as a beach life must but also a base jumping favourite spot for the daring ones.

 

Blue Caves

A stunning complex of naturally carved caves, the Blue Caves is one of the must-visit spots on Zante. Located at the north western part of the island, those strange geological formations have captured the hearts of tons of visitors with their striking beauty, iridescent colours and sunlight games throughout its cavernous shapes and crystal clear waters. Diving lovers will be enchanted by the deep blue sea that it is in parts highlighted by sun rays revealing a light turquoise hue. Access to the Blue Caves is only possible by sea through many boat tour services.

 

Marathonisi

Located at the northern part of Zante, within the Gulf of Laganas, Marathonisi islet is a marvel of nature. Uninhabited and untouched by any human intervention, Marathonisi is a lush verdant island that boasts two amazing beaches, one with whitish thin sand and one with small, white pebbles. Visitors to the islet will be amazed by its stunning beauty but they need to be extra cautious as this is not only the most preferred reproduction spot of the Caretta – Caretta sea turtle but also a place of summer fun for the Mediterranean Monachus – Monachus monk seal, another endangered species.

 

Island cruise tour

Zante boasts spectacular natural beauty on its coastline and, due to the island’s geomorphology, there are quite a few stunning beaches that are mostly accessible by sea, thus a cruising tour of the island is highly recommended either by a privately rented boat or the organized boat excursions offered from the local professionals. Yachting around the coast of Navagio, the Blue Caves, Marathonisi, Blue Grotto and many more unspoilt places will definitely carve unforgettable memories in the minds and hearts of travellers. Yachting cruises to the nearby islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca are also a must-do.

 

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In Details

What to do & see on Zante

Zante is a place that can satisfy diversified travelling tastes and needs. From its partying nightlife to its exceptional natural beauty, the Flower of the East is primarily an ideal vacationing destination for youngsters and nature lovers. During summer months Zante is being flooded with tourists from abroad that want to taste the vibrating nightlife of the island in its popular nightclubs but also the incomparable bliss of its famous beach bars.

A vast variety of dazzling beaches with whitish sand and turquoise clean waters lace the island’s 123km coastline and offer some of the most treasured summer-fun experiences. Yachting around the island is a must as many of its most dramatic settings are unreachable by mainland.

For outdoor activities’ lovers, Zante boasts some old pathways that traverse its mainland and lead to beautiful traditional villages, well-preserved monasteries and churches and sites of historical importance. Moreover, there is a well-organized riding centre in Laganas’ area where experienced guides lead visitors to stunningly beautiful spots. The Formula Zante go-kart circuit will give thrills to both young and older visitors while there is also a mini golf located at Kalamaki, surrounded by small waterfalls, small streams and ponds. Scuba diving is definitely among the top things to do in Zante as the seabed of the area boasts unparalleled beauty while there are many diving schools that offer diving lessons and equipment.

Those who wish to dive deep into the island’s rich history and tradition should visit the Venetian Castle, right above the capital of the island, providing stunning views to the bay although there are only a few remnants of this past city preserved. Another must-visit, the Sarakina Mansion, is a sample of a striking architecture influenced by the Venetian style with baroque elements. A great number of remarkable museums is also at the visitors’ disposal: the Dionysios Solomos museum (Greece’s national poet), the Helmis Natural History Museum, showcasing some fine samples of the local flora, fauna and sea life, and the Post Byzantine Art Museum.

Lastly, visitors should definitely stroll around the Askos Stone Park, an amazing wildlife sanctuary adorned with 600-year old stone fences and pavements where a rare variety of animals live protected and free in their natural environment.

 

Best beaches on Zante

Navagio

An outstanding coast of fine white sand and exotic waters, completely non-organized and only accessible by boat. The beach of Navagio or the Smugglers’ Wreck is surrounded by high, steep cliffs that create an utterly dramatic setting.

 

Tsivili

A fully organized beach at the western coast of Zante and very close to the island’s capital. Light-coloured sand, crystal clear waters and a vibrating setting with luxurious resorts and cosmopolitan beach bars are among Tsivili’s highlights.

 

Banana

The longest beach on Zante, Banana is a fully organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas along with quite a few beach bars. Its coast is covered with whitish soft sand while its waters are clean and shallow making them ideal for young children.

 

Laganas

One of Zante’s most popular beaches Laganas beach is usually swamped with visitors but rarely crowded as it is a really long coast. The beach is also a protected biotope of Caretta – Caretta sea turtles thus extra caution is required.

 

Agios Sostis

The extension of Laganas beach with a charming setting, surrounded by high, lush verdant hills, Agios Sostis is a sandy coast that offers beach facilities and water sports’ options. Staying until sunset is a must as the landscape is a beauty.

 

Agios Nikolaos

A sandy, fully organized beach located at approximately 32km north of Zakynthos Hora, Agios Nikolaos is a family friendly coast with beach facilities and water sports’ options. Those who want calmness can choose the right part of the coast.

 

Porto Zoro

Calm and quiet, Porto Zoro is located on the south-eastern coast and provides a gorgeous setting with turquoise waters, light-coloured sand and lush vegetation. Rock formations that emerge from the sea add a dramatic touch to the scenery.

 

Gerakas

A partly organized beach perfect for families with young children, Gerakas is found at about 18km south from Zante Hora. Its crystalline waters, golden sandy coast and serene ambience promise a fun and relaxing day at the beach.

 

Porto Vromi

One of the northernmost coasts of Zante, Porto Vromi is actually a small cove where the sea reaches the shore traversing the steep hills that surround the spot. White pebbles and tropical waters create an utterly breathtaking ambience.

 

Keri

Facing the beautiful islet of Marathonisi, Keri beach is a long, wide pebbly coast surrounded by pine trees and a few taverns and cafes. Calm and usually quiet the resort of Keri is a delightful traditional village hiding many treasured marvels.

 

Porto Roma

One of the most beautiful beaches on Zante, Porto Roma is a partially organized, family friendly coast with sand and pebbles. Surrounded by lush pine trees, the beach features amazing waters making it ideal for snorkelling and diving.

 

Xygia

A natural spa infused with brimstone elements emerging from the surrounding caves, Xygia is a very popular beach located on the northern part of Zante. The shore is short and features both pebbles and sand along with deep, clean waters.

Location

How to get there

Zante (Zakynthos) features an airport thus there are flights operated from Athens International Airport and direct flights from various European countries. During summer flights are more frequent and there also a few connections from other airports in Greece. The flight duration from Athens International Airport lasts about 50’. Ferries also reach Zante but there are no direct routes from the main port of Greece, Piraeus. Instead, travellers from Athens or other regions in Greece can reach the town of Kyllini, north western Peloponnese, by car and then board on the ferryboat that arrives at Zante after 1hr. During summer, Zante is connected by ferry with the nearby island of Kefalonia.

Top Villas

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