The island of Zakynthos (Zante) is the southernmost and third largest island in the Ionian Sea.
It is very conveniently located, offering easy travel to the surrounding islands as well as to the mainland and major cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.
With its rugged coastline, forested mountain slopes, fertile lowlands, elegant administrative centre with aristocratic buildings, fine beaches and crystal clear sea, quaint villages and hospitable population, this island is rightly considered one of the most popular in Greece.
During the time of Homer and the Trojan War, the island was part of the kingdom of the ruler Odysseus. It was named by Prince Zakynthos, son of the Trojan king Dardanos. Many nations have intervened in the history of Zakynthos. The first settlers were the Achaeans, in 455 BC the Athenians conquered the island, after which it briefly came under the control of Macedonia. The Romans gave it a degree of autonomy. The Venetians, in particular, greatly influenced the nature of the administrative centre and also brought with them an aristocratic political system with a stratified population, a reason why the republican French were enthusiastically welcomed. The last British modernised public administration.
The island is full of contrasts. It is awash with vegetation and greenery that covers the mountains and fertile plains. Its high rainfall makes it one of the greenest islands in Greece. That is why it is known as the "Flower of the East". There are many beautiful beaches to the north, east and south, while the western part of the island is surrounded by rocky mountains with many caves, the most famous of which is the so-called Blue Cave at Cape Skinari, where the water is a beautiful blue, phosphorescent blue. At the south-eastern tip of the island is the deepest sea in the Mediterranean - the so-called Inous sinkhole, which is 4,500 metres deep. On the eastern coast, on the other hand, there are endless olive and citrus groves and fertile plains fringed by sandy beaches.
The environment on Zakynthos also benefits a rare species of turtle, the common turtle. In Laganas Bay, the turtles lay their eggs in the sand, so to save them, some beaches are off-limits from sunset to sunrise. The airport is also closed at this time and air traffic is suspended. Seals live on the rugged west coast and are also protected.
There are several tourist resorts on the coast such as Laganas, Kalamaki, Argassi, Tsilivi, Alykes, Alykanas. The famous beaches include Porto Zoro, Banana Beach, Agios Nikolaos, Yerakas, all of which are located on the Vassilikos peninsula. On the eastern coast, outside the resorts, there is, for example, the famous Xinigia beach, where sulphur springs rise into the sea. The beach at Laganas Bay is 9 kilometres long and is famous for, among other things, the kareta turtles. It is considered one of the most beautiful in Greece.
If you are an excursion lover, the island offers plenty of options for you as well. Among the most attractive excursions is the beach of Navagio with its smuggling wreck, which can only be reached by boat. You can also visit the Blue Grotto, the Byzantine Museum, the Keri sea caves, the Gerakas promontory, Porto Vromi bay. There are also several churches and other sights on the island.
- Greek name: ZÁKYNTHOS (Ζάκυνθος)
- Capital: Zakynthos
- Island area: 406 km2
- Population: over 31 000
- The highest peak: Vrachionas (758 m)
- The patron saint of the island: St. Dionysos
- Symbol of the island: sea turtle Careta Careta
LETOVISKA NA ZAKYNTHOSU
It is a well-known and popular tourist resort, whose streets, beaches and shops are filled from May to October with foreign visitors from all over the world. Tsilivi is surrounded by beautiful nature, there are romantic nooks and crannies and opportunities for hiking. The resort is quite large and stretches for several kilometres along the main road. In the side streets there are shops with groceries, fruit and vegetables, various souvenirs, fast food stands, many restaurants, taverns, cafes, bakeries and bars. The beach here is long and sandy with a gradual entrance to the clear water and there is a possibility of renting umbrellas and sunbeds (approx. 7€/set/day). There are also smaller beaches nearby that provide more privacy.
The resort is connected by public bus to other places. The fare to Zakynthos in the 2008 season was 1,40€, the connection runs from 7 to 20 almost every hour. It is also possible to use taxis; prices range as follows: to Alikes - approx. 14€, to Argasi - approx. 13€, to Laganas - approx. 14€, to Tragaki Plagos - approx. 7€, to Zakynthos - approx. 9€.
Distance from the administrative centre: approx. 6 km. Distance from the airport: approx. 12 km. Rating of the resort: suitable for all generations.
Laganas is described as the largest, busiest and most popular resort on the island. It is a place that will enchant and captivate you. The main street offers absolutely everything a tourist is looking for on a holiday. There are daytime and nighttime entertainment options, countless souvenir, clothing and food shops, fast food stands, restaurants, taverns, cafes, bars, clubs, discos... There are also newspaper stands and a medical service. The beach here is really beautiful; long, sandy with a gradual entrance to the sea, suitable for families with small children. It is also possible to rent umbrellas and sunbeds on the beach (approx. 7€/set/day). If you want more privacy while sunbathing, then head towards Kalamaki (approx. 10 minutes free walk).
Laganas is a bit of a curious resort, the main road here for example ends in the sea and sea turtles are another curiosity. If you walk towards Kalamaki, you will see tripods on the beach that point out turtle nests. Early in the morning, or during the morning if you are lucky, you may see a newly hatched turtle heading out to sea. However, never pick it up or carry it into the water. If the sun is already shining, shade it and direct it so that it reaches the sea as quickly and alive as possible. Laganas is connected by bus to the rest of the island. Bus stops are within about 250 metres of the hotels, and the fare to Zakynthos in 2008 was €1.40. The line goes there from 7am to 8pm almost every hour. Taxi costs: to Alikes about 20€, to Kalamaki about 7€, to Keri about 13€, to Lithakia about 9€, to Vassilikos about 20€, to Pastras/Bohali about 15€, to Zakynthos about 10€.
We recommend renting a car or motorbike and getting to know the island more thoroughly. However, beware of not following the rules of the road, Greeks usually don't respect the rules much and the bigger car has the right of way...
Distance from the administrative centre: about 8 km. Distance from the airport: about 6 km. Rating of the resort: suitable for all generations.
The resort of Argassi is described as one of the greenest resorts, being the closest to the administrative centre; it is also the second largest town on the island. Here you will find day and night entertainment options, famous taverns and restaurants with friendly service, several clubs and bars, supermarkets, souvenir shops, boutiques... All this is illustrated by the traditional Greek character and the pleasant atmosphere that prevails here. The local beach is sandy, narrower compared to others on the island, but it is not a problem to take a bus to Agios Nikolaos beach, which is one of the most beautiful on the island and is about 10km away. Transportation to this beach is free in case of renting a beach service, which costs 8€/set/day.
Other options are the sandy beaches near the resort of Vassilikos (the most popular are Kaminia Beach, Porto Roma, Banana Beach). The city bus runs there regularly and the ticket costs about 1,5€/one trip.
From Argassi you can go into the countryside and climb Mount Skopos. From the top you will have wonderful views of the countryside, sea coves, and on the way you may come across wild orchids and a rare species of butterfly. Another attraction is the tourist train that goes to the capital, the price per adult is about 5€/round trip ticket, children under 12 pay about 2€. The train leaves Argassi about every three hours, going to the city centre and then back. There is a city bus to the capital every hour between 7:00 and 19:00, it costs about 1,40€/one way. In the evening it is necessary to take a taxi, which costs about 7 euro. Water sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the rather rich offer directly in the resort of Argassi.
Distance from the administrative centre: approx. 4 km. Distance from the airport: approx. 8 km. Rating of the resort: pleasant tourist resort, with a nice view of the Peloponnese peninsula.
The tourist resort of Kalamaki is spread over a fairly large area. There is an abundance of shops, restaurants and tavernas, as well as the option to walk or take a local bus to the nearby resort of Laganas (approx 2km) or the administrative centre, where there is a wealth of daily entertainment. The local long and attractive sandy beach is well known. The area is also associated with Caretta - Caretta sea turtles, which lay their eggs in the sand here in the summer season, mainly due to the very warm water in the sea.
Kalamaki is located at a relatively short distance from the airport, so you should expect some noise during the day, but it only minimally disturbs the otherwise very peaceful atmosphere of the resort.
Distance from the administrative centre: approx. 5 km. Distance from the airport: approx. 3 km. Rating of the resort: for all generations.
Includes: Zakynthos Town, Argassi, Porto Kaminia, Porto Zorro, Banana Beach, Agios Nikolaos, Mavratzi, Porto Roma, Gerakas, Dafni, Kalamaki, Laganas, Porto Sostis, Cameo island, Marathonisi Island (Boat trip), Eleftherotia Monastery, The Windmill Taverna, Keri, Arba hotel, Marathias, Keri Lighthouse, Damianos Cave, Andronios Wells, Plakaki, Korakonissi, Porto Roxa, Porto Limnionas, Kambi, Porto Schiza, Cross Taverna, Sunset Michali´s Taverna, Exo Chora, Anafonitria, Porto Vromi, Navagio, Shipwreck, Viewpoint, Blue Caves, Agios Nikolaos, Skinari, Makris Gialos, Xigia Sulfur, Xigia Pelagaki, Alykes, Alykanas, Black Caves, Therianos organic farm, Ano Gerakari, Amboula, Bouka, Tsilivi
Zakynthos - 33 Beaches
Includes: Dafni, Kalamaki, Laganas, Cameo Island, Marathonisi Island, Keri, Arba hotel, Marathias, Plakaki, Korakonissi, Porto Roxa, Porto Limnionas, Porto Vromi, Navagio (Shipwreck), Potamitis windmill, Agios Nikolaos, Makros Gialos, Xigia Sulfur, Xigia Pelagaki, Alykes, Alykanas, Amboula, Bouka, Tsilivi, Krioneri, Argassi, Porto Kaminia, Porto Zorro, Banana, Agios Nikolaos, Mavratzi, Porto Roma, Gerakas
Includes: Navagio (Shipwreck) beach, Blue Caves, Agios Sostis, Laganas, Argassi, Tsilivi, Vasilikos, Porto Zoro beach, Banana, Agios Nikolaos, Porto Roma, Mavratzis, Gerakas, Dafni, Skopos, Kalamaki, Bohali, Contessa hotel, Caretta Caretta, Marathonisi island, Limni Keriou, Keri, Agalas, Damianos cave, Kiliomeno, Louha, Loucha, Giri, Porto Limnionas, Porto Vromi, Porto Roxa, Kambi, Maries, Volimes, Skinari cape, Kokkinou, Makris Gialos, Xigia, Alikes, Alikanas, Ano Gerakari, Agios Kirikos, ...
Accommodation - Zakynthos