Zakynthos Island (also known as Zante) is the third largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea, located off the west coast of mainland Greece.
Zakynthos town includes many squares — every corner and path seems to be brimming with Zakynthos history.
Did you know?: The Venetians ruled Zakynthos island from 1484 to 1797.
The island is now known as a tourist hotspot and it’s also home to two endangered species, the Caretta Caretta sea turtle and the Monachus seal.
Many landmarks are unique to this island such as the three Blue Caves and even a shipwreck to explore for the adventurous.
Before You Go: Travel Insurance
When planning a trip to Greece and the Greek Islands your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.
Not only will this budget friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/cancelled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury related issues as well.
Let’s face it. No parents, family or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Greece.
Unfortunate things do happen.
Especially when you least expect it.
Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Greece.
P.S. You won’t believe how reasonably priced this travel insurance is.
How to Get to Zakynthos
There are two main options when it comes to getting to Zakynthos — by sea (ferry) and by air.
Both methods of transportation are reliable but choosing between the two really depends on how much time you have to spend in Greece — more importantly how much time you have set aside for your trip to Zakynthos.
There are multiple, daily, direct flights from Athens to Zakynthos Airport and the approximate flight time is 1 hour.
The route from Athens to Zakynthos and vice versa is serviced year round but beware that the schedule could be limited during the late fall and winter months.
My recommendation is to always begin by researching flights using Skyscanner before looking into taking a ferry to Zakynthos.
With flight costs hovering between $65-85 USD for a one-way ticket, how could you not want to fly?
Tip: Begin your flight search by using the Skyscanner engine embedded below.
If flights to Zakynthos are too expensive, the next best thing would be to resort to a more
Ferries to Zakynthos depart from the port of Kilini (also known as Kyllini) which is located on the Peloponnese peninsula.
The total trip time for the ferry from Kyllini to Zakynthos is approximately 1 hour and the cost is around €10 EUR for a one-way journey.
When it comes to booking ferries to Zakynthos, one of the most reliable and reasonably priced Greek ferry search engines is powered by a company called Ferries in Greece (highly recommended), a major greek ferry booking hub that helps more than 35,000 passengers get to and from the Greek islands each year.
Check Ferry Schedules & Prices:
Where to Stay in Zakynthos
There are a wide variety of accommodations to choose from when it comes to planning on where to stay in Zakynthos — from budget hotels to luxury stays.
Below, you can find a list of the different types of accommodation available on the Zakynthos island including Airbnb apartments and hotels.
Renting an Airbnb in Zakynthos is not only highly recommended but also a very reliable and trustworthy place to begin your search for accommodations that suit your needs.
If you’ve done your research ahead of time, you’ll know that Zakynthos Villas are quite popular as they come in a variety of sizes and offer price ranges that suit budgets of all types.
Some villas are romantic, some are elegant, and some are classy.
Below you’ll find a short list of recommended Airbnbs in Zakynthos.
Apartment Center of Town – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
K & K Apartment – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
SOMA Apartment – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
Valentine’s Modern Apartment – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
Bliss in Zakynthos – 2 Bed / 1 Bath
Sea Front Apartment – 1Bed / 1 Bath
Sterre of the Sea – 2 Bed / 1 Bath
Elia Villa – 3 Bed / 2.5 Bath
🔎 If this is your first time using Airbnb, we recommend you read our Insider’s Guide to Saving Money on Airbnb Apartments.
If top-notch service and amenities are a priority when it comes to planning your trip to Zakynthos, we recommend you book your stay in a hotel on the island.
Most, if not all Zakynthos hotels offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi, multiple pools, on-site restaurants, and more.
Below, you’ll find a short list of recommended hotels in Zakynthos.
- Ionis Art Hotel ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Kymothoe Elite ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- Diana Palace Hotel ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
- The Lesante Luxury Hotel & Spa ( Hotels Combined / Booking.com )
Things to Do in Zakynthos
There are a wide variety of activities to experience in Zakynthos, from boat trips to hidden caves, to spending time soaking up the sun on some of the best beaches in Zakynthos to visiting monasteries, castles and more.
Below, you’ll find a list of activities and other things to do in Zakynthos.
Be sure to choose your activities carefully because there are a few things on this list that you won’t want to miss.
Visiting Navagio Beach, otherwise known as the Shipwreck beach is one of the most popular things to do in Zakynthos, and for good reason.
This beach is absolutely incredible (although extremely touristy) and usually ends up on a list of most unique beaches in the world from time to time.
The only way to reach Shipwreck beach is by boat and the best way to get here is to take a full-day boat tour.
The journey to to Shipwreck beach takes approximately 45-50 minutes and is generally a pretty smooth ride if you’re visiting during the peak season.
A full-day boat tour usually lasts around 8 hours and includes a visit to Navagio beach as well as a visit to Zakynthos’ famous Blue Caves, a short bus ride to the top of the cliffs that overlook Shipwreck beach and a brief tasting at a local winery.
Cost: Approximately $50 USD / per person.
The Blue Caves are located on the east of Cape Skinari and they were created from centuries of erosion.
The caves are mostly known for the shades of deep blue water found in the deepest parts of the cave.
The morning light reflects off the water perfectly to create beautiful photo opportunities.
If you’re interested in visiting the Blue Caves, we recommend you book the full day tour above which includes a visit to Shipwreck beach and the Blue Caves all in one day.
The Keri Caves and “The Arch” are popular destinations for tourists to witness on Zakynthos island.
There are multiple scuba dive operators who run tours to the Keri Caves.
If you’re into scuba diving we recommend you take a tour and keep your eyes peeled for the loggerhead turtles (also known as Caretta-caretta turtles) that swim around in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos.
Lighthouse at Keri
Stunning views can be seen from the top of the Keri lighthouse which overlooks the cliffs in the distance.
At sunset, the light washes over the scene and creates yet another perfect moment to take pictures.
Marathonisi island (also known as Turtle Island) is home to many Caretta-caretta sea turtles as the government goes above and beyond to protect their habitat.
Snorkeling equipment is available for those who want to take a peek under the water to see them.
Zakynthos Marine Park
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is located on the south coast and focuses its efforts on sheltering the fragile ecosystem of the island.
The marine park protects the Caretta-Caretta turtles and the Monachus-Monachus Mediterranean seals.
With a wide diversity of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals as well, there is no shortage of wildlife in this national park.
History buffs will be sure to enjoy the Byzantine Museum on the island — especially considering it only costs €8 to enter and offers tourists a chance to see various art pieces and 360-degree frescos.
The descriptions of art pieces found in the museum are explained in both Greek and English.
Founded by Anthony Miller, the Nautical Museum is the only Greek Museum to proudly display maritime history from as early as the 1600’s.
In addition to watercolors that show the progression of shipping, it also presents depictions of Byzantine ships from the beginning of the empire to their demise in 1453.
Church of St. Dionysios
The Church of St. Dionysios is gorgeous, elegant, and holy place that celebrates the Island’s Patron Saint.
Not only can visitors ask the priest to let them take a glimpse into a vault, but they are also encouraged to donate a list of names so that prayers can be offered to those on the list.
The Venetian fountain is located in Krioneri and it brings back a part of history to the present day.
While it is only a stone fountain today, the long passages used to feed the entire city with water.
This location is sure to bring to light the immense knowledge that the ancients of this island once had.
Zakynthos Venetian Castle
The Zakynthos Venetian Castle is located in the city of Mpohalis and was the former capital of the island almost centuries ago.
The castle was demolished in 1480 but was renovated in 1514.
Today, any visitor can take a look at the old prison system, the way gunpowder was created, explore the premises of the fortress, and even old abandoned church ruins.
The Anafonitria Monastery is a holy place where tourists sometimes visit as part of a Zakynthos island tour.
Here, you can learn about the history and culture of the island as well as enjoy the stunning scenery which surrounds the monastery.
Interested in catching some rays while in Zakynthos?
If so, here are some notable beaches in Zakynthos which we recommend you visit:
- Gerakas Beach
- Kalamaki Beach
- Porto Limnionas Beach
Getting Around Zakynthos
Public transport is readily available on the island although we rarely recommend the use of public transport on the Greek islands due to the reliability factor and the fact that everything is on “Greek time”.
That being said, there are plenty of taxis available as well as more efficient ways of moving around the island such as renting cars and motorbikes.
Renting a car is the the best way to explore the island of Zakynthos.
Zakynthos is quite large — if you decide to rent a car for the duration of your trip, you’ll have the ability to go wherever you want whenever you want.
Looking for the the most reputable Zakynthos rental car company? We recommend RentalCars.com.
The next best way to explore the island is by moto or ATV — especially if you’re traveling as a couple.
Motos and ATV’s are much easier to maneuver on the narrow roads and you’ll also be able to explore more parts of the island which you wouldn’t be able to access by car.
Finding parking is also significantly easier when riding a moto on the island.
If you do take a taxi, make sure to negotiate the fare before getting in the car in order to avoid getting ripped off.
Best Time to Visit Zakynthos
The best time to visit Zakynthos is from mid May to late September, although peak season is usually from June to late August.
Tourists should note that Zakynthos weather can sometimes be unbearable during the peak season (June-August) when temperatures soar to 31-35C (90-95F+).
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit Zakynthos in May through the first week or two of June and the month of September.
As you can see above, Zakynthos truly has a lot of offer for tourists who are visiting for the first time.
If you’re looking to visit somewhat of a lesser known Greek island than let’s say Santorini or Mykonos, we highly recommend you check out Zakynthos island.
Interested in visiting the Greek islands? If so, be sure to check out my full collection of Greek Island Travel Guides.
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