Situated just off the west coast of Greece, the Zakynthos Island is well known for its crystal clear waters, beautiful sandy beaches, charming villages and stunning scenic countryside.
From sunbathing and snorkeling to sightseeing and sailing, Zakynthos has everything you could ever wish for in a Greek Island holiday.
To make sure you get the most out of your trip, we've put together a comprehensive guide on all the best places to visit, eat and sleep during your stay.
What To See
Endowed with fertile valleys and temperate climate, Zakynthos boasts a lush landscape that has to be seen to be believed. March to May is the perfect time to visit as the island is low on tourists allowing you to take full advantage of all that this spectacular island has to offer without the hustle and bustle of the summer time crowds.
Considered to be one of the best beaches in Greece, Navagio is home to a smuggler's ship that washed ashore in a magnificent bay back in 1981. Huge vertical cliffs of white rock surround the cove creating a unique and enchanting image. To reach this slice of paradise and see the shipwreck for yourself you can take a little boat from the port of Porto Vromi. Head there either early in the morning or later in the afternoon to miss the big crowds and enjoy the beach all to yourself. For a completely different perspective, follow the signs for Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery where you will find a small viewing platform 600ft above the wreck.
Gerakas is not just one of the most beautiful beaches in Zakynthos, it is also the main shelter and nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. Cherished for its unique sunbathing and swimming experience, some areas of the beach are off limits to protect the interests of the precious turtles that reside there, and it is closed at dusk for the same reason. There is free parking before following the path from the cliff tops to reach this idyllic hotspot, but in busy periods this can fill up quickly.
The Blue Caves
Tucked away in the wilder, rural parts of the Zakynthos Island, are the breathtaking Blue Caves that are only accessible by sea. Famous for the magical color of the water in their deepest hollows, the Blue Caves are best appreciated at sunrise or sunset. Hire a boat or take an organized tour from Cape Skinari for the most spectacular trip. Nothing can compare to the unforgettable experience of getting into the waters to explore their greatness, so if you've got a soft spot for diving don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
What To Do
With something for everyone, Zakynthos is not short of things to do. Many of the islands resorts are low key, and the tourist booths mostly offer excursions to neighboring islands or the mainland as opposed to focusing on Zakynthos' beauty, but don't let that stop you from reveling in all that this unique destination has to offer.
Zakynthos offers a wonderful range of trekking trails that can be enjoyed on foot or by bike. Whether you fancy strolling through the traditional villages or discovering the lush countryside and mountains, the choices are endless on this unspoilt island. Said to resemble the Cappadocia region in Turkey, the Clay Canyon located at Gerakas beach is well worth a visit. For those wanting more of a challenge, a trek up the mountain of Skopos to witness the jaw dropping panoramic views from the temple of Panagia Skopiotissa should hit the spot.
Unfortunately like most of Greece, Zakynthos is largely devoid of sea life due to overfishing, but there are still some interesting sites to the South of the island. The Arch and Keri Caves are two of the most popular places to go scuba diving and both have diving centers that operate 7 days a week.
Set high above the Zakynthos Town in the region of Bochali you'll find the ancient ruins of the remarkable Venetian Castle. The exact date of construction is unknown but it is estimated to have been built around 1480 on the site of the Ancient Acropolis. Over the years the castle and its surrounding grounds have been repeatedly destroyed by invasion and earthquakes, but despite this you can still see many of the major features including the vaulted prisons, gunpowder building, main bastions of the fortress and several churches.
Where To Eat
As a fast growing tourist destination, visitors to the island will not be hard pressed to find English and American favorites on the menu, but with that being said there is still an abundance of places to indulge in traditional Greek cuisine.
Pure ingredients and excellent wine, the Lithies Taverna is nestled in a beautiful forest in the area of Vasilikos. All produce is grown ecologically at the family's farm and food can be enjoyed outside in the quiet terrace garden with gorgeous views of the surrounding waters.
Located in Vassilikos in Porto Roma, the Mikri Plateia restaurant is open for evening meals only. Run by a kind and hard working family, this establishment is as authentic as it gets. With charming views of the open sea, rolling hills, and olive tree groves, Mikri Plateia make delicious homemade food and even distill their own raki!
If the sweet smell of fresh bread is something that gets your mouthwatering then a trip to the Stamiris Bakery in Agios Kirikas is an absolute must. Found on the main road next to Stamiris Woodcarving, this treat of a bakery is a traditional family run business that also offers an assortment of sweet and savory Greek snacks and dishes.
Where To Stay
While there are many types of accommodation in Zakynthos, none compare to the truly unique setting of the Blue Cave Villas. With secluded beaches, mesmerizing caves, and the island's main town only a stone's throw away, you'll have the perfect blend of tranquility and social delights.
Blue Caves Villas
Each of the four Blue Cave Villas has everything you could possibly need for a luxury holiday getaway. From direct sea access and private hydro massage pools, to a fully equipped kitchen complete with private terrace, lounge chairs and umbrellas.
You'll know you're in Greece the moment you arrive and are greeted by the rustic and timeless stone architecture, before being swept away by the breathtaking views of the clear blue skies above and pristine emerald waters below.
Not sure which of the four Blue Cave Villas is right for you? Discover more about each one's special personality below:
Standing atop the majestic coastal cliffs of the Ionian Sea, the Deep Blue Villa is a classic beauty situated in an unparalleled location. With four luxury bedrooms sleeping 8-9 guests comfortably, stone fireplace and endless high tech features and amenities, the only thing that can rival the gorgeous interior is the mind blowing exterior. The entire pool area sits right on the cliff edge providing amazing panoramas of the sea and coastlines.
Boasting stunning views of the surrounding scenery, The Palace Villa is the largest of the four Blue Cave Villas with six spacious bedrooms, making it the perfect choice for family get-togethers or group gatherings. Arrive by ferry or helicopter (the Blue Cave Villas has its own helipad!) then enlist the services of your private massage therapist before dining poolside with a gourmet meal prepared by your very own personal chef.
Featuring three fully furnished bedrooms with air conditioning, private en suite bath, and furniture made from natural materials, the Purple Villa is the ideal choice for vacationing families or for hosting a small retreat. Crack open your complimentary welcome package complete with local wine, fruits and spices, and enjoy stunning views of the sea and the neighboring islands.
Balancing the timeless Greek atmosphere with the ultimate luxury and comforts, the Crystal Villa offers unforgettable panoramas that are certain to become the highlight of your stay. Perfect for a cozy family vacation or a peaceful escape for a couple, the three bedrooms are stylishly furnished with en suite bathrooms and views of the ocean.