Flocked each summer by the glitterati searching for their next dreamy oasis, Zakynthos owes its popularity to gorgeous beaches, scenic villages, and bustling port towns. The Flower of the Levant, as this summer hotspot was referred to by the Venetians, is the third-largest Ionian island and boasts 123 km of azure coasts.
Surrounded by olive groves and verdant pine trees, it holds the status of Greece's greenest island. The viridescent heels jut into the turquoise-colored seas, creating mesmerizing landscapes adored by professional photographers. Natural reserves cover a large part of the south coast, where they might stumble upon the endangered species of turtles, loggerheads hatching in the sand.
The heavenly coves are scattered across this island, sometimes called Zante - hop on board your luxury charter yacht to discover them all on your next Greek adventure.
Best beaches in Zakynthos
A favorite destination for sun worshippers looking to swim in virgin nature without even so much as a foot trace in the soft alabaster sand will find many jewels to discover during their cruise. On the other hand, if you’re the star of the party and want a hip beach club where A-lister come to see and to be seen, you’ll have many spots to visit as well. Here are some spectacular coves to make sure you include in your itinerary:
Probably Zante’s most famous beach, Navagio is located on the northwest of the island and flaunts some of the most electric blue seas you’ll ever encounter. This exposed cove is often referred to as “shipwreck beach” because of a smugglers ship that crashed the shore of this picture-perfect stop - you’ll still be able to see the rusty vessel in a secluded part of the sandy strip. Panagiotis, the ship that was smuggling cigarettes and alcohol, got stranded here in 1983 and has since become emblematic of this alluring beach, adding to the vibe of a Robinson Crusoe hideaway.
Nowadays, the decaying vessel is as much of an attraction of this mesmerizing cove as the crystal clear seas and rugged cliffs that surround the bay. The beach can only be accessed by boat from Porto Vromi, somewhat limiting tourists’ hordes from overcrowding this tiny paradise. After a full day of swimming and lazing around on the soft, sun-soaked sand, visit the nearby Anafotiria village for a serene stroll through the mesmerizing old streets dotted with shops selling traditional products such as honey olive oil and handicrafts. Nearby, you’ll find the 15th-century monastery with artifacts dating back to the middle ages.
Although it does have some facilities, Gerakas resembles a deserted island with long strips of toasty sand in shades of white, beige, and pink. The water is so clean you can admire the rich aquatic life from the bathing platform of your charter yacht without even getting wet. If you’re traveling with little ones, this is the perfect place to enjoy a day of swimming and snorkeling, and you might even see the almost extinct Caretta-Caretta sea turtles hatching eggs in their nests if you’re lucky. There’s no loud music or bars to interrupt the soothing sound of waves hitting the shores, just a few traditional taverns some steps before the entrance to the beach where you can get refreshments and snacks.
Just a few kilometers from the island’s capital, Kalamaki beach boasts endless strips of warm sand and crystal clear seas. A great option for those looking for a beach with a more vibrant atmosphere, Kalamaki is dominated by impressive rock formations that add to the overall appeal of this mesmerizing Greek gem. Because of the airport’s nearness, this might be the first sandy haven you’ll visit during your cruise, making a beautiful start for your tour of numerous charming spots in Zante.
A stunning azure oasis surrounded by verdant nature offers much more than just a day of sunbathing and swimming. Named after the whitewashed church that sits on the left side of this impressive beach, Agios Nikolaos caters to visitors of all tastes with quiet corners where you can absorb the vistas and get lost in your favorite book numerous water sports, and a stellar restaurant offering delicious Greek specialties.
An organized beach perfect for families is one of the longest you’ll find in Zakynthos and is famous for its incredibly limpid sea, calm enough for parents to let children splash around without worrying for their safety. Surrounded by green vegetation, Spianza beach has a sizzling ambiance with numerous restaurants and bars serving cocktails and snacks. Whether you prefer to spend the day relaxing around under a parasol or engaging in watersports or volleyball, the large beach has enough space for everyone to enjoy their preferred activity without stepping on each other’s toes.
Best restaurants in Zakynthos
Who said that eating healthy can’t be delicious? Greek cuisine proves that you can stay fit while enjoying a feast for every meal, and glamorous restaurants often add their signature twist to recipes that were passed from generation to generation through centuries. From traditional eateries serving traditional dishes to more upscale outlets, Zakynthos offers a little bit for everyone.
Melia Fine Dining
If you have a special occasion in mind, book a table in this ravishing seaside restaurant whose lavish ambiance matches the culinary spectacles served by a friendly crew. Overlooking Katragaki beach and eternity pool in Neromilos, Melia is famous for their dish made of lobster, caviar, and foie gras and is a spot that gathers hedonists who come from all over the world to enjoy the cuisine and unique views.
Perhaps the best spot for indulging in traditional Greek cuisine, Panos still remains ridiculously cheap. Located near Laganas beach, this eatery serves some of the best kleftiko lamb you’ll find in Greece.
The capital-based restaurant boasts a romantic atmosphere and a fantastic wine list that will impress any aspiring sommelier. The cozy garden is perfect for couples looking for a serene evening and gourmet dishes. The seabass is one of their main specialties, while the risotto with prawn and truffles deserves a Michelin star on its own.
Situated on top of a green hill in Porto Vromi, Aeras is an ideal spot for a sunset dinner with your special someone. While the food is delicious, most come for the unique setting and endless vistas of the harbor and nature.
Best places to visit in Zakynthos
While the aquamarine coves are guaranteed to leave you spellbound, this verdant island has more to offer than endless beach days. Moor in one of the chic harbors and stretch your feet in the bustling towns and picturesque villages.
The capital rose like the phoenix from the ground after a wildfire ruined what was left after the 1953 earthquake. After a careful reconstruction, it was restored to its previous glory and offers gorgeous landmarks and a bustling nightlife scene. Stroll through Dionysios Solomos square, the largest on the island, and make time to visit the Byzantine Museum for a glimpse into the rich history of the region. Visit the Bohali neighborhood, located on a vertiginous hill that provides panoramic views of the city, and pop by one of many hip bars and restaurants to try the frigania, a local dessert made of cinnamon and milk. Visit the Venetian castle in the neighborhood and, if you have any energy left, dance late into the night at Rosto Roof Garden, where you can sip on colorful cocktails while enjoying the views of the harbor.
A town that offers both tranquil spots and a sizzling nightlife scene, Argassi is located just by the airport and offers endless blue sights and many landmarks to discover on foot. Visit the 17th-century church located on ancient ruins above the town, take a dip in the crystal clear seas at Argassi Beach, and finish off partying till dawn in Magic The Club, a hub for the young and beautiful who come to enjoy the night.
A laid-back resort town with jaw-dropping beaches and scenic Greek countryside that surrounds it is among the most popular places in Zakynthos and a lovely place for a family-friendly adventure on the island. Boasting great luxury options for families, Vassilikos is a great base for exploring the nearby virgin coves that serve as a breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead turtles. Ionio, Banana, St. Nicholas, Porto Roma, Gerakas, Daphni, Porto Zoro, and Kaminia beach are just some pristine havens a stone throw away from this scenic town.
When you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle, spend a day in the rural village of Volimes, located on the north of the island, where you’ll be able to get a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Zante while surrounded by enchanting pine forests, olive groves, and vineyards. The pastel-colored houses and a few churches are among the minority of landmarks that survived the devastating 1953 earthquake, but somehow this picturesque village was spared of mass tourism and boasts an authentic Greek atmosphere. Nearby, the Nobelos Bio Restaurant serves mouthwatering organic dishes in a romantic atmosphere - make sure to try the moussaka while soaking in the vistas of the tranquil harbor.
Zante’s best kept secret and a hidden jewel to explore on foot, Tragaki is a charming village with gorgeous vineyards and historic landmarks such as monuments and monasteries to enjoy on your romantic getaway. Don’t forget to buy a bottle of wine to savor at sunset on the foredeck of your luxury charter yacht!
Shopping in Zakynthos
After mooring in the marina in Zakynthos town, you can shop for souvenirs to remind you of your luxurious charter cruise. Stop by Mirabilia shop for gifts and jewelry, or get some perfume at Razi Aroma in Bohali.