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Top 10 Things to do in Zakynthos

In 2019 we went on a travel-around-Greece-trip including the island of Santorini, Greece’s capital, Athens, and the island of Zakynthos – some of the most beautiful places Greece has to offer. If you are interested in Santorini, you can read more about the island here. I always like to conclude a vacation by choosing a relaxing location to recharge the last bit of energy before heading back home. Thus, we tend to start with a rather active schedule at the beginning of our vacation and save the restful days for the end. Understandably, everyone has their preferences and you might want to begin a vacation with the relaxing part to have more energy for your whole holiday and here Zakynthos would be perfect. Zakynthos is, compared to Santorini, generally a more typical tourist island with hotels, beaches and restaurants but it has at the same time also its very beautiful, astonishing spots away from the noise. And that’s where I want to take you in this post - to the most wonderful, adventurous places and the top 10 things to see on Zakynthos.

Zante is the capital and commercial center of Zakynthos

1. Zante Town

Every island, every region and every country has it – the big town where everything happens. On Zakynthos this place is called Zante or Zante Town but actually also called Zakynthos which can be quite confusing since that’s what the island is called, right? So, Zante is the capital and commercial center of the island located on the eastern side of the island. Due to an earthquake in 1953 the inhabitants had to rebuild most parts of the city, leaving it with a modern flair of architecture. Zante Town accommodates some of the must-see’s on Zakynthos such as the famous Saint Dionysios Church, the Bohali Castle on top of the hill with a brilliant view, the Dionysios Solomos Square, the Saint Marcus Square and so much more.

I can highly recommend Tsilivi Waterpark on Zakynthos

2. Tsilivi Waterpark

One fun fact about me: I looooove Water and Fun Parks – when I know there’s one nearby, you know where to find me! Therefore, I do not hesitate to recommend you the Tsilivi Waterpark on Zakynthos. The town of Tsilivi situated around 5 km north of Zante Town accommodates a great deal of restaurants, bars, taverns and nightclubs but most importantly the Tsilivi Waterpark. Especially during the hot summer days water can be so essential to cool down. Combining water and fun is even better and the good news is, after 2 pm you pay only half the price. And really there is something for everyone; for those who want to relax, those who want action, food, for the small ones, the old ones…I think you got my point.

Kalamaki Beach - the beach is wonderful, clean, sandy and perfect for a day off

3. Kalamaki Beach

From pace 100 to 0. Let’s face it, you’re on Zakynthos, so avoiding beaches would be like avoiding Greek food in Greece, it makes no sense and is unnecessary to do. One of the places to go is the Kalamaki Beach. The beach is wonderful, clean, sandy and perfect for a day off. An interesting fact about this beach is that it is protected by Greek legislation due to the Loggerhead turtles who come ashore to lay their eggs. Therefore, the Kalamaki Beach is part of the huge National Maritime Park of Zakynthos which stretches along the southern coast including two small islands. Due to its protection, the beach “closes” down in the evening and nighttime so the turtles can pass freely and be undisturbed. Hurray for nature!

If you are into beautiful sunsets go to Keri Lighthouse

4. Keri Lighthouse

If you are into beautiful sunsets (as if there actually exists something called "an ugly sunset") or just an incredibly beautiful view then you’ve come to the right place. We “accidentally” found this beautiful spot from where you can watch the sun diving into the ocean leaving the sky with beautiful nuances of red and purple. Originally, it was our plan to visit the lighthouse directly but we luckily ended up on this homemade terrace which kind of feels like being in the middle of nowhere or just at the edge of the world. Also, don’t get too confused when it says “private way”. You will end up in a non-asphalted parking lot with a kiosk behind a fence that requires buying something in order to gain access to the site which I think is a fair business. My advice to you, come there early to get a proper spot to hangout.

Porto Limnionas is one of the best hidden gems on the island of Zakynthos

5. Porto Limnionas

Porto Limnionas is one of the best hidden gems on the island of Zakynthos and if you like to get away from other tourists then this is the place. Well, it’s not like you’re going to be the only one knowing this place exist, but it’s definitely also not as crowded and touristic as the beaches, and going there early can give you some extra quiet time. To get there you have to take an off-road track that will lead you to a small square in front of a Tavern where you can park. From there the last part is the trickiest part since you have to climb down a staircase carved into the rock that will lead you directly to this insanely blue lagoon with crystal clear water and caves to dive into. This is a place different from any other on Zakynthos and I think you can tell that I very much fell in love with it.

In the Laganas Bay you will find the Marathonisi Island

6. Marathonisi - Turtle Island

In the Laganas Bay you will find the Marathonisi Island. The official resident of this island is the loggerhead sea turtle ‘Caretta Caretta’ and therefore the island is protected by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. Since this island is a breeding place for the Caretta Caretta sea turtles, an endangered species, the space to explore is limited leaving only the first 5 meters of the beach to mingle upon. It is somehow a shame not being able to fully explore this beautiful island, but as in any other case I am on the side of nature and truly believe that nature comes first and that no tourist should stand in the way of the sea turtle’s reproduction! You can go to the island by booking an organized trip that will take you to the island and some other eventful sites such as the Keri Caves or you can take some of the boats going there frequently from the Laganas Bay.

The Keri Caves is a group of sea caves and rock arches only accessible by boat

7. Keri Caves

While mentally and physically already being in the south-western part of Zakynthos, we might as well just continue with the Keri Caves. The Keri Caves is a group of sea caves and rock arches only accessible by boat and are really worth visiting. Along the coast there are many caves coming in all kind of sizes, some so small to scarcely fit a human, others broad enough to enter by boat. There are frequent boat trips or organized tours taking you to and around these caves. We would have loved to swim in the caves or just enter them by boat, but apparently this was not included in our tour. So, should you book a tour to the Keri Caves make sure yours includes some more eventful happenings than just floating around. Allthough I must admit, the caves are a stunner also from afar.

Porto Zorro located in the south-western part of Zakynthos

8. Porto Zorro

If you are looking for another low-paced day at the beach I’d love to recommend Porto Zorro located in the south-western part of Zakynthos. This is a peaceful place, sandy and with shallow, blue water. The main characteristic of this beach being the massive rock formations impressively emerging from the sea, creating this unique landscape. Also, what furthermore makes this place so attractive is the combination of dense vegetation in the background combined with the blue water of the sea. This place makes for some great snorkeling and also happens to be the place where I saw my very first squid; he was a shy guy though, so our encounter was only brief. Despite the immense touristic growth of the island this area still remains calm and rather “under populated” compared to other parts of the island.

Other visit-worthy caves are the Blue Caves on Zakynthos

9. Blue Caves

Some other visit-worthy caves are the Blue Caves on Zakynthos. On the coastline between the capes in the north and in the south, runs the most beautiful shoreline with caves and cliffs on the North-West side of the island. These caves have over the course of many, many years been degraded by the water, thereby forming these beautiful geologic formations, the blue caves. They got their name from the particular reflections of the water. As it already was the case with the Keri Caves, the Blue Caves also come in different sizes; some can be visited by a small boat others require you to be an expert swimmer and diver. The blue caves are one of the most visited natural attraction on Zakynthos and can be visited by either your own or a rented boat or with one of the many organized tours.

The famous sight of Shipwreck Bay

10. Navagio Beach - Shipwreck Beach

Saving the best part for last! This place is probably the image you have in your mind when you hear the name ‘Zakynthos’. I am talking about the Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Beach as many call it as well. There are different stories to why and how the ship sank aground. Some say that there where smugglers onboard this ship being chased by authorities through bad and stormy weather for the goods being smuggled, running aground and then being able to flee on foot afterwards. How they could flee from a bay that is purely surrounded by cliffs 100 meters high is a riddle I haven’t yet solved. The ship still rests, partly buried in the limestone gravel of the beach, and therefore bears the name ‘Shipwreck Beach’.


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