Zakynthos Island in Greece is much more than just a stunning beach destination; it’s a haven of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. What to expect to see in Zakynthos? From the world-famous Navagio Beach, celebrated as one of Greece’s best, to its rich cultural sites, this compact island is surprisingly diverse. Offering a budget-friendly escape, Zakynthos is an ideal spot for those who love to explore the unique and the beautiful.
In line with our post “Zakynthos Island Greece: Discover Beaches & Cultural Gems,” we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 must-do activities that showcase the island’s diverse offerings. We’re thrilled to share these gems with you, and we hope you’ll love exploring Zakynthos as much as we did!
1. Navagio Shipwreck Beach Unveiled
Navagio Beach, a pinnacle among Zakynthos hidden gems, offers a unique glimpse into what to see in Zakynthos. Known for its dramatic shipwreck, it’s a must-visit for any Zante itinerary. Navagio Beach is the ultimate highlight of Zakynthos and is one of the best Greek beaches. The word “Navagio” means shipwreck and is an exposed cove on the west side of Zante. The rumor says that the ship was smuggling cigarettes and alcohol during the ’80. During a night with very bad weather conditions was abandoned in one of the most beautiful beaches worldwide.
The rusted ship juxtaposed against the light blue waters makes Navagio Beach a must-visit. For an extra special experience, consider splurging on a private sunset cruise to the beach. This option is perfect for making memorable occasions even more magical.
Discovering Navagio Lookout Point
Before your visit to Navagio go to the Lookout point for the sightseeing. You can easily approach it either by car or bike. (Click here for directions). You will not need filters or expensive cameras to take a photo that will look professional. The lighting is perfect and the view is marvelous.
Be careful on the 200m (656 ft) cliff. You don’t need to exaggerate to make those photos. Several accidents happened in the past, especially from people who were parachuting from the cliff. There is an area with protected fences where you can both enjoy the view and take photos.
Experiencing the Beach at Navagio
We will not exaggerate if we say that we felt like we saw the Taj Mahal of beaches when the boat made THAT turn towards to the beach.
The beach is only accessible by the ship and many excursions take place from different harbors of the island. We chose to book our trip from Porto Vromi Maries. The cost was 20€ per person and included visits to other highlights of Zante’s coastline. Some of them were “Hidden treasure cave”, “Sfogio Beach” and “White Beach”.
The boat takes you to Navagio Beach and has an open return ticket every 1hr. Sometimes, a woman sells sandwiches and cold drinks on the beach. However, that’s all the food available there. There are no sun loungers, so bring an extra towel to relax on the beach.
2. Porto Roxa Beach, a Seclhidden gem in Zakynthos
Porto Roxa Beach is one of the secret places in Zakynthos, offering serene waters and stunning sunsets. It’s a highlight for those exploring what to see in Zante. It is an uncommercialized spot that automatically means not many tourists, clean azure waters and a chilling atmosphere. There is a tavern and a café bar that provides cold beverages and comfortable deck chairs without an extra cost. You will just need to order something.
Locals advised us to visit that beach during our first dates on the island and we did twice. Not only for the crystal-clear water but also for the sunset and the amazing view.
3. Uncover Zakynthos by Boat, a Self-Guided Adventure
Renting a boat allows you to discover the hidden gems of Zakynthos along its picturesque coastline, a true adventure for anyone wondering what to see in Zante.
Individuals 18 or older can legally drive boats up to 30 horsepower. To rent a boat, just present your ID or passport. Zante has numerous boat rental companies to choose from.
Most boat rental companies are located at Keri, Porto Vromi, Tsilivi, and Laganas beaches. Rental prices start at 70€ for 4 hours, including fuel. Prices are often negotiable, especially during off-peak seasons. These boats typically come equipped with GPS and other amenities.
Our advice is to rent your boat from a southern area of Zante and visit Marathonisi known as Zante’s turtle island. Marathonisi is a small island that has an amazing beach and you will need only 10 minutes to reach it.
The companies do not allow us to go to Navagio beach with small boats because of the high traffic and the bigger than usual waves.
4. Exploring the Blue Caves, Zakynthos’ Natural Wonder
Apart from the excursion for going to Navagio Beach, you should buy tickets for guided tours to the best spots on the island. It is almost a rule that if you want to explore Zante or any other Greek island, you must do it from the sea.
It is better to dedicate a date for Navagio and visit the specific beach from a nearby port rather than spend the entire day on a ship trying to see everything at once. One of your excursions should be in the area of the blue caves on the east coastline of Zakynthos and admire the beautiful reflections of the sun on the water due to the geological formations. The Blue Caves are a testament to the natural beauty of Zakynthos secret places, a must-see for those exploring the island’s wonders.
The boats for the Blue Caves depart from Makris Gialos beach, Agios Nikolaos port, and Cape Skinari. You can also visit the place by car but you will have to go down around 100 steps and the rocky surface is not that convenient for sitting.
5. Capturing Caretta Caretta, a Unique Encounter in Zante
Zante and Kyparissia Bay in the Peloponnese are the most popular turtle nesting sites in the Mediterranean. The loggerhead turtle is listed in 1978 under the Endangered species and they receive federal protection ever after.
In the past, people were hunting them for their eggs and leather production. If you are lucky, you may see them on the way going to Marathonisi and in general in the south area of Zante. They are also known for their long head and their powerful jaws.
Greek authorities do not allow planes to take off and land during the night due to the nesting turtles!!
6. Journey from Zante to Olympia, a Day of History
Being in Zante you are just a couple of hours away from one of the most important archaeological sites. The ancient Olympia, the place from where the Olympic flame starts its journey for the Olympic games every 4 years.
An everyday boat trip starts from Zante city to Kyllini and with the private bus you reach Olympia after 50 minutes. The tour offers an English speaking guide and you can pre-book your reservation here!
Olympia is the most important religious site and where the Olympic games held in the ancient years. You will see the place where Zeus temple was, and where was positioned one of the 7 Seven Wonders of the World, the 13 meters statue of Zeus made by Fidias.
7. Vibrant Vibes at Banana Beach
Banana beach, or Vassilikos, is 15 kilometers from the center of Zante. It is a unique, long sandy beach, with shallow sea, good music and free transportation from Kalamaki, Argassi, and Laganas. There are hundreds maybe sun loungers distributed in 3-4 beach bars so, there is space for everyone!
The only thing that you have to do is to go online and reserve your seat and be on time for your bus. The beach is very clean and depending on what music you enjoy to listen and at what level, you will find the beach bar that delights you.
It is better to be early in the morning because after is difficult to find umbrella and sun loungers which by the way they cost from 7 to 10€ per set.
8. Xigia Sulfur Beach, Zakynthos’ Natural Spa Experience
Xigia Beach, a natural spa and one of Zakynthos’ hidden gems, lies about 20 kilometers from Zante city. Easily accessible by car, it’s a quaint, sandy beach known for its light blue waters. What sets Xigia apart, making it a must-see in Zakynthos, is the distinctive sulfur aroma emanating from nearby caves, adding a unique touch to this serene and less crowded beach.
The ratio sulfur to water is very high and so the smell is a little bit intense. The beach is ideal for people with arthritis and pain in the legs. If you like Paddleboarding, well Xigia beach is where you should be! Skip the line with Get Your Guide and make your Go-Pro photos! Book Here!
9. Aristeon Olive Oil Factory a Zakynthos hidden gem Zakynthos
If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct herOdysseas Elytis
The island, with its rich tapestry of 1.7 million olive trees, is home to a family-owned olive oil production in Lithakia. The Aristeon Olive Oil factory in summer transforms into a museum, where you can see ancient equipment and techniques for making extra virgin olive oil a real hidden gem of Zakynthos. Visitors can indulge in learning about this age-old process and have the opportunity to purchase olive-based products like soaps, shampoos, and skincare creams
10. Greek Dining and Dancing, Zante’s Festive Evening
The rich history of Greek wine, dating back over 6,000 years, is as vibrant as the evolution of Greek dancing. Just like the dance steps that have subtly changed over millennia, each influenced by individual expression, Greek wine has its unique stories.
Plan a memorable evening of Greek culture, complete with convenient hotel transfers, allowing you to fully indulge in the timeless traditions of wine and dance alongside your companions.