Zakynthos Island, also known as Zante, is an ideal holiday destination in Greece, catering to families, couples, and groups of friends alike. Depending on your choice of location on the island, a variety of entertainment options await.
- General information
- How to get to Zante
- Transportation in the island
- What is Zante famous for
- What and where to eat in Zante
- Where to stay
Don’t miss our upcoming post on the must-do activities in Zante for an unforgettable experience on this stunning Greek island!
Exploring Zakynthos Island, Greece: Essential Info
Inevitably, the question arises: Are Zante and Zakynthos the same? Indeed, they are. The island, affectionately termed “fior di Levante” or “flower of the east” by the Venetians, ranks as the third largest in the Ionian Sea. With the Euro (€) as its currency, Zakynthos stands out as a budget-friendly option.
Remarkably, the island is home to over 7,000 types of flowers, which explains its Venetian nickname. Additionally, it boasts approximately 1.7 million olive trees, annually producing between 6,000 and 8,000 tons of olive oil. During the summer months, the average temperature on Zakynthos hovers around 30°C by day and cools to about 20°C at night.
Traveling to Zakynthos: Easy Ways to Reach the Greek Island
Zakynthos Island in Greece ensures excellent connectivity through its air travel network. The island’s airport facilitates daily flights from Athens, each taking approximately 45 minutes. Furthermore, it offers flights three times a week from other Greek locations like Corfu, Kefalonia, and Thessaloniki, maintaining year-round accessibility.
Especially in the summer, the airport in Zakynthos becomes even busier. It hosts direct chartered flights from various European cities, including the UK, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain. To enhance the convenience for travelers, there are numerous companies providing transfer services from and to the airport. For a hassle-free experience, it is recommended to pre-book these services before you arrive in Zakynthos, Greece.
Visiting Zante By car – ferry boat
Coming via Greek mainland
Traveling to Zakynthos, also known as Zante, from Kyllini in Greece is a seamless and frequent journey. The ferry route is serviced all year round, with multiple daily crossings, ensuring flexible travel options for visitors. The journey duration is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, making it a quick and convenient trip.
Ticket prices for this route are quite affordable, typically around €12.50. Discounts are available for various groups including children, students, island residents, and people with disabilities. Children up to 4 years old can travel for free. It’s also noteworthy that both foot passengers and vehicles are permitted on the ferries, catering to different travel needs.
During the summer’s peak, ferry services increase on Zakynthos. Operators like Levante Ferries and Kefalonian Lines offer about 11 daily sailings. This high frequency ensures that visitors can easily find a ferry that suits their schedule.
For those traveling with vehicles, it’s recommended to book tickets in advance due to high demand in the summer. Additionally, passengers with pets can bring them along, adhering to the specific guidelines of the ferry operators.
The ferry route from Zakynthos to Kyllini is both convenient and straightforward. It offers multiple daily crossings between these picturesque Greek locations. The prices are reasonable, catering to both foot passengers and vehicles.
Coming via Italy
When planning a trip from Bari to Greece, it’s beneficial to consider various ferry services for the best fit in terms of price and schedule. There are multiple routes available, connecting Bari with different destinations in Greece, including Igoumenitsa, Patras, and Corfu.
For trips to Igoumenitsa and Patras, you have options such as ANEK Superfast and Ventouris Ferries, offering around three crossings each day. The shortest crossing to Igoumenitsa takes about 8 hours and 30 minutes, while the longest to Patras is approximately 16 hours and 30 minutes. These services operate year-round, providing flexibility for travelers.
Regarding the cost for a couple traveling with a car, it would depend on the specific route and ferry company chosen. For instance, the price for a ferry from Bari to Patras starts at €73, with the journey taking around 16.5 hours. On the other hand, a trip to Corfu would start at around €55, with a shorter travel time of 9 to 11 hours.
These prices can vary based on the season, type of accommodation on the ferry (such as cabin or seat selection), and vehicle type. It’s advisable to check the latest prices and offers on the ferry companies’ websites or through comparison platforms to get the most accurate and up-to-date information for planning your trip.
Getting Around Zakynthos Island: Local Transportation Tips
When visiting Zakynthos Island, Greece, securing transportation is essential. For those arriving by ferry, you have the option to bring your own vehicle. However, if this isn’t feasible, numerous car rental services are available on the island. These include both international and local companies, offering a wide range of vehicles to suit different needs and budgets.
A practical tip for navigating the island is to consider renting a small car. Not only is this a budget-friendly option, but it also provides convenience, especially when traversing the island’s diverse terrain.
For those interested in motorcycles or ATVs, it’s important to exercise caution. Regrettably, Zakynthos records several accidents involving these vehicles each year, predominantly involving tourists. It’s worth noting that most places accessible by motorcycle are also reachable by car. While motorcycles may offer a cost advantage, typically costing about half the price of a car, safety should always be a priority.
Remember, the key to a pleasant and safe experience on Zakynthos Island is to choose the right mode of transportation that aligns with your comfort level and travel requirements.
Zakynthos Island’s Highlights: What Makes it a Greek Paradise
Turtle Caretta – Caretta
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos, established in 1999, serves as a vital sanctuary for the Caretta-Caretta turtles. These turtles annually migrate to this Greek island, known for its ecological significance, for breeding purposes. This phenomenon adds a unique charm to Zakynthos, making it an attractive destination for those who appreciate nature’s wonders.
At key beaches like Gerakas, Dafni, Kalamaki, and Sekania, and on a small islet opposite these coasts, the conservation efforts are evident. Here, the turtle nests are carefully protected with fences. To prevent any harm to the turtle eggs, restrictions on umbrella usage are implemented, ensuring the safety of these delicate habitats.
Visitors to the island have the opportunity to witness these turtles in their natural environment. Local tour operators offer excursions designed to introduce tourists to these turtles. Alternatively, visitors can rent a boat and head to Marathonisi, also known as Turtle Island, in Zakynthos. This area provides a chance to spot these turtles in their natural habitat, adding a memorable experience to any visit to the island.
In summary, Zakynthos Island in Greece not only captivates visitors with its natural beauty but also plays a crucial role in wildlife conservation, particularly for the Caretta-Caretta turtles.
Navagio – Zante Shipwreck Beach
Zakynthos island is a haven for the Caretta-Caretta turtles in Greece. Established in 1999, the National Marine Park focuses on preserving turtles that breed on the island annually. The park includes beaches like Gerakas, Dafni, Kalamaki, and Sekania, and a nearby islet. These areas are noted for their significant ecological value.
To ensure the protection of the turtle nests, the island has implemented specific measures. The nests are safeguarded with fences, and the use of umbrellas is restricted near them to avoid damaging the fragile eggs.
For those interested in experiencing the natural beauty of Zakynthos and observing these turtles, there are tours organized by local companies. These tours offer a chance to encounter the turtles up close. Alternatively, visitors can rent a boat and explore Marathonisi, also referred to as Turtle Island, to possibly spot these majestic creatures in their natural environment. This unique aspect of Zakynthos enhances its appeal as a destination for nature enthusiasts and eco-conscious travelers.
Zakynthos boasts a rich musical heritage that dates back to 1816, marked by the establishment of its first philharmonic orchestras. Throughout the year, the island hosts numerous concerts featuring a mix of Greek and international music.
This musical tradition is underscored by the fact that Dionisios Solomos, the composer of the national anthems of both Greece and Cyprus, was born and nurtured in Zakynthos. This connection highlights the island’s significant contribution to the cultural and musical landscape of the region.
Dining in Zakynthos: Best Eats and Local Delicacies
Peppermint is a restaurant located in Argasi, a mere 10-minute drive away, and it came highly recommended by our hotel owner. We visited it early in our vacation and were delighted by the experience.
Over the course of our stay, we dined at Peppermint three times, sampling a variety of dishes. The restaurant is known for its local recipes presented with a modern twist, comparable to the standards of high-class dining establishments. The staff at Peppermint stood out for their friendliness and professionalism.
Given the restaurant’s popularity, it’s often bustling with guests. Therefore, we recommend making a reservation in advance to ensure a table. This proactive approach will help in avoiding the disappointment of finding a full house upon arrival.
Accommodation Choices in Zakynthos: Where to Stay on the Greek Island
Choosing where to stay in Zakynthos greatly depends on the kind of vacation you’re planning. The island offers a range of accommodation options catering to various tastes and budgets. To have a full spectrum of choices, it’s advisable to book your stay at least six months prior to your estimated arrival.
Most hotels on the island provide breakfast, and several offer all-inclusive options. However, exploring the island rather than staying in one place is recommended, as Zante island is full of diverse experiences. While the distances between villages might seem short, travel times can be longer than expected.
On Zakynthos Island in Greece, accommodations are plentiful and varied, with hotels and apartments dotting every corner of the island. However, for an optimal experience, consider staying on the island’s southern side. This strategic location offers easier access for day trips to various attractions. Zakynthos’s varied geography offers unique nightlife and activities in different areas. Selecting your accommodation based on these can enhance your experience on the island.
The Tsilivi area is an ideal choice for family and couple accommodations. It offers a vibrant atmosphere with a variety of pubs influenced by British and German styles. Tsilivi boasts the Fantasy Mini Golf park, a fun and budget-friendly activity. Prices vary from 6€ to 9€ per person, offering an enjoyable golfing experience. This could inspire your inner golfing talent, reminiscent of Tiger Woods.
Tsivili offers a blend of leisure and excitement, ideal for those wanting relaxation and adventure during their stay.
Laganas appeals to young people, especially those looking for a dynamic clubbing scene. Known for its lively overnight parties, this area presents a unique version of nightlife, different from traditional Greek nightlife, yet it still draws numerous visitors. While the sandy beach in Laganas might not be the highest quality, it’s the vibrant party atmosphere that primarily attracts tourists to this area.
In Laganas, we stayed at the Ilios Hotel, a comfortable yet affordable three-star hotel. The cost was 120€ per night, including breakfast for added value. A major highlight was its swimming pool with an all-day bar serving various drinks and snacks. The staff’s friendliness and willingness to help greatly enriched our Laganas experience.
Zante City, the capital of Zakynthos Island in Greece, has an architecture deeply shaped by its unique history. The devastating 1953 earthquake led to the city’s reconstruction, giving it a modern architectural feel with fewer traditional houses. The buildings, constructed to high standards after 1953, stand strong despite the Ionian Sea’s frequent earthquakes, ensuring safety and no cause for alarm.
For those staying in Zante City, the experience is enriched by its cultural offerings. The Byzantine and D. Solomos – A. Kalvos museums are must-visits for history enthusiasts. The city also boasts the picturesque D. Solomos Plaza, surrounded by an array of charming taverns and restaurants. In contrast to the British and German-style pubs in Tsilivi, Zante City offers a nightlife scene dominated by bars and pubs reflecting modern Greek style, providing a more local and authentic evening experience.