Information about the island of Zakynthos

zante Zante is one of the Ionian group of islands that include Corfu, Kefalonia and Lefkada. A green island, with countless beaches, an electric blue sea, the Caretta-Caretta sea turtle as the protagonist, the Venetian mansion as the decor and the Shipwreck beach as a trademark, Zante it is an island with many faces.

Apart from the tourist resorts, such as Laganas Bay, which attracts, among others, foreign tourists looking for parties on the beach, it is worth discovering Zante off the beaten path, the one that justifies its former characterization as Venice of the South.

You will write quite a few kilometers on the odometer, but it is worth it. In addition to rocky coves and sandy beaches of exotic beauty, you will climb to the Lighthouse of Keri and Ano Gerakari for a panoramic view, you will discover mountain villages (Exo Chora, Orthonies and Volimes) lost in the pine forests.

The inland area, full of olive groves, vineyards and vegetable gardens, has seen, in recent years, an unprecedented agritourism development: the stone-built guest houses of the new generation and the facilities they offer will satisfy even the most demanding. In the town of Zakynthos, finally, you will wander around the castle of Bochalis and the green hill of Strani.

About Zakynthos

Zakynthos greece People that have been to Zakynthos usually have very different opinions about the island. Some have found their paradise, others never want to return. Fortunately, most people think it is a lovely island. The island of Zakynthos has a significant development of tourism and a good tourist infrastructure without huge hotel complexes.

The eastern side of the island is suitable for family holidays because of the endless coastline with its clear blue waters and beachside tavernas. The west is full of steep rocks, ending in bays of rare beauty, but more difficult to access.

It basically depends on where you stay. There is the very busy town Laganas with its many taverns, bars and clubs, that for obvious reasons can get very busy and very loud, and then there are quieter parts, better suited for families like Argassi.

Zakynthos is an island rich in vegetation and the best time to visit is in spring before the arrival of the package tourism. The island at this time is full of flowers and colors, perhaps for this reason, it was named fioro of Levante (the Levante flower)

the island produces grapes and wine and this is probably the reason that during the ancient years, the island used to be protected by the god Dionysus, (the god of wine) . Another later person of the same name, Dionysios Solomos, was born here.He was the national poet of Greece who wrote the Greek national anthem.

Zakynthos island Zakynthos is known as the island of songs and serenade, and indeed there are many local serenades and songs that usually sung by groups of men at restaurants and other places as well as in local festivals. In Zakynthos also it was founded the first music school in Greece.

Zakynthos is home to the National Marine Park, which has been built here in 1999 in order to protect the sea turtle Caretta caretta. That species of turtle lives in Greek waters and is threatened by extinction, and that is the reason of the creation of the Marine Park, so that the turtles can give here their eggs undisturbed. in the park are working many volunteers from many countries.

History of the island

There are indications that Zakynthos was inhabited from the Neolithic period, 3,000 years BC, the ancient name of the island was Yria. According to another theory it is believed that the first settlers came in Zakynthos in the 16th century from the Peloponnese.

According to Homer, the first king of the island was Zakynthos, son of the king of Troy Dardanos. He created the first citadel on the island the Psofida. The Zakynthian later gained independence from Ithaca and for more than six centuries they had democracy on the island.

During this period they created the colony Zakantha in Spain. Hannibal invaded Zakantha in 219 B.C causing the beginning of the second Punic war with the Romans.

The island took part with the Athenian alliance, and after the defeat of the alliance the island was ruled by the Spartans. In the Classical era, when Philip II of Macedonia and his son Alexander the Great expanded the Macedonian border, Zakynthos was the vassal.

Excursions to nearby islands

Of the uninhabited islets that surround Zakynthos, Marathonisi is a natural landscape of rare beauty, with idyllic coves and unexpected encounters with both Caretta-Caretta turtles and Monahus-Monahus seals, which have a nest in one of the island’s caves. Zakynte is only an hour away from Kefalonia – in summer, in fact, there are daily ferry routes from the port of Agios Nikolaos in Volimes.

Beaches of Zakynthos

Zakynthos-beach In general the beaches of Zakynthos are excellent for families with children. There is the very famous shipwreck beach which you can visit by boat. In the busy town Laganas there is a 9km beach. Argassi and Alikes can get extremely busy.

At the Vasilikos peninsula the beaches are well suited for children. The only thing you have to look out for when you are out on your own trying to find a nice beach, as to make sure it doesn’t have signs or fences there about the turtles.

These places should be left alone. Another nice beach is near Keri the lake Keri beach just opposite the small island Marthonissos. Near to the village Xirokastelo are the beaches of Daphne and Sekania. Not far from Porto Zoro is the famous Banana beach very popular to many young people.

In Kalamaki the beach is from white sand and dunes, in both sides of the beach there are white cliffs. Otehr good beaches of Zakynthos are Gerakas, Porto Roma and Agalas.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Zakynthos-by-night The nightlife of Zakynthos varies from place to place. To spend a quiet evening, head to the town of Zakynthos, ideal for a pleasant evening stroll and a summer cocktail.

Laganas gets extremely busy during the high season and its full of bars and clubs , you can even found here English pubs .

Argassi is a bit quieter, but has quite a few bars and clubs. In Zakynthos town there are also a few bars, but it is generally quiet here.

The cafes and bars here cater to both tourists and locals and are really nice places to chill out on summer evenings.

At the town of Zakynthos the nightlife is geared towards more mature people, with many restaurants serving local cuisine, offering evenings with traditional music.

On the hill behind the town is the village of Bochali, where there are some exclusive bars and night clubs and from which you can admire the wonderful view of the town and the sea. Even in the area of ​​Vasilikos, a few kilometers from the town, there are some bars, although it remains mostly quiet.

Zakynthos Town

Zakynthos town The main Town and port of Zakynthos has made few concessions to tourism. Rebuilt after the 1953 earthquake with a sterile formality, the capital town has little charm, despite a magnificent setting in a large bay and the Bochali hills behind. Quake-wrecked Venetian buildings were bulldozed for solemn edifice.

The atmosphere improves inland, especially in the main Solomu Square, thronged by strollers on mid-summer evenings, with tavernas and cafes lining the triangular marble-paved piazza.

A statue to the island’s favourite son, Dionysius Solomos, dominates the square. He wrote the Greek national anthem but, although born here, he lived and died on Corfu.

Tavernas also line the maniacally busy Strada Marina, part of a petrol-fumed one-way system and the main route to the ferry port.

Zakynthos Town has three interesting museums. The Byzantine Museum, arguably the best, has some 17th century paintings of the Ionian School and some very good icons.

The renovated church of Agios Nicholas dates from 1561 and the spectacular Agios Dionysius, often lit up lat night, has a magnificent silver coffin said to house the relics of the island’s patron saint.

The road north out of Zakynthos Town runs behind a disappointingly shabby beach backed by vineyards and orchards.

Tourist resorts of Zakynthos

The west coast of Zakynthos has few resorts. Visitors will find sheer white limestone cliffs carved out with some spectacular caves, the target of dozens of daily boat excursions.

Zakynthos is also noted as one of the most important nesting grounds for the endangered species of Mediterranean loggerhead sea-turtles, the caretta caretta.

Popular island excursions include boat trips to the picturesque Smugglers’ Cove with it famous shipwreck, the deep Blue Caves that pepper the western coast, the nearby island of Marathonisi and the ruins of the Venetian Castle.

The capital town of Zakynthos offers a host of historic and cultural sights, including many fine churches and museums, and a lively port with plenty of shops and restaurants


argasi-Zakynthos Argasi located next to the beautiful Vasilikos villager and very close to the town of Zakynthos. Most of the accommodations in the area are located on the sea, so you can admire the sea from your balcony and be lulled to its sounds! Its sandy beach, although small in width, has its own beauty.

Its special feature is the remains of an old Venetian bridge that dominate its southern end. On the main street of the area you can find supermarkets, taverns, bars, restaurants, cafes, fast food and in general anything you might need.

Although Argasi gives you the impression that it offers a quiet vacation, things are not exactly like that. Within its area there are some of the most popular restaurants of the island, while in the wider area there are some of the best clubs and centers with Greek music in Zakynthos. Close to the country and next to the sea, quiet but with everything else you could ask for, Argassi is definitely an ideal area to stay and start your excursions on the island.


Zakynthos-alykanas The popular beach resort at Alykanas lies on the north-east coast of Zakynthos about 18 kilometres from the capital port at Zakynthos Town.

Along with its neighbour at Alykes to the west, Alykanas forms one of the major holiday beach resorts on the island.

It sits in a gently curving crescent that sweeps west from the headland that rises above is a hook-shaped harbour.

Alykanas features strongly in the brochures of many UK holiday firms and, although it offers plenty of tourist facilities such as tavernas, cafes and bars, it also sports a relaxed atmosphere that belies its size.

The beach has good soft sand that is very gently shelving with shallow water for quite some distance out to sea, so it’s popular for family holidays and a wide range of watersports are on offer in the high season including paragliding and jet skis.

A narrow road runs along the back of the beach and there is plenty of parking for visitors. There is no natural shade on the beach however so sunbathers need a brolly, although the northerly breezes usually keep the air fresh on even the hottest of days.

The beach resort boasts a wide choice of restaurants, mostly modern and international with more traditional taverna fare to be found in the family-run taernas in the picturesque village of Old Alykanas which lies inland.

The area is noted for good walking trails that snake up into the hills behind and it takes only 15 minutes to walk along the beach to neighbouring Alykes.

Daily boat excursions are always on offer to the island’s famous Blue Caves and trips to the shipwreck at Navagio beach. A tourist train runs regular services up into the hills and linking the resorts of Alykes and Alykanas.


alykes-Zakynthos Alykes, along with its neighbour at Alykanas, comprises one of the biggest beach resorts on Zakynthos and it lies on the north-east coast of the island about 18km from Zakynthos Town.

It is located to the west of Alykanas, and is virtually an extension of it, but Alykes has most of the tourist facilities with plenty of tavernas, music bars, cafes and clubs. Despite the crowds Alykes remains fairly sedate.

The beach is good, gently sloping sand and with a sea that stays shallow for a long way out, so this is a popular beach for families. The beach can be quite narrow in places but sands back up behind a couple of rock piers and offer more room for sunbeds.

The location is not great. Alykes takes its name from nearby extensive salt flats and any number of holiday apartments have sprung up around them.

The main beach resort has plenty of shops but there is not much in the way of nightlife and evenings are usually spent in tavernas or music bars.

The hills behind are some way beyond the coastal plan but those who enjoy walking will find plenty of paths and good walking trails.

You can walk to the neighbouing beach at Alykanas – it takes about 15 minutes – and there are daily boat excursions to Navagio beach, famous for its shipwreck, and to the impressive Blue Caves on the northern tip of the island.

There is also a popular tourist train that runs between Alykes and Alykanas, taking in the local sights.


tsilivi-zante Tsilivi is a busy, noisy and crowded beach resort located on the north-east coast of Zakynthos and found about six kilometres from the capital town at Zakynthos.

It has a long sandy beach that shelves gently into shallow water, making Tsilivi a good resort for families with children. There are all the usual watersports and tavernas line the back of the beach.

The resort has seen considerable tourist development over the past few years and the two kilometre long beach can get pretty crowded in the high summer.

Tsilivi is well known for its lively night-life with plenty of clubs and music bars found all over the rsort while noisy all-night beach parties are a regular holiday highlight.

As well as music and karaoke bars there are a couple of all-night discos off the main street. Downmarket Brit holiday tastes are very well catered for with a Macdonalds, a British chippy, a bowling alley and even a crazy golf course.

There is a wide range of shops on the main strip behind the beach with plenty of trinkets on sale amongst the jewellers and craft shops.

There is little to be found here in the way of Greek charm with tavernas called Popeye’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’ , while bars boast of big screen TVs and karaoke is everywhere.

It may not be Laganas exactly but Tsilivi caters for the same cheap and cheerful market with plenty of noisy night-life and a busy beach.

Agios Sostis

agios-sostis-zakynthos The beach resort of Agios Sostis is located on Laganas Bay of Zakynthos and is basically an overspill beach for its famous neighbour Laganas which is only about about two kilometres away.

Agios Sostis has a sand and shingle beach and a charming picturesque harbour and the photogenic offshore islet of Agios Sostis, on its southerly headland from which the resort takes its name.

Cameras quickly come out at the sight. to the south of the harbour, of the wooded islet with its tiny chapel as it is connected to the resort by a long wooden bridge.

The beach is relatively broad and mostly sand with a little shingle and the shallow sea makes it popular with families with children.

The coastal area of this part of Zakynthos is fairly flat but the mountains provide an impressive backdrop.

There are plenty of tavernas and cafes here, some overlooking the beach and more inthe village. Tavernas in Agios Sostis are popular with trippers from Laganas who turn by the coachload for ‘Greek Nights’.

There are watersports and boats for hire as well as excursions to the islet of Marathons where turtles nest. although the continual disturbance of the shy creatures is condemned by conservationists.

There are daily buses to the capital Zakynthos Town which is about 11km to the north and there is road to Laganas or you can use a scenic coastal track along the shoreline.


Zakynthos-vassilikos Vassilikos usually refers to the whole area around the Gerakas peninsula that makes a long finger to the east of Laganas Bay on Zakynthos.

A succession of good beaches along the peninsula’s east coast have become very popular recently with a spate of hotel building, although the area’s classification as a nature reserve has helped to keep much of the development low key.

Among the east coast beaches which run from Porto Roma, in the south, to Porto Zoro, in the north, is the main Vassilikos beach, which is also referred to as Banana Beach, probably for the benefit of tourists.

Soft sand slopes gently into shallow sea making the beach popular with young families and there are showers, sunbeds and watersports.

Some areas of the beach are reserved for turtle nesting and watersports will be curtailed, especially during the nesting and hatching seasons.

There no village as such but the main drag has a few tavernas, a mini-market and some shops. There are good walks over the peninsula through dense woodland chequered with olive and citrus groves.

Much of the tourist activity in this part of the island tends to be confined to all-inclusive hotels or to luxury villas and apartments with summer beach bars providing snacks during the day.

There are regular daily buses to Zakynthos Town, about 17 kilometres away, and there is car and bike rental as well as a taxi rank at the road junction for Agios Nikolaos.

When to go to Zakynthos

Zakynthos boasts an average 3,000 hours of sunshine each year which puts the island on a par with more southerly islands like Rhodes and Crete. It’s true some parts of Zakynthos may get that much but there is quite a variation in the regional climate on Zakynthos.

The south is warmer than the north for example and gets slightly less winter rain, although this is considerable all over the island in winter and explain why Zakynthos, like the other Ionian island can claim to be among the greenest in Greece.

The summer starts early in Zakynthos with average spring temperatures of 15°C in March quickly climbing past 20°C by May. Expect the thermometer to stay in the high 20s to mid 30s over the hot and dry summer, with cool sea breezes to keep humidity levels reasonable.

Winter months on Zakynthos are relatively mild with a few sunny days but mostly it’s cloudy with periods of heavy rain. Winter storms can be heavy and December is the wettest with almost 200mm of precipitation.

Eating out in Zakynthos

From local specialties worth trying is the skordostoumpi,a dish with aubergines and garlic and the meat dish sartsa. Other local foodstuff products is cheese, such as mytzithra and Ladotyri . Zakynthos has also very good wines.

There is a wide variety of both local and international restaurants in Zakynthos. The rule “eat where the Greeks eat” applies here as in any other Greek island. You’ll find all sorts of eateries, for small purses there is always the solution of souvlaki of fast food.


The best place for shopping is Zakynthos town, where you can get souvenirs, clothes and icons. you should also by local cheese and wine as well as the local sweets like the Mandolato (sweet made of almonds) and Pastelia a sweet made from honey and sesame.

Getting around Zakynthos

By Bus

Zakynthos has a good road network that serves all the major holiday resorts. Away from the main roads, though the conditions can deteriorate quickly and it is not unusual to end up on a rough unmade track.

There is a year round bus from Athens to Zakynthos and it’s a cheap way to get there but the journey takes around 5-6 hours. It links with the Kyllini ferry. There is also a daily bus to the mainland port of Patras.
Zakynthos bus services

Buses are cheap and efficient with regular daily services from Zakynthos Town to the main resorts. Detailed timetables are posted in the bus station in Zakynthos Town and you pay the driver.

Bus services run from Zakynthos Town to Argasi, Xerokastelo, Vassilikos, Porto Roma, Tsilivi, Planos, Tragaki, Kipseli, Alikanas, Alikes, Katastari, Orthonies, Anafonitria, Volimes, Exo Hora, Kambi, Agios Leon, Agios Nikolaos, Maherado, Galaro, Gyri, Limni Keriou, Agalas, Lithakia and Laganas.

By taxi

There are taxi ranks in all the main tourist resorts on Zakynthos and charges to the most popular resorts are fixed. For other destinations there is a meter. Taxis can be booked for the day or for an island tour. You can check out latest taxi rates on Zakynthos RadioTaxi

How to get to Zakynthos

By Air

Zakynthos has an international airport on the south coast, near Kalamaki, about 6km from the capital port of Zakynthos Town.There are regular UK charter flights from all over Europe and cheap flight airlines like EasyJet has also started services.

Domestic routes operate daily to Athens with a flight time of about 60 minutes. There are also domestic flights from Kefalonia, Corfu and Thessaloniki but these more irregular.

There are only two carousels at the airport and limited seating so expect congestion, especially on Thursdays and Sundays when charter flights arrive and leave. Approximate coach airport transfer times to the major resorts are (in minutes) Alikes (75), Argassi (30), Kalamaki (15), Laganas (25), Tsilivi (45), Vassilikos (90).

By ferry

There are regular ferries to Zakynthos from Italian ports of Brindisi, Ancona and Venice to the Greek ports of Patras and Igoumenitsa where you can find connecting ferries to Zakynthos.

There are daily ferry services from Kilini on the Greek mainland with a reduced service in winter. A car ferry runs from the Zante port at Agios Nikolaos to Pessada in Kefalonia. There are two ferries a day in the summer and the trip last about 60 minutes.

Zankynthos facts

Useful numbers

Area code +030 22695

  • Buses 242656
  • Medic 223166
  • Port 228117
  • Airport 228322
  • Tourist offices 248073
  • Tourist Police 227367

Island facts

Size: 400 sq km
Size 406 sq km
Population 45,000
Season May – Oct
Special interest Caves
Island hopping good