Zakynthos is an island of myth and poetry: here was born the goddess Venus and lived the poet Ugo Foscolo, who dedicated an immortal poem to her.
Come and discover what makes this island unique, capable of bewitching even the sensitive soul of a romantic writer: here is the list of things to see in Zakynthos, a selection that summarizes the best of nature, culture and history.
Elegant resorts and tiny mundane villages await you, natural wonders such as underwater caves and turtles swimming free, museums and fortresses, a lighthouse overlooking the sea and one of the most photographed beaches in Greece.
To Zakynthos Town1 and Laganas2 we have dedicated a page each: visit them to discover which locations to visit during your vacation in Zakynthos.
To know a more authentic Zakynthos, not touristy, it is necessary to abandon the modern seaside resorts and visit the traditional villages.
You could start from Bochali, a lovely village on the outskirts of the capital, so much so that it is now considered an integral part of it, and then go to picturesque fishing villages such as Mikro Nisi and Agios Nikolas or to the mountain village of Volimes.
The village of Kalamaki is located within the marine park of Zakynthos and is the ideal location for those who love sea life, walking and relaxation.
The village of Kalamaki overlooks the large bay of Laganas, along the southern coast of Zakynthos, and has developed thanks to tourism.
Kalamaki is just a short distance from Zakynthos airport and offers excellent hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir stores, all built in a way that respects the natural environment and the marine park of which it is part.
In the stretch of coast of Kalamaki the Caretta caretta turtles deposit their eggs and therefore the access to the beaches is limited by time slots.
In Kalamaki you will find a quiet environment, crystal clear waters and a very warm sea. We recommend you to take long walks on the beach until you reach the part where the mountain falls into the sea.
The village of Tsilivi is located along the east coast of Zakynthos, not far from the city of Zakynthos, and is equipped with modern hotel facilities.
Much loved by tourists thanks to its crystal clear sea and the intense nightlife which animates its summers, Tsilivi is together with Laganas the favorite destination of young people.
In the last years the village has undergone a rapid expansion of the tourist offer with the birth of discos, stores for tourists and fashionable cafeterias which are located along the three main streets.
The main attraction is the beach of Tsilivi, a long stretch of golden sand bathed by a clear sea, where it is possible to practice water sports and rent pedal boats and water scooters.
The islet of Agios Sostis, connected by a wooden bridge with Zakynthos, is the ideal destination both for lovers of the sea and for lovers of nightlife.
Besides being a beach, Agios Sostis is first of all an islet that is located in front of the small port of Laganas in the Gulf of Turtles.
Agios Sostis is connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge that at night is magically illuminated creating a unique atmosphere.
If during the day it is the ideal place to enjoy the uncontaminated waters of the area, at night it turns into a lively disco with entrance fee.
You can also go to the small beach of Agios Sostis, equipped with all services.
The village of Alykes, famous for its salt pans, is located near the beautiful beach of Navagio and is an excellent base for exploring the island of Zakynthos.
Alykes is a small tourist village located on the west coast of Zakynthos island, 18 kilometers from Zakynthos city.
Its main characteristic is the presence of salt pans from which the whole island is supplied.
Choosing Alykes as a base for your stay in Zakynthos is ideal to explore the main attractions of the island such as the wonderful wreck beach and the blue caves, which are only a few kilometers away.
The village of Alykes is located at the foot of the mountain range that divides the island in half and is also a great starting point for hiking and biking.
Moreover, Alykes offers a very long stretch of fine sand ideal for those who love sea life and water sports!
Argasi is located along the east coast of Zakynthos, between Zakynthos town and the airport, and is among the favorite resorts for families and couples.
The village of Argassi is located along the east coast of Zakynthos, 4 kilometers south of Zakynthos town and 6 from the airport of Zakynthos, and is among the most popular resorts of the island.
The village of Argassi develops along the southern coast of the gulf of Zakynthos and has a small beach, one kilometer long but very narrow, flanked by several hotels and by the luxuriant vegetation of Mount Skopos.
The landscape is enriched by the ruins of a Roman bridge immersed in the sea water.
Lovers of nightlife will be able to indulge in the many taverns and traditional restaurants that abound in Argassi.
The small and enchanting traditional village of Bochali is perched on top of the hill overlooking the city of Zakynthos.
Famous for its breathtaking views, especially at sunset and in the evening, the village of Bochali has a unique character.
The narrow streets decorated with bougainvillea and jasmine, the picturesque panorama, the small Byzantine church of Zoodos Pigi and the pine forest surrounding the Venetian castle will make your visit or your stay in Bochali unforgettable. From the park of the fortress the view sweeps 360 degrees embracing both coasts of the island of Zakynthos.
Bochali is also the ideal place to appreciate the nightlife of Zakynthos: its clubs and restaurants are very appreciated among tourists and Greeks.
The village of Vassilikos are famous for the lush vegetation and the wonderful sandy beaches. Ideal for those who are looking for tranquility.
The peninsula and the village of Vassilikos are part of the protected area of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and are located a few kilometers south of Zakynthos town.
Vassilikos is an ideal destination especially for those travelers who are looking for a quiet atmosphere, sandy beaches and seafood restaurants but without the clamor of places more devoted to nightlife.
The area has both luxury facilities and youthful accommodations such as studios with kitchenettes.
Houses scattered in the countryside, churches and tourist stores are surrounded by a lush nature.
The most renowned beaches of Vassilikos are Porto Kaminia, Porto Zoro, Banana Beach, Agios Nikolas, Plaka, Porto Roma Beach and Gerakas Beach.
Volimes is a traditional mountain village nestled in the magnificent impervious northern coast of Zakynthos. Not far away is the beach of the wreck.
If you want to discover the hinterland of Zakynthos, don’t forget to make a stop in Volimes, a traditional village just 30 kilometers from Zakynthos town.
The village of Volimes is located in the mountainous north of Zakynthos and is easily reached by taking a scenic road that winds through the island’s magnificent countryside.
Divided between the village of Ano (Above) and Cato (Below) to form a large mountain and traditional village, Volimes is very famous for its local handicrafts: in addition to the production of oil and honey you will find textiles such as tablecloths, centerpieces and carpets made by hand during the long winter period.
In Volimes you can admire some traditional houses which were saved from the great earthquake of 1953, the church of Agios Georgios and the monastery of Agios Andreas.
Not far from Volimes are the beach of the wreck, the beach of Xigia, Porto Vromi, Agios Nikolaos and the beach of Makris Gialos.
The enchanting island of Marathonissi, private and uninhabited, is part of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and is accessible by own means or relying on organized excursions.
Also known as Turtle Island, the island is located off the southern coast of Zakynthos, in the bay of Laganas just in front of the coast of Keri, and is one of the quietest corners of Zakynthos where sea turtles Caretta-caretta breed.
The island of Marathonissi boasts two beaches, one of white sand and one of pebbles, a rich vegetation and two tiny islets that take the name of Pontikonisia.
Virgin and uncontaminated, the island has a small church where a great feast is celebrated every 15th of August.
Two caves on the island are home to a rich marine fauna and are covered with starfish. Really suggestive!
Warning: there is no structure on the island. Therefore, you must bring everything you need for the day, including food and water.
If you are lucky you may even meet some monk seal that chooses the caves of the island as a refuge.
Marathonissi is the ideal place to relax, swim in tranquility and snorkel.
Along the coast of the island of Zakynthos there are many sea caves made of white stone that, illuminated by the sun, creates a striking contrast with the color of the sea.
Among all the natural caves of Zakynthos the most famous are the Blue Caves, a series of particular geological formations between Agios Nikolaos and Cape Skinari which have given shape to a succession of caves and natural arches.
Almost all the caves can be visited with a private boat of small-medium size, while some are reserved only for experienced swimmers and divers.
The name of this fascinating place is due to the extraordinary play of light created by the reflections of the sea, which in this stretch is an intense blue.
From the promontory of Shiza it is possible to admire a magnificent panorama of the eastern coast of Zakynthos and the Gulf of Foca as well as a spectacular sunset.
One of the natural wonders of Zakynthos is the promontory on which rises the small village of Kampi, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
If you want to admire one of the most impressive views of Zakynthos island you should go to Shiza promontory, a panoramic terrace overlooking the eastern coast overlooking the gulf of seals, animals which breed in the caves of the area.
The area, dominated by a cross commemorating the victims of the Civil War of 1940, gives a superb view of the coast. Ideal to visit at sunset when the landscape is tinged with beautiful colors.
A few kilometers from Shiza you will also have the opportunity to visit some of the most picturesque villages of Zakynthos including the village of Kampi, Exo Hora and Maries: here time seems to have stopped and the population still lives on agriculture and handicrafts.
Among the stone houses and the narrow cobbled streets there are small stores where you can buy typical handicraft products of the island such as carpets and tablecloths, honey and oil.
In the area there is also a Mycenaean cemetery.
The enchanting Keri Caves are located along the southwestern tip of Zakynthos and can only be reached by boat.
The caves appear as a myriad of ravines accessible with small boats even if some are so small that they cannot be visited, which open along the white cliffs.
The area of the caves of Keri extends for 18 kilometers giving life to beautiful beaches, natural harbors and idyllic coves.
A paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, the caves create an underwater landscape teeming with life and color.
Visiting Keri Caves is the perfect choice for both escaping the heat and taking splendid swims. Often a visit to the caves is included in the boat tour of the island, the best way to discover the beauty of Zakynthos.
Several boats depart from Laganas and Keri. Agree with the boat master some enchanting stops to refresh yourself and take beautiful baths in a crystal clear sea!
These rocky cones are very close to the rock and in the middle there is a small beach of fine sand that can only be reached by boat: enjoy an extraordinary bath and swim through a small crack inside one of the two stacks, populated by starfish. Priceless!
The most beautiful panoramic point of Zakynthos, as well as the best place to admire a romantic sunset, is probably the lighthouse of Keri, a nostalgic building overlooking the sea that since 1925 has illuminated the way for passing ships.
Perched atop a 200-meter-high promontory, the lighthouse is nestled in an impressive natural setting.
From here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Ionian Sea and the Mizithres, two huge white rocks that emerge from the sea, marking the beginning of the caves of Keri. Not to be missed!
The best observation point is the small natural terrace that you can reach by walking from the lighthouse: leave the parking lot behind you and continue for about 250 meters.
Established in 1999 to protect the delicate ecosystem of the coast and the sea around the island, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos covers an area of 135 square meters including the bay of Lagana and the two Strofadi islands.
The area is particularly interesting from an ecological point of view because it includes a variety of delicate habitats such as a dune system and a colony of Poseidonia oceanica.
The symbol of the park is the loggerhead turtle caretta caretta, a species at risk of extinction that, with increasing difficulty due to human activities, comes to deposit its eggs on the beaches of the bay at the end of a journey in the Mediterranean of thousands of kilometers.
Turtle watching is a permitted ecotourism activity, but remember to contain your enthusiasm while respecting the animal species.
Other endangered species that find their ideal habitat within the park are the sea lily, a very rare aquatic plant, and the monk seal.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article