12 Things to Do and See in Zakynthos
Zakynthos is an island with a double soul: a more relaxed and peaceful one that takes pride in preserving its traditions and environment and a wild one, dedicated to excesses and a very active nightlife. The latter is obviously more prevalent from mid-July to early September. However, the size of Zakynthos Island (406 km²) helps you find, even in August, a variety of peaceful places where you can relax. In short, Zakynthos is one of the few tourist resort islands that can really offer (almost) everything to everyone: wild parties, relaxation, clubs, excursions, seafood, land cuisine, cocktails on the beach and much, much more. Here are the 12 things to absolutely see and do during a holiday in Zakynthos. Happy reading!
1. Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach obviously ranks first among the must-see attractions in Zakynthos. It is the most amazing and iconic place on the island and is absolutely worth a visit. The beauty of the sea with its different shades of blue and turquoise is breathtaking. Shipwreck Beach can be accessed by sea with a group excursion or by renting a boat, which can dock directly on the sand, or alternatively by land. You can in fact reach the famous promontory by car / scooter / quad and take breathtaking photos from its scenic viewpoint.
2. Marathonisi Island
This small uninhabited island is the only one out of the 3 islands in the Zakynthos Marine Park that is accessible to the public (from 8:00 am to sunset) and is the perfect place for a short excursion. The island cannot be visited in its entirety due to its rocky landscape. There are 2 beaches: the sandy beach, which measures about 300m and is the most famous and popular one among tourists because of its Caribbean blue waters, and the white pebble beach that leads to 2 caves accessible by swimming. More information: “Marathonisi Island: How to Get There and What to See“.
3. Loggerhead Caretta-Caretta Turtles
Loggerhead (Caretta-Caretta) turtles are, together with Shipwreck Beach, the driving force of tourism and excursions in Zakynthos and must be definitely included in the list of things to see and do. With the exception of Taxi Boats, all tours include a turtle-spotting stop. We always recommend using small boats, with a maximum of 30 seats, so that the noise of the boat’s engine won’t disturb the turtles and you’ll be able to enjoy a less touristy and overcrowded experience. Read more about the Marine Park Tour.
There is no vacation that can come to an end without watching the sun setting over the clear Greek waters. In our opinion, the best 3 west-facing viewpoints are the scenic oulooks above Shipwreck Beach, Kampi and Plakaki. The most popular site is the Keri Lighthouse, due to its proximity to the most touristy areas of Zakynthos, whereas a more exclusive experience can be enjoyed by watching the sunset on a boat at Mizithres Faraglioni rocks. Here is the complete list: “Sunset in Zakynthos: the Most Scenic Spots“.
5. Zakynthos Town
The city of Zakynthos, the capital and main port of the island, is also the center of island life. The best way to visit Zakynthos Town during the day is by wandering around the intricate maze of streets and alleys, catching glimpse of the life of locals. In the evening, the city comes alive, with tourists and locals flocking to the bars and taking an after after-dinner stroll among the many shops and markets.
6. Marine Park Beaches
The beaches of Dafni and Gerakas are among the must-see places in Zakynthos. They are the most pristine beaches in the Zante Marine Park: nothing better for those looking for relaxation and crystal clear waters. In fact, WWF volunteers constantly monitor the behavior of visitors, to prevent them from leaving trash or disfiguring these beaches that house the largest number of turtle nests on the island. Info: “Map, Beach and Rules of Zakynthos Marine Park“.
7. Porto Limnionas
Porto Limnionas is the second most famous and popular cove on the island’s western coast, second only to Shipwreck Beach. Its beautiful sea with stunning shades of blue and turquoise is enclosed in a fjord whose cliffs plunge straight into the sea. Porto Roxa, only 2 Km from Porto Limnionas, is another rocky cove, where you can enjoy unique rocking beds and a diving platform extending directly from the rocks.
Not many are aware that in addition to the better known and more popular Xigia, there are 2 other equally beautiful but less crowded beaches less than 1 km from Xigia itself! The whole area is characterized by sulfur springs that flow from cracks in the rocks, making the sea freezing cold and giving it a very particular color and smell!
9. Cameo Island
Cameo Island is the 2nd most photographed place in Zakynthos: its main feature is a wooden pier that connects it to the mainland. On the opposite side from the pier, there is a small beach. Being located in the Marine Park, turtles often approach the island and with a little luck it is possible to spot them while swimming. Make sure to bring mask and snorkel: exploring its waters could be a pleasant surprise. Alternatively, you can also attend the happy hours organized twice a week. While sipping a drink on the bar’s terrace at sunset, you might be able to spot turtles popping their heads out of the water to breathe.
10. Barrage Club
The most famous club in Zakynthos and the only one with 2 outdoor spaces. Don’t miss its main Tuesday and Friday events attended by thousands of tourists of all ages. Admission is € 15 and it includes a drink. Since 2015, it has been hosting “White Tuesday”, the most famous event in Zakynthos, which for the previous 10 years had been taking place on Cameo Island.
Bochali or Boxali is located behind Zakynthos Town and is one of the most beautiful places on the island but also also one of the least known among tourists. Its scenic viewpoint overlooking the city is particularly enchanting at sunset or at night, when the moon reflects on the calm waters of the bay.
12. Boat Rental
Last but not least, we recommend an experience that can be enjoyed in very few other places, namely renting a boat that does not require a boating license. The price is within everyone’s reach and fun is guaranteed. You can choose to rent a boat to explore the area of the Marine Park with its scenic coves and clear waters (from € 80 for 3 hours) or to rent a boat to visit the coves and caves on the western coast (from € 200). For those who want to explore the island’s hidden gems, the best solution is to rent a boat with a skipper.
Where to find more info about what to see and do on Zakynthos Island?
On the Facebook group Welcometozante, we post all the updates on things to see and do in Zakynthos: join the group and stay tuned!