On a Cruise to Zakynthos: here’s what you can see and do in a few hours
Every summer, dozens of cruise ships stop in Zakynthos and thousands of passengers from all over the world set foot on our island with so many questions about what they can do and see in Zakynthos in a few hours. Here’s a complete guide for cruise passengers.
Deboarding and boarding a cruise ship at the port of Zakynthos
Unlike at many other cruise destinations, cruise ships cannot dock at the port of Zakynthos. Instead they have to anchor out at sea and then shuttle passengers by tender boats (as shown in the picture above). Given the fact that hundreds of passengers have to deboard the ship, reaching the port might take up to two and a half hours. Generally, cruise lines tend to give priority to passengers who have booked group excursions with them. As far as getting back to the ship, it is usually sufficient to arrive 30 to 60 minutes before departure. On a weekly basis, two to three cruise ships arrive in Zakynthos and passengers can spend 5 to 10 hours on the island depending on the cruise line.
Cruises to Zakynthos: what to do in Zakynthos in a few hours
Booking an excursion is the most common choice for cruise passengers, who have only a few hours to visit the island. For a matter of convenience and safety, most of them choose to book the excursions offered by the cruise line, despite the fact that the price is more than double the price of local tours and the experience much more chaotic. If you decide to book an excursion with a local company, like ours for example, it is your responsibility to notify us that you are a passenger on a cruise ship and also indicate the estimated arrival and departure time to and from Zakynthos.
Choose an excursion
Excursion to the Marine Park or to the Mizithres Sea Stacks: the most popular among cruise passengers
The most popular excursion among cruise passengers is definitely the one to the Marine Park or to the Mizithres Sea Stacks. Depending on the cruise arrival time and the time available for sightseeing, you can either choose a private tour or a group excursion. Both depart from the Welcometozante office at the port of Agios Sostis (about 25 minutes from the port of Zakynthos).
Private tour or group excursion: the differences
If you choose our group excursion, you must stick to the only two feasible options for cruise passengers: the 10:00 AM tour to the Mizithres Sea Stacks (duration 4 hours) and the first Marine Park tour of the day (duration 3 hours). Remember that the excursion boat cannot wait for you if you are late. The transfer from the port of Zakynthos to the port of Agios Sostis costs approximately an extra 30 euro each way (price for 2 people). More information: Excursions to the Zakynthos Marine Park.
If you choose a private tour (recommended for cruise passengers), the schedule will be more flexible, with the option to move the departure to an earlier or later time, should there be a delay in deboarding the cruise ship. In addition, when choosing this solution, you’ll be able to relax with you partner or children, while visiting less touristy sites. The transfer from the port of Zakynthos to the port of Agios Sostis costs approximately an extra 30 euro each way (price for 2 people). Rates and info: private boat with captain.
Excursion to Shipwreck Beach: what you need to know
Although less frequently, some cruise passengers do choose our excursion to Shipwreck Beach. Before selecting this tour, you should, however, consider a few things: the port of departure is about an hour’s drive from the port of Zakynthos; furthermore, the sea on that side of the island can sometimes be rough (it is in fact the side most exposed to the currents) and consequently the excursion might have to be rescheduled.
But if you really don’t want to give up visiting the most photographed bay in all of Greece, we at Welcometozante recommend the private boat tour with skipper and driver and a meeting point right at the port of Zakynthos. The transfer from the port of Zakynthos to the departing port costs approximately an extra 50 euro each way (price for 2 people) For reservations, we require a deposit, that is fully refundable in case of adverse sea conditions. Rates and info: private boat with captain.
We don’t recommend the group tour as you would need at least 8 hours on the island to be sure not to miss boarding your cruise ship (about a 2-hour drive roundtrip + a 3-hour excursion with an extra 30 minutes to account for delays + waiting for the excursion to start + waiting to deboard + waiting to be picked up).
More information: Excursions to Shipwreck Beach.
Visit Zakynthos Town and the village of Bochali
If you prefer to stay on land, exploring the town of Zakynthos might be an excellent option. You can spend a few hours strolling from the promenade to Alexander Roma Street, all the way up to the top of Bochali Hill to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city. Recommended reading: “What to do in Zakynthos Town” and “Bochali village“. Finally, after a long, scenic walk, you can relax in a tavern where you can try the local cuisine. The venues we recommend, Kantuni (a traditional tavern only open at lunch), Alivizos Asteria (a fish restaurant on the water) and Varkarola, are only a few hundred meters from the port.
Renting a vehicle
Finding a rental vehicle for a few hours is complicated and expensive. In fact, only a handful of agencies will rent a car or scooter for a few hours (none in high season). The rental price for a few hours is the same as for a full 24 hours.
Would you like to book an excursion with us or find a more personalized solution?
To make a reservation, fill out the form or email us at email@example.com
Are you looking for more information on Zakynthos?
You can request information directly to people living in Zakynthos by clicking on the Facebook group: Welcometozante.