What to do in Zakynthos Town and its surrounding areas
Zakynthos Town (also known as Zante Town or Chora) is the capital and commercial center of Zakynthos Island. The city is located on the eastern coast, at the foot of Bochali Hill, and with its 16,000 residents, it is the largest city on the island. Although a popular spot for visitors staying in Zakynthos, the city is not a beach destination, but rather a bustling port town, even though just past the pier, tourists can still find transparent, swimmable waters. In addition to offering a great variety of services and activities, Zakynthos Town is one of the best locations from where to explore the rest of the island either by renting a vehicle or by public transportation.
For more information about connections from Zakynthos town, see “Zakynthos bus service: routes and fares“.
What to Do in Zante Town
The beach of Zakynthos Town which is mostly pebbles rather than sand, extends for 2 km from Solomos Square (see its position on Google maps) to Kapo Krioneri / Akrotiri and is visited mostly by Greeks on weekends. Although it is not one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, it is still a great choice for relaxing at a bar or restaurant with a sea view, where you can rent deckchairs and umbrellas at ridiculously low prices (sometimes for free).
Zante Town’s city center includes Alexander Roma Street and 21st Maiou Street up to San Marco Square. The area is closed to traffic from 3:00 p.m. to 3.00 a.m. and its features a series of shops of various kinds, bars and restaurants. While during the streets are almost deserted as most tourists take shelter from the sun under the Venetian-style loggias lining Alexander Roma Street, in the evening the city center comes alive with tourists looking for places to eat, have a drink or just buy souvenirs.
Zakynthos Town is the center of the island’s nightlife, with tourists of all ages flocking to the city at dusk, when the temperatures drop and a light breeze cools the air. Pubs and disco bars of various kinds fill up with people waiting for the opening of the clubs located just outside the city. The three most popular bars are Base, Avant Garde and Barralu, a few meters from each other and an excellent choice for happy hour drinks.
From the city of Zakynthos, boats leave for full tours and half tours around the island. The full island tour uses boats up to 400 passengers, lasts about 8 hours and includes a stop at Shipwreck Beach. The half tour uses smaller boats, up to a maximum of 150 people, and includes a stop at Shipwreck Beach.
There are many churches in Zakynthos Town, but three of them are an absolute must-see. The church of Agios Dionysios, patron saint and protector of the island, is the largest in the city and is located on the seafront near the port. Construction began in 1925 and ended in 1948. The church, which was miraculously spared by the 1953 earthquake, overlooks the harbor. The bell tower was built to resemble the San Marco Basilica’s bell tower in Venice. Inside, a silver reliquary holds the saint’s remains. The church of Agios Nikolas Tou Molou, is located on the seafront at Solomos Square. Dating back to the Renaissance period (1561), the church is one of the few buildings on the island that was spared from the devastating earthquake and fire of 1953. It was originally built on a small island, connected to the mainland by a bridge, but after various excavation projects done for city expansion, it was joined to the rest of the island. Its bell tower once housed a harbor lamp. The hierarchical vestments of Saint Dionysios are preserved inside, as a tribute to the relationship of the saint with this church. It is also the departing point for the Good Friday procession. San Marco Church is located in San Marco Square and it is the only Catholic church on the island.
What to Do Around Zakynthos Town
On the hill behind the city of Zakynthos, just over 2 km from the center, the village of Bochali rises around the ruins of the ancient Venetian castle. Strolling through the small, silent streets of Bochali lined by old houses with courtyards full of colorful flowers and watching the enchanting view of the bay below, will make your holiday truly unforgettable.
About 3 km from town, towards Argassi, there are several clubs, where young people from all over the island gather from midnight till dawn. The most famous one is the Barrage with its famous parties every Tuesday and Friday.
Are you looking for more information on what to do in Zakynthos Town and surrounding areas?
Directly ask the people living in Zakynthos on the Facebook group: Welcometozante.