You’ve seen the famous photos of the sheer-cliff beachy cove with the eerie shipwreck and the unreal blue sea. Now it’s time to discover where it is. Zakynthos (sometimes known by its Italian name Zante) is an Ionian island off the west coast of mainland Greece. It may not court the headlines like a Santorini, a Mykonos, a Kos or Corfu, but you’d be surprised just how popular Zakynthos actually is among the jet set.
Luxury Holidays to Zakynthos
You may have heard about the bustling nightlife in popular beach town Tsilivi. And with access to the warm Mediterranean waters as well as good value hotels, water parks and recognisable restaurant chains, this vibrant town certainly ticks holiday boxes. But Zakynthos’s true charm lies a little further off the beaten path. Homely tavernas, secret beaches and verdant mountain valleys offer another side to the island for those looking to avoid the bucket and spade brigade. And there are some stylish luxury hotels and guesthouses on hand to bed down in, if you know where to look.
Reasons to Holiday in Zakynthos
The weather – Balmy to say the least. It’s a Greek Island, with a proper Mediterranean climate, so expect bath-warm water and bright blue skies daily in summer. Pack factor 50 and don’t sunbathe too far from a shady spot – you’ll need it.
The beaches – Is Shipwreck Beach the most iconic beach in the world? Take a boat tour (we don’t recommend abseiling the sheer cliff face to reach it) from Zakynthos town to this must-visit spot in the North West and find out for yourself. For quieter enclaves, head to Kalamaki and Dafni in the South or, for more upbeat beach options, Tsilivi remains the partygoer’s paradise.
The culture – The Island’s historic capital (eponymous Zakynthos town on the east coast) wears its maritime past alongside a heritage rich in art and literature. The Museum of D Solomos and Eminent People of Zakynthos showcases the region’s poetic culture, and makes a great first stop on any tour of the town.
The luxury – Zakynthos hotels like Porto Zante Villas & Spa, Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort and Lesante Classic Luxury Hotel & Spa are the measure of any in the Med for exclusive luxury. Check in with a Kenwood Travel booking and add affordability to the the upscale facilities and service, too.
Things to do in Zakynthos
Shipwrecked – No holiday to Zakynthos is complete without seeing its number one attraction. So-called Shipwreck Beach in Navigio in the north west of the island is a captivating sight. The compacted limestone sand is sugar-white, the tranquil water impossibly blue, the lofty vertical white cliffs enclosing the bay on three sides… And then, as if placed there by Poseidon himself, a wrecked freighter right in the middle of the beach. Take a boat tour from Zakynthos town, and get your selfie on.
Turtle-y cool – The National Marine Park of Zakynthos has been wowing visitors since 1999. The park, found in Laganas Bay near the popular Gerakas Beach, forms part of the Natura 2000 Ecological Network, and covers 83 square miles. The stars of the show are the loggerhead turtles (carreta carreta) who make this their habitat.
Island hop – Chart a course from Laganas for the beautiful islet of Marathonisi. Take an excursion boat or hire your own to discover the mystical caves and deserted beaches. This is another one for marine wildlife spotters – look out for nesting turtles and other reptiles.
Dine in style – The combination of homemade moussaka and other classic Grecian fare, oceanfront settings, traditional live music and warm friendly hosts who are always forthcoming with the ouzo, makes stepping out for dinner in Zakynthos a lively, laid-back – and delicious – occasion every time.
Interesting Facts about Zakynthos
- Area – 156 square miles
- Population – 40,700
- Capital – Zakynthos town
The Weather in Zakynthos
Summer (June to mid-September) is typically hot and sunny as you'd expect. The mercury usually maxes out around 30C, but can easily hit 35C in August. Sea breezes temper the heat – as does a dip in the sea. Winters can be mild but rainy, with minimum temperatures hovering around 10C.
Zakynthos Holidays 2021 / 2022
This Ionian island is growing in popularity and, like its Aegean counterparts, attracts a lot of UK bookings. Competition for places can heat up during peak travel periods, so our Europe holiday experts recommend booking your Zakynthos holiday early. Early birds booking with Kenwood Travel now for next year benefit from our exclusive Early Booking Offers and increased flight and hotel availability, allowing you to get the dates you want at a price you’ll love.