A three days tour is ideal for those who are visiting Zakynthos for the first time and want to see the main sites of interest and enjoy its most sparkling beaches.
The tour is divided in three sections, one for each day: The town and nearby attractions, the north and the south.
The town of Zakynthos is built on the east coast, very close to the Greek mainland, and is the main harbor of the island. The town was rebuilt after the destructive 1953 earthquake that leveled it almost completely. However, the town retained its earlier charm to a great extent because lots of the new buildings have preserved the old architectural style. The Solomos Square, recently renovated, is a reference point of the town, adorned with traditional public buildings and the Byzantine Museum, where cultural events are often held. In the square of Agios Markos you can visit the Solomos – Kalvos Museum and the namesake and only Catholic Church. Do not miss the church of the patron saint of the island, Agios Dionysios, the chuch Faneromeni and the chuch of Agios Nikolaos of Molos.
The church of Agios Dionyssios, who came from Zakynthos and is the patron saint of the island, is to the south of the town. Admire the remarkable icons and wall paintings. A great celebration and a trade fair are held on August 24.
The hill of Bohali, with the pine forest and the Venetian castle, an ideal destination for admiring the town from above, dominates the capital of the island. Just before Bohali is the hill of Stranis, where the national poet Dionysios Solomos was inspired the famous poem Hymn to Liberty, part of which constitutes the lyrics of the Greek national anthem. Wander around the quarter of Bohali and enjoy local dishes and wonderful serenades.
The medieval town of the island was on the hill of Bohali, behind the modern town of Zakynthos. The scenery will take you back to the past as you watch the stone-carved lion the Venetian emblem. The view from the castle is stunning.
The beach is to the northwest of the town and has been awarded the Blue Flag. It’s a sandy and shallow organized and crowded beach ideal for children.
A most beautiful pebbled beach with hot sulphurous waters flowing from nearby spring. It is to the northeast of the island and its waters are suitable for those who suffer from arthritis and skin diseases. Pretty taverns with delicious food can be found in the wider area.
Makris Gialos Beach is situated 30 km to the north of Zakynthos town. The beach doesn’t usually get crowded in the summer, because it is not organized. However, Makris Gialos beach has a sandy seashore and crystal waters, ideal for snorkeling. Its waters are pretty deep, therefore you should pay high attention when swimming and have your mind on the children.
The little cove of Agios Nikolaos is a peaceful harbor, whose mouth is protected by a rocky islet. Tourist boats sail to the Blue Caves and the beaches of “Navagio” (shipwreck) and Porto Vromi. Swim in the pebbled beach and taste local dishes and seafood in one of the little coastal taverns.
The Blue Caves are to the northeast coasts of the island. It is a natural geological phenomenon of great beauty. They are sea caves that were discovered in 1897 and you can visit them by tourist or private boat as long as you have the suitable nautical chart. The nearest starting point is the little harbor of Agios Nikolaos, through small boats sail from other points as well and the locals are willing to guide you. Swim in the blue waters of the area and you will be impressed by the colours of the waters in combination with the purple and orange corals and the white cliffs.
The most famous beach of the island owes its reputation to the unique natural beauty and the decayed ship in the middle of the sandy beach, which make a perfect match. The beach is accessible by tourist boat departing from Porto Vromi port or Agios Nikolaos port and you can combine your visit to the “Navagio” with a tour to the Blue Caves. If you choose to go by car, drive up to the top of the cliff, where you can enjoy the view and take pictures of the beach below. The white sand and the blue clear waters will capture your eye. The beach is also an attraction for the lovers of extreme sports, such as free-fall parachuting, while extreme sports competitions are held every year.
The monastery is built in a verdant area and is instantly recognized due to the medieval tower at the entrance, built in the 15th c. The bells have been positioned at the top of the tower, while the interior includes rare wall paintings and icons.
Shiza is a cliff that together with Shipwreck and the Keri’s lighthouse, offers you a breathtaking landscape and unforgettable sunsets.
From the top of the cliff the view can space from the infinite blue of the Ionian sea to the underlying Seal Gulf, a bay that derives its name from the seals that every year go there to breed in the marine caves.
Visiting Shiza, in addition to visiting the huge concrete cross in memory of the deceased of the civil war, you can also visit the narrow lanes of the small mountains villages like Kampi, Exo Chora and Maries, where inhabitants are still living on farming and handicraft and where the time seems to run slower than ever.
In those villages it is possible to buy hand made products such as mats and table clothing or natural food like honey and oil.
It is one of the most hidden places and maybe for this reason more beautiful and wild of the entire island. To get there you have to pass through the mountains village of Agios Leon and from there following the signs, driving down a recently asphalted road running down to the sea and ending in a small square where you can park.
From there getting down a few steps carved in the rock, you reach a real fiord stupefying the visitor for the clearness and colours of the waters. It is easy to imagine that in this place there are no many tourist facilities, only recently two terraces with loungers and umbrellas have been created but are not always enough for the request.
A grandiose church, the cathedral of the village, with an impressive and very tall belfry, the only in the shape of a tower on the island. It was built in the 19th c. and is situated at the centre of the village.
Popular and crowded beach at the centre of the Laganas Bay. It is part of the national Marine Sea Park for the protection of the sea turtle caretta-caretta. It covers an area of 5 square km of crystal clear warm waters and, if you sail at a low speed, you can admire the sea turtles. The area attracts lots of visitors, who are certainly satisfied thanks to the abundance of accommodation and catering facilities, cafes amusement venues.
A vast and beautiful beach next to Lagana Beach included in the protected National Marine Park. With its golden sand and crystal waters, it is ideal destination for families with little children.
A quiet area for holidays, to the west, in the interior of Laganas Bay. There is a harbor with fishing boats and tourist vessels that visit the island of Marathonisi. The beach of the lake is peaceful, although organized, with cafes and taverns, and you can enjoy local dishes. In the village you can visit the old church of Panagia Keriotissa with the famous belfry, whose sound can be heard over a very long distance. The church is very skillfully and elaborately constructed and includes remarkable works of art. The thaumaturgic icon of the Virgin was found on the site of the church.
During the summer months, every day, many persons go to the lighthouse to admire the sun diving in the sea at sunset and the sky nuances before darkness.
Next to the small lighthouse erected on the top of the promontory, it is possible to park the car in a no asphalted square projecting on the sea and from where you can contemplate an incomparable view. The sight from this place, particularly on a clear day, will be an unforgettable moment of your holiday in Zakynthos, especially because by moving along the small lighthouse, you have the possibility to see, from the top of the cliff, the Mizitres.
The Mizitres are two huge rock cones flanked by a deserted island rising from the blue sea and signing the beginning of the Kerì Caves.
A scenic and verdant little island, with a beautiful sandy beach gleaming under the sun. it is protected by the Natura 2000 environmental network and is included in the National Marine Park. You can visit it getting on one of the tourist vessels that sail from Keri Lake every day. The beach is of amazing beauty.
One of the cosmopolitan beaches of the island, to the southeast of the town. Organized and crowded, with beach bars, it is recommended for water sports. You can find taverns with traditional dishes in the area.
A worldwide known beach, among the best in Europe. Sandy and surrounded by impressive cliffs. Shallow waters, ideal for children. Water sports are forbidden. The visitors should be particularly careful because the beach is part of the protected National Marine Park for the caretta-caretta sea turtle, in which the animal lays its eggs. You can find pretty taverns.
National Marine Park of Zakynthos, Caretta-Caretta
The park extends to the south coasts of the island and covers the Laganas Bay, from Marathia Cape to Geraki Cape. It is considered an area of high ecological importance. The Park protects the nesting and breeding area of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, a protected species that has remained unaltered since the prehistoric period. Spawning starts in June. Vessels of low power are sailings around the area and the visitors can watch the turtles, though always with great respect for the animals and the environment. In the area of Daphne you can visit the Thematic Exhibition Centre Caretta-Caretta in order to be informed and adopt a more sensitive attitude towards the protection of the sea turtle and its habitat.