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Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is one of the most popular Greek islands to visit. Its most famous attraction is the Navagio Shipwreck, but this stunning island offers much, much more. This article will guide you through some of the best things to do in Zakynthos, from visiting hidden caves and wine museums to sunning on beaches with healing waters. We are confident that no matter the type of traveler you are, you’ll find something on this list that tickles your fancy.
- 1 How to Get to Zakynthos
- 2 Best Time to Visit Zakynthos
- 3 Top 15 Things to Do in Zakynthos (Zante)
- 3.1 1. The Black Cave
- 3.2 2. Goumas Estate Winery
- 3.3 3. Planos (Tsilivi)
- 3.4 4. Xygia Sulfur Beach
- 3.5 5. Navagio Beach
- 3.6 6. Blue Caves Boat Tour
- 3.7 7. Laganas
- 3.8 8. Marathonisi (Turtle Island)
- 3.9 9. Keri Caves Boat Trip
- 3.10 10. Monastery Panagia Skopiotissa
- 3.11 11. Askos Stone Park
- 3.12 12. Callinico Wine Museum
- 3.13 13. Porto Limnionas Beach
- 3.14 14. Bóchali Venetian Castle
- 3.15 15. Olive Press Museum Zante
How to Get to Zakynthos
There are two ways to get to Zakynthos. The first is by flying directly into Zakynthos Airport Dionysios Solomos. Many airlines fly here, including Ryanair, Air Serbia, Transavia, and EasyJet. Once on the island, you can rent a car, a scooter, a four-wheeler, or a jeep to get around.
The second way to get to Zakynthos is by car from Athens. After flying into Athens International Airport, rent a car and drive the 3.5 hours to Kyllini. From there, get a ticket from the port and load your vehicle on the ferry for the one-hour ride to Zante.
If you plan on renting a car, we recommend using Rentalcars.com for all your booking needs. It is the best way to find a car as the website scans hundreds of rental car websites to find you the best prices!
Best Time to Visit Zakynthos
The best time to visit Zakynthos is during the summer months when the sea and weather are warmer. However, May, September, and October are also ideal times as the island is less crowded with tourists but the weather is still nice.
Top 15 Things to Do in Zakynthos (Zante)
Regardless of how long you’re planning for your trip to Zakynthos, you will want to enjoy the best attractions the island has to offer. We want that for you, too, which is why we have carefully crafted a list of some of the top attractions and hidden gems on Zante. From caves to beautiful blue water beaches, here is a list of the best things to do in Zakynthos.
1. The Black Cave
The Black Cave (Μαύρη Σπηλιά in Google Maps) is a hidden gem, perfect for those who want to get outside and do some hiking. This small cave is located in the steep hills near Kallithea and offers incredible panoramic views of the island. To get there, travel by car or scooter to a small hut called the Black Cave, where there is a small parking lot and shop. From there, it is a 100-meter uphill hike. The path is well marked, and there are ropes to hold onto for support as well, but definitely bring proper footwear as the ground is very uneven. Once at the top, you can explore the small cave and enjoy incredible views of the island and sea below. On the way down, make sure to get something to drink or a souvenir from the hut to support the family who owns and maintains the trail. They do allow travelers to hike the trail for free, after all!
2. Goumas Estate Winery
If you’re looking for things to do in Zakynthos that are wine-related, then check out this stunning family-run winery in the rolling foothills near Chartata. This boutique winery is breathtaking, with old stone structures, beautiful landscaping, and gardens with fruit trees. The cobblestone paths, lush fields, and wood pergolas make for an unbeatable ambiance. Visitors can chat with the owners and sample some of their wines either in the tasting room or on the patio. You will also receive a small plate of bread, cheese, and olive oil to nibble on while you sip your wine.
Visitors can opt to take a tour of the winery that includes an introduction to winemaking, a tour of the grounds and cellar, and wine tasting. The many artworks on display are by Giannis Giatras, one of the owners and a well-known icon painter.
3. Planos (Tsilivi)
If you are visiting the island with your partner and are wondering what to do in Zakynthos for a date night, here is your answer! Planos (also known as Tsilivi) is a larger town on the northeast side of the island known to cater more to tourists and packed full of fun things to do.
Visitors can wander through the souvenir shops or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants. After dinner, head to Fantasy Mini Golf to play a game on one of their three fun-themed courses, or head over to Bowl ’m Over to play ping-pong, billiards, foosball, and much more. If you’re dying to watch a football match, there are also plenty of sports bars in the town that televise the games.
There are other attractions in Planos if you plan on spending the day. Tsivili Water Park is fantastic for families and water slide enthusiasts, while the Boomerang Beach Bar is ideal for those looking for a relaxing day at the beach. If you have time, walk down the beach to the Venetian Watch Tower. It is less crowded and offers the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
4. Xygia Sulfur Beach
Are you looking for free things to do in Zakynthos? Well, the beach is always free, and the Xygia Sulfur Beach has healing waters because of the high levels of sulfur that come from nearby caves. Although the smell can put off some people, the sulfur is great for those suffering from aches and pains.
Visitors can enjoy lunch at the café overlooking the beach below, then head down to the shore to do some tanning. It’s not a very large beach and the area can get quite busy, so make sure to come early to reserve beach chairs.
Navagio is probably the most famous beach on the island as it has the remains of an old shipwreck from the 1980s on its shores. There are a few ways you can experience the area. The first is by hiking. Visitors can park and walk 10 minutes to the Shipwreck Viewpoint to get a bird’s-eye view of the dazzling blue waters and shipwreck below. The second way is by a boat tour since the beach can’t be accessed from land. We recommend either the GetYourGuide tour from Porto Vromi or the tour from St. Nikolaos. During these tours, guests can go snorkeling and check out the shipwreck, stroll along the white sand beach, and explore the famous Blue Caves on the coast.
6. Blue Caves Boat Tour
The island of Zakynthos has many beautiful landscapes, with the Blue Caves being one of the most popular to visit. The caves are known for their striking vibrant blue waters and dramatic rocky cliffside. Tourists can go diving, snorkeling, or take a glass-bottom boat tour of the area. Visitors can also group a tour of the Blue Caves with a tour of Navagio Beach. Check out this tour from GetYourGuide!
The strip of clubs and bars in Laganas is world-famous for its party scene. Hundreds of tourists and locals gather in this Zakynthos town to dance, drink, and party at beach clubs with private pools.
During the day, visitors can stroll down to the Laganas Beach and sunbathe on loungers or rent a Jet Ski. If you’re looking to party it up during the day, head over to Pure Beach Clubs for their incredible day events. Here, you can hang out in cabanas or take a dip in the pool while sipping cocktails and listening to DJs. Other day activities in Laganas include go-karting at Formula Zante Go Karting or horseback riding along the beach at Happy Horse Riding School.
At night, the strip comes alive with hundreds of partiers ready to dance the night away. Make your way to CherryBay club to dance with their bubble machine, or head over to Zeros Club, where they have two mega foam cannons! There are usually tons of events to check out during the summer months, too, including yacht parties, foam festivals, and much more. To check out upcoming events in Zante, click here.
8. Marathonisi (Turtle Island)
One of Zakynthos’ top attractions is actually on a small island off its southeast coast. Marathonisi, also nicknamed Turtle Island, is only accessible by boat and offers tourists pristine white sand beaches and dramatic caves to discover, as well as a chance to spot some of the famous turtle nests! The best way to experience the island is with a tour. We recommend this five-hour cruise from GetYourGuide. You can also opt to rent a boat and drive to the island yourself or hire a water taxi from Laganas Beach.
9. Keri Caves Boat Trip
While most tourists will make their way to the Blue Caves via a boat trip, the Keri Caves are just as beautiful and less crowded for swimming. Tourists can snorkel and dive in the sea caves via an excursion or, if you’re planning on visiting Turtle Island too, you can opt to couple the Keri Caves tour with a trip to Turtle Island and spend the day snorkeling and swimming at the caves and the island. If you want to visit both Keri Caves and Marathonisi Island, check out this tour from GetYourGuide.
10. Monastery Panagia Skopiotissa
Explore the ruins of this incredible mountaintop monastery on Zakynthos Island. It includes the oldest church on the island and was built before the 15th century on the site where the Temple of Artemis once stood. The road leading to the monastery is quite steep and not well maintained, so tourists either need to have a jeep or a quad to reach it. You can also opt to arrive by foot, though the three-mile trek is not easy. Inside the church, there are gorgeous murals of saints and other religious iconography, though the best thing about this area is probably the incredible panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea and the island.
11. Askos Stone Park
Stroll through ancient stone structures and visit wildlife on the north part of the island. The Askos Stone Park offers the perfect way to spend an afternoon as visitors can roam the grounds past 200,000 native plants and hundreds of different animals living freely in the park. There are also the remains of old stone stables and houses, cisterns, and other ruins to discover. Afterward, guests can enjoy a bite to eat at the Orizodes Restaurant and Skybar while taking in panoramic views of the island and sea.
12. Callinico Wine Museum
A visit to the Callinico Wine Museum is a must-do for wine enthusiasts on Zakynthos! This family-run winery is over a century old and boasts a fantastic museum that highlights old and new winemaking tools and techniques. Afterwards, you can head to the incredible wine tasting room and choose from three different sampling packages. If you’re interested in touring the entire grounds of the winery, that is also an option. You can book for large or small groups in advance to tour the cellar, winery grounds, and the wine tasting room, all the while learning more about the process of winemaking on the island.
13. Porto Limnionas Beach
Porto Limnionas Beach is another fantastic beach to visit on the west side of the island. Visitors can discover the nearby caves with snorkels or head up to the tavern for lunch. After a day of swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, drive up to Lete Sunset Bar for dinner or a drink on the patio, from which there are incredible panoramic views.
14. Bóchali Venetian Castle
Are you looking for things to do in Zante town? Then check out the unique ruins of Bóchali Venetian Castle located right next to Zante. The castle was originally constructed in 1646 CE by the Venetians on the site of an ancient acropolis and Byzantine castle. When the British took over the Ionian Islands in 1812, they reconstructed the castle, adding a football pitch, a parliament building, and a barracks. Today, most of the fort is in ruin, but there are still some incredible viewpoints of the island from this area.
15. Olive Press Museum Zante
Greece is well known for its olive oil production and the quality of its product, so why not become an expert yourself and learn more about the process at the Olive Press Museum? Visitors will be guided through all the technology and the art of olive oilmaking from the 18th century to today. You’ll also get to sample the local oil with fresh bread. Don’t forget to buy some olive oil on your way out so you can bring it home and prepare Greek-inspired dishes after your holiday!
There you have them, the best things to do in Zante! This incredible Greek island has so much to explore that you’ll never be bored. Just remember that public transit on the island isn’t the best, so if you’re planning on exploring more than just the village you’re in, you’ll need to rent a scooter, quad, or a car. However, if you don’t drive, no problem! There are 24-hour taxis all over the island.