Therelatively unexplored Greek island ofZakynthos(ZanteGreece)is begging for people to discover it.ItsiconicShipwrecktourist attraction is the spot of millions of photosannually;however, there are parts of the island that is still relatively unexplored. Standing in a local village, untraveled by any tourists, you will still witness cultural traditions that can’t be found in the hot tourist areas. Forested wilderness and untouched landscape still exist in a destination that is visited by ten times as many foreigners than it has residents. It’s entirely possible tofind things to do inZakynthosto make itinto whatever kind of vacation you would like.
If you prefer, it still has the beautiful white sand beaches and rugged cliffs that it is famous for. Take a swim in its turquoise Ionian Sea water where you will find a variety of marine life including its abundance of the infamousCarettaCarettaLoggerhead sea turtles. Tired of the beach? Stay at one ofZakynthos’ luxurious seaside resorts and receive catered treatment while you soak in all the relaxedness you can imagine.
Greeceis a country geographically placed insoutheasternEurope. It borders itsBulgarianneighbors to the north,Turkishneighbors in theeast, and shares a bit of its border with a coupleother European countries. It is, truly, very well-located for any American tourist backpacking through Europe routes. Its capital,Athens, is located onlya day’s travelon theZakynthosferryto the east ofZakynthos.Zakynthosto Athens is the most popular backpacking route. However,ZakynthostoSantoriniis also a very common route.
My top advice for backpackingZakynthosis to rent a four-wheeler the first day youarrive. Nothing saved me more time and allowed me to see more of the island than that decision.I’vebeen traveling and living in Europe for almost three years and it has given me the ability to see over half of the continent. Along the way, I’ve picked up some knowledge on how to travel in Europe efficiently and on abudget. I’ve written a series of guides for Flying and Travel to help you get the most out of your trip abroad.
Things to do inZakynthosGreece
There are plenty of things to do inZakynthosthat can keep you busy for as long as you want to stay.Personally, I think you can get a full experience in less than a week, however, if you love to laze around the beach, you may want to plan your itinerary around that. The multitude of itinerary options ispart of the reasonZakynthosmakes an excellent stop on anyone’s ‘Euro Trip’.
Here are a few must-see places that should be on everyone’sZakynthositinerary:
Porto Beach–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 ofAgiosLeon and from there following the signs, driving down a recently asphalted road running downto the sea and ending in a small square where you can park.Porto beach is one of the top things to do inZakynthos.
NavagioBeach–NavagioBeachinZakynthosGreece, or ShipwreckIsland Greece, is an exposed cove, sometimes referred to as “Smugglers Cove”, on the coast ofZakynthos, in the Ionian Islands of Greece.NavagioBeach was originally known asAgiosGeorgios.Zakynthoscar rentalis the best way how to get toNavagioBeach. It’s one of the best beaches inZakynthosGreeceand, perhaps, tops the list of things to do inZakynthos.
Keri Caves–KerìCaves, accessible only by the sea with private boats or tourist excursions, develop along the promontory ofMarathiaCape, in the South-West area of the island. A boat tour is one of the most popular things to do inZakynthos.
KalamakiBeach–Kalamakibeach is also protected by Greek legislation, as one of the places where the endangered Loggerheadturtlelaysitseggs. For this reason, Kalamakibeach is a part of the National Maritime Park ofZakynthos.Kalamakiis ideal for family or romantic holidays, as it is pretty close to ZanteTownand one of the best beaches inZakynthosGreece.
Blue Caves–The Blue Caves are one of the islands most famous natural attractions and were discovered in 1897 by AntonioKomouto. The caves attract thousands of visitors each year and are located just below the lighthouse at CapeSkinari.It’s one of the must-see things to do inZakynthos.
AgiosDionisiosChurch–This church, dominant at the port, is dedicated to the Saint ofZakynthosand it is a landmark not only for the town but for the entire island ofZakynthos. It was rebuilt in 1948 after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1893.Along with St. Denis Church,AgiosDionisiosis one of the few churches that survived inZakynthosGreece.
Marathonisi(Turtle Island)–The small islet is situated inLaganasbay and provides one of the nesting homes for the loggerhead turtleCarettaCaretta. Itsturtled-shape formation has evoked a number of myths over the years.Seeing the turtles is one of the best things to do inZakynthos.
Keri Lighthouse (Keri Village)–Don’t forget to visit the lighthouse of Keri, one of the best places in Zakynthos to watch the sunset. It’s near many of the best beaches inZakynthosGreeceand one of the most interesting things to do inZakynthos.
St Dennis Church– The St Denis Church is one of the few churches that survived the earthquake of 1953 inZakynthos. Luckily – because it’s one of the top things to do inZakynthosGreece!
Banana Beach (Vasilikos)–Banana beach is a very long and wide beach with shallowwaterand exotic style. The golden sands of the beach and the deep blue and blue flagstandardsSea, completes its existence, with the signing of the BananaBaya. An area characterized irresistible for style, hospitality. The kitchen ”choose” the freshest and the most superior quality materials, paying particular based on local products.Although it’s a day trip away, Banana Beach can still be considered one of the best beaches inZakynthosGreece.
Best time to travel toZakynthos
Zakynthosis a great place to travel toyear round. Whether you are looking for beach refuge during the hot summer or a cold winter escape –Zakynthosis your place.
In the summertime,Zakynthosis buzzing with action and tourists flock to the island – outnumbering the localsmore than10:1. However, in the wintertime, although too cold to swimand only lasting a few months between the summerseason,Zakynthoscan offer a much more authentic appealwith fewer crowds and a quieter island.
Where to stay inZakynthos?
When I traveled toZakynthos, it was the height of the summer season and accommodation was limited.Booking in advanceis definitely good advice when traveling to this summer beach destination. There are no hostels, but a few budget hotel options.
You would be best suited to maximize your time by staying nearLaganasor inZakynthosCity. Depending on what you plan on doing, both should be a top priority. If you plan on spending yourdayslazyingaround on the beach, the shallow waters ofLaganasBay and the long stretch of white sand beach is your best bet. If you are interested in sight-seeing, perhapsZakynthosCity ismore well-located.
What to eat inZakynthos
If you want a taste of the local cuisine, try these traditional foods:
AGyrois the Mecca ofGreek cuisine.It’ssliced meat prepped in a certain way with loads of spices, fries, salads, and a secret sauce that is to die for. It’s all wrapped up in a warm pita wrap and given to you for a cheap price. A Greek Gyro is a gift from the Greek gods.
Moussakahas gained worldwide fame over the decades. It’s a dish made fromeggplants, minced meat, and béchamel.
Souvlakiis amixture of meats and vegetables on a skewer and coated with spices and lemon juice.It’s probably the second most popular Greek food after the gyro. I preferred the gyro only because it was more filling for the same price.Locals told me that tasting propersouvlakiis one of the things to do inZakynthosthat they’d recommend first.
Stifadois acasserole-baked Greek stew made with meat (beef or lamb), tomatoes, pearl onions, white wine, garlic, cinnamon, and oregano.It wouldn’t have been my first pick of Greek food, but I had to try something other than fast food snacks while in Greece.
Shipwreck – the journey toZakynthos’ most popular attraction
I knew from the first moment I arrived what my main purpose of visiting the island was. I had wanted to seean attractionknown asShipwreckthat is located inZakynthosfrom the moment I started traveling. Actually, seeing pictures of the place was part of my inspiration to travel abroad.
On my first day on the island, I realized it would not be possible (at least, it’d be extremely difficult) to reach Shipwreck by public transport. Therefore, my only option was to rent a4-wheelerfromZakynthoscar rentaland make my way across the island that way.
The ride to Shipwreck is quite beautiful. Along the coastline and high up in theZakynthoshills, I rode withvery little trafficand needing very little reference to direction. It’s pretty straight-forward to get around inZakynthos. It’s a two-lane, one highway kind of place.
Judging from thelackof traffic I saw on the way to Shipwreck, I was assuming I’d have the place to myself. However, a few tour buses proved me wrong. I believe Shipwreck (being themost popular attractionofZakynthos) is always crowded. There was a long line to take a picture from the man-made balcony overhanging the cliff.
However, it’s not too hard to escape the rush at Shipwreck no matter how many people are there. If you want a different, better, and less-touristy view, take thewalking trailthat’s not so clearly marked behind the balcony. There, it’s easy to find a spot for your own and take in the unbelievable view at peace.
The Tale of the Tape on Zakynthos, Greece
Zakynthosis a Greek island located in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest island in size in the Ionian Sea. The island has74 miles of coastlinewith the clearest blue water you’ve ever seen. That and its international airport make it a very popular tourist destination.
Although the island is only home to around 40,000 people, it pulls in well-above500,000tourists annually. I suppose it’s hard to resist a vacation to a sunny beach and a Gyro on a Greek Island.
How to get there/get around:
Personally, I saw it fit torent a 4-wheelerat the beginning of my stay inZakynthos. With it, you’llbe able to reach all thetop destinationswith ease and it is a bit more fun and reliable thanZakynthospublic transport.
However, if you’d like to stick with buses,Zakynthosmakes it possible to reach almost every destination by public transport. It will justtake a little bit more patience and you may not see all the things to do inZakynthosthis way.
American Survival Guide
A traditional dinner nearLaganasBeachwill cost you nothing out of the ordinary;$10-$12will usually cover a delicious traditional entrée.
A Night Out
A beer in the heart ofLaganasBeach district (Zakynthos’ most popular nightlife)isn’t exactly cheap, but it also won’t break your budget. You canbuya pint for about$3.50per.A stroll down toLaganasBeach at night was one of my favorite things to do inZakynthos.
AGyrojointin the middle ofLaganasBeach districtwill cost you about $2.50for a nice budget lunch. The price is even a little lower as you get further out fromthe busy tourist parts.This is an absolute pleasure food!
Bus or Train
Public transport is fairly inexpensive inZakynthoswhen compared to other cities more regularly on a backpackingitinerary. It costs$1.40for a single ride ticketand it’s even cheaper to get dropped off at some of the islands most popular resorts.
However, the trouble becomes the consistency ofZakynthospublic transport system. As most people elect to rent cars on theeasy-to-navigate roads, most tourists don’t use the public buses and so they don’t come around nearly as much as they should for the tourist’s advantage.Just pick up aZakynthosGreece map before you go!
Car, ATV, Moped Rental
As the public transportation inZakynthosis quitelacklusterand the island is too big to explore on foot, I highly recommend vehicle rental while staying inZakynthos.
To rent a 4-wheeler for 72 hours, I paid less than$60including the gas fill-up. It takes a bit of bargaining, but if you don’t like the price one rental company offers, just move to the one next door. There are rental companies all over the island!
ZakynthosAirBnBdoesn’t have thewidestselection.The selection they do have is fairly spread out, price-wise, depending on where you want to stay.Generally speaking, you can usually find an entire apartmentfor anywhere from$30-50on a nightly basis.
For an individual room, one person can normally find a bed for less than$20 per night.
The residents ofZakynthosare Greekspeakers with their own dialect. Check out thisbasic Greeklanguageguide before you go!However, overall, everyone can speak pretty clear Englishon this island as most are foreigners themselves.
If you want cell service, it’s important to check with your provider about international charges. In addition, it’s always a good idea to alert your provider (and your bank) that you’ll be traveling internationally.
Credit Card Transaction Fees
It’s important to check your credit company’s policy on international transactions before using it abroad. There are plenty of credit cards available that advertise “No International Transaction Fees”. If you want to get a new card before leaving, find one like this.
Things to have before you arrive
It’s not imperative; however, I’ve always found travel much more relaxing when you arrive without a dire need of any essentials. Here are a few of them:
- Electrical Adaptors
- Power Bank
- Offline Map (app)
- Directions to youraccommodation
Zakynthos– orGreece, in general – is a country a part of the European Union – which means Americans are granted 90-days in a 180-day period to travel freely throughout the E.U. This means if you plan to be in Europe for longer than three months, you should take a look atthis.
There are a lot of stereotypes that Americans have adopted over time. There are, also, a lot of stereotypes we have made about Europeans that just aren’t true.
With that being said, there are some cultural differences in everywhere you go. Embrace those – they’re the best part about traveling because those differences educate you.
InGreece, tipping is commonif the restaurant doesn’t round its bill to include a tip. A5-10%tip is an acceptable amount. Be careful that gratuity isn’t already included on your bill!
DiscoverZakynthosand Top Things to DoinZakynthos
Zakynthosleftme wanting more. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The beaches weren’t all that I had imagined and the island itself was fairlyquietfor a summer season.However, I know there are still plenty of things to do inZakynthosif I ever return.
If you want to find out more about how to travel Europe on a budget, and all that it has to offer, click on over to our Europe travel blog page dedicated totips for backpacking Europe! You will find these to be informative, giving you excellent insight into planning a trip through this multi-cultural continent.
greece things to do Travel with Adam zakynthos
Crete. The largest Greek island to visit, Crete has a whole heap of amazing things to see and do. It's one of those islands that'll need more than a few days to explore but don't let that put you off… it just means there's more to see.What is special about the Greek islands? ›
Whilst the Greek Islands is known for its party atmosphere, it's also hugely popular for its bewildering beaches, sheltered bays, coastal caves and further inland, its ancient villages, monasteries and world-class museums.
Santorini and Milos are two of the most beautiful islands in Greece and have a similar other-worldly feel. This is the fishing village of Firopotamos on Milos. The Greek islands are loaded with great beaches. Some of the best are on Naxos, Crete, and Ios.What's Greece best known for? ›
Greece is known for being the cradle of Western Civilization, the birthplace of democracy, the Olympic Games, and its ancient history and magnificent temples. Ancient temples in Greece include the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens, the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.What is the most special thing in Greece? ›
- Acropolis. 36,390. Historic Sites • Ancient Ruins. ...
- Imbros Gorge. 838. ...
- Hiking Trail Fira - Oia. 3,339. ...
- Tsambika Beach. 2,915. ...
- Paleokastritsa Monastery. 1,262. ...
- Church of Saint Dimitrios - Patron of Thessaloniki. 1,904. ...
- Porto Limnionas Beach. 1,872. ...
- Heraklion Archaeological Museum. 7,506.
- Andros. Best for authentic character. ...
- Folegandros. Best for sunsets. ...
- Nisyros. Best for volcanic views. ...
- Syros. Best for culture vultures. ...
- Meganisi. Best for peaceful escapes. ...
- Alonissos. Best for going wild. ...
- Agistri. Best for mixing city and sea. ...
- Milos. Best for otherworldly landscapes.
The Island of Lefkada is known as the "Caribbean of Greece" because of its exotic landscape and mesmerizing deep-blue waters that are reminiscent of tropical seas.Which is the most popular Greek island to visit? ›
Santorini is probably the most popular Greek Island. Afloat in the Aegean, east of the mainland, it is typically Cycladic with its blinding white houses, blue and pastel shutters and roofs.Which is the cheapest Greek island to visit? ›
- Agistri, for easy access from Athens. ...
- Kythnos, for quiet Cycladic beaches. ...
- Lefkada, for sparkling turquoise water. ...
- Ikaria, for hiking opportunities. ...
- Astypalaia, for classic Greek scenes. ...
- Hydra, for a car-free escape. ...
- Sifnos, for pretty churches and exhilarating hikes.
Hydra. Hydra is a popular destination for island day trips from Athens. Access to the island is easy with daily ferry routes from the port of Piraeus and regular routes from the ports of eastern Peloponnese. Hydra is a vehicle-free island, so there are no roads, no cars and no motorbikes!What is number one tourist attraction in Greece? ›
Perched atop a cliff in the heart of the city, this symbol of Western Civilisation is number one on every list of Greece's tourist attractions.
The Greeks made important contributions to philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Literature and theatre was an important aspect of Greek culture and influenced modern drama. The Greeks were known for their sophisticated sculpture and architecture.What are 3 things we got from Greece? ›
- Western Philosophy. Socrates. ...
- Olympics. The Olympic games first began on the island of “Pelops” in the western Peloponnese in 776 BCE. ...
- Marathon. ...
- Alarm Clock. ...
- Umbrellas. ...
- Cartography (Maps) ...
- Western Theater (Drama)
The ancient Greeks were the first to create a democracy. The word “democracy” comes from two Greek words that mean people (demos) and rule (kratos). The first known democracy in the world was in Athens. Athenian democracy developed around the fifth century B.C.E.What's beautiful about Greece? ›
What is so great about Greece? Greece is famous for its amazing beaches and clear-blue waters. In addition, the perfect beauty of Cycladic architecture, incredible sunset spots, and warm summer weather makes it one of Europe's most popular vacation destinations.What are five fun things to do in Greece? ›
- Hike to the Top of Mount Olympus. ...
- Enjoy the Cafes in Corfu. ...
- Visit the Ruins at Delphi. ...
- Take in the Views on Santorini. ...
- Take in the Volcanic Rocks of Lemnos. ...
- See the Shipwreck on Navagio Beach. ...
- Visit the Parthenon at the Acropolis of Athens. ...
- Enjoy the Nightlife in Mykonos.
The Greatest Gift – Even Today
The ancient Greeks had a tradition of offering small phials of olive oil to foreigners as a symbol of their great civilization.
Which island has the clearest water in Greece? Kefalonia island is surrounded by crystalline waters of magnificent blue. One of the best beaches for admiring the beauty of the island is Myrtos beach on the northwest coast.
For Tom Hanks and his family, that sunny spot is none other than the small island of Antiparos located in Greece. Hanks purchased a plot of land in Antiparos in 2004 and built a dream home where they could bask in the island life.Which Greek island is best for seniors? ›
- Crete. As the largest Greek island, Crete really has something for all interests. ...
- Rhodes. Rhodes is famous for its medieval port, Rhodes Town, which is a key stop-off point on many Greece cruise itineraries. ...
- Corfu. ...
- Kefalonia. ...
- Lesbos. ...
- Thasos. ...
- Patmos. ...
Samothraki, also known as Samothrace, is one of the least touristy Greek islands for foreigners. It's quite popular for Greeks going on holiday, especially for those who live in the north of the country.Which Greek island is best for couples? ›
- SANTORINI. This is one of the most romantic destinations in the world, and an ideal place for an unforgettable holiday. ...
- CRETE. The largest of all the Greek islands, Crete is one of the best Greek islands for a couples holiday. ...
- RHODES. ...
- CORFU. ...
- ZAKYNTHOS (ZANTE)
- Turks & Caicos.
- U.S. Virgin Islands.
- British Virgin Islands.
- Cayman Islands.
Balos Beach, Crete
This fantastic white and pink sand beach in Greece is one of the most visited places on Crete Island and for a great reason. Surrounded by a magnificent mountainous scape, this beach is a sea lagoon with super shallow emerald waters that gives you the impression of being in the Caribbean.
What is Greece famous for? Greece is famous for its ancient philosophers, like Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates, and Aristotle, to name a few. It is known as the birthplace of democracy in the West; they invented the Olympic Games and theater. Ancient Greeks invented monumental temples with Greek columns.Which Greek island is warmest? ›
Karpathos is one of the most southern islands in Greece. Located between Crete and Rhodes, it is Greece's hottest island.Which Greek island has warmest sea? ›
The warmest region throughout the year is the south-east Aegean: Kos, Rhodes, Bodrum and Marmaris. Except for June and July where also the Ionian, Saronic and Cyclades areas are as warm as the south-east Aegean.