Proving that there’s more to Zakynthos than THAT famous view, here’s my guide to why there is definitley more than one reason to visit the pretty Greek island more commonly known as Zante.
With Navagio’s show-stopping viewpoint taking centre stage in travel ‘inspo’ image saves and bucket list pinterest boards, the increase of world wide travellers heading to Zante each year has sky rocketed. Having seen the incredible view for myself (and written about it here) I can absolutely attest that the view alone is worth the flight over. Whilst you are there though, you may as well make the most of the island and explore!
1. Hit the road
The island of Zakynthos may be small but it’s full of character and the easiest and best way of getting out to explore everything is by car. The roads are some of the most beautifully rustic routes in Greece with sweeping views of the sea from most of winding dusty tracks. As well as the elevated views of the towns and marinas below you often pass by quaint traditional greek homes and authentic local restaurants. With affordable rentals available to pre-book or hire at the booths upon the arrivals hall, there’s little excuses for getting taxi. Unless you are fond of a daytime tipple it will work out a) cheaper and b) more exciting!
2. Lounge at Porto Limnionas Beach Club
Based in the south west of the island is a beautifully located beach club where you can spend the day on comfy sun loungers with a rather epic sea view. The water here is crystal clear and the perfect depth for swimming, there’s also a small swim-in cave adding a little extra ‘wow-factor’ to the location. There’s not actually a physical beach but as with most small Greek islands, the pretty rocks that lead down to the sea make up for the lack of sand. The club serves food and drinks throughout the day and provides towels so you could easily make a day of it.
Top Tip – Head here in the afternoon so you can stay for the sunset, it’s one of the best spots on the island to view it.
3. Marvel at Navagio Shipwreck Cove, The Beach
Seeing the pretty cove from above is a ‘once in a lifetime’ view there’s no question but standing on the very same beach you see from above is an unforgettable experience. The part shingle part sandy beach is so spectacularly beautiful words nor photos could ever do it justice. There’s nowhere else in the world quite like it and wandering along the foaming edge of where the sea meets the beach you feel as though you’ve been dropped off in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The sea is the most alluringly unique shade of blue and though not clear the near-opaque eeriness makes it all the more inviting and memorable.
Floating on my back and looking up at the vast cliff edges was the most surreal experience, it feels like as though they are towering over, directly above you and it’s completely mesmerising. It will be one of those moments I’ll never forget.
If you think the beach looks pretty from above I urge you to see it from sea level too – just make sure you head there in the shoulder seasons as during summer there’s barley a towel’s space between eager visitors.
4. Wander in Agios Nikolaos Marina
Here is where the boats leave daily for excursions to the Navagio Shipwreck Cove Beach and the Blue Caves. It’s a busy but beautiful spot and the twinkling Agean Sea that creeps into the town is crystal clear and mesmerising . There’s a small street lined either side with cafes and shops, it’s a great area for a wander in the evenings and you can pick up a few traditional souvenirs to take home. Ample free parking is available as most of the land owners work with the tour operating companies offering parking in exchange for heading out on one of the boat trips.
5. Swim inside The Blue Caves
Along with Navagio the blue caves of Zakynthos have a fame of their own,. Similar to the Blue Grotto in Capri this unique world wonder is an amazing natural phenomenon. It can only be viewed by those of whom dare to swim underneath the small opening between rock and sea which can be daunting to some swimmers but it’s worth the will! The gap is too small for boats to enter like in Capri but a leisurely (in my opinion) swim in will treat you to one of earth’s coolest displays. The clear water is naturally illuminated and you’ll find yourself swimming in a cave of cobalt blue water. The further in you swim the deeper the blue becomes and even though it reaches a navy shade the clarity always remains. It’s a really exhilarating experience and a must when visiting Zakynthos.
I was only on the island for 3 days and even though we managed to get up to the most I’m sure the island has even more to offer, I’ll be heading back next year for sure so stay tuned for The Alternative Guide to Zakynthos Part Two!