When it comes to holidaying in Greece, you’re guaranteed a rich culture, tantalising gastronomy and some of the best scenery in the whole of Europe. And the mesmerising island of Zante is no different.
Just off the south-western tip of mainland Greece, Zante is a little bit of everything – a beautiful beach hideaway, clubber’s paradise and family-friendly spot. Not to mention it’s all wrapped up in one of the best coastlines in the Mediterranean.
Not sure how to spend your days here? Here are the top things to do in Zante:
- Shipwreck Beach
- Tsilivi Waterpark
- National Marine Park of Zakynthos
- Byzantine Museum
- Gerakas Beach
- Blue Caves
- Agios Dionysios
- Cameo Island
Looking for paradise? Well, you’ve just found it on the isle of Marathonisi. Also known as Turtle Island, this heavenly spot is just across from Keri Beach in Laganas Bay.
Its calm waters are great for swimming and snorkelling, so if you’re looking for an underwater adventure, this is the perfect place. Apart from one tiny bar, the island remains totally undeveloped to protect the turtle species that nest here and lay their eggs.
2. Shipwreck Beach
One of the most recognisable scenes across the whole of the island, Shipwreck Beach is a must for beach-lovers.
Also known as Navagio Beach or Smuggler’s Cove, this sought-after spot is only accessible by boat, which you’d think would make it quite quiet and peaceful. But, thanks to its glistening turquoise waters and pristine white sands, the beach gets busier and busier as the day goes on. So, if you fancy checking it out, get down early to secure your spot on the sands.
The shipwreck itself is definitely the star of the show. After washing up on the beach in 1980 while being pursued by the Greek Navy, the ship is now a rusted orange and covered in graffiti.
3. Tsilivi Waterpark
Since 2010, this action-packed water park has been a hit with holidaymakers looking for a day full of fun. You’ll find it on the north coast of the island, just a 15-minute walk from Tsilivi Beach and a short drive from Zante Town.
Whether you’re a bit of a daredevil or you prefer to sit back and take it easy, there are attractions for all ages and interests. Little adventurers will love the pirate ship and water jungle, while grown-ups can whizz down the Black Hole and Turbolance slides.
When it’s time to refuel, you can grab snacks from the Pirate Bar then sip a cooling cocktail or fresh coffee at the pool bar.
Head to the capital, Zante Town, for a slice of the island’s history. Peering over the bustling streets below is a crumbling Venetian fortress. To reach the top, it’s a bit of a steep hike which takes around 15 minutes. If you’d prefer to drive, it’s accessible by car too.
Passing dense forest and abandoned churches along the way, the route to the top is certainly worth it when you’re rewarded with mesmerising sea views. This peaceful spot is perfect for getting away from it all.
5. National Marine Park of Zakynthos
Catch a glimpse of some of the island’s most fascinating creatures on a trip to the National Marine Park. Stretching along the south coast, including the beaches of Kalamaki and Laganas, it aims to protect and conserve animal and plant species that thrive in this area.
These rich waters are home to the endangered Caretta-caretta sea turtle and the Mediterranean monk seal – the Moncahus monachus. The park also protects species on land, such as kingfishers, tortoises, iguanas and porcupines. Why not see how many you can spot?
6. Byzantine Museum
Step back in time to discover the island’s intriguing history. The Byzantine Museum sits in Dionysios Solomos square and after being pretty much destroyed in an earthquake in 1953, it’s slowly but surely getting back to its original state.
Uncover seven rooms and two floors filled with fascinating artefacts, such as Byzantine icons carved into wood, original frescoes from the 15th, 16th and 17th century alongside 18th-century oil paintings.
It’s open 8am until 3.30pm during the summer and tickets start from only €2!
7. Gerakas Beach
If you’re feeling a beach day, why not head to one of the best on the island? Gerakas Beach is the most southern beach on Zante and the least developed. This long swathe of sand is a protected marine site which is sometimes roped off, so there may be parts that you can’t get to.
If you pitch up early enough, you might even catch a glimpse of the Caretta-caretta turtles hatching in the sand and making their way into the water!
8. Blue Caves
The dazzling Blue Caves are one of the island’s most famous attractions. Just off the north-west coast, this collection of caves creates unique reflections, making anything in the water to appear bright turquoise!
Explore them on a boat trip and take the plunge to experience the water for yourself. Some boats even have a glass bottom, so you can admire the underwater world without stepping foot off the deck. If you do decide to take a dip, don’t forget your snorkel!
9. Agios Dionysios
While exploring the capital, Zante Town, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit this remarkable church. Dedicated to the patron saint of the island, Agios Dionysios Church is home to well-preserved artworks by renowned Greek artists as well as a huge silver casket that holds the remains of the patron saint.
It’s free to enter but you may want to make a small donation that goes towards the church’s upkeep as you leave.
10. Cameo Island
Just offshore from Laganas Beach, this idyllic island is a little slice of heaven. It can only be accessed by a wooden footbridge and there are steep steps up and down once you arrive. If you’re a little unsteady on your feet, this is probably not the best place for you.
It costs €5 per person to get onto the island, but once here, you could spend the whole day exploring at your leisure. There’s no sandy beach but plenty of spots to lay down your towel and soak up the rays. The water is even clearer here than on the beach, so if you like spotting colourful fish, you’re in for a treat!
Posted: 12th Aug 2019.