Zakynthos is often not everyone’s top choice of Greek Island, unless you’re a party hard teenager going on a cheap holiday. However, Zante turned out to be beautiful and has way more to it than just cheap booze and clubs!
If you aren’t going with the intentions of partying everyday I would recommend visiting in the beginning of June as flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper, plus it’s only the very beginning on the ‘season’ so places aren’t as busy. Additionally, if you go to some of the popular beaches then you’ll have to pay for the sunbeds, however I wasn’t charged once for this service at the beginning of June.
I stayed in Kalamaki which was only a 5-10 minute drive from the airport which was great. There is a wide range of restaurants and bars to visit along the strip here. However, if you are wanting to go to the clubs it’s worth going 10 minutes down the road to Laganas which is the main party strip.
If you are able to hire a car I would suggest at least considering it. Many tourists hire quad bikes which look fun and all but they can be seriously dangerous, due to this we hired a car instead. I also didn’t get a hire car from the airport as it was cheaper to do it in the town I stayed in. Having a car isn’t a necessity as there are a few buses that do runs to the popular beaches and obviously taxi’s are around. However, if you do want to fully explore the island with less limitations then having a car works out to be cheaper, at least it did for me! WARNING: there are a lot of tight corners that can be very dangerous if you are not careful. This was not only my first time driving on the other side of the road but also my first time sitting on the other side of the car to drive and I still managed to stay safe.
Below is a brief description of the places I visited and what I reccomend. P.S the pictures of the sea do not even do justice of how beautiful it was in real life. I thought I’d seen clear turquoise water before, but no where compares to the clearness of the sea here.
If you aren’t staying in Kalamaki I don’t know whether you’d want to go out your way to visit here. However there are a large amount of restaurants and bars that stay open quite late. My favourite ended up being a little almost fast food style restuarant called Tazies as it served gyros for 2 euros! Can’t beat that. This was always the last food place open and is popular amongst tourists in the area. They also serve a wide range of salads, pizzas and burgers and crepes for dessert.
Kalamaki also has a long stretch of beach (this is the beach the plane’s fly over just before landing). The water is clear here and lovely to go for a swim in. I took a pair of snorkels and even managed to see a star fish. There a few local shops before the beach that sell snorkelling masks and bat and balls which is handy.
I decided to sit and enjoy a bacardi breezer watching the sunset after my evening swim and the view did not disappoint!
Also, just up from the beach there are a couple sandy paths leading up to some rocks overlooking the beach, which can be a nice peaceful view spot.
Planes landing on the island fly over this beach too so it can be quite nice to watch them around the time the sun sets.
Porto Limnionas – The get here you have to go down some windy roads, thankfully you are greated with a lovely view whilst going down (just try not to get distracted by this if you’re the driver)!
It was honestly the cleared water I’ve ever seen!
I visited here around 9am which was great because there were only 2 other people there at the time. It was the most beautiful spot for a morning swim! There’s rocks and a wooden board you can jump off, there’s also sun loungers you can hire to keep your stuff on or just to relax there when you aren’t swimming.
Porto Roxa – This is just down the road from Porto Limnionas so may be worth doing in the same day. It also has a pretty similar view and diving board, however it’s so stunning you may as well give it a visit. It’s a great spot to meet other people too.
St Nicholas Beach – If you are interested in doing any water sports on your trip to Zante I would recommend paying this beach a visit. I tried jet skiing for the first time here and it was well worth it. You only get 15 minutes on the jet ski but it did feel longer than that thankfully. They also offer a wide range of other water sports for individuals and groups.
Restaurant Agnanti, Kouroumallos Charalampos – you can enjoy delicious authentic Greek cuisine here, nicely accompanied with a glass of homemade wine. I would recommend trying the Moussaka or Pastitsio.
Cave Damianos Taverna – this is the best place to enjoy dinner over a sunset! The food was a little more expensive than the places I’d previously visited, however it was totally worth it! This was also my first experience of traditional Greek food and it did not disappoint.
Having your own car definitely comes in handy when trying to reach this restaurant.
There are many more places to explore in Zante such as the Shipwreck beach, however unfortunately I couldn’t do everything. If you’ve been here what do you recommend?
Update: I have since been back to Zante and managed to visit the Shipwreck beach viewpoint, check out my blog post on it here.