Dreaming of a trip to the Greek islands? Put Zakynthos at the top of your list.
Zakynthos: The flower of the East
Zakynthos, a lesser known tourist destination, is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea and the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It is often a popular summer vacation for the people of Greece and has a number of popular beaches and water sport activities available. If you're looking for a more laid back and quiet vacation on a Greek island, Zakynthos is definitely worth putting at the top of your exploration list.
What to know before you go to Zakynthos
Planning - avoid going during the peak tourist time, for example August. Although if you have to, Zakynthos will be less intense than an island like Santorini or Mykonos.
Transportation - Olympic Air has flights from Athens to Zakynthos. Try to get an early morning flight so you have time to enjoy your first day if you don't plan to stay for many days. Otherwise, you can kill time in Athens for the day if connecting through Athens and arriving in Zakynthos at night.
When you arrive in Zakynthos there will only be two baggage carousels in baggage claim. It's quite easy and cute. Plan to rent a tiny car for your time on the island. Budget rental care is one of your options at the airport. If you need an automatic vehicle, make sure to reserve ahead of time as inventory can be limited. If you don't have a data plan or SIM card, opt for the wifi to use your gps.
Stay - Stefania Apartments. This is not in the thick of things in Zakynthos town, the capital city. It's definitely a spot for quiet and privacy. Harris is a very sweet host and the breakfast is hearty and delicious! (€8 full breakfast.) If you want to stay in the center of things, consider Zante Star Hotel in Zakynthos Town, but make sure to book with plenty of time in advance.
Water - Do not drink the water! Bottled water only.
Currency - euro
Temperature - high 80's in summer months (June-August) and lows in the mid 60's.
7 Things to do on Zakynthos
1. Drive to the Navagio Beach scenic view
Expect about an hour drive from Stefania apartments, but pretty and easy (and a bit windy).
2. Take a boat ride with the Potamitis Brothers
A 30 minute drive from the Shipwreck scenic view to the port. €15 each for two boat rides. The first boat does a little tour of the blue caves and gives you the option to jump in the water and have a swim. The blue caves are stunning and is so worth the ride. The coral and sun cause the water to appear the shades of blue that they are. It's hard to believe these colors can exist in nature. (no filter on these photos!)
The second boat ride is to Shipwreck Beach for an hour of swimming. It is simply stupefying!
If the driver feels spontaneous he may bring the boat to one last secret beach area before returning to port. This beach is visited by very few people. You can expect everyone at the company to be friendly and helpful and willing to ensure the group had a most memorable experience.
3. Eat dinner at Crossroad Restaurant - Tavern
Close to Stefania apartments, low key and very friendly. Oh, and delicious!
4. Relax back at your accomodation
It is your little paradise of a private sea view and a most relaxing experience.
5. Plan to drive around Zakynthos and explore and wander
It's easy to get around and you can take your time and stop and photograph everything spectacular about this island. Stop and buy some treats - oils and nuts from local vendors.
6. Stroll and explore Zakynthos Town
Here is where you will want to explore Agios Dionisios Church and eat at Prosilio Restaurant.
7. Visit Porto Limnionas Beach
Another more popular and spectacular beach on the island.
Enjoy your most sensational experience on the island of Zakynthos!