You can see in this travel guide how to get to Zakynthos, get around Zakynthos, best places to stay and how to explore the island of Zakynthos in style over one week itinerary.
Zakynthos is one of those islands that seems created out of a dream: great beaches, amazing sea caves, wonderful nature landscapes.
Shipwreck or Navagio Beach, probably the best beach in Greece, perhaps even in Europe is almost reason enough to come to Zakynthos alone. But Zakynthos, also known as “La Fiori de Levante” (Flower of the East), has of course many more too things to do, to keep you .
WHEN TO GO TO ZAKYNTHOS
The best time to go to Zakynthos is to go from June to September, when the temperatures are hot and the sea is quite warm with over 26-27 degrees celsius. Like in most Greece, you should anyway avoid August as temperatures might be very hot by then, surpassing 35 degrees celsius.
A good shoulder month is October as the sea is still warm and temperatures still hold to mid 20 degrees celsius. May is also a pleasant month but the sea temperature will still be in its low 20’s.
HOW TO GET TO ZAKYNTHOS AND GET AROUND
The best way to get to Zakynthos is by air, flying to the international airport Dyonisios Solomos, that is well modernized, receiving plenty of direct flights in Summer from several European cities.
Zakynthos airport is 15 minutes to Zakynthos town, costing 15€, or 20 minutes to the South of the island, Laganas, costing around 21€. To the North it can take you up to 45 minutes depending on where you are. Taxis are fared but you should make sure they switch it on.
In case you are already in Greece, then you can get to Zakynthos is by ferry as the island is well connected by ferries from Greece mainland, only 18km away, or from Kefalonia island a couple of times nearby. I have a couple of tips on how you can get ferry on the below article.
Zakynthos is very close to the Kyllini harbour in Greece mainland, trip duration is 1h15 minutes from Kyllini to Zakynthos Town with Levante ferries. In summer there are at least 4 ferries on each direction, with the price being 37€ by car and 9.50€ per person. You can consult the schedules and book online Levante Ferries website.
Zakynthos also has also have connections to Kefalonia with in Summer. Ferry departs from Pesada, in Southern Kefalonia, to Agios Nikolaos, in the North of Zakynthos. Note that if you arent’t travelling with your own transportation, do book a taxi or transfer before. You can check schedules and prices at the Ionion Pelagos website.
The ideal option to get around Zakynthos is renting a car. With a car you can access the Northwest of the island to see Shipwreck Beach and all other top attractions of Zakynthos by your own. I must say that driving in Zakynthos was quite pleasant, only Zakynthos Town has more traffic, the rest of the island is relatively calm. Roads are in good shape, not very narrow except on the higher hills.You have an option to book any activities with tour agencies, if you want to avoid the hassle of driving.
WHERE TO STAY IN ZAKYNTHOS
The best region to stay in Zakynthos is in the South, as it has the best beaches of the island and also the most quietest waters – Laganas Bay for party seekers and Vassilikos for those more into a quiet holiday, even it can become busy.
My base location in Zakynthos was precisely in the Southeast of Zakynthos in Vassilikos. I decided to go for a hotel with with a nice pool and breakfast included, so Aron Green Riviera did fit the bill quite well for circa 100€ a night and a few steps away from the beach. Of course there will be cheaper options and you can do some savings if you book outside the peak period.
Vassilikos accomodation: Arion Green Riviera with an unbeatable location, just 2 minutes from the beach, very cool modern pool design, with rooms accessing the pool directly. I wasn’t to be disappointed as they gave me an upgrade for free upon arrival and the breakfast was really good. The fact that the hotel was half empty also made the whole experience nicer even though I did miss some animation and the bar closed at 10pm. Still you could go to the twin resort 5 minutes away up the street for some activities . If you fancy a good restaurant by the beach, then there is one just 2 minutes away. Thetre is free parking and Wi-Fi. Finally the famous Banana Beach is a 10 minutes walk or 5 minutes by car, Zakynthos Town is a mere half an hour. Overall a great experience, do look for bargains on booking.com or on their website: https://arionhotelzante.com/
Even if I did choose it to enjoy some quality beach time in Vassilikos, I can suggest you that after a couple of days you start exploring the island. I immediately planned to go to the Northwest to see the Navagio beach as well as have a boat trip and of course to look at the capital city.
WHERE TO EAT IN ZAKYNTHOS
Even if it depends on where you will stay and also the locations you will visit, here is a list of my favorite restaurants in Zakynthos:
Vassilikos: Banana Baya Beach Bar is the most trendy bar with the perfect location at Banana beach in Vassilikos. The food is really good and tastes very fresh, with the cost per person including one beverage would be around 15-20€. Service at the beach is also seamless, they bring you food and drinks within 5-10 minutes in average. A sun umbrella and 2 sunchairs cost between 7 and 15€ depedning on wjhich row and seats you choose. YOu also have a good wi-fi connection and lounge music to chill out. Definitely my favorite place in Zakynthos.
Vassilikos/Gerakas: Taverna Lithies was for me the best local Greek food in a beautiful garden terrasse, surrounded by a local farm with fresh produce,. It’s located perfectly in between Vassilikos village (only 5 minutes away by car) and Gerakas (other 5 minutes). The food is duvine and the wine even better, go for the house one as its just the perfect mix. Cost per person will be around 20€ but portions are quite generous and so tasty. The chicken is the main specialty, all from the local farm nearby. Only downside is that Wi-Fi is weak, but well you are on vacations… Try to make a reservation if possible to avoid waiting.
Vassiilikos: Taverna Ionios, literally 2 steps away from Arion Green hotel, it has the best location with a terrasse right above the beach and wonderful views of the Ionian sea. At night its busy, but the wait is well worth it as you get to see sunset colours even if you are on the East coast. I did like the fish here but the vegetarian dishes were simply amazing as well as the grilled feta cheese. The owner also goes the extra mile and will recommend you the best dishes and wines. Cost will be around 15.20€ per person. Free Wi-Fi is included. It’s just off the main road, 5 minutes by car after the supermarket sign.
Zakynthos Town: Thimalos Taverna is a great choice for those looking for great seafood right by the harbour area. On top of that the decoration is simply brilliant and will make you taste some of their finest dishes – octopus with honey sauce was a premiere for me and I must say its just incredibly tasty. Of course squids, fresh fish and some other local specialties are also available. It might cost around 20-25€ but it’s well worth eating here with the gentle sea breeze. I also liked the detail that your receipt is actually a copy of the menu with what you ordered marked there. I find it a smart way of promoting the restaurant! It’s quite close to the town hall square, 1o minutes by foot but you can also find some parking nearby if you are arriving by car.
A final reference to the friendly and great fresh fruit and with the best juices and smoothies you can imagine: Fruit Mania is the spot to go and well worth the stop here when your way from Vassilikos to Zakynthos Town or the other way around. The super friendly owner will make it on that moment and you can even choose the ingredients yourself. prices will vary between 3€ to 6€
So hopefully you can draw some good inspiration of my experiences, everyone is different and you might opt for it, but mos importantly you will be motivated to explore the island and discover the best spots, leaving your hotel or apartment, to live an unforgettable experience For any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. More posts about the Ionian islands will come soon!
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My name is Renato Azambujo. I live currently in Hamburg, but was born and raised in sunny capital of Portugal, Lisbon. I also lived in Switzerland for some years, before settling in Germany for the last years.
I am huge passionate about travel, photographer and a global explorer, always looking to the next destination.
I have so far visited over 70 countries across the 5 continents, because I really love knowing about new places, interact with different cultures and get to know myself better after each journey.