12 Best Things to Do in Zakynthos Island, Greece

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Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is the island known for its postcard-perfect vision of a rusty shipwreck lying on a powdery white sandy beach tucked between towering cliffs. Located in the Ionian Islands, west of mainland Greece, Zakynthos is one of Greece’s lushest isles, full of dreamy natural landscapes.

Visitors will find a wide range of beaches, with everything from secluded spots to organized stretches dotted with umbrellas and loungers. It’s easy to escape the crowds here too, with authentic little villages to explore where you might be the only tourist around and where locals welcome you with a smile. 

View Shipwreck Beach From Above
Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

View Shipwreck Beach From Above

What Is It? Shipwreck Beach is the most famous attraction on Zakynthos and one of the best beaches in Greece. Officially called Navagio Beach, the rusted skeleton of a shipwreck rises from pristine white sands nestled between dramatic limestone cliffs and edged by an electric blue sea.

Why Do It? You’ll get to marvel at one of the most stunning visuals and capture an iconic postcard-worthy image.

Good to Know: Visit from around 11am to 3pm during the summer, as the sun needs to be high in the sky for the optimal view. You can drive to the overlook point where there is a small platform, although the best vantage point is enjoyed with a short walk north along the edge of the cliff.

See the Bridge to Nowhere: The Venetian Bridge of Argassi
Venetian Argassi Bridge

See the Bridge to Nowhere: The Venetian Bridge of Argassi

What Is It? The Venetian Bridge of Argassi is a medieval bridge constructed in the early 19th century, with half of it immersed in the sea and the other lying along the shore.

Why Do It? A visit makes for unique photos as well as being a romantic spot. There’s a legend behind it that tells the story of lovers who are still living their lives in spirit between heaven and earth.

Good to Know: They say that when the moon is full, if you walk onto the bridge at sunset, one can call for a lost love and the sea will answer.

Snorkel at Porto Limnionas
Snorkeling at Porto Limnionas, Zakynthos, Greece

Snorkel at Porto Limnionas

What Is It? If you like to snorkel, Porto Limnionas is one of the best spots. It’s located on the west coast between two towering limestone cliffs that have been carved out over time to create rocky caves.

Why Do It? Marine life found off the island’s shores includes moray eels, loggerhead turtles, bluefish, crayfish, tuna, greater amberjack, parrotfish, and lots of other reef fish. When you need a break, smoother areas on the rocks provide a perfect spot to soak up the sun.

Good to Know: After snorkeling, feed hunger pangs at the Limnionas Taverna which overlooks the bay and offers tasty, authentic Greek fare.

Play at Banana Beach
Banana Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

Play at Banana Beach

What Is It? Banana Beach is on the island’s southeast coast with golden sands and a mountain backdrop.

Why Do It? It’s the largest beach in Zakynthos and the most popular for water sports like banana boat rides, jet-skiing, paddle boarding, flyboarding, sea kayaking, parasailing, swimming, and more. This is the place to go when you want lots of action and an organized stretch with umbrellas, loungers, and several beach bars for cold drinks and light bites.

Good to Know: The beach is free and easy to access, with plenty of parking available.

Explore the Byzantine Museum
Byzantine museum in Solomos square in Zakynthos town, Greece

Explore the Byzantine Museum

What Is It? A museum that’s housed inside a beautifully restored building in Solomos Square along the central part of the waterfront in Zakynthos Town.

Why Do It? It showcases ecclesiastical art with nearly all of it rescued by volunteer sailors following the devastating 1953 Ionian earthquake. A visit brings the opportunity for a fascinating look at life on the island before the quake.

Good to Know: It covers three sections, with collections that include everything from entire interiors of churches and gorgeous centuries-old frescoes that are displayed in a replica 16th-century monastery to icons and ecclesiastical clothing.

Dine at The Shoestring Beach Bar/Restaurant
Shoestring Beach Bar and Restaurant, Old Alykanas, Zakynthos

Dine at The Shoestring Beach Bar/Restaurant

What Is It? A hidden gem of a restaurant tucked away in a cove offering some of the most delicious dining and complemented with a spectacular sea view.

Why Do It? You can spend the entire day here, avoiding the masses while enjoying refreshing drinks and tasty cuisine in between your time soaking up the sun and the sand. The mussels are a must-try – truly some of the world’s best!

Good to Know: It’s just steps from Tonia Apartments and the magnificent little beach of Ksechoriati, part of Alikanas.

Take the Blue Cave + Shipwreck Beach Boat Tour
Blue Caves, Zakynthos Island, Greece

Take the Blue Cave + Shipwreck Beach Boat Tour

What Is It? If you want to actually step onto the sands and swim in the incredibly enticing water at Shipwreck Beach, it can only be accessed by boat. Unless you have you’re own, you’ll need to join a tour.

Why Do It? Many boat tours include multiple experiences, such as a stop at the Blue Caves, with its dazzling blue waters and interesting arches. Vessels actually venture through the arches so that passengers can be surrounded by the stunningly surreal environment. Once at the famous beach, you can sunbathe, explore the wreck, swim, and capture close-up photos.

Good to Know: There are multiple outfitters that offer these tours throughout the island, including Zante Town.

Watch the Sea Turtles in Laganas Bay, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos
Swim with the sea turtles in Laganas Bay

Watch the Sea Turtles in Laganas Bay, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos

What Is It? The National Marine Park of Zakynthos was the first national park created for the protection of sea turtles in the Mediterranean. The islet of Marathonisi, or Turtle Island, is a protected breeding area for the loggerhead sea turtle.

Why Do It? Female loggerheads swim through the aquamarine waters around Marathonisi every summer to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches.

Good to Know: While it’s possible to visit the protected islet, unfortunately too many people come without care for the environment, causing harm to one of the most important nesting beaches for the animals in the Mediterranean. Instead, watch for them while swimming or snorkeling in Laganas Bay.

Wake Up Early to Watch the Sunrise
Sunrise on Zakynthos

Wake Up Early to Watch the Sunrise

What Is It? At sunrise, the sky fills with a spectacular array of vibrant yellow, gold, and orange over the dreamy Ionian Sea.

Why Do It? It will be one of those moments you’ll never forget and an amazing image for your Instagram feed.

Good to Know: The east side is where you’ll want to be to watch a sunrise from Zakynthos, and it’s just as breathtaking as the sunsets. Plus, it’s easy to find beautiful stretches of sand where you can enjoy it all to yourself, like Old Alikanas. Don’t stay out too late the night before because it’s well worth the early wake-up call.

Visit Skinari Lighthouse
Skinari Lighthouse, Zakynthos Island, Greece

Visit Skinari Lighthouse

What Is It? An active lighthouse built in 1897 that watches over the crossing between Zakynthos and Kefalonia islands, soaring over Cape Skinari.

Why Do It? It’s worth a visit for the drive alone, with the round, stone tower sitting at the northernmost tip of the island and boasting some of the most breathtaking surroundings. And, a picture of it is a great addition to any Instagram feed.

Good to Know: There are several historic stone windmills nearby to capture photos of as well.

Hike to the Venetian Castle
Path to the Venetian Castle in Zakynthos

Hike to the Venetian Castle

What Is It? A short, steep hike that will bring you to castle ruins that date back to the 15th century, originally built by the Venetians. It sits on a high hill, nestled in a pine forest.

Why Do It? It’s an excellent example of Venetian architecture and an incredibly enchanting scene overall. You can also enjoy fabulous views over the harbor in Zakynthos Town.

Good to Know: You can drive here but it’s just a 20-minute walk from town, providing an opportunity for a good, if short, workout. After exploring, take the trail to Bochali Village, which is home to several charming cafes that serve tasty traditional Greek snacks.

Buy Some of the Local Food Products
Olive oil soaked feta cheese is everywhere on Zakynthos Island

Buy Some of the Local Food Products

What Is It? Zakynthos is a fertile island that produces many high-quality food products, including cheese, olive oil, and wine.

Why Do It? One of the highlights of visiting this island is its tasty local cuisine. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to sample some of the local products and purchase items like olive oil and wine to bring back home as a souvenir of your trip or a gift for a friend.

Good to Know: While driving the back roads of the island, like the winding lanes in the mountainous northern area between Skinari and Shipwreck Beach, you’ll see locals selling their own products. It’s the perfect way to get to know them and pick up some of the very best items while enjoying the scenery at the same time.

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