Why you will fall in love with Zakynthos, Greece
My husband has always wanted to go to Greece. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it, mainly because I didn’t know much about the different islands, except from pictures of the typical Santorini white washed villas or ancient ruins in Athens. So when we had the opportunity to take 4-day mini break to Greece, it was literally one of the those wave your fingers in a circle over a map of the Greek islands until it lands on one. And that’s where you’re off to – Zakynthos!
Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian islands, just south of Kefalonia. A mix of complete poverty and beauty, it’s an island that has a significant reliance on the tourist industry which reflects in the locals’ warm and welcoming manner. We had 4 full days there which is enough to see everything. Although a few extra days on a beach lounger with a cocktail would always be enjoyed!
I loved the laid-back manner of Zante. No frills, no fuss – just scenery that will steal your heart and a guarantee to de-stress anyone after a few days spent on the island.
Here is the countdown of my Top 5 favourite spots in Zante
5. Porto Paradiso, Alykes
A quirky beach bar with gorgeous sea views out towards Kefalonia and the best mango daiquiri I have ever tasted!
4. Boat trip to the Blue caves and Shipwreck beach
Warning. This can be very commercialised, with loads of boat tours daily to these sights. If you can overlook this, you will thoroughly enjoy this experience.
The highlights of the tour for me were not even the sights that were advertised. The first was the view of the island from the sea. We get so used to staring out at the sea, that sometimes we don’t notice the view behind us. The north side of the island has a dramatic, rugged coastline. It’s a mixture of black jagged rocks, white cliff faces and waters so blue they are difficult to describe.
The other highlight was the stop that the boat tour makes in a protected cove, to allow you jump into the Ionian sea for a much needed swim. This will be one of the best swims you will ever have!
In hindsight I would have preferred to see the Blue caves in a more up-close and personal manner, like kayaking. But we had chosen another route for our kayak trip. And whilst Shipwreck beach is beautiful from sea level, it is spectacular from above at the view site.
3. Navagio beach viewpoint
One of the most famous viewpoints in Zante and a popular picture on the internet when googling top things to see in Greece. It is as amazing as it looks in the pictures and well worth the half hour scramble along the cliffside for the view. Just take some water and some decent walking shoes. Flip flops will not cut it on this walk!
2. Sea Kayaking to Keri caves and turtle island
This was an incredible experience, and one I will definitely repeat given the chance. A double kayak is also a good test of the strength of any relationship! It’s a full day out kayaking across to the nesting beach on turtle island (which actually does look like a turtle), then across to the Keri caves where you get the chance to swim through the caves, and back to main beach through the bay of Laganas (Turtle Bay), where if luck is on your side you may spot a sea turtle. The tour is run by Sea Kayaking Zakynthos https://www.facebook.com/SeaKayakInZante/ and hosted by Dimitris, who is a fantastic guide. Even if you don’t have any kayaking experience, (and we had very limited experience), this is something that needs to be on top of your to do list
1. Drumroll please…the one that made it to the absolute top of my list is Porto Limnionas.
You will need a hire car for this one, there is no public transport here. It’s reached via a steep and rather terrifying switchback road, and you can definitely spot the tourists driving along here! There are also no street names, it’s just labelled as street from (whatever the name of the closest town is) on our sat nav. Being off the beaten track means it’s not overrun with too many tourists, and is enjoyed by many locals too. It’s a beautiful rocky cove where you leap off the rocks straight into the crystal clear waters.
There is a restaurant and lounger service as well, so you can rent loungers under thatched umbrellas for the day and spend it lazing in the sun or floating around the cove on your pool inflatable. An instant de-stress and guaranteed to get you into holiday mode.
Zante has so much to offer, so what are you waiting for?
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