Zakynthos

Photo © Lachesis

Travel Guide Europe Greece Zakynthos

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Introduction

Zakynthos, or Zante, is beautifull island in the western part of Greece in a complex of islands called Eptanisa in the Ionian Sea. Zakynthos has been occupied by many countries until it became a part of Greece in 1864. The island is an important cradle of Greek civilization and is significantly bonded to Greece modern history. Zakynthos is divided in 5 municipalities and has a population of around 40,000 residents.

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Geography

Zakynthos lies in the eastern part of the Ionian sea, around 20 kilometres west of the Greek (Peloponnese) mainland. Island of Kefalonia lies 15 kilometres on the north. It is the southernmost of the main group of the Ionian islands (not counting distant Kythira). Zakynthos is about 40 kilometres long and 20 kilometres wide, and covers an area of 410 km2. Its coastline is approximately 123 kilometres long. According to the 2011 census, the island has a population of 45,650. The highest point is Vrachionas, at 758 metres.

Zakynthos has the shape of an arrowhead, with the "tip" (Cape Skinari) pointing northwest. The western half of the island is a mountainous plateau and the southwest coast consists mostly of steep cliffs. The eastern half is a densely populated fertile plain with long sandy beaches, interrupted with several isolated hills, notably Bochali which overlooks the city and the peninsula of Vasilikos in the northeast. The peninsulas of Vassilikos on north and Marathia on south enclose the wide and shallow bay of Laganas on the southeast part of the island.

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Cities/towns

  • Zakynthos town
  • Laganas
  • Kalamaki
  • Argasi
  • Agios Nikolaos
  • Vasillikos
  • Keri
  • Tsilivi
  • Alykes/Alykanes

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Sights and activities

Zakynthos island is full of modern and medieval sights for you to visit. In the main city you can see the well known Italian architecture in many buildings that compose a wonderful historic background. Must-see sights are:

  • The aristocratic city square in Zakynthos
  • The Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos
  • The Venetian Fort of Zakynthos
  • The blue cave combined with wonderful blue sea waters
  • The Navagio Beach - a breathtaking beach only accessible by boat with a shipwreck in the beach
Zakynthos, Navaggio

Zakynthos, Navaggio

© All Rights Reserved Ena11

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Weather

Zakynthos has a typical Mediterranean climate with generally hot and dry summers from June to September and mild but wet winters from December to March. Temperatures are mostly around 30 °C during the day and around 20 °C at night in summer. Winters see days of 10-15 °C during the day and just a little less at night. Most of the rain falls from November to April.

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Getting There

By Plane

Zakynthos International Airport, "Dionysios Solomos" (ZTH) is situated near the city and has regular flights especially in summer time from the United Kingdom and Germany. Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways have most flights, including destinations like Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Dublin, Newcastle, Belfast and Manchester. Air Berlin serves the German cities of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Nuremberg, and Zürich as well. Other destinations with a dozen or so of airlines are Amsterdam, Warsaw, Vienna, Bern and Belgrade.
Athens and Thessaloniki have regular connections as well.

By Boat

Zakynthos port is situated in the city of Zakynthos and is connected to Patras - one of the biggest ports in Greece. Furthermore, there are ferries to Kyllini and and Kefalonia.

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Getting Around

By Bus

There are buses that go between the most crowded areas of the island. Ask around and there will be no pain in finding the bus stops. However, bus services on the island are rather infrequent and sometimes unreliable. Taxis, however, are not too expensive.

By Car

The best way to get around is by rental car. There are literally dozens of rental agencies on the island besides the big ones. Preferably get a 4WD car, as some attractions are off the main roads. Beware of the condition of some of the roads. The smaller roads may well have pot holes and even the "better" roads are extremely slippery. Also beware of other drivers. If you assume everyone else on the road is out to get you and drive accordingly it's probably the best way of dealing with it. Due to the island being fairly small and only a few major towns it's quite hard to get lost as most roads either go eventually to Zakynthos town or to Volimes in the north and you can work it out from there. Road signs are sporadic and some are bi-lingual with English and Greek, some are Greek alone. Also watch out for scooters, especially in the main tourist areas.

By Bicycle

Cycling is a pleasant way of navigating the southern and central parts of the island, if somewhat impractical in the rougher, hillier terrain of the north. Bike hire is available in all but the smallest of resorts, costing around €4-8 per day, with discounts available for multi-day hire periods. A basket and a lock will usually be included but hire shops are very unlikely to rent helmets, so bring your own if required. A new business called Bike Ride Zakynthos has started up for the 2011 season, offering tours of the island if you don't fancy doing it alone.

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Eat

Traditional agricultural products are olive oil, thyme honey, currants, and wine, which can be purchased at roadside stalls or in the villages.

Zakynthos is a growing tourist island, and hence along with traditional Greek fare, one will find Anglicized cuisine. In Laganas, travellers would be more hard-pressed to find baklava than an English-fry up, but there are some very good places to eat Greek cuisine, and at very reasonable prices.

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Drink

Bars are found in abundance on Zakynthos, from the lazy beach bar to clubs to British-run establishments. The beers of choice are the Greek Mythos, Alfa and Fix, though Amstel comes a close second. Drinkers looking for a more sartorial experience are advised to check out bars in Zakynthos town. There are also the local village wines (beware: strong!), the Metaxa brandy along with the standard ouzo.

The bars of Laganas can serve pretty much anything else and caters to the young drunk tourist.

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Sleep

There is a wide variety of hotels on Zakynthos. From budget to top luxurious hotels ready to satisfy every visitors' needs.

  • Angella Sterpis (Ano Vassilikos, 3km before Gerakas Beach), ☎ +30 6982333017, e-mail: info@arazzoapartments.com. Furnished, self-catering studios and apartments at the seaside. It is a family complex of five self-catering apartments and two studios with spacious and comfortable rooms.
  • Blue House (Vasilikos), ☎ +30 2695035218. Apartments and studios 50m from the beach.
  • Lilly Villas, Georgiou V, Zakynthos Town, ☎ +30 46 525 3896. 6 different villas, some as close as 200 metres from the beach, and free WI-FI.
  • Bozonos Villa (Akrotiri), ☎ +30 6976220005. Bozonos Villa covers an area of 450 sq m and occupies a 1,600 sq m property.
  • Daphnes Villas and Apartments, Porto Roma, Vasilikos (100 m from Porto Roma beach at the very end of Vasilikos peninsula), ☎ +30 2695035319. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. 10 self-catered cottages sleeping 2-7 people. Air-con, Internet, library, playroom, playground, maid service, bed linen, bicycles, BBQ all included in the price. Walking distance to beach, supermarket, taverns and car rental. Open May - October. €25 person/day.
  • Edelweiss apartments (Argassi Hotel) (Argassi), ☎ +30 26950 27601. The Edelweiss complex is in the beautiful seaside village resort of Argassi with the magnificent Mt Skopos as its backdrop.
  • Emerald Deluxe Villa (Agioa Nikolaos Volimes), ☎ +30 26950-32006. Hillside setting with fabulous coastal views, private pool and gardens a family friendly property. 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, (comfortable for up to 8 people) kitchen, dining area, living area, private pool with hydro massage, children's pool, private playground, private parking area, outdoor dining-living area, outdoor shower, BBQ, satellite TV, Wi-Fi.
  • Gerakas Cottage, Gerakas, Vasilikos (15 km from Zakynthos town at Gerakas Beach), ☎ +30 6945585017. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. This cosy pink cottage, which sleeps 5, is in an oak forest with a private garden with sea view and a path leading down to a small secluded beach. €30/person/day.
  • Harmony Villas, Mouzaki (Agrilia-Mouzaki), ☎ +30 6944561801, e-mail: info@harmonyvillas.gr. Stone villa with 2 bedrooms to accommodate 6 people. In a quiet area close to the beach. Free airport transfer. Free Wi-Fi. €39+.
  • Kioussi Zakynthos Villas, Xirokastello, Vassilikos, ☎ +30 26950 36028, e-mail: info@zakynthos-villas.gr. Villas with private swimming pool. Tastefully decorated and close to the beach of Kaminia.
  • Kookis Village (Keri), ☎ +30 26950 25324-5. Kookis Village is a group of villas near Keri Lake.
  • Maistrali Apartments (Zakynthos Apartments) (Tragaki, Tsilivi Village), ☎ +30 26950 65090-1-2. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. €24+.
  • Paliokaliva Villas (Tragaki, Paliokaliva Village), ☎ +30 2695 063770, +30 2695 043078. Comprises 10 unique houses ranging from one-bedroom bungalows to two-bedroom cottages.
  • Paradisso Villa, Ammoudi Beach Ano Gerakario, ☎ +30 26950 62614. On two levels. Beautifully furnished throughout in traditional Zakynthian-style. The ground floor has a large living room with two comfortable single divans with orthopaedic mattresses for extra sleeping arrangements. Outside, there is a large wooden deck terrace which is literally perched above the sea as well as a smaller kitchen patio. The villa is surrounded by lushly planted gardens and a little gate leads you down a private path to the beach (30 m).
  • Porta del Mar Beach Villas Resort (Psarou Beach, Messo Gerakari), ☎ +30 26950 65082. Porta del Mar is a group of beach villas on Psarou Beach near Messo Gerakari.
  • Villa Ira Zante (Close to the village of Agios Leon on the west coast). Villa Ira Zante is in a small cluster of villas that form the Aresti Mountain Resort. It has 3 bedrooms, a private pool, BBQ, linens, towels, a microwave, washing machine, dishwasher, air conditioning, gardens, satellite TV, and DVD player, with maid service twice a week. £791, low season.

Zante Park Hotel (Laganas), ☎ +30 26950 52310, +30 26950 52311, +30 26950 52313. Offers Greek and International cuisine.

  • La Dolce Villa, Vasilikos, ☎ +306976652020, e-mail: vitsospetros@hotmail.com. Venetian style villa among olive trees yet on the edge of the Ionian sea and just a short walk to Gerakas beach. There is a stunning living room with a marble fireplace, a uniquely handmade wooden library, a kitchen, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a balcony, terraces, well maintained gardens, a private little forest and a secluded rocky beach.
  • Naturist Panorama Hotel. The hotel Panorama has operated as a naturist hotel from 2010 and is one of the few of that kind in Greece.

View our map of accommodation in Zakynthos (Zante)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet access is widely available throughout the country. Almost all hotels provide internet access, either free or paid. Local coffee shops usually offer free Wi-Fi access, as many other public places do. Feel free to ask for the password, if the network is locked. Internet cafes however tend to be expensive, about €1.5-2 per hour.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The cheapest way to call someone abroad is to use a pre-paid calling card and call from a land line anywhere (also from your hotel room). Pre-paid calling cards are sold in many shops and kiosks. The calling card is not much more than a phone number and a pin code, which you dial prior to dialing the usual phone number. If you want to call internationally, ask for an international calling card. For one euro you can call for about 45 minutes, so buy a card in the cheapest value (which is about €3). Calling someone for half an hour is cheaper than sending one email from an internet café. Cards expire usually 90 days after first use. You can also use this pre-paid calling card at public phone boxes, which are widely available.

Mobile phones are prevalent in Greek's communication, and if you need to talk with your co-travelers it is advised that you buy a local prepaid plan instead of using roaming, as it is far cheaper. There are at least three mobile carriers, Cosmote, Wind and Vodafone all of which require by law presenting some form of identification in order to activate your prepaid plan. Choose whichever has better reception in your area, keeping in mind that GSM 900, GSM 1800 and UMTS 2100 bands are supported. Data usage is cheap, costing about €3 per 100 MB. Ask the mobile carrier for more information.

Post

Hellenic Post is the Greek postal service. On their website you find more information about options to send letters, postcards and parcels and there is a search function regarding post offices and post boxes. It also has information on services like paying bills, transferring money, financial products etc. Greek post codes are five digits long and are usually written as follows; 123 45. The first three digits are used to identify the city, municipality or prefecture, for example the digits between 100 and 180 relate to the city of Athens. The last two digits identify a street or part of a street. Most post offices are open Monday to Friday from 07:30-14:00, although the largers ones usually have longer opening hours. For sending packages, you can also use international courier services like DHL, UPS or TNT.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 37.782687
  • Longitude: 20.897387

Accommodation in Zakynthos

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Zakynthos searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Zakynthos and areas nearby.

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This is version 18. Last edited at 13:20 on Sep 27, 18 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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