Zante, the third largest Ionian island, is one of my favorite holiday destinations. The place has a tremendous vibe and atmosphere, serving equal measures of tranquility and vigor. The culture is beautiful, the locals are kind, caring and always helpful and, the rich history of the Greeks is awe inspiring. If you are planning to visit anytime soon or in the near future, then allow my experience of the island to help guide you in your travels.
In my humble opinion, Zante (also known as Zakynthos) features the best beaches of Greece. And that is saying something. Navagio, or the Smugglers’ Cove, is undoubtedly the most famous and rightly so. It is sublime and, with the shipwreck submerged into the sands, it is like no other beach. I always visit this place but, because it can get very busy, I tend to go after 3.00 pm when you have more of the bay to yourself.
I also love the sandy beach at Gerakas, the really long and very lively stretch of sand at Laganas and Kalamaki Beach, which is a famous nesting ground for the loggerhead turtle. Also, most of the beaches have plenty of watersports on offer, apart from, take note, the bays where the aforementioned turtles nest.
Activities in Zante
I have explored Zante from top to bottom and I still find lots to do. However, there are some things you definitely cannot miss, like the Blue Caves and Keri Caves – you will get some amazing photographs here that capture the turquoise, emerald hues of the Ionian Sea.
Zakynthos Town, the capital of Zante, is also stunning with its Venetian architecture to admire, the informative Byzantine Museum to explore and the decadent Roma Mansion offering a chance to peak into the life of an aristocrat. For the best view of the town, head to the quaint village of Bochali and visit the Venetian Castle.
Kalamaki, retaining its traditional charm, is the place to go for all things shopping and food related. I could easily spend weeks here at the local tavernas, eating the delicious Greek specialties like kleftiko (roast lamb), moussaka (baked eggplant with layers of meat and béchamel sauce) and baklavas (sweet parcels made with layers of pastry, nuts and honey). In fact, the locals say the best baklava is made here and I certainly agree with them. I found the go karting in Kalamaki a lot of fun, too.
Zante’s nightlife is brilliant catering for every type of holidaymaker and the numerous times I have traveled to this island have each rewarded me with a different experience. I have had mad nights out partying past sunrise, chilled nights gazing stars from one of the quieter beach bars and romantic ones, lazing in a local restaurant. I will, however, never forget my first time to the Laganas strip. A lot cheaper than Ibiza but just as lively, this is the island’s party capital and boy is it filled with clubs. I’ve had many crazy nights out here, especially at my two favorite clubs: the excellent Rescue Club (with its famous “Paint Parties”) and Waikiki (with its focus on RnB, HipHop and Grime).
Your thoughts on Zante
If you have been to Zante before what would you add to my guide? Let me know in the comments below.