“The flower of the Levant”, “Italian Zante”, “Son of legendary Arcadian chief Dardanos”
Time to get to another Greek island, and this time to one of the most famous and celebrated. Finding such flights are not an easy task, and generally mean either horrible and odd flight times, or a very reduced overall stay. In our case this time, is the second, merely 24 hours in the island since there were no other flights at other times or dates that could work for us, unless taking “precious” days off work as holidays, but as anyone knows by now, that is the very last option. Such days are for the longer holidays hence not really keen to use them for short destinations.
Anyway, a day was good enough to have a glimpse of the island, enjoy a fabulous hot and sunny day, and the incredible Greek food as usual. That’s the second time in Greece this year, being only 6 weeks since we’ve been to Kavala. From now on it will be highly impossible to find any other deal anywhere in Greece since the beginning of the season is around the corner, so I would say it’s time to check what’s available from October 2018 through March 2019. Sounds crazy I know to plan that in advance, but hey! that’s how we manage to keep travelling almost every weekend of the year, and discover so many places in so many countries and all for a really great budget.
Zakynthos is nowadays one of the most popular islands in Greece for tourist, notably in search of great beaches and the weather of course, but the island is more than just a sea resort: nature in this case, and scenery. But for sure what you cannot expect or be looking for is sightseeing cities and villages. It is very unfortunate that the many earthquakes, notably the 1953, have flattened almost everything where only 3 structures were left standing at the capital city. Rebuilding everything had to be fast and did not care much in the aesthetics hence the lack of real sights worth visiting.
Taking some notes about food, this is one of the major good points wherever in Greece is that you are going. Not only it’s generally inexpensive, it is of great quality and large portions, and so much choice, all so fresh and nicely prepared that it’s very difficult to have a bad experience. The usual’s apply nevertheless, a simple rule of thumbs to avoid any tourist traps or the unnecessarily overpriced restaurants, but here in the island is rare to fall into this, but be careful around the major resorts of Kalamaki and Laganas.
The island is very straightforward and easy to visit, hence not much information needed for this brief introduction. For that you can find one of the most complete articles about a city I’ve ever read on the internet, and that’s in Wikipedia. Believe me it’s massive and so detailed I got lost reading half way. Greece’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in the island:
- Zakynthos Town The capital and largest city, main point of arrival into the island either via ferry or plane.
- Kalamaki and Laganas The major resorts in the island, being the most famous for partying Laganas. Both are near the capital city, just few kilometres to the south.
- Agios Nikolaos The second most important city in the island, although do not expect a city as such, but rather the look of a village. It’s famous for the nice beaches around the area.
- Navagio Beach Along the northwest side of the island, it is the most famous sport that describes the island due to the shipwreck in its fine yellow sands and turquoise waters, entirely surrounded by white high cliffs. The beach is only accessible by boat, and it is almost guaranteed most of the tourist reach it by the tour boats, however, for the most spectacular view (and free!), drive towards Agios Gergio Kremnao Monastery, and once there, see the small road at the right side, that leads to the viewing point.
- Keri At the southern point of the island, it is the best spot to see the sunset from the lighthouse.
The international airport, south from Zakynthos near both resorts of Laganas and Kalamaki is the main point of arrival, coupled with the ferry connecting to other islands and mainland Greece. Once in the island, you could rely on the public buses that covers pretty much the main sections north to south, notably all the resorts, but if your time is limited, and you are a “city tourist” rather than looking for the beach, you will need to rent a car in order to enjoy the island and the incredible landscapes it has to offer.
Being one of the most visited islands in Greece, the choice of hotels of nay kind is really big and great I must say. And lucky for us being April, with an already fantastic shorts and t-shirt weather yes still low season, fares per night were incredibly low for what we managed to get one of the top hotels in Zakynthos Town by the port. As usual in any case, the most reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, Hotels Click, LateRooms or Ebookers.
We stayed at the Phoenix Zakynthos in 2 Solomos Square, that’s the main major square in the city surrounded by landmarks, and the port by one of the sides. This 4* property was great in both decor and care, extremely clean and a good taste everywhere. It has been recently renovated and revamped hence why it has become one of the top hotels in the city. The staff very polite and friendly, a beautiful comfortable room, very quiet at night where you can have an absolute rest, and a nice full breakfast too. This hotel is very highly recommended to anyone for short or long stays.