Zakynthos is a Greek island in the eastern part of Ionian sea. It’s a well known summer vacation spot especially with the british tourists. It’s known for it’s gorgeous beaches (Laganas, Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi), a marine park, turtles and the famous instagram spot – Navagio beach aka the Shipwreck beach.
The prices are fairly cheap, the most expensive part is of course the plane ticket and the accommodation but the rest is pretty much the same as home or even cheaper. Average lunch/dinner was 12 eur/person with meal and drinks included. Cocktails were around 3-5 eur each or more depending on where we went. Two sunbeds with an umbrella on the beach were 7 eur per day.
To make things easier for you I inserted a map of all the things that I’ll talk about in this guide below.
After doing my usual research I decided that Kalamaki area would be the best fit for what we wanted from this vacation. We’re not really big party animals so staying in Zante Town was a big no (because of parties and prices) and we all wanted some peace and quiet + a good beach to relax on.
I searched the booking.com and found the cheapest option in the Kalamaki area really close to the beach. We were not very happy with the apartment so I won’t be sharing it here but just keep in mind to read all of the reviews before booking.
Nevertheless we loved this area for the huge variety of restaurants, the amazing Laganas beach and the many many markets (there was a store literally every 10 m or so). There were also great bus connections to other parts of the island and many tourist agencies offering every possible tour you can imagine.
So if you’re anything like us and want a pleasant stay in a peaceful area Kalamaki is where you want to be staying.
Here is a list of my favorite restaurants in Kalamaki:
Zakynthos Town better known as Zante Town is the main city of this island. It reminds me a lot of Hvar in Croatia with it’s gorgeous stone houses and lots of cafes and restaurants. It also has a lot of clubs to offer if you’re looking for exciting night life while on vacation with the Barrage being the most popular one in this area.
But one thing you have to keep this in mind when looking for a place to stay here – it’s much pricier than the rest of the island and there’s lots of traffic and many tourists. There are also essentially no nice beaches in this area, you’d have to drive a bit further out of the city to enjoy a refreshing dip in this hot climate.
Just a bit further away from Kalamaki there’s another little village by the Laganas beach. It’s much more lively than the Kalamaki area and it’s got a pretty nice night life if you’re into cheap cocktails (and lots of british tourists).
It’a bit pricier but nothing to crazy so if you want a chilled vacation but with a bit more people – this is your place to be.
GYROS PITTA ROLL
It’s my favorite greek food which also happens to be the cheapest and the best meal you can get on the island. It’s served in a pitta bread roll, filled with onion, tomato, fries and gyros meat topped with a delicious tzatziki sauce. We were lucky enough to have this amazing bar called Drunk Corner just across the street from our apartment which served delicious gyros pitta rolls for just 2,5 eur!
Also one of my favorite dishes – is a rustic, traditional Greek recipe made with slow cooked lamb, first marinated in garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Lamb ‘kleftiko’ literally means lamb ‘stolen’. This name is said to originate from the Klephts who would steal lamb or goats and cook the meat in hidden underground ovens in order to seal the flavors and smells and avoid being caught!
I tried it in an amazing restaurant in Kalamaki called Sizzle n Grill and it was about 11 eur.
OASIS COCKTAIL BAR
This bar was right across from our apartment but we only visited it once unfortunately. The terrace is amazing and it truly looks like an oasis. They have a large selection of cocktails at affordable prices and they even convinced me, a picky cocktail lover!
For some people simply lying on the beach doing nothing for the whole week is enough but if you’re anything like me you’d probably want to explore the island a bit more. We rented a car for one day (35 eur + gas) and drove up to Zante town and then back down around the southern part of the island. You can also book a lot of different organized bus or boat tours if you’re not into planning everything on your own. But just a little piece of advice – if the winds are strong and the weather is not the best do not book the boat trip or you will end up sea sick and stuck on this tour for a day.
HORSE RIDING IN LAGANAS
Booking this activity was one of the highlights of this trip for me. It was an incredible experience that was on my bucket list for a while now and I’m so happy I got to do it.
We booked an hour riding trip to the beach and sand dunes with a group and it was 25 eur each.
We booked it at Laganas Riding Center which only offers rides in the morning or in the evening because the heat during midday is just too much for these animals.
When booking activities involving animals please do your research and don’t support any kind of animal torture for your own pleasure.
Or aka Shipwreck beach is one of the most famous attractions on the island. Because of the incredible blue water, white sand and the shipwreck of course it’s a really popular place for tourists.
The beach is not accessible by foot, you can only hike up the hill to see it from above, take a boat trip or rent your own boat to see it for yourself.
Also in order to get the perfect instagram shot (sitting by the edge of a cliff with the view of Navagio) you have to keep in mind that safety comes first. Lots of people have already injured themselves or even died taking photos of this gorgeous beach so be careful not to stand too close to the edge.
Like I wrote in the section above Zante town is a gorgeous place to visit. It’s got that mediterranean vibe which reminds me a lot about Hvar but it’s still very unique with gorgeous architecture and lovely streets filled with souvenir shops and restaurants.
It’s great for a stop on the way to get some coffee and then continue the journey.
Here’s a useful article about what to see and do in Zante:
One of my favorite beaches with an amazing restaurant Ionio right on the beach. We came here for lunch and were blown away by this amazing view of the bright blue water and sandy beach and the incredible food. The beach is a part of the restaurant so after you’ve had your meal you can move over to the comfy sunbeds and sip cocktails on this heavenly beach.
We had the most delicious plate of meat for two with pitta bread, fries, borek and tzatziki for 28 eur.
It’s a small island right at the end of the long Laganas beach and it’s accessible by a bridge. To go around it you have to pay some admission but we only got on top and turned back to explore this part of Laganas a bit more.
That’s it for my guide of Zakynthos! Hope you found it helpful.
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