In recent years, Zakynthos (Zante) has gained a growing reputation amongst young party-goers looking to explore the renowned local nightlife. Along one kilometre stretch that leads down to the beach, you will find an eclectic mix of hedonistic haunts that rival the very best clubs and bars found anywhere in the Greek Islands.
However, on an island that was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, there is far more to discover beyond the flashing lights and fishbowls. In fact, Zakynthos is one of the most idyllic islands anywhere in the Ionian region. It continues to attract a wide demographic of tourists, including young families.
We’re here to dispel the myth that Zante is exclusively a party-goers’ paradise. Here are three reasons why you should consider this beautiful island for your next sun-soaked getaway.
Away from the highly commercialized south coast, Zante is actually renowned for its natural beauty, with much of the island being a designated nature reserve. With mountainous landscapes and sprawling hills rolling into the Ionian Sea all around the island, there are endless places to appreciate the views on offer here.
The jewel in Zante’s scenic catalogue is the view across Navagio Beach. It’s colloquially known as Shipwreck Beach, owing to the decaying former smuggler ship which now lies dormant on the shore here.
This small sandy stretch is one of the most famous beaches found anywhere in Europe. Climb the surrounding cliffs to get the best view, or take the plunge in the turquoise waters. Do bear in mind if you are considering a visit to Navagio that it is one of the most popular tourist spots on the island, and can become very crowded at peak times.
Take a trip further down the western coast and you will be treated to another unforgettable vista. Plakiki Beach is one of Zante’s hidden gems in Greece and provides a more serene alternative to the often bustling Navagio. Here, you will be treated to a secluded beach as well as beautiful views across the horizon. What makes this particular panoramic unique is the rock formations that protrude from the Ionian Sea.
It’s almost impossible to land on any of the Greek Islands without being exposed to relics of the country’s fascinating history. Zakynthos is no exception, and if it’s a cultural learning experience you are after, head into Zante Town.
Unfortunately, following a devastating earthquake in 1953, large parts of the town were destroyed, along with much of the Venetian architecture for which the area was famed. However, if you are looking for an insight into the island’s former aesthetic, head to the Byzantine Museum in the town. Through the medium of art, the museum gives visitors the chance to enjoy relics collected throughout history, including paintings from as far back as the 15th century.
After taking in the sights and sounds of the museum, head to the Venetian Castle perched on the hill of Bohali above Zakynthos Town. Construction was completed on the castle back in the 17th century, and despite suffering damage from earthquakes and invasions, you can still appreciate a sense of the castle’s former glory.
Beyond the sprawling stretches of perfect sandy coastline waiting to be explored, there is plenty more for young families to see and do in Zante. One of the most popular attractions is Tsilivi Water Park, located on the eastern coast. The park was very much designed with its young visitors in mind, with a designated children’s area featuring a water jungle, pirate ship and many toys to be enjoyed.
The clear waters that surround the island are perfect for adventurous travellers with a penchant for discovering the Ionian sea life. There are many companies operating around the island offering boat and snorkel tours of the surrounding waters. On your adventure, you’ll have the chance to be up close and personal with a range of animals, from turtles to starfish.
You will never be short of a luxurious place to stay on the island of Zakynthos. There are plenty of family-friendly resorts to choose from, with some even coming complete with their very own private sandy beach. Make sure to do your research before heading out and you can be sure of a magical holiday to remember.