The third biggest island in the Ionian sea has so much to offer to everyone- remote locations with serene nature, beautiful beaches and an excitement of a cool city life. Wrapped in wild flora and fauna, it’s a favourite destination for holiday goers who want to see, taste and explore everything Greece is so famous for. The lush scenery is also the reason why Valentians during their occupation of the island named it ‘Fioro di Levante’ which translates ‘Flower of the Orient’. The size of Zakynthos makes it ideal for every type of holiday. Big enough to try a variety of activities and small enough to get exploring. It’s absolutely essential to hire a car and luxury holiday goers won’t find Zakynthos a perfect spot because the most beautiful beaches and sceneries are located far from the comfort zone of a five-star hotel. It’s time to put your walking shoes on and get on the road.
We hired a super cute tiny car which let us explore the island efficiently and with a chilled bottle of wine carefully strapped in the back seat, we hit the streets of Zante.
Navagio “Shipwreck” beach
Zakynthos is best known for its beautiful beaches, one of them being Navagio beach also called Shipwreck beach as it has a large old rusted shipwreck “parked” on it. The myth has it that the ship was smuggling contraband such as cigarettes, wine and women and it wrecked in the cove after a huge storm. We decided to visit Navagio twice, once from above with our little car and the second time with a boat so we could snorkel around the cliffs and enjoy the fun in the sun.
The water here is just out of this world. The clear and turquoise colour that shimmers in the light in the contrast with bright beige sand makes a truly picturesque setting. And even though the beach becomes packed during the day, because travel agents load their ships with tourists to take them to this magical place, we still enjoyed our time here.
We also visited Spanzia beach– a long strip of beautiful sand with a tropical vibe, comfy sun beds and umbrellas to rent. Some of them are made of bamboo and dry palm tree leaves so it looks like you’re somewhere in the Caribbean. It is a very popular place both by locals and tourists and here you can spot turtles as it is one of the favourite nesting beaches for Caretta Caretta. Their nests can be seen in the back of the beach and they are protected by wooden constructions.
Worth visiting is also Porto Vromi which blue lagoon snakes in between the bushy cliffs. Visitors can jump into the water and explore the small caves opposite the artificial beach. If you get tired from climbing huge rocks and swimming up and down, you can kick back with a cocktail or a delicious snack in the restaurant peeking from the hillside.
Banana beach, is a part of one of the best beach clubs we ever visited. The cocktails here are splendid and together with sea-food pasta and swinging nets all over the place, it became my favourite hangout spot on the island. The beach is long and wide, with shallow water and easy access, as well as many sun beds and showers, if you dislike being all sandy. Banana beach club restaurant just above the beach is the best for ice-cold beers, Mojitos, Margaritas and seafood dishes, but they also do finger-licking good burgers and salads. You can chill in one of their hammocks or eat at the terrace overlooking the sea. It’s a truly amazing experience! Plus, their sea-food linguine is served in a giant sea-shell!
Porto Roxa beach
After driving through endless roads snaking between ragged cliffs, we found a place that became the biggest highlight of my trip, Porto Roxa. This is one of the most beautiful spots I’ve seen in my life, mostly because of the enormous rocks and beautiful clear water. Here we’ve spent a half of the day, enjoying the sun, sipping Aperols and taking pictures by the little pools created on the shores and cute boats moored to the rocks. Jumping into the water felt so refreshing and satisfying and it allowed us to cool down every time we felt the sun trying to burn us alive. I don’t think words allow me to perfectly describe this place. It’s just stunningly beautiful and I loved every second of being there! Make sure to put it on your TO DO list while in Zakynthos.
On the other side of Porto Roxa, closer to the road and to the parking lot, there is another swimming spot with natural pools carved in volcanic rocks. It’s great for taking pictures, but access to water is quite dangerous. It didn’t stop me from taking a dip though. The nomadic vibe of this place is so visible you could cut it with a knife- beds are giant mattresses swinging in the air or cute booths with little straw roofs.
Perched on the hilltop above Porto Roxa is the lovely Porto Limnionas Tavern serving delightful sea-food sharing dishes and cocktails. If you’re tired from all the splashing and climbing up the rocks to jump again, you can chill on their beds which are free to use with any purchase.
If you’re looking for an adventurous holiday in one of the most beautiful places in Europe, in a place where dreams turn into reality, Zakynthos is the perfect place for you. This stunning paradise will take your breath away, leaving you speechless and full of memories.
Scroll down for more stunning pictures, most of them taken by my brother or me.
With Love, Domi.