Zakynthos, Zante, Zaente – whichever way you say it, this island is one of the prettiest places in Greece. Not sure what you’d do with a week here? No problem. We’ve put together an itinerary that’ll have you swimming with sea turtles, sipping island wine and admiring mountain churches in no time…
Day 1 – Settle in to your swim-up suite
The hotels in Zakynthos help you start your holiday as you mean to go on. You could unpack your bags in a swim-up suite at the Zante Maris Suites, have dinner at the gourmet Greek restaurant at the Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort, or book a massage at the Lesante Luxury Hotel & Spa.
Day 2 – Poke around Zakynthos Town
Zakynthos Town (AKA Zante Town) is the walkable island capital. It’s also home to some of the few Venetian treasures left on the island – a sea-view hilltop castle and the restored St. Nicholas Church. Polished-to-a-shine limestone squares and a boat-lined harbour finish off things with a flourish.
Day 3 – Sail to Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach is easily the most photographed spot on Zakynthos. This cove can only be found by boat, thanks to its frame of sky-high cliffs. But it’s the eponymous wreck that really wows – the hulking freightliner looks like it’s been rusting away there for centuries, although it was only grounded in the 1980s.
Day 4 – Visit generations-old vineyards
Sweet and dry; red, white and rose – the tiny vineyards in Zakynthos brew up a whole range of wines. Some wineries have roots in the 19th century and throw in extras like art galleries, shops or terrace bars. They’re tucked off the tourist route, too, so it’s best to hire a car or hop on a vineyard tour.
Day 5 – Seek out sea turtles in Zakynthos Marine Park
Zakynthos Marine Park has an endangered population of loggerheads that uses the sandy beaches as its nesting grounds. It’s the reason why the Greek government doesn’t let planes land or take off after sunset – to protect the people-shy species from light and noise. The Bay of Laganas is the best place to spot sea turtles, along with the equally rare Mediterranean monk seal.
Day 6 – Picnic in a sea cave
The whole coastline of Zakynthos is a Morse code of salt-white beaches, towering cliffs, cool sea caves and hidden arches. You can hop on an around-the-island boat trip or – if you fancy playing captain – you could hire a boat and drop anchor in a cove on the wave-cut north coast.
Day 7 – Go church-hopping
Zakynthos has more than its fair share of churches and monasteries. Palatial St. Dionysios Church in Zakynthos Town is the star. While you’re there, you might as well check out the Venetian Church of St. Nicholas. Venture inland and the architecture gets even more eclectic – expect garden monasteries and tiny mountain churches.
Read our travel guide to find more about our favourite destinations, hotels and activities in Zakynthos.