Top 10 Reasons to Visit Zante
Zante – known locally as Zakynthos – is a Greek island and is the third largest of the Ionian Islands located to the West of Greece in the Ionian Sea. Nicknamed by the Venetians as The Flower of the East, Promo Vouchers takes a closer look. Zante is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece and is well known for its beautiful beaches and stunning caves – just two reasons why the island is well worth a visit.
If you love to go to the beach, then Zante is the perfect destination for you. With over 76 miles of coastline there is no shortage of beautiful beaches to choose from. Whether you prefer large or small, pebbles or sand, you’re bound to find the right spot to relax for a day or two of Zante’s 287 annual days of sunshine.
One of the most beautiful beaches in Zante is Porto Limnionas Beach which lies towards the most Westerly part of the island. Recently voted as one of the best beaches in Europe by a poll on the travel review website TripAdvisor, Porto Limnionas is not your typical tourist trap. There are no large hotels nearby, and most of the people who live in the immediate area are locals. To get there you will need to hire a car and pass through the mountain village of Agios Leon, from where you can follow the road which is half tarmac and half dirt track to the coast. When you arrive you will be greeted only by a small square car park and some carved stone steps which will take you down to the stunning coloured waters. Make sure you bring your towels and a cool box because there are very few tourist facilities at Porto Limnionas – just a couple of small terraces sporting a handful of loungers, all of which will be occupied by locals unless you get there early. If you like caves, then there is one at Porto Limnionas at the bottom of the carved steps that you can access, but when you’re in there it will become clear that venturing into the cave would become nothing less than an extreme sport.
If you’re a real fan of caves then you’re spoiled for choice on the island of Zante. Along the North West coast of the island lie the world famous Blue Caves, aptly named due to the fact that they appear blue because of the reflection of water inside and surrounding them. The Blue Caves can only be accessed by boat but are very easy to find simply by traveling around the North West coast. The fact that the Blue Caves are one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island means that it is no real difficulty or expense to find a tour boat that will take you to them – virtually all coastal villages will have a place where you can arrange an excursion. Need help with funding it? Check out our eBookers voucher codes. If you’re feeling really adventurous then you can hire your own boat to visit the caves, however it is worth remembering that the Blue Caves are a very popular tourist attraction so if you prefer not to be disturbed by other holidaymakers then this may not be the place for you.
Another great location on the island for caves is along the South West coast. Named after the nearby village of Keri, the Keri Caves range enormously in depth and size, and like the Blue Caves are only accessible by boat. Some of the caves are barely large enough to swim inside, whereas others are so big that tour boats are able to briefly stop inside them so that people can get off and swim around. One thing worth remembering when going on any boat trip to visit the caves is that you are effectively out in the open sunshine for the entire duration of the trip – so make sure you bring sun block, some form of hat and plenty of water to drink.
No trip to Zante can ever be described as being complete without visiting the world-famous shipwreck on Navagio Beach. This is without doubt the most famous attraction in Zante and is visited by thousands of tourists annually. Located on the North West of the island Navagio Beach is one of Zante’s most beautiful, and one of the most photographed beaches in all of Greece. There is no way to visit Navagio Beach other than by boat due to its remote location. Depending on where you travel from it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours to access the beach, but when you get there the trip will be worthwhile. Navagio Beach looks like something that has been painted by an artist. From the beach itself which consists of billions of tiny pebbles, there is nothing but deep blue sea as far as the eye can see. When approaching the bay, it appears a much lighter electric blue colour due to the surrounding caves which reflect the clear waters.
The shipwreck itself is the wreck of MV Panagiotis, which was built in 1937 but wrecked in 1980. Although the full story details are sketchy, it is widely believed that MV Panagiotis ran aground during stormy weather on the 1st of October, 1980 after being pursued by the Greek Navy for smuggling contraband cigarettes from Turkey. To evade capture the crew abandoned the ship where it has been stood for over 35 years and since become a major component of the Zante tourist scene.
As well as visiting the shipwreck by boat, one of the most breath-taking views to be had on the island of Zante is the panoramic view of the bay from a balcony at the top of a nearby cliff that faces it. Between the quiet local villages of Volimes and Anafonitria is a short tarmac road that leads to a car park, where you can descend a few steps on to a balcony with a direct view of Navagio Beach. This area is a lot less touristy than the bay itself, so is well worth a visit if you have access to a car on the island and enjoy some peace and quiet.
For those who have absolutely no desire for a peaceful and quiet holiday, you will not be disappointed. Zante is notorious for its excellent nightlife – with plenty of pubs, bars and clubs in several locations dotted around the island. The most well-known of which is the famous ‘strip’ in the Southern town of Laganas, which runs virtually parallel to Laganas beach. If you’re looking for a week of unforgettable nights in Zante, then Laganas is definitely the part of the island on which you will want to stay. There are many hotels within walking distance of the strip so you will not need to hire a car or book taxis in order to get to it.
Anyone who is looking to mix nightlife with culture on their travels should consider a visit to Tsilivi, which is located on the North East of the island, about 3 miles from the capital, Zante Town. This part of the island is much more family-friendly when compared to Laganas which mainly caters towards young adults who are going on holiday in groups. Although there are still plenty of pubs and bars, they offer a lot more facilities for families such as restaurants, gift and grocery shops. If you prefer self-catering holidays in a villa, then Tsilivi is probably the best location to stay.
If you’re a culture-vulture then you will probably want to check out Zante Town itself. Although there are no real historical buildings because they were virtually all destroyed during a large earthquake in the early ’50s, a lot of the damaged buildings in Zante Town were reconstructed in their traditional Venetian style. You can spend an entire day wandering around the picturesque paved streets and squares of Zante Town. There is also a great local arts scene in Zante Town, as well as lots of old fishing boats in the harbour to have a look around. And the end of the harbour is the church of Agios Dionysios, which is where Zante’s patron saint is buried.
For a truly unforgettable evening on the island of Zante, head over to the Western village of Kampi and follow the road to the coast. Here you will find a large cliff known locally as Shiza, which is not too far from the shipwreck at Navagio beach. From the top of this cliff not only will you be able to enjoy breath-taking views of the landscape and the Ionian Sea, but if you stay there late enough you will also enjoy watching the sun set in the far West. There are a few small restaurants in the area, all of which have terraces so that you can watch the sun set as you eat, however these tend to get very busy. Along the coastal roads there are plenty of places to pull over to sit and marvel at the sunset without the hustle and bustle of a typical tourist trap.
Whether you’re a young adult about to go on your first holiday abroad, a young family looking for parental satisfaction while keeping the kids entertained, or you’re a veteran traveller who has explored all but the small island destinations across the globe, then you’re bound to find something interesting to fill your week if you visit the Greek island of Zante. At only 160 square miles in area, it may be comparatively small compared to other popular holiday destinations, but the small size is what makes it so accessible to such a wide range of people. They say that big things come in small packages and the little Greek island of Zante is by no means an exception to this rule.