Where does a great summer holiday start?
The answer is obvious – at the beach.
Zakynthos is a very popular holiday destination, visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Its popularity is on the rise in the recent years for many reasons: it’s affordable, offers great experience, and yes, it is stunning. The Venetians called Zakynthos the “Il Fiore di Levante,” which means “Flower of the East” and the island earned its name for a reason.
With the mild Mediterranean climate and planned conservation efforts, the island is known for dense and rich vegetation and beautiful sandy beaches. A beautiful white, rocky copper, or brown sand endures the countless waves of the beautiful Ionian sea. The color of the sea here varies from deep blue to light turquoise, and the change of color sometimes happen in a few feet.
The island is also known for endangered species of sea turtles called Caretta-Caretta, which lay their eggs in the soft, golden sandy beaches of the island during their reproductive period. When it comes to beaches, Zakynthos is full of both rocky and sandy, crowded and secluded, peaceful or teeming with life.
One of the most known places and a symbol of Zakynthos is the Navagio beach. Located in the northwest part of the island, it is also known as the “Shipwreck beach” with its name deriving from the stranded Freightliner on the beach.
According to the legend, during 1981 Greek authorities have discovered that the freightliner was smuggling cigarettes and women. During the chase, in combination with the bad storm and visibility, the ship managed to run straight into the beach and get stranded. Because of this, the beach has also been nicknamed the “Smugglers Cove”.
Although Navagio beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Greece, the photographs don’t do it justice. In person, the beach is so much more aesthetically pleasing. It consists of soft, white sand and crystal clear water that, in combination with sand, gives off a beautiful turquoise glow. Since the beach is surrounded by tall limestone cliffs, it can only be accessed by a boat. The easiest way get to the Navagio beach is from Porto Vromi. The boats depart every hour, and the trip takes about 20 minutes.
What time of the day is it the best to come here? Any time. But since the beach doesn’t have natural shade it would be advised to take a parasol with you.
Gerakas beach is one of the most stunning beaches on Zante. It is located in the southern part of the island, some 18km south from the capital. Gerakas is a long strip of sandy coastline with the final part being closed off since it is entirely made of clay. Tourists picked out too much to get free clay therapy for their skin, thus making the ridgeline quite unsafe for visiting.
This beach is most known for being a hatching ground for endangered species of turtles called Caretta-Caretta during the summer and it is a part of the National Marine Park. It is forbidden to enter the beach half an hour before the sunset and half an hour after the sunrise, but if you an early riser you can go and see small turtles trying to get to the sea.
The turtles themselves became one of the most famous symbols of Zakynthos, and the most popular souvenirs have their form on them. Don’t be surprised if you see one swimming next to you while you are on Zante. It is not an unusual sight during a summer.
Wide, long, and pristine. Those are the words that describe the natural beauty of the Dafni beach, a quiet area on the south-west coast of the vast Laganas gulf. This beach is mainly a sandy one; this is one of the important nesting grounds for the Caretta-Caretta turtle.
The National Marine service protects the nests, and you’re obliged not to affect any of them in any way when you come to relax on this delightful beach. The sea at Dafni beach is pretty calm and quiet, typical to the Laganas Gulf, but there are periods of high winds and waves.
Since this beach is closer to the open sea, you might expect the colder water, but surprisingly it is not the case. Warm and shallow, the sea at Dafni beach is perfect for relaxation and chilling out. The beach is not organized with any services, so don’t expect sunbeds or beach bars. Getting to this beach will be through steep rocky road, through the high ground, where you’ll have an amazing opportunity to take pictures, with Pelouzo islet in the background.
You can expect people walking, meditating, reading, or just sunbathing on the comfortable sand, and enjoying the primal beach experience. The beauty of this beach is so big that it would be a sin not to mention it on our list of the best Zakynthos beaches.
Agios Sostis is a small charming village that has two beaches and a small harbor. The first one is very popular among families with young children because of the mostly flat sandy beach and clear shallow water. From this place you have an attractive view towards Marathonisi, a small island in a shape of a turtle, which ironically, is used by the turtles to nest. You can access it by boat and enjoy the beautiful untouched nature of the island and possibly see a few turtles. Unfortunately, watersports are forbidden here, as to protect the turtle nests from any sort of danger, a common practice on several Zakynthos beaches.
The second, smaller beach is located on the Cameo Island. It is connected with Agios Sostis with a wooden bridge.
The Cameo Island has a bar where you can buy drinks while enjoying a beautiful view and swim, sunbathe and chill out. But during the night, this place becomes a club where young people come to experience great parties.
If you are a person that loves crazy nightlife but also enjoys having a relaxing time during the day, Agios Sostis is the best place from which you can start exploring Zakynthos.
Alykes beach is located 20km northwest of Zakynthos city. It has gotten the name from the salt mine that is located behind the beach.
It is readily available with more than enough parking spots. This beach is made for pure relaxation. It simply calls for you to lay down on one of many sunbeds and enjoy a day in peace. Bars and restaurants are nearby, so you won’t have to worry about food or drinks.
It is a huge, mostly flat beach that consists mostly of golden sand and fine pebble. Along the beach, the water is mostly shallow which makes it ideal for families with small children.
Since you won’t find turtle nests on the beach, there are possibilities for watersports at various places. From this location, you can also take a boat to the Navagio Beach and the Blue Caves.
If you are not a fan of overcrowded beaches, this one might be just ideal for you! The beach is located 30km North of Zakynthos city. It is a beautiful sandy beach encompassed by clear waters but since it is not organized it is rarely crowded even during the peak of the tourist season.
This place is not ideal for small children because the water is very deep, but it is ideal if you love snorkeling and diving.
Since there are no tourist facilities here, you won’t find any sunbeds, sunshades or places to buy drink and food. It would be wise to pack supplies with you before you come to this beach.
Xigia beach is hidden between cliffs and it is not easily accessible as you won’t be able to get there with a car. The only route to get there is to take a long stairway to the beach. The first thing you will get familiar with when you get there is the smell, and an unpleasant one at that. It is because of the natural water springs rich with sulfur and collagen that come in contact with salt water. This unique combination makes this place therapeutic and very popular among all of the Zakynthos beaches.
There is no sand on this beach as Xigia is covered with beautiful white pebbles while the water is clear and astonishingly blue in color. This beach is not exactly children-friendly because of the not so easy access; there is almost no shallow water and the beach is rocky in some places.
There are no bars or restaurants on the beach. The closest one is back on the top of the cliff. Bringing refreshments might be a good idea.
On Zante, this beach is known as one of the most elegant and luxurious beaches. Its pristine blue water and the beautiful golden color of the sand simply attract visitors by dazzling them with serenity. Porto Azurro, like many other Zakynthos beaches, is surrounded by pines that provide a natural shade which makes it most suitable for relaxation and ideal for people with young children.
There are plenty sunshades and sun beds, and a beach bar is located nearby. It has a broad range of delicious drinks and food that can be bought at a reasonable price. Throughout the beach, there are showers available for all visitors if they wish to refresh themselves.
Porto Azzuro is a frequently used location for weddings. And not only locals are the ones getting wed here. It is also very popular among the foreigners. For a price, you could have your dream wedding set within this beautiful scenery. If you are considering getting wed here keep in mind that sometimes you need to make reservations for months in advance.
Tsilivi beach is located around 7km east from Zakynthos. It is easily accessed by car, and you have plenty of space for parking. The beach consists of fine sand and clear blue water. Because of the cleanliness, the beach continuously wins the Blue Flag award. The water near the shoreline is shallow which makes this beach ideal for families with young children.
If you love to rent the place near the beach, this place is perfect for you. There are several hotels nearby. There are numerous bars near the beach too, that offer a variety of drinks and meals and add to the appeal of this place. Since this beach is not the nesting place of the turtles, there is a broad range of water sports activities that are offered, and some of them are water skiing, paragliding, etc.
All the possible things to do here can make this beach a bit noisy but close to it are Bouka, Belussi, and Gaidaros beach that are also organized but are much smaller and less crowded. They are an ideal choice if you want some peace and quiet. They all have places where you can buy refreshments and are all safe for children.
Banana Beach is the largest of all the Zakynthos beaches and probably one of the most organized beaches here. It is about 20 minutes drive from Zakynthos city.
The beach is made of golden sand, and the water is clear and shallow which makes it ideal for small children. Because the water is shallow, it is quite warm, so you don’t need to worry about being too cold. Close to the beach, there are a lot of bars and restaurants where you can buy various types of drinks and food that are even suitable for children of all ages.
This place offers plenty of parasols and sundecks for rent so you don’t need to worry whether or not you will have a place to sit down. Here you will find plenty of options for water sports if you are into that kind of entertainment. But there is no need to worry about this place being too crowded. Even though it is very popular, it is huge, so there is always plenty of space. It certainly is a charming place that offers everything you need for your vacation.
Plaka is a small beach located near the village of Vasilikos at the end of the beautiful Vasilikos peninsula. For those who love the sun but also the serenity of a quiet, Plaka is the perfect beach. A couple of snack bars, sunbeds, and parasols for hire are located on the beach, but besides that, there are not a lot of distractions to prevent you from having a peaceful day at the beach.
Its clean, shallow water and a fine sandy coast make Plaka beach a very popular site for people with families and children. You can enjoy the sun and let your child play in the water because it will be perfectly safe. If you wish to relax completely on your vacation, feel free to visit Plaka beach because it is simply gorgeous and very close to Zakynthos City.
Porto Vromi is a small beach located 13km from Zakynthos town. The place has gotten this name because of the natural tar that oozes from rocks.
This charming little place is certainly worthy of your time. This Zakynthos beach has white sand and clear blue water and is surrounded by limestone cliffs. But be careful! Don’t expect shallow waters; in Porto Vromi, you’ll be waist-deep after just a few steps from the shoreline.
From here you can take boats that come and go regularly and go to the Navagio beach or explore the famous Blue Caves. You can also rent a boat and sightsee by yourself. The prices are usually charged hourly and most of the time fuel is not included in the price. If besides sunbathing you love exploring, the surrounding area of the Porto Vromi is very well worth of your time. Along the coastline, there is nice rock profile of the Poseidon, God of the Sea from Greek mythology.
Near Porto Vromi is a small village of Maries. According to the myth, the village has gotten its name because of the two famous Marys that came to the village, Mary of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. According to the locals, the footprints in the rock in the village belonged to Mary Magdalene that came to spread the words of Jesus.
Also, near Porto Vromi is the mountain Vrahionas and from the top you have a picturesque view of all of the Zakynthos. The path to the top of the mountain is clearly marked so you won’t get lost.
Another beach in the Vasilikos area ideal for those who enjoy peace and quiet is the Porto Roma beach. Located in the vicinity of the Zakynthos City (about 16km away), Porto Roma is named in the honor of one of the most famous persons in Zakynthos history, Alexandros Romas. Zakynthos beaches offer unparalleled natural beauty full of greenery and pine trees that often provide a decent shade for the visitors and Porto Roma is no exception.
Because of its crystal clear waters that are also calm, this beach is perfect for anyone who likes to swim, whether it is a pro athlete or an inexperienced swimmer. Near the beach, you will find a couple of traditional taverns and bars that serve the tastiest Mediterranean meals.
If you wish to broaden your horizons and leave a sweet mixture of pebbles with sand you can pick up a ride with the boat stationed at the Porto Roma beach and cruise around Zakynthos. Porto Roma is a great place to chill out after a few tough months in the office or an exhausting party that happened the night before.
Porto Roxa is a small bay near the cost of Limnionas and the Agios Leon village. One of the few pure-rock Zakynthos beaches, Porto Roxa offers crystal clear waters that are surprisingly deep. Because of this, many grebes and people who like snorkeling visit this magnificent beach every year. For those adrenaline-junkies, there is a diving board that is built into the rocks at Porto Roxa. It is always a fun way to blow off some steam and cool down during the warm summer months.
Because the water is pretty deep, there is no fear that you will hit the bottom when you dive. In case you are not that keen to try out high-diving, you can always watch or even videotape those who enjoy that kind of adrenaline rush. After you grow tired from all physical activities at the Porto Roxa, you can find a shade or just enjoy a few local taverns and snack bars.
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