Every summer visitors flock in their multitudes to the stunning beaches of Zakynthos, also known as Zante, in the Greek Isles. The third largest of the Ionian Islands, Zante is blessed with plenty of sunshine, clear turquoise waters, numerous sandy beaches, charming traditional mountain villages and dramatic natural scenery. Add generous doses of warm Greek hospitality and Zante is the perfect beach holiday destination.
The best beaches in Zakynthos island, Greece
Navagio or shipwreck beach as it is often known is one of the most photographed beaches in Zante. The beach is dramatically dominated by the wreck of a freightliner, the MV Panagiotis which ran aground after a storm in 1980 and has laid abandoned in the brilliant white pebbled beach ever since. Located on the North West coast of Zante, Navigo is a white pebbled stretch of beach backed by towering white limestone cliffs. Access to the beach is only available by boat with the closest access port being Porto Vromi located to the south. Boats also depart from the Harbour of Saint Nikolas in Volimes, located to the north of Shipwreck beach and from island’s capital city of Zakynthos Town. There are no amenities or facilities on the beach so make sure you have all of the necessities including food, drink and an umbrella for shade with you before you depart.
Banana beach is the longest stretch of beach in Zante and boasts soft white sand and crystal clear water. Located 14 km or a 20-minute drive to the south of Zakynthos Town. The beach is quite commercial with plenty of operators offering sunbeds and umbrellas with bars and restaurants dotted along the length of the beach. Water sports are also hugely popular with everything from ringo rides to paragliding and jet skis. The water is relatively shallow, making it a great option for families with children. Getting there is a breeze, there is a free bus that departs Laganas, Kalamaki and Argassi daily. Public busses are also available throughout the day.
Makris Gialos beach
If snorkelling and diving are your thing then you should head straight to Makris Gialos beach. The secluded beach is located on the North East coast of the island about 30 km from Zakynthos Town. The water is deep, clean and crystal clear and there are caves that can be accessed from the beach which are great for snorkelling and diving adventurers. There is a nearby dive school for all diving needs. The beach is not too crowded as there are no facilities or amenities. The water at Makris Gialos beach gets very deep very quickly so it is not the best option for children but great for adventurers or couples looking to escape to a beautiful secluded beach for the day. The beach is located a short walk down from a main road and there is car parking available.
Agios Nikolaos beach
Confusingly, there are two beaches in Zante with the same name. One is a quiet secluded beach on the North East coast and the second, more popular beach is on the Vassilikos peninsular not far from the well-known Banana beach. The southern Agios Nikolaos or Saint Nikolaos beach is named because of a quaint little chapel on the hill at the far end of the beach. The beach has fine golden sand set against calm blue water, drawing in visitors in their multitudes. Facilities are plentiful and the beach is often crowded. Beach front bars play music throughout the day and the water is a hive of activity with water sports for adventure seekers.
Located on the South Eastern tip of Zante, Gerakas beach is a long, lightly curved stretch of sandy beach with magnificent views of the surrounding cliffs and landscape. The beach is a protected marine park so is not over developed like some other beaches on the island. It is also home to the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles who choose the sandy beach to lay their eggs. There is a Turtle information centre located just off the beach which is definitely worth a visit to learn about efforts to preserve the turtles and wildlife in the area. Due to the slightly out of the way location it is best to drive. There is free parking and it is about 16km or a 30 minute drivefrom Zakynthos Town.
Laganas beach is arguably one of the most popular beaches on Zante due to the abundance of facilities and close location to the lively resort area. There is a fun buzzing party vibe and it is hugely popular for young fun loving visitors. The beach is mostly backed by restaurants and bars so you are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating and drinking. Sunbeds and umbrellas are dotted all up and down the busy stretch of sandy beach and there are lots of water sport options. If you have young children or are after a quiet relaxing day at the beach then Laganas is possibly not the best option. If you want to party in the sun and continue on into the night at the nearby bars and clubs then Laganas is your beach. Laganas is easily accessible by bus. Car parking near the beach is limited although you may find parking within walking distance.
On Laganas beach there is a wooden bridge that leads to Cameo island, a popular wedding destination spot with a small beach and a beach bar.
Tsilivi beach is one of Zante’s busiest and liveliest beaches. Tsilivi is a busy resort area so the beach does get crowded at peak times.Located on the East coast about 6 km from Zakynthos Town, the long beach is mostly sandy with a few pebbled patches here and there. Resorts and hotels line the beach and most have sun beds and umbrellas in front of them. There are lots of water sport activities as well as many bar and restaurant options. The water is clean and shallow making is a great choice for families. There are many flat access points to the beach with no steps so it is a really good option for those with babies.
Porto Zoro beach
Porto Zoro is a pretty little beach on the east side of the Vassilikos Peninsular dominated by two large rocky outcrops. The water is deep blue and the surrounding lush green vegetation makes for a beautiful natural contrast. Sunbeds and umbrellas line the narrow sand and pebble beach. The beach is quiet and serene as it is away from the main resort areas, however, this means that the nearby bars and restaurants can be a little pricey. The beach is accessed by a long, steep, narrow road which is off the main road from Vassilikos to Argassi. There is plenty of space nearby for car parking.
Named after the vast salt flats that lie behind the beach and village, Alykes is a long narrow stretch of sand and pebble beach. Situated 20km North West of Zakynthos Town, it is quieter than some of the beaches closer to the resort areas. Alykes beach has all of the facilities that you could want, sun beds, umbrellas, snack bars and restaurants. There are quiet stretches of beach without sun beds if you want to lie on the beach undisturbed. The water is warm and shallow and access to the beach is flat with no steps making it ideal for families with children. Wind surfing and water skiing are hugely popular activities.
This quiet shallow stretch of sandy beach is great if you have small children. It is not uncommon to see Loggerhead sea turtles lolling around in the warm shallow water. Due to Kalamaki being a protected nesting ground, visitors are not allowed on the beach before sunrise or after sunset. Pedalos are available to hire by the hour and are great for getting a closer look at the resident turtles. Apart from pedalos, no other water sports are not allowed in order to protect the turtles that call the stretch of beach home. There are the usual snack bars, sunbeds and umbrellas available but no bars serving alcoholic drinks. The location is 8km south of Zakynthos Town and best accessed by car or taxi. Kalamaki beach is only 2 km from Zane airport so planes often fly low directly over the beach.
Zante has an absolute multitude of beautiful beaches dotted around the picturesque island, we have highlighted a few of the more visited beaches. One thing for sure is whether you want to relax in the sun all day, go to lively beach parties that carry on late into the night, explore unspoilt coves, take part in adventurous water sports or discover fascinating sea life while snorkelling, Zante is the ideal destination for your next beach holiday.
Which one is your favourite beach in Zakynthos?
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