In this article, I want to give you all my Zakynthos insider tips. We tried to stay away from the touristic hubs (except one place – I will come back to that later on). And I think we were quite successful in hunting for quiet places.
Zakynthos is a very special Greek island because it is one of the few which are not overcrowded with tourists yet. The island only covers around 400 km2 and is easily accessible by plane. There are few crowded areas where package tourists go, but there are many corners and places which are lesser frequented.
But let’s start in the beginning.
In general Zakynthos, as all bigger greek island, is touristic. But with my Zakynthos insider tips, you can easily escape the crowds.
Where to go?
Zakynthos insider tips: #1 Avoid the South
The most touristic part is the South around the touristic centres of Kalamaki and Laganas as there are various long sandy beaches. This is where most package tourists go. The beach there is nice, but nothing special. There are better, more beautiful beaches, with clearer water and better snorkelling possibilities – and the most important thing: quieter and less crowded.
Zakynthos insider tips: #2 Go beach-hopping in the headland of the South East
But the touristy area doesn’t include the Southeast headland of Skopos (apart from Argassi). This is one of my favourite parts of the island. There is one little beach after another and they are so versatile. One wild beach, which is not maintained at all, but therefore empty like Vourderi beach…
…a picturesque sandy beach with well-maintained beach club and comfortable sun loungers, like Porto Zorro beach…
…or the Algarve-style beach of Gerakas…
…or little paradise beach Makris Gialos:
I’m sure you will find your kind of beach.
As the headland of Skopos is close to the airport of Zakynthos there are few touristic centres, so better avoid Argassi or Banana beach.
Zakynthos insider tips: #3 Discover the natural coast of the Northeast.
But our most favourite parts of Zakynthos were the Northeast and west. The water of the east coast is so crystal clear, you would never expect after having been in the south. And there are many rocks, cliffs, and caves for snorkelling and discovering. It was a real adventure to just stop by car wherever we saw a pretty place, take our masks and snorkels and climb our way down to the water, jump in the cold water and discover the underwater world, dive into dark caves, or cut our feet at sharp rocks 😉
For example at Makris Gialos beach:
Or in the area of Xigia beach:
Or around “El sueno” restaurant, where the water is amazingly clear:
Just take your car and head to the coast around Agios Nikolaos and Makris Gialos and you will find many amazing cliffs and natural caves in the sea. By the way, the best accommodation we saw in the Northeast was Makris Gialos Suites by the beach. A very beautiful stone house with little apartments and a delicious restaurant.
Zakynthos insider tips: #4 Relax at max at „El sueño“ restaurant and sun deck
What we really liked in the east is that few restaurants or accommodations offer little sun decks built in the rocks including sun loungers and access to the water. For example, the wonderful restaurant „El sueño“ offers this little dream FOR FREE. If you eat there you can use the sun loungers for the whole day for free. We were there the whole day, all alone! Don’t miss to go there – it is perfect for relaxing and they have great seafood.
Zakynthos insider tips: #5 Go snorkelling on the wild West coast with crystal clear waters
The West of the island is even rougher but offers few little, hidden bays where the water is turquoise, so clear that you can see 15 meters down till the ground. The most famous one is probably Porto Limnionas, a little rocky bay with unbelievable clear water and some little caves for snorkelling. There is a little restaurant and a big sun deck with quite some sun loungers tucked in the rocks. Snorkelling here is great.
But there are further, smaller, hidden bays – like Stenitis bay, which is located a bit South of Porto Vromi.
When to go?
Zakynthos insider tips: #6 Go before high season
We were in the mid of June and it was a great time. It was hot, but not too hot. And it is still a bit before high season, meaning not too crowded yet.
I think in May and June or after summer in September or October must be the best months. Of course July and August are more crowded due to summer holidays and the hot weather.
What to do there?
Zakynthos insider tips: #7 Go to the viewpoint of Navagio beach.
This was actually the reason why we decided to go to Zakynthos – and we were not disappointed. The bay of Navagio beach or shipwreck beach is truly stunning -, especially for sunset. This is definitely a must-go place in Zakynthos. Read all my tips about the viewpoint in this article.
Zakynthos insider tips: #8 Don’t book a boat tour to Navagio beach.
Honestly – believe me! I was in the same situation as you and didn’t believe that the boat tour to Shipwreck beach could be so horrible. But it is. The beach is overcrowded the whole day and you can barely swim because boats are arriving and departing constantly.
There are few preconditions which make a tour to Navagio beach a little less horrible. Read everything about it in my article about Navagio beach.
The only reason, which made the tour a bit less horrible, was the time on the boat on the way to Navagio beach:
Zakynthos insider tips: #9 Snorkelling, snorkelling, snorkelling….
…and don’t miss to discover the numerous of caves or the wild west coast. Zakynthos is a paradise for snorkelers and rocky beach lovers. There are so many little caves and rocky places to discover. You don’t even need to book a boat tour and go to the two most famous caves, blue cave or Keri caves, as there will be many other tourists. The best tip is to go to the east coast between Agios Nikolaos and Makris Gialos and discover the lesser known caves there. They are a bit smaller and maybe not as impressive but you will for sure be one of the only ones there which at least let my adventure’s soul love it.
Zakynthos insider tips: #9 Have dinner at Keri Lighthouse restaurant
I know it is hard not to eat gyros wrapped in Pita bread every damn day when in Greece, but one night you should definitely have seafood dinner at Keri Lighthouse restaurant with this amazing view:
The food is very delicious there as well. And we were surprised how little frequented this restaurant was. We easily got a tabla e without reservation. This might be different in high season I guess.
I hope I could convince you with my Zakynthos insider tips to go to this beautiful place? If not, drop a comment and let me know about your favourite Greek island!
And don’t forget: Don’t stay one week in an all-inclusive hotel, but discover the island!
Never stop exploring!