Do you have only 4 days to rest, explore and enjoy the Greek beauty of Zakynthos (or Zante) island?
I am here to provide you the ultimate 4-day itinerary so that you see everything, still have time to devour the sun and, leave with the best memories.
Zakynthos the third largest of the Ionian Islands has clear turquoise waters and numerous sandy beaches. Navagio beach is one of the most instagrammable and picturesque beaches you will find but the island has so much more to offer. If you are into intense nightlife, this is your place. However, if you on the other hand like to spend your holidays with great, affordable Greek food, secluded beaches and spectacular scenery , then read further on .
Travel period of this description : 13/7 -16/7/2021
Travelers : Couple
Expenses : 550euro / person
How to arrive on Zakynthos Island
Having Athens as the start- off point, you will need around 3 hours by car to arrive at Killini port. From there you board the ship Levante Ferries and in 1hour and 15 minutes you arrive at Zante port. Levante Ferries Ship Company which is the only one leaving from Killini has 6 scheduled departures every day in the summer and the ticket price is 9,5euro/person and 37 euro/car. Book them in advance through their mobile application. Regarding Covid, it is mandatory to show proof of Covid- 19 vaccination or a negative PCR-test of 72hours or a negative rapid test of 48 hours.
Alternatively there is an airport on the island with many airline companies flying direct from all over Europe. It is imperative to rent a car after you arrive at the airport. The means of transport in Zakynthos as in most Greek islands are very infrequent and unreliable.
The best booking engines are still considered Booking.com and Airbnb.com for this island. Surpisingly enough it’s best to avoid staying in Zakynthos town. It’s quite the challenge to park in the town (there is a public parking space near the central square of Solomos) and the hotels and apartments don’t justify their price . The best places to check for accommodation are near Tsilivi Beach and Argasi Beach, close enough to Zakynthos town and also at the center of the island for you to drive around easily.
As for Laganas area, which is a famous touristic spot especially among younger English tourists, well, I do NOT recommend it. Unless you are a younger tourist looking for tacky bars, bad quality drinks, loud music and drunken people puking at your doorstep. Yeah, that bad.
We chose to stay in an apartment at Daphne Studios in Tsilivi area for 56euro per night. Looking back at our stay I wouldn’t be so thrilled to recommend it to you. There were minor problems, but maybe you can find something better.
1st Stop : TSILIVI BEACH OR ARGASI BEACH
Back to the island’s port where you arrive early in the afternoon and for the first day you can choose the beach near your accommodation, for us it was Tsilivi Beach. Enjoy the sea, relax after the 3 hours road and maybe the dizziness that followed from the last part of the road trip from Patra to Killini. Choose Venus Beach bar at Tsilivi beach for the most comfortable sunbeds. 2 sunbeds + 1 umbrella = 12 euro.
Tsilivi beach is huge, sandy with warm shallow waters and usually a bi windy. There is also a kiosk for water sports on the beach.
2nd Stop : DINNER at Pirounaki Tavern, Lagadakia Village
Wrap up your first day at the traditional tavern named Pirounaki at Lagadakia village. It is situated 15 minutes by car from Tsilivi. We didn’t make a reservation but if you are more than 3 or if you visit on the weekends when there is live music, it’s in your best interest to reserve a table. The menu there is set at 15euro/person and believe me, you will leave the table unbuttoning your trousers from how full you will be. As a foreign tourist especially you get to taste many Greek traditional plates, such as mousaka, veal braised in tomato sauce, mushrooms in red wine sauce. Everything tasted really good and the price includes wine, water and dessert in the end.
1st Stop : Breakfast
We chose to have breakfast at the hotel bar but that was quite the mistake, which we didn’t repeat. If you are in the area of Tsilivi , a good choice for breakfast is Warm and Fresh Bakery to pick up pies, fresh juice and the local paximadia, which are like double-baked and then dried orange cake. Try them!
2nd Stop : Navagio Beach and Blue Caves
Today you will head to the northern part of the island and the world-known Navagio beach.
Pass by Alikanas and Alikes, further north to Xigia Sulfur beach and arrive at the small port of Agios Nikolaos. We chose Theodosis Company for the tour to Navagio beach and we were satisfied by this choice, that’s why I suggest it to you. We had called them beforehand to check the schedules of the day and arrive on time. The boat left (with probably too many people for this Covid period as all the tours) at 2 pm and a price of 20 euro/person. If you mention that you checked the company through the site zanteisland.com, you will have a 20% discount as we did too.
Navagio beach is beautiful, and a must-see, with its turquoise waters and the shipwreck lying in the middle of the long sandy beach. Huge vertical cliffs surround the area and the only way to reach is by sea.
You arrive 40 minutes after the departure from Agios Nikolaos and you have around 1, 5 hours to swim and take some spectacular photos. Unfortunately, as this is the most famous beach on the island, don’t expect to be the only ones. It is really crowded and boats come and go all the time leaving and taking tourists. Probably the best hour to visit is taking the earliest or the last boat of the day. Renting a boat without experience or a driving license isn’t a good idea due to the strong currents.
After Navagio Beach you will pass by boat through the Blue caves and you even get to swim into one of them. The waters there are like someone painted them blue, out of this world blue. Expect to return to the bay around 4.30 pm.
3rd Stop : Xigia Sulfur Beach
Are you hungry and wish to eat near Agios Nikolaos area? I have two choices for you, the Old Windmill tavern and Ex Animo tavern.
If you are still not hungry though, go on and visit Xigia Sulfur Beach which is southern around 10 minutes from Agios Nikolaos. Park near Magda Canteen and take the steps down to the beach. There are also sunbeds and umbrellas here for 10euro /set. The waters contain sulfur which actually stinks but it’s good for your skin.
After beach time, we chose the Tavern Xigia which overlooks the beach from the top in a very nice ambiance under the trees. I highly recommend this place. With a total bill of 46euro we ate a Greek salad, a piece of local cheese, grilled big mussels and seafood kritharoto (pasta) accompanied with 0, 5 lt of house white wine.
4th Stop : Drinks at Island Club , Argasi
For the second night have a walk at Zakynthos town along the port while eating ice cream made from an Italian guy at Piero’s Gelateria Italiana.
After that check Portokali Bar Restaurant at Argasi for dinner or drinks. When we arrived there the music was barely heard and there were only a couple of tables occupied, so we chose Island Club instead. Thankfully there was music and people but nothing extreme, had a cocktail (12euro) and went to sleep.
1st Stop : breakfast ARTOGONIA, Zakynthos town
Let me tell you about this place that I absolutely loved and actually came here 3 out of the 4 mornings we were on this island. At Artogonia bakery there is such a great variety of products, all freshly baked, all so tasty and the smell….oohhh… The ones working there are super friendly and ready to explain everything. Try the cakes that come out of the oven, the sandwiches, the pies (feta cheese, spinach, chicken, and mushroom) or the pastries.
2nd Stop : Rent a boat to Marathonisi and Keri Caves
Now you are happy and full.
This day is dedicated to the southwest part of the island. I did the research for you and read all about the different tour companies at Laganas, Agios Sostis that take you to Marathonisi island and Keri Caves. I would suggest sticking with the simple ones. You only need a sea taxi to take you to Marathonisi island which is 10 minutes. It is not worth paying a fortune for the tours which claim to take you to turtles. Besides this isn’t the best for the turtles; just leave the poor creatures alone, enough damage we have already done to their home.
Since it was my boyfriend’s wish and maybe yours also, you can rent a boat with a small engine of 20hp without license or experience, just your common sense, for 20 -50 euro/ hour. We rented from Captain’s Motorboat Rentals at Keri for 20euro/hour, for a total of 4 hours and it was really worth it.
You get to see lots of places on your own rhythm, stop and dive wherever you want, in an area they will beforehand indicate you of course. The day we rented the boat was a bit windy so we were not allowed to go up to Mizithres beach (southwest tip) and there were lifeguards around Keri caves to prevent anyone from going further. Nonetheless enjoyed the Keri caves and Marathonisi island , which was also packed with people and we grounded on the beach later in the afternoon.
Just a tip, use lots of sunscreen cream when on the boat!
3rd Stop : Porto Limnionas Cove
From Limni Keri where you leave the boat take the road up to Keri, a beautiful village probably the only picturesque village of Zakynthos. Sit down for an iced coffee at Nitzi café at Keri and continue your way to Porto Limnionas (40 minutes).
Porto Limnionas is not actually a beach, it’s more of a breathtaking cove surrounded by cliffs, from where you can jump off. There is a decent restaurant, where you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas for 12euro.
TIP : If you are in this area of Porto Limnionas around sunset, head for a drink at Lete Sunset Bar for the best view and a chilled vibe.
4th Stop : Sunset Michali’s Tavern, Kabi
Another choice for a breathtaking sunset if you are more hungry than thirsty, is Sunset Michali’s Tavern at Kabi. We were lucky to find a table, so be farseeing and book in advance. We admired the sunset disappearing at the sea and for 35euro we ate a Greek salad, grilles cheese saganaki, lamb baked in the oven and chicken braised in red wine (coq au vin). At the end of our dinner we had a pleasant surprise as there was a traditional live music show probably organized for the group of Russian tourists.
Tip : Other restaurants with tasty traditional food but not with that view is San Leon Tavern at Agios Leon village and Ampelostrates tavern at Kiliomenos village.
On your way back to the hotel, stop at Laganas to check for yourselves this infamous place of kitsch bars and buy some ice cream from Narkissos to accompany you.
1st Stop :Gerakas Beach
Have a heart-warming breakfast at Zakynthos town , choose between my favorite Artogonia bakery or Elena’s Bakery & Café.
The last part of the island that you will explore is the southwest, mainly known for the turtle nesting beaches.
Visit Gerakas beach located 30 minutes from the town. This beach is part of the protected National Marine Park of Zakynthos because it’s a popular nesting and breeding beach for the Loggerhead Turtles. The nests are marked all over the shore and you should be careful. There are facilities at the beach, with a set of 2 sunbeds and an umbrella at 15euro. It’s better not to use your own umbrella on this beach due to the risk of hitting a nest. The beach is closed from sunset till sunrise to leave the turtles to hatch their eggs.
2nd Stop : Dafni or Kalamaki Beach
My boyfriend wasn’t in the mood for more beach safari so we stayed at Gerakas beach till late in the afternoon. But if you want more, you can check Dafni beach which is one of the more untouched beaches. Be aware that he road to the beach is very bumpy and in pretty bad condition. Kalamaki on the other hand is at the further end of the eastern side of Laganas beach . Although part of Laganas, it has nothing to do with it. This big sandy beach with shallow warm waters is pleasantly undeveloped.
3rd Stop : Yard of Taste, Zakynthos Town and drinks at Mpoxali Neighborhood
For your last evening on the island, treat yourselves to a more luxurious dinner with Greek plates with a twist. Heading to the town of Zakynthos, reserve your table at the restaurant Yard of Taste. The chef is extremely multitasking and her work is absolutely mouthwatering. We paid 60 euro for a salad with watermelon and arugula, a mushroom and truffle kritharoto, a braised lamb, strawberry milleufeuille and 0,5lt of semisweet house wine.
Have your last drink at Mpoxali neighborhood near the castle, overlooking the town and the port. There are 3 bar-restaurants there Latas, Diethnes and Movida. We chose the second as the first was more casual and the third only served food when we arrived. But all three have the same magnificent view.
Tip : Restaurants recommended at Zakynthos town are Stathmos and Malanos for a more traditional and budget-friendly Greek taste.
Zakynthos Island is a big one with numerous sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters. You will definitely need a car to get around. If you are looking for a budget-friendly island to relax on the beach and eat Greek traditional food, then look no further. For those looking for picturesque villages and unspoiled beaches, better to choose again.
Let me know if you would choose Zakynthos for holidays and be prepared for the next post 😉