A large, lovely Ionian Sea island, covered in the cool lush vegetation that’s typical of the Ionian islands, it’s also one of the most easily accessible island destinations in Greece.


The trip to Zakynthos takes less than an hour by boat from the port of Killini that is 285 km away from Athens. However, the moment you step foot in this fine town, with the air of European cosmopolitanism, the moment you swim in the crystal-clear green-blue waters of Navagio beach, or of one of the quieter beaches Tsilivi or Gerakas, the moment you get on the lush green hills and look at the view from the top, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to a faraway land, one that is also perfect for a short escape.

Travel.gr spoke on the phone with Tourism Deputy Mayor of Zakynthos, Mr Dimitris Kandilas, a man in close contact with the musical tradition of his homeland, who told us about his island and about the locals’ expectations for the fast-approaching summer. “We’re all more than optimistic. Already we’ve had many reservations for the summer months, and we think we are more than ready to welcome visitors, either from Greece or from abroad.” Speaking of the Easter period, Mr Kandilas said: “The Easter period went so well that the hotels were at capacity and many people could not get a room. Unfortunately, we had more requests than we could facilitate.” And he added: “With this in mind, we think that the summer will go equally well and this year we will reach 100% capacity.”

Mr Kandilas told us also about the experiences that a traveller coming to the island of Zakynthos for the first time should have, making a special mention of the excellent local gastronomy, and above all the magical music tradition of Zakynthos. “Come to our island to enjoy, among a dozen other beauties, lovely evenings with serenades next to the sea.” Some dishes he recommends trying before leaving the island are the amazing Zakynthiot pitoures (pies), the local mantolato (nougat) and, of course, the best rooster in red wine sauce in the world.

The beaches

The biggest media outlets around the world have sung the praises of the dreamy beaches of Zakynthos with the deep, turquoise waters that contrast with the endless green of the land.

A swim in the famous Navagio (shipwreck), the island’s trademark beach that is only accessible by boat from Agios Nikolaos, is a burning desire for all lovers of seclusion, though with the passage of time, this place with the otherworldly beauty has become one of the most photographed spots of the Greek islands.

On the other hand, Zakynthos has countless other beaches that are easily accessible even form Hora. The quiet and gorgeous Tsilivi is an ideal destination for families with small children, since it has everything: rooms to let, restaurants serving great food, cafés, umbrellas and other activities. Further to the south, the beaches Banana, Vasilikos and Keri are among the most popular beaches both with the locals and the visitors.

At the south part of the island, there are two dreamy beaches: Gerakas and Marathonisi and they are ideal if you want to swim in cool, turquoise waters next to caretta-caretta turtles. They are perfect for spending a few hours of quiet and relaxation, since it is advised to be as quiet as possible when you’re there, and to abstain from playing rackets or other beach sports.

At the west part of the island, on the gorgeous Limnionas beach, you can enjoy an unforgettable swim in a bay with crystal waters and white and grey rocks. Find a sunbed on the natural pier over the water and enjoy the true meaning of holidays like nowhere else in the world.

Visit Agios Dionisios

He is the island’s patron saint and is zealously honoured. Agios Dionisios lived in Zakynthos in the 16th century and died at the age of 75 years old, at the monastery of Theotokos Anafonitria, where he had retired during the final years of his life. Agios Dionisios had asked to be buried at the church of Agios Georgios Strofadon, on the island Stamfani, and his last wish was granted. But, when, three years later, the body was excavated, they saw that his relic had remained intact. After an attack of Strofadia by the Ottomans in the 18th century, his relic was moved to the church of Agios Dionisios, in the town of Hora, where it remains to this day. It’s an impressively large church, the largest in town, whose construction started in 1925, while it’s one of the three buildings on the island that wasn’t damaged during the destructive 1953 earthquake, something that the locals consider a great omen.

Make sure you go inside, to admire its lovely, elaborately carved, wooden iconostasis, the marble columns, the shiny chandeliers, as well as its unique collection of beautiful works of art, paintings and its lovely stained-glass windows. The gold-platted altar with the silver carved larnax holding Agios Dionisios’ relic is also held inside the church.

Strani hill

Right above Zakynthos’ Hora, following the road that leads to Bohali, you’ll come across a cobbled alley on your right, and a sign saying “Strani Hill”. From this amazing spot, among tall pines and olive trees, you’ll see a stunning, unforgettable view.

This is the view that Dionysios Solomos saw when he climbed Strani hill to write. This is where, one day, listening to the cannons across the sea, in Missolonghi, he was inspired to write “The Free Besieged” and the “Hymn to Liberty”. Today, at the location of the holly oak underneath which Solomos sat to write the Greek national anthem, you’ll see the great poet’s bust. While where the tree’s roots used to be, a marble slate has been placed, with the phrase “Solomos, Hymn to Liberty May 1823” carved on it. Sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the view that reaches Kampos and Tsilivi in the horizon.

Agios Sostis

Located between Laganas and Keri, there is a small island linked to the mainland through a small wooden bridge. The island of Agios Sostis used to be attached to the mainland, but in 1663 a strong earthquake separated it.

It’s impossible to travel to Zakynthos and not spend at least one day here. Despite being a truly lilliputian island, its extreme natural beauty make it one of the most popular sights of this stunning place. It has lush vegetation, the waters are unreal, and its caves are so stunning you won’t be able to stop taking pictures.

The beach is ideal for families, since the waters are calm and shallow, but don’t think that this is a place for calm and relaxation. Every day, a party takes place on the island of Agios Sostis (that got its name from the homonymous church located on the island), since one of the most famous beach bars of Zakynthos is located there. At the same time, its magical landscape make it very popular among younger travellers who come from all over the world to pose for pictures, dance, and drink till early in the morning.

Amazing local gastronomy

A traditional tavern, in the mountainous village Vasilikos, serves delicious appetizers made with care, using excellent local ingredients. Try the courgette balls, the ladotiri cheese, the cheese croquets, and of course the traditional rooster in red wine sauce, a dish the locals are particularly proud of. The atmosphere is very pleasant with Zakynthiot serenades playing in a romantic garden.


Lesante Blu hotel’s modern restaurant, is run by executive chef Nikos Ispiroudis, who creates dishes that combine the past and the present, mixing well known Ionian recipes with the freshness of contemporary gastronomy. Try their version of Athenian salad in a taco with apple and blue crab, or the onion pie with the local prentza cheese. The view is breath-taking, the décor minimal and food is served on a wooden deck overlooking the horizon.


The restaurant of luxury hotel Porto Zante in Tragaki is focused on Asian tradition, serving dishes from China, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.

Chef John Reano has created a magical, exotic environment with the Ionian sea in the background where special attention is placed on the details, the fine ingredients and the exquisite presentation.


A verdant garden in the heart of Zakynthos has been turned into a lovely, modern restaurant with the care of chef Kristy Karageorgou & co-owner and sommelier Yiorgos Kampitsis who introduced a new gastronomical experience to the island.

Based on unexpected ingredients and original combinations, the dishes you’ll try at this fine restaurant will stay with you forever: Greek salad with melon, dumplings with rabbit, lahanodolmades (Greek cabbage rolls) sushi, and bird foie gras.


A Mediterranean oasis garden on the island. Creative dishes made with excellent ingredients, always locally sourced. In this colourful, cheerful environment try the goat cheese and grilled pepper tart, the orange salad, the gnocchi with tomato and gorgonzola cheese, and the incredible homemade cheesecake.


At the port of Zakynthos, behind the port authority, a small house with a tiled roof, a veranda covered with reeds and an elevated platform in the sea. Tasty lobster pasta, crabs and fresh fish. Their menu includes sophisticated appetizers, like the fried “pastelates” sardines, breaded with sesame, and the grilled baby calamary with sauteed arugula and bay scented olive oil.


In Akrotiri, the most noble and elegant part of the island, there is an impressive restaurant where the crème de la crème of the travellers coming to the Ionian islands gather.

It has an amazing veranda and lovely furniture, their stuffed rooster is excellent, while the pork dish with the same name as the restaurant is exquisite. Definitely their specialty.

The Club House

It’s considered one of the best restaurants in Zakynthos, a place of unique elegance and beauty that seems to hang over the green-blue waters of the Ionian Sea.

You’ll enjoy the great menu prepared by world-renowned chef Jean Charles Metaver, that combines Mediterranean cuisine with contemporary international gastronomy. The red mullet is truly amazing, and you must try it.

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