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Zante Travel Guide
Zakynthos Name

According to the great ancient Greek poet Homer the island was named after Zakynthos, son of Dardanos from Arcadia, king of Troy.

The island is called also Zante or Fioro di levante, meaning flower of the east in Latin.

Ancient years

According to archeological findings the island has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. In Homer’s writings it is stated that Zakynthos and his men were the first inhabitants of the island.

The island was conquered by King Arkeisios of Kefalonia, grandfather of Ulysses (Odysseus) from Ithaca, who became the next King of the island. On his return from the war of Troy, Ulysses murdered the fiancés of his wife Penelope, 20 of which were Zakynthians. Zakynthos revolted, establishing an independent democracy.

During the First Peloponnesian War, the island allied with the Athenians. Zakynthos was also occupied by the Macedonians and the Romans.

Napolitan and Venetian rule

Zakynthos was part of the Byzantine Empire and, in 1185 A.D., it became part of the County palatine of Kefalonia under the Kingdom of Naples. A short intervention of Turkish rule also took place between 1479 and 1484. From then on Zakynthos remained a colony of the Venetian Republic until 1797.

The Venetian rule protected the island from Ottoman domination but in its place it put a feudal oligarchy, resulting in the rebellion of the “popolari” caste against the “nobili” caste, known as the “popolari rebellion”. The cultural influence of Venice though, was considerable.

French, Ionian State and British rule

With the Treaty of Campo Formio the Ionian Islands were accorded to France (1797-1799). The Russians with the Turks captured the island in 1799, and in 1800 the Treaty of Constantinople established the Septinsular Republic which lasted until 1807, under the sovereignty of the Sultan.

A second period of French domination followed (1807–1809), I until Zakinthos was finally conquered by Great Britain in 1809. In 1815 the United States of the Ionian Islands’ institution was established under the protection of the British until 1864.

Zante Mythology

Zakynthos, the first inhabitant of the island and, eventually, its king came from Arcadia. According to a theory the Arcadians came first on the island in the first millennium B.C., in their effort to find new colonies. The rich music tradition and the worship of the ancient Goddess Artemis were characteristics of the land of Arcadia. In mythology it is stated that Artemis, Goddess of hunting, used to visit and wander into the forests of Zakynthos, while Apollo praised the beauty of the island playing his lyre.

Solomos Square

The central square of the city is named after the National Poet of Greece, Dionysios Solomos, and is decorated with an imposing statue of him. It is surrounded by a number of important buildings such as the Byzantine Museum, the church of Agios Nikolaos at the mole and the Cultural Centre of Zakynthos. Locals and visitors love evening walks there.

Church of Agios Dionysios

Agios Dionysios is the Patron Saint of the island and, as such, the biggest church in town is dedicated to him. The construction lasted from 1925 to 1948, based on the plans of the architect A. Orlandos. Its architectural style is basilica with three aisles and its bell is similar to that of Saint Marcus in Venice.  

The temple is a famous attraction for locals and visitors and inside lays the sacred body of the Saint. The most important item in the temple is the silver shrine containing the sacred relic, a work of art by D. Bafas (1829).

Cultural Centre and Public Library of Zakynthos

Located next to the church of Agios Nikolaos at the Mole the building of the Cultural Centre of Zakynthos and the Public Library are found. The Public Library is literally a piece of art and one the most important public libraries in Greece as its collection includes over 50.000 books. The library also hosts a valuable collection of photographs and the historic archive of Zakynthos.

Church of Agios Nikolaos at the Mole

Constructed in 1561, it is one of the few remaining Venetian buildings and the oldest in the entire Solomou Square. Agios Nikolaos is a very important church as Dionysios (the patron saint of the island) had served here.


The most famous sight on Zakynthos Island is Navagio, located on the north-western part of the island, also called the smugglers’ cove. On the beach there is a shipwreck. The story is that this ship was carrying cigarettes illegally and was pursued by the Coast Guard. Because of the bad weather it collided to the shore and, thus, it half sunk. The only access is by boat from Agios Nikolaos port, but there is also a panoramic view from the balcony set above it, on the mountain slope. To get there, you must take the road to Volimes village and, from there, follow the signs to Navagio.

Blue Caves

These caves that were discovered in 1897 are located on the north east side of cape Skinitis, almost 30 km north from Zakynthos. They are named after the light blue colours of the waters and can be accessed by boat from both Zakynthos and Agios Nikolaos. The best time to visit is in the morning when the sun rays are strong, forming a magical scenery full of shadows and reflections.

Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos

The Museum was founded in 1953 and is located in Solomos Square in Zakynthos town centre. Its collection includes Byzantine paintings and exhibits from the 12th to the 18th century, Greek and Byzantine sculptures, wooden sculptures from the 16th century and paintings from famous local artists.

Mylanio Naval Museum

It was founded by A. Mylonas and it is located in Tsilivi, 7 km north from Zakynthos town. Its exhibits include water paintings which reveal the evolution of navigation in Greece and also a collection of Byzantine boats from the dawn till the collapse of the Empire in 1453.

D. Solomos - A. Kalvos Museum

The building is located in the square of St. Marcus in the town centre and its collection hosts personal items of the National Poet Dionisios Solomos, the famous Greek poet Andreas Kalvos and of other great local personalities and artists, like Alexander Romas and Gregory Xenopoulos. Traditional costumes from the Venetian era, furniture, photographs and portraits are also exhibited. The grave of D. Solomos is found here.

Eat & Drink
TYPE: Beach Bar,   STYLE: Mainstream
Location: Vassilikos

TYPE: Beach Bar,   STYLE: Mainstream
Location: Vassilikos

TYPE: Beach Bar,   STYLE: Mainstream
Location: Vassilikos

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Kalamaki

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Tsilivi

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Alikanas

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Fresh Fish & Seafood
Location: Tsilivi

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Alikanas

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Tsilivi

TYPE: Bar - Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Kalamaki

Practical info
General Info

Zakynthos has a mild Mediterranean climate with plentiful rainfall during the winter, promoting the dense vegetation, a principal characteristic of the Ionian Sea area.

The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad.  All numbers in the capital Athens start with the prefix 210 and are followed by 7 digits (e.g. 210-3227400).

The Area Code for Zakynthos is: +30 26950.

If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing the other country’s national prefix (i.e. 0049 for Germany, 0044 for England etc.) and continue with the area code and the number where you wish to call.

Euro €
Euro Coins: 1 and 2 euro coins (gold and silver color), 10, 20 and 50 cents (gold color) 1, 2 and 5 cents (copper color)
1 euro = 100 cents / centimes.
Euro Bank Notes: Are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. It is not always easy to receive change for 200 and 500 Euro Notes.

Getting There

The Airport of Zakynthos, “Dionysios Solomos”, is connected with the mainland and various countries abroad.

Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos: www.aia.gr
Zakynthos Airport: +30 26950 28322, www.hcaa-eleng.gr

Olympic Airways: For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit Olympic Air website www.olympicair.com
Athens Office: +30 210 355 0500, 8018010101

Frequent routes connect the port of Zakynthos with the port of Kilini (western Peloponnese) and the trip lasts about 1 hour. The island is also connected with the island of Kefalonia.

Ionian Ferries: For accurate timetables and ticket costs visit Ionian Ferries website: www.ionianferries.gr
Tel.: +30 210 3249 997, +30 210 3319 079, +30 211 2215502
E-mail: [email protected]
Tickets Kilini-Zakynthos Tel.: +30 26230 92422, +30 26230 92100,
+30 26230 92385, +30 26230 92488
Tickets Zakynthos-Kilini Tel.: +30 26950 41500, +30 26950 22083,
+30 26950 49500

Zakynthos Port Authority: +30 26950 28117, 28118
Kilini Port Authority: +30 26230 92211

Local Transportation

Long Distance Buses (KTEL) connect the town of Zakynthos with almost all the island’s villages and settlements.

KTEL Athens-Zakynthos Tel: +30 210 5129432
KTEL Patras-Zakynthos Tel: +30 2610 220993
KTEL Thessaloniki Tel: +30 2310 595416 and 595465
KTEL Zakynthos Tel: +30 26950 42656 and 22255

Zakynthos: +30 26950 48400, 22280, 28104, 23788, 28261

The best way to enjoy the beauty of Zakynthos is by renting a car or a motorbike. The scenery rewards you with scenic landscapes, traditional villages and beautiful sea shores. The roads, though, require attention as they usually are narrow and not well maintained.

Local Services

In the city of Zakynthos you can find branches of most Greek banks. You can also find bank branches or ATMs in some villages.

Banks exchange all major currencies, traveler’s cheques or Eurocheques. Post offices exchange cash, but not traveler’s cheques, and usually charge lower commissions than banks. Travel agencies and larger hotels exchange cash and traveler’s cheques but usually charge a higher commission. Credit cards are accepted in shops and restaurants, however, in local cafes, especially in villages you will probably have to pay in cash.                                                                              

The Greek post office is called ELTA. Post Boxes in Greece are YELLOW for normal post, usually with 2 slots for INTERNAL POST (meaning inside Greece) and post for ABROAD. RED Post Boxes are rarer and they are used for URGENT mail. REGISTERED mail is always handled and given a receipt for at the POST OFFICE.

Zakynthos Post Office
Tertseti & Kouskou Str., Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26950 44875

Zakynthos Police Station
62 Lomvardou str., Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26950 2210 and 26950 24473

Laganas Police Station
Tel.: +30 26950 55068

Municipality of Zakynthos
D. Roma Str., Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26953 61300

Useful Number

•    Tourist Police: 171, +30 26950 24483-4
•    Hellenic National Meteorological service: +30 210 9699101-3
•    Elpa (Car breakdown tourist information service): 174
•    Kilini Port Authority: +30 26230 92211
•    Zakynthos Port Authority: +30 26950 28117, 28118

International Press can be found mainly in the largest villages and settlements, but we suggest you look for it in Zakinthos Town before starting your trip.

•    Police: 100
•    Fire Department: 199
•    Ambulance: 166, +30 26950 23166

Agios Dionysios General Hospital:

1 G.Mothoneos str., Perivola Area, Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26953 60500

Except for the city, in almost every big village you can find at least one pharmacy. Pharmacists are also well-qualified to deal with the majority of minor medical complaints or to prepare prescriptions. The opening hours are listed at the front doors or in the windows of each Pharmacy. For your convenience find below an indicative list with pharmacies:

Vitsos Nikolaos
77 Al. Roma Str., Zakynthos Town
Tel.: +30 26950 28404

Prekeze Maria
Tel.: +30 26950 26469

Hartas Angelos
60 An. Tavoulari Str., Zakynthos Town
Tel.: +30 26950 22300

Gianniotis Efstathios
15 Ag. Lazarou Str., Zakynthos Town
Tel.: +30 26950 23411

Grigoropoulos Minas
Tel.: +30 26950 51811

Walk to the small islet of Agios Sostis

Agios Sostis resort is found next to the popular and busy Laganas and it is ideal for those who prefer a more tranquil day at the beach. It consists in narrow but beautiful sandy coast and a small harbour. It has taken its name from Agios Sostis islet right opposite the coast, which can be accessed through the small wooden bridge on shore. Agios Sostis features shallow waters and offers water sports activities, while on the beach you can find some beach bars and charming taverns.

The venue of the Greek Volley Tournament

Agios Nikolaos beach is found in Vassilikos area, at about 17 km from Zakynthos town. The beach has taken its name from the small church of Agios Nikolaos at the end of its coast and it is a sandy beach, fully organized and among the most cosmopolitan spots on the island. On the beach you will find various beach bars with vibrating music and refreshing cocktails, you can try some watersports or, if you are lucky enough, maybe watch the Greek Volley Tournament.

Natural, untouched & crystal clear

It is a pure untouched place with natural beauty, 28km from Zakynthos town to the north west, next to Agios Leon village. There is no beach actually but a natural small port, rocky and steep with deep waters and caves in the surrounding vertical rocks. It is ideal for snorkeling and diving. And after the diving and snorkeling dash, you will enjoy the homemade food and unparalleled views of the traditional tavern nearby.

A scenic place with therapeutic waters

Xygia is a unique beach because of the sulfur springs in a nearby cave, producing a characteristic smell. People visit this one for its therapeutic waters. The beach is sandy and surrounded by high vertical rocks. It is located 22 km from Zakynthos town to the north and it is easily accessible. There is also a parking space for cars and some taverns in the area.

For those who enjoy deep waters and diving

In the northern part of the island, 25 km from Zakynthos town, is located a small pebbly beach with steep and deep waters, the charming Makris Gialos Beach. Small caves are scattered all around the beach and you will find here a diving school, for limitless explorations and, also, some taverns.

A beautiful & protected area

Dafni beach is located just 13 km south east from Zakynthos town at Vassilikos Area with a view to Laganas bay. It is part of the National Water Park and the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta lays its eggs in the sand. It is protected, so there are no water sports, some spots are prohibited for the visitors to access and it is always closed at night. Not a beach with easy access but it is really worth the try.

A beach nestled within rocks

Almost 35 km from Zakynthos town to the northwest and after Maries village, you can find Porto Vromi beach. It is a small, sandy and relatively quiet beach surrounded by large vertical rocks with caves naturally curved in them. It is an organized beach, with a bar, taverns, boats and sea bikes to hire. Also, some boats depart from here to the Blue Caves and to Navagio beach.

A tranquil place at laganas bay

Kaminia Beach is located 13 km from Zakynthos town and quite close to Laganas to the south west. It is a sandy beach with basic amenities and a beach bar from where you can buy coffee or refreshments. Despite being located next to bursting Laganas, Kaminia Beach is peaceful and rarely crowded.

Relaxation away from crowded spots

Porto Roma is found 15 km from town, at Cape Gerakas, Vassilikos Area. It is a virgin, undeveloped spot with a sandy beach, ideal for those seeking tranquility and relaxation. Never too crowded, despite the fact that it is a relatively small beach. There is also a bar and some taverns nearby.

A doll beach? Absolutely!

This sandy and organized beach is an ideal place for relaxation and swimming. It is located 9 km south from Zakynthos town and it is considered to be among the best and most popular beaches on the island, while maintaining its tranquil, natural ambience. Besides, its name "Koukla" means doll in Greek and it is used to imply that someone /something is beautiful. The surrounding scenery is beautiful and romantic, offering a nice view to Marathonisi island. There are also some taverns and bars on the place.

The most popular place on Zakynthos

This is the most famous and crowded place on the island, almost 10 km from Zakynthos town. The beach is almost 9km long with warm, shallow waters. It is also part of the National Water Park because the Careta - Careta turtles lay their eggs here. It is a fully organized beach providing for water sports, various beach bars, cafes and taverns. In the area you will also find many accommodation options and even luxury resorts, as the area is among the most organized parts of the island.

Maybe the best beach on the island

According to the majority of visitors this beach is the best beach on the island. It is a sandy beach, surrounded by rocks, with shallow waters. It is part of the National Water Park because of the Caretta-Caretta  turtles laying its eggs here. It is partially organized with umbrellas and sun beds, but one must keep away from the marked spots indicating the buried turtle eggs. Visit is limited to a certain number of people per three-hour stay.

The alternative choice

Bouka beach is located 8 km north from Zakynthos ton, very close to Tsilivi. It is a small sandy tranquil beach, ideal for those seeking an alternative place to relax. It boasts crystal clear waters so it is also ideal for snorkeling.

An organized, popular spot

This sandy beach is located 3.5km south east from Zakynthos. It is one of the most popular beaches on the island which makes it pretty crowded and it is famous for the numerous providing for exciting exploration dashes. It is organized with water sports, umbrellas and sun beds. Here you have a lot of options in restaurants, traditional taverns, clubs, bars and shops. A family friendly beach also featuring a mini golf, a fun castle and an animal farm for the kids to play.

Two beaches in one

Alikes and Alikanas are almost 16km north from Zakynthos. The beaches are joined together, forming a wide and long coast. The beaches are sandy and the waters are shallow and warm. They are popular places for families and couples, with a lot of shops, bars, and restaurants to choose from. The green mountain at the background just completes the scenery.

The signature beach of the island

This bay on the north west of the island can only be reached by boat. It is located 35 km north from Zakynthos town and it is a white pebbly beach with magical blue waters. Navagio beach is worldwide famous because of its location and its “decoration” by a shipwreck. There is a magical panoramic view of this spot from a platform installed on the top of the mountain right above it. To get there you must take the road to Volimes village and from there, follow the signs. Definitely a must-see and must-visit.

Sand and lush vegetation

Porto Zoro is located 11 km south from Zakynthos town at Vassilikos area. It is a beautiful sandy beach surrounded by lush vegetation and large rocks. Basic amenities are provided such as umbrellas and sun beds. There is also a parking space.

Sand, warm waters and a water sports' spot

Just 7km north from Zakynthos town lays this sandy beach with warm shallow waters. It is pretty popular and, thus, crowded most of times in summer but it is very organized, providing water sports such as windsurfing, water skiing, jet skiing and more.


Local Specialties & Recipes

The locals love garlic and they often use it in traditional recipes. Skordalia is a traditional Greek side dish. It is a puree of potato or soaked and trimmed bread with lots of garlic and olive oil.


It is a local dish, cooked in the casserole, made with veal, garlic, olive oil, tomato, oregano and pieces of the traditional oil cheese ladotyri. Definitely not a light dish but certainly a delicious one.


This is the traditional Greek stew, but in this local variation is used veal instead of rabbit, and of course, fresh tomato, onions, olive oil and garlic.

Aubergines “Skordostoubi”

This is a traditional dish of Zakynthos and a very spicy one. The aubergines are first cut into thick slices, salted and put into water to extinguish their bitterness. Then they are dried and fried in a pan. In an oven pan the fried aubergines are put in two layers with sliced garlic in the middle and on top. Finally, tomato sauce is poured over them and they are ready to be baked. An authentic taste!

Stuffed chicken with pasta

The chicken is stuffed with a mixture of its own innards that is first fried in a pan with garlic, salt and pepper. Then it is boiled in olive oil and water with tomato juice, oregano, a cinnamon stick and clove pins. The pasta is served with the red sauce from the casserole.

Chiromeri (Pork)

A traditional dish the locals prepare for the Easter table. It is made of salted pork, dried under the sun. They use the fatty parts of the pork, spiced with pepper, bay leaves and garlic.

Local Products

Pasteli is a healthy and nutritional sweet produced since the ancient times. It is made of the simplest ingredients: sesame and honey. You can find it in every traditional food store.


A local specialty prepared using the white of eggs, roasted almonds and honey or sugar.


Only found in Zakynthos, Fitoures are produced from a mixture of semolina and water, which is chilled and then cut to pieces and fried in olive oil. Cinnamon and sugar is added on top.


The locals produce a very special kind of cheese called ladotyri. It is made of sheep’s milk that is preserved and matured into containers full of olive oil. It has a spicy flavor that grows spicier with time. You should definitely try this one.


Apart from the usual varieties of white bread, Zakinthians also produce dark bread from crude wheat. On the 15th of August it is prepared the “Eftazymo” having as basic ingredient chickpeas instead of yeast.  


The island cultivates its own traditional grape varieties, like “Verdea” and “Avgoustiatis”. Many locals produce their own house wine following the traditional ways of vinification. You can also find bottled local wine in the market.

Liqueur strawberry

This liqueur is produced by a special variety of wild strawberry thriving on the island.

Zakinthian Onions

This kind of onions differs from the common ones because they are not hot and spicy but mild and sweet.

Olive oil

The island is producing fine olive oil which is a basic source of income for the local farmers. The biological cultivation of olive groves is highly promoted, resulting in a high quality product with extraordinary taste. It is also sold bottled in the local market.


You can buy this pure, natural, traditional product of the island, from the local producers or the local market instead.

Wine festival

In Zakynthos town, every year a wine festival is organized in the last days of August till the beginning of September with wine tasting and folk dances.


During the carnival period (February) dances, parades and masquerades take place on the largest villages of the island. Theatrical comical plays and sketches are organized on the squares and in the streets by men in costumes.

On the last Sunday of the Carnival, a very popular parade, which tours the island, takes place ending with the "Funeral of the Mask", a parody of a funeral where the place of the dead is taken by the Carnival King.

Religious feasts

Almost every feast is usually accompanied by a celebration with wine, local specialties, folk music and dances.

Find below some of the most remarkable religious celebrations in Zakynthos:

Cycladia Tips
Useful tips for a Pleasant Stay

Tap water is not safe to drink so you should buy bottled water instead. The super markets are the cheapest places to buy bottled water. The price is fixed on 50 cents maximum for the 500ml bottle in kiosks and bars.

Also, as you are in Greece, the sun is very strong in summer and especially in August. Try to avoid the direct exposure for extended periods of time, especially from 11.00 to 16.00. You should often use a high factor sun cream or oil.


Marathonisi is an unoccupied small island located in the bay of Laganas. It boasts lush vegetation with caves to explore and sandy beaches to enjoy. The sea turtles also prefer it to lay their eggs. It can be accessed by boat from Laganas or Keri. An unspoiled, virgin island where no infrastructure or any kind of shops are found, so mind to have all necessary supplies with you.

Pretza Cheese

Pretza cheese is the well kept secret and the hidden delight of Zakynthos Island. A soft, creamy and spicy cheese made of feta cheese, yoghurt, thyme, lemon juice and olive oil. Do not try to find it in any shop…the locals will not have their secret gem revealed so easily. Just ask for it in the taverns of the island and, especially, the ones in small traditional villages.

Tour the island

Zakynthos is full of pleasant surprises and you should narrow your excursions to the popular hotspots and the touristic areas. Try to tour around the island on foot, by boat or car. It will remain carved in your memory forever!

The best sunset on the island

If you are the romantic type or if you just love magnificent views, try the balcony of Stavros traditional tavern in Schiza, Kampi, on the northwestern part of the island. The view is just breathtaking as the sun dives unobstructed into the dark blue Ionian Sea!

Shops & Galleries
Traditional Products

Zante Cooperatives’ Union
Wine, olive oil and black raisin produced on the island.
Lykoudi, Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26950 22005
Website: http://www.zantecoopunion.com/

Local wine production and trade.
87 Al. Roma Str., Zakynthos
Tel: +30 26950 23674
Website: http://www.oenolpi.gr

Traditional sweets including sesame bars with honey (pastel), nougats and almond candies.
Kydoni, Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26950 23282

The oldest winery on the island and a producer of virgin olive oil.
Maherado, Zakynthos
Tel: +30 26950 92284

To Anthos
Traditional pastry products
4 E. Venizelou Str., Zakynthos

Gifts & Souvenirs

Spira Art & Gift shop
Handcrafted items made of metal, glass, wood, silver, rock and clay.
Laganas, Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26950 53241

Adamieion Ceramic Art Studio
Handcrafted pottery and items inspired by Zakynthos.
Marineika 177, Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 2810 260257
Website: www.adamieion.com

Andriani’s Ceramic Workshop
Hand made ceramics made of clay
Agios Sostis, Zakynthos
Tel.: +30 26950 52748
Website: www.andrianiceramic.gr

Hanne Mi Ceramic Art studio
Sculptures, vases, jugs, plates, goblets, wall plaque, tiles and more, all made of clay
Vassilikos, Zakynthos
Tel.:+30 26950 35012
Website: www.ceramichannemi.com