Near the west coast of Greece, in the Ionian sea, lies the island of Zakynthos, a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty spots, wildlife and variety of things to do.
What is Zante like?
Zante is home to many beaches, but also has stunning greenery everywhere and a mountainous west side, where there are tall white cliffs towering over the beautiful clear oceans. Zante offers a choice of several main towns which adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle and is a perfect family destination because of its varied nature. However, popular with groups of young adults too, Zante has plenty of nightlife and clubs which play a variety of music all night, catering to everyone’s taste.
Laganas is one of the places to head to if you want a popular tourist centre. Capitalising on partying and nightlife, there are also many traditional bars and restaurants for the family. There is a long beach which can be used in the daytime to make sure that there is always something to do. South of Laganas beaches is home to Loggerhead turtles, an endangered species, and special boat rides are often offered from this area for the once in a life time experience of seeing them in the wild. There are no watersports in most of this area in the summer months in order to protect the turtle eggs.
Of course, the capital of the island, Zante Town, which has the same name as the island itself, is a popular place to visit. The main road is a Marina, hosting Solomos Square and St. Markos Square at one end and the Church of St. Dennis (Saint Dionysios) at the other. If you are staying near here and want to experience the best nightlife, be sure to take an excursion to the local town of Argassi, a hub of clubs and bars.
Alykes is the place to go if you want a more beach orientated holiday. On the North East side of Zante, it provides watersports and great stretches of golden sand.
Things to do
It is worthwhile taking a daily cruise around the island, with stunning views, it is definitely not a day wasted and should be experienced by everyone. Take these trips from Zante Town (Zakynthos): being on the waterfront, there are ferry booking offices along this strip, also offering trips to the mainland. With a more cultural feel, the capital also hosts museums, libraries and churches, all open to the public and hosting stunning post-Byzantine art amongst many other things for you to see.
If you hire a car, the roads are easy to navigate. A national driving licence from an EU country is all you should need to get a car and then you can drive to the Western mountain towns. With more secluded beaches and a quieter way of life, these can be a great break away from the main tourist buzz. Try trekking in this region too if you do not wish to hire transport.
On the beaches, try the variety of watersports, and you can also scuba dive into hidden underwater caves or snorkel to see some marine life.
In general, there is a real variety in Zante: from bars and clubs, to beach fun, to tours to admire the beautiful wildlife and scenery, there is something for everyone. Be aware that it is a region for Mosquitoes though, so make sure you pack insect repellent.