Navagio Bay – pure awesomeness

Awesome

Navaigo Bay
Navaigo Bay
A lot of people want to see Zakynthos because of this awesome little paradise – called Navagio Bay.
There is much more to see – but you have to visit the so called – Shipwreck Beach – before you die…

Shipwreck Beach (Navagio)

Shipwreck on navagio bay
Shipwreck on navagio bay
Originally a smuggler ship, which lost engine power in 1981 and was washed ashore in a magnificent small bay. Featured in Greek tourist ads, it is on the west coast and best visited by going there from Porto Vromi. Go there either early in the morning or in the afternoon (>15:00), as in the time between the big around-the-island cruise ships anchor there and the beach is heavily crowded – its not rare to have 20 boats all moored each putting a few hundred people ashore at once. Going there in off-peak times ensures you will have the beach pretty much to your own. Be aware the wreck is very sharp and its very possible to injure yourself if not careful For the ultimate picture, follow the signs to the Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery – when you arrive there, use the road to your right to get to a small viewing platform some 600ft above the wreck and is where most of the picture postcard shots are taken from. It can actually be nicer to see it from this perspective than up close and personal on the beach itself. You can also see the Base Jumping extreme sport to Shipwreck beach from the high cliffs of Navagio.

The best beaches in Zakynthos

Zakynthos has many beaches to offer. We present a selection of the best beaches in Zakynthos. Read carefully to learn where will spend a good day at the beach

Agios Nikolaos

the beach at Agios Nikolaos
the beach at Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos beach – Termed the best beach on the island, on the south eastern peninsula near Vassilikos. You can get there also by free shuttle services from Laganas, Kalamaki, and Argasi – although it should be noted that in order to get a ticket to get the shuttle back again you have to pay to use a sun lounger (currently €4). Water sports (diving, jet skis, etc.) are offered, as well as a big British-run beach bar. This is not to be confused by the Agios Nikolaos village in the north of the island which shares little in common with this one!

Alikes/Alykanas

Alykes beach
Alykes beach

 

Alikes/Alykanas – A long stretch of beach in front of the 2 resorts with plenty of facilities, sunbeds, watersports. To the west of the Skourtis river mouth is Alikes, to the east is Alykanas. The Alikes section is quite narrow and also quite stony in places, backed by numerous bars and restaurants, mostly competing to be the least Greek. The best sand is to be found at the eastern end, close to the little fishing port of Agios Kyriaki, where the Neraida Taverna offers friendly service and traditional, freshly-cooked local dishes, backed by live traditional music in the evening. There’s also a “shipwreck”, a sunken wooden sailing yacht sitting in quite shallow water which kids (and grown-up kids!) can wade out to and climb all over. A walk of around 1km from Alykanas resort centre, through “Old” Alykanas village, brings you to the peaceful XehoriatiBeach. This narrow stretch of fine sand has beautiful views across to Kefalonia and the Peloponnese, and shelves out very slowly offering safe swimming with a number of rocky reefs for interesting snorkelling. Xehoriati is served by 2 restaurants vying to have the most incongruous name. The apparently native-North-American-themed Redskins is actually run by a friendly young Italian couple serving up their native cuisine, whileShoestring (nothing to do with the ’70s UK TV detective), up a flight of steps at the eastern end of the beach, offers typical tourist taverna fare at lunchtime and close to a “fine-dining” menu in the evenings (save room at any time of day for the excellent home-made desserts), all with stunning views. There’s also a mini-market about 150m from the beach for snacks, chilled drinks etc.

Dafni

The Dafni beach on Zakynthos
The Dafni beach on Zakynthos

Dafni – access to this is via a steep hilly road in between Argassi and Vassilikos. This is a lovely sandy beach located again in the marine reserve with a complete ban on traffic. It’s a quiet beach that has only a few local on the beach tavernas for food and drink along with sunbeds.

Gerakas

Gerakas and it's beach
Gerakas and it’s beach

Gerakas – the main loggerhead turtle nesting beach located at the far south of the vassilikos penninsula inside the total marine excusion zone. This is a large long and wide sandy beach and gently shelving shore with sun beds and umbrellas provided. Some areas of the beach are off limits due to turtles nesting and the beach is closed at dusk for the same reason. There is a steep hill or steps leading from the cliff top to get down to the beach. A car park is provided but in busy periods this can fill up. Also near here are several tavernas for food and toilets.

Kalamaki to Laganas

Kalamaki beach
Kalamaki beach

Kalamaki to Laganas – the resort of Kalamaki shares a long uninterrupted sandy beach that runs from here to Laganas a few miles away. In some places it can be crowded but the further towards the middle you get the fewer people you find and given its size its possible to find somewhere quiet.

Tsilivi

The Tsilivi beach
The Tsilivi beach

 

Tsilivi – the family resort of Tsilivi boats a wide and long sandy beach, watersports, sunbeds and ample car parking

Your journey to Zakynthos

There few possibilities to arrive the island. You can get transportation by plane or by ship. For international vistors the plane option is prefered.

By plane

The airport in Zakynthos
The airport in Zakynthos

Zakynthos is served by one airport (airport code ZTH), located towards the south end of the island near to the resort of Laganas and Kalamaki, it caters for both international and domestic flights. Almost all international flights are chartered flights from other European cities during the holiday season (May-October). Domestic flights are available between Zakynthos airport and Athens, served by the national airline Olympic Airlines , there are usually two flights a day. The journey time to Athens is approximately 1 hour. As of January 2010, Easyjet started flying to Zante from nearly all UK airports and flights are usually Thursday to Sunday.

By ship

A ferryboat to zakynthos
A ferryboat to Zakynthos

Zakynthos has ferry links to Kyllini on the Greek mainland from Zakynthos Town During the last years, the area has evolved to a famous tourist resort with clubs, restaurants, cafes and shops € 8.20 per person and € 38 per car. Ferries to Kefalonia can be joined at Aghios Nikolas, on the North-East tip of the island.

Zakynthos history

Zakynthos-kentriki_odos

The Island

Zakynthos, due to mild winter rainfall, is an extremely lush island; the Venetians (who conquered it) referred to it as Il fiore del Levante— the Flower of the Levant. March-May is a particularly rewarding time to visit; the island is relatively low on tourists, the Easter parade takes place and the island blooms spectacularly with a myriad of colorful flowers and lush green hills.
Zakynthos, like its neighbour Kefalonia, was heavily affected by the massive earthquake of 1953 and subsequently a lot of its stunning Venetian architecture was sadly destroyed. Ruins still lay in some parts of the island due to this. The main town was completely rebuilt and still has an uncanny resemblance to Venice‘s San Marco square; it is well worth taking a look at.
The beautiful white cliffs that plunge into azure seas towards Keri have to be seen to be believed; the water is wonderfully clear and it is worth hiring a boat to see such sights.

Timeline

Archaeological excavations have proved that Zakynthos was inhabited from the Neolithic Age. The island is first mentioned by the Greek poet and writer Homer. In his masterpieces, the Iliad and the Odyssey, he stated that the first inhabitants of Zakynthos were the son of King Dardanos, Zakynthos of Troy (after whom the island was named) and his men who settled around 1500-1600 BC.
Over the years the island was conquered by King Arkeisios of Kefalonia, and after him Ulysses from Ithaca. Later on Zakynthos became the first independent democracy in the Hellenic area, as a treaty was signed and it lasted over 650 years.
Mining has been common on the island, but today the only activity is two quarries on the mountain range in the western part of the island. A small mountain located on Zakynthos’ west side was mined during the late 20th century, but it is no longer in use. Today tourism is the most important source of income, and Zakynthos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.

The earthquake

In the summer of 1953, Zakynthos was hit by two severe earthquakes, resulting in the total destruction of the island’s infrastructure and most of its state archives. The most powerful of those quakes, which registered 7.3 on the Richter Scale, occurred on August 12 and was felt throughout almost the entire country. In Zakynthos Town only three buildings were left standing: the St. Dionysios Cathedral, the National Bank building and the church of St. Nicholas “tou Molou”. The rebuilding of the island was subject to a very rigid anti-seismic code, and has thus withstood several moderate and powerful earthquakes (the most recent in 2005) with a minimal amount of damage.