A Greek getaway you’ll never forget awaits in Zante. A gem of the Ionian islands, this striking region offers a little bit of everything from vibrant scenes after dark in Zakynthos Town and charming villages awash with historical highlights to exceptional cuisine designed for the ultimate foodie and beautiful beaches that allow you to master the art of relaxation. Couples, groups and families are all seamlessly catered for, but if you need a little additional inspiration, there’s an excellent reason to visit Zante corresponding to all the letters of the alphabet…
A is for… An alternative name
Did you know that Zante’s real name is Zakynthos? The island’s complex and fascinating history has given it many monikers throughout the years, and there are still many arguments among locals and tourists alike as to what it should be addressed as. But whether you choose to use Zante or Zakynthos, the island still remains the same – warm, welcoming, and an exceptional well-rounded holiday.
B is for… Blue Caves
This is one that simply can’t be missed. An enchanting area of outstanding natural beauty, the Blue Caves are a succession of inlets sunk below the cliffs along the north-west coast of the island. As the afternoon sun reflects off the water, the white cave walls illuminate patterns in every conceivable shade of blue to create a mesmerising kaleidoscopic effect that no camera can do justice.
C is for… Children
Contrary to popular belief, kids are more than accommodated for in Zante. The importance of quality family time is present throughout the island whether it be Olympics’ excellent selection of family-friendly hotels with plenty of all-inclusive options, the safe golden sand beaches with shallow waters, and the diverse restaurants serving both traditional Greek cuisine and home comforts that children know and love.
D is for… Dolmadakia
Greek meze is one of life’s greatest pleasure and dolmadakia is certainly no exception. The deliciously delicate dish comprises grape or vine leaves which are stuffed with rice and herbs for a vegetarian option, or the addition of ground beef for meat lovers. Don’t get these to share – one bite will tell you all you need to know.
E is for… Essence
Essence Restaurant is one Zante’s best-kept secrets. Hidden away in the backstreets of Kalamaki, this restaurant comes highly recommended by locals and tourists alike and celebrates authentic Greek cuisine in an elegant setting. Be spoilt for choice with its extensive menu with locally sourced ingredients, perfectly paired with a collection of Zakynthiot wines that are nothing short of divine.
F is for… The Flower of the Orient
If you thought Zante was something of a concrete jungle – think again. The Venetians once dubbed the island ‘The Flower of the Orient’ thanks to its exceptional countryside and it’s a nickname that still rings true to this day. Peeking out from the rolling hills are olive groves and lemon trees, colourful flowers and tropical plants.
G is for… Gerakas Beach
It’s been debated whether Gerakas Beach is the most beautiful on the island so the best way to settle the argument is to visit it yourself. Located on the south side and shrouded in beautiful greenery, the pristine waters are perfect for cooling off from the sun, and if you visit between May and October, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the famous loggerhead turtles hatching their eggs on the sand.
H is for… Hot, hot, hot!
Like everywhere else in Greece, Zante benefits from a balmy Mediterranean climate that makes it perfect for a summer holiday. July and August boast the highest temperatures with the most sunshine hours throughout the day so if you want a jealousy-inducing tan, this is the time to visit.
I is for… Island hopping
No matter where you go in Greece, there’s always an opportunity for an island-hopping excursion. Catch a ferry from Zante to Kefalonia where you can visit exotic beaches, seaside villages and the 150-million-year-old Drogarati Cave. Walk along the vibrant harbour and delight in an al fresco seafood eatery before making the short trip back to Zante and reflect on your unique holiday memories.
J is for… Jumping the broom
Again, Zante has been called many things, but did you know it’s also known as ‘the green island of poetry, song and love’? The breathtaking scenery provides the perfect backdrop for many a wedding or honeymoon or simply recapturing intimacy with romantic dinner dates and a stroll along the shore on a balmy evening.
K is for… Keri Sea Caves
Keri Sea Caves is located on the southwestern coast and is a must-do day trip during your holiday. Explore the clear waters and sail on a kayak to get up close and personal to the caves, or why not delve beneath the surface with a snorkel kit to admire the beautiful loggerhead turtles?
L is for… Laganas Beach
The queen bee of all the beaches in Zante, the five-kilometre-long Laganas Beach is located in the thriving town of the same name. Here is where you’ll find visitors of every age, from children paddling in the calm waters to sunseekers topping up their tan. The extensive guest list has a wide range of facilities to match including restaurants, ice cream parlours, watersports and much more. Don’t forget to admire the loggerhead turtles that reside here too!
M is for… MV Panagiotis
Arguably the island’s most famous landmark, Smuggler’s Cove is home to the abandoned hulk of the ill-fated smuggling ship, MV Panagiotis, which lies at the centre of the soft white sands on Navagio Beach. Combine this day trip with a visit to the Blue Caves and thank us later.
N is for… Nightlife
When the sun goes down, Zante transforms. Everyone who wishes to stay out after dark is catered for, from late-nights clubs and bustling bars to laidback cocktail lounges and traditional tavernas with live music.
O is for… Olive Tree Taverna
It doesn’t get more delectable than the Olive Tree Taverna. This family-run restaurant is the oldest in Tsilivi and serves authentic and fresh island cuisine. Expect an explosion of flavours as you tuck into the likes of grilled seabass, slow-cooked spicy shin of beef and Mediterranean lamb shank – don’t forget to save room for dessert because the lemon cheesecake is truly what dreams are made of.
P is for… Porto Zorro Beach
There really are no shortage of beaches in Zante and Porto Zorro ticks every box for a fun day out. Just 11 kilometres from Zakynthos Town, this popular stretch of sand is known for its lively beach bar, Porto Azuro, and is surrounded by well-groomed greenery and there is even a section of the beach with healing clay that guests can rub on their skin for health benefits.
R is for… Retail therapy
Bargains galore await at Anafonitra Market, which is roughly about 40 minutes from Tsilivi. Pick up local crafts and souvenirs from traditional knick-knacks to embroidered tablecloths and handmade sandals. What’s a holiday without some closely similar knock-off designer goodies? Laganas town centre is where you’ll find these, but if you’re looking for familiar names, you’ll find the likes of The Body Shop and Diesel in Zante Town.
S is for… Seven-day itinerary
Looking for the perfect jam-packed, week-long agenda? Take a look at our brilliant guide on how to spend seven days in Zante for the ultimate inspiration.
T is for… Tsilivi
Just six kilometres away from Zante Town is where you’ll find Tsilivi, a vibrant resort that is suited to both young couples and families seeking a relaxed atmosphere. This bustling area is brimming with activity from cultural attractions to gorgeous beaches and plenty of bars and pubs that come to life at night.
U is for… UK to Zante in just four hours
As if you needed another reason for a holiday to Zante, you can be on the glorious island in roughly three and half hours – that’s the exact running time of The Godfather Part II! Olympic Holidays fly from multiple UK airports to Zante, where the local time is just two hours ahead. What jetlag?
V is for… Verdea
If you’re seeking that perfect wine to go with your delicious seafood meal, look no further than Verdea. A crisp white wine made from a blend of local grapes; it’s aged for roughly a year to reach its maximum flavour potential with citrus notes and an acidic undertone.
W is for… Waterparks
Thrills and spills are abundant at Caretta Fun Park Centre, which is part of Caretta Beach Resort & Waterpark, majoring as an aquapark during the day and transforming into a dry-land playground in the evenings. Water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, go-karting, air hockey… you name it, they’ve got it.
Y is for… Your one-stop shop for Zante holidays
Olympic Holidays of course! From luxury experiences to family-friendly adventures, there’s nothing that this island can’t offer and we’re on hand to help you get there as soon as possible.
Z is for… Zante Town
Zante Town is the capital and commercial centre of the island, with all the buildings rebuilt in a traditional Venetian style after the destructive earthquake in 1953. The town is a hub of cosmopolitanism with plenty of shopping opportunities, modern restaurants and thriving nightlife when the sun goes down.