Settle into your assigned plane seat and get comfortable for three and a half hours. Disembark from your flight, giving the flight attendant a cheery smile as you go – but this smile will continue for the duration of your trip as soon as you lay eyes on beautiful Zante. Incredible beaches, relaxing hideaways and vibrant resorts are all bound by one of the best coastlines in the Mediterranean, making Zante (also known as Zakynthos) a sure-fire location to enjoy an elegant Greek getaway. Every area of the island has been blessed by exquisiteness from fascinating endangered wildlife to the awe-inspiring Venetian architecture and while Zante is a multi-faceted hub of holiday perfection, knowing which resort is right for you will change the game. There’s truly something for everyone – just come and see for yourself…
Best for: A good time
From morning until night, Laganas is the place to be. It’s the largest resort on the island of Zante and attracts those looking for a good time – the bars and clubs found here promise to give you an experience that you won’t forget in a hurry. Beach parties directly on the sands are a popular draw while the likes of Zero Bar with their resident fire-breathers and flare bottles, and the themed bar Cocktails and Dreams based on the Tom Cruise film Cocktail are positive to provide something for everyone. There is also a wide variety of restaurants in Laganas too, from international favourites to authentic Greek tavernas.
During your stay in Laganas, you might notice masses of people heading towards one area. Follow them. The long and sandy Laganas Beach is the best and most popular on the whole of Zante, located on the edge of the village and stretching for nearly two kilometres. Endless rows of sun loungers take pride of place on the sands, centred around lively beach bars and energetic water sport options including jet skis, banana boats and parasailing. Or, if you feel like exploring Laganas coast at your own leisure then hire a canoe or a pedalo to sail through the waters, and there are also opportunities for boat hire and boat excursions.
Best for: A little bit of everything
The main event! Zante Town is diverse, delightful and dangerously addictive – one visit here and you won’t want to leave. The capital and commercial centre of the island, all the houses, shops and buildings here were rebuilt in the island’s traditional Venetian style after the destructive earthquake in 1953, giving the area a modern yet timeless feel. Zante Town is the perfect base for excursions around the island, but it can be argued that the best means of exploration are right in the centre of town. Elegant architecture, charming cafés and beautiful boutique stores line the streets, and you certainly can’t leave without a wander around Alexander Roma Street. Jewellery stores and quaint stores are the initial draw, but you’ll soon discover the 17th-century mansion of Alexander Roma himself near Solomos Square, which is filled with period furniture, works of art and family portraits of the former president of Greek parliament. Oh, and if you want the best views over the Zante Town’s harbour, hike the steep path to Bohali Castle. These ruined battlements of the 15th-century castle were repaired by the Venetians, and once you’ve spent some time ambling around, head to the nearby Bohali village to recharge and refresh in a local café after the thirsty climb.
Like we said, Zante Town is the perfect base so it’s likely you’ll feel as if you’re getting multiple holidays in one with the excursions available here. The iconic Navagio is one of the most popular, also known as Shipwreck Beach or Smuggler’s Cove and is accessible by boat just 30-minutes away from the town. Make a day of it as you marvel at the abandoned hulk of the ill-fated smuggling ship MV Panagiotis which lies at the centre of the gorgeous white sands, enclosed on three sides by tall limestone cliffs. You can also take in other landmarks from here including the majestic Blue Caves, an enchanting area of outstanding natural beauty. The caves are a succession of inlets sunk below the cliff and as the afternoon sun reflects off the water, the white cave walls illuminate mesmerising patterns in every shade of blue that will provide you with the ultimate pinch-me moment.
Best for: A relaxed family holiday
Just six kilometres away from Zante Town lies the vibrant village of Tsilivi, boasting a laidback atmosphere that suits young couples and families perfectly. The area sits pretty on Zante’s northeast coast, once a small resort that embraced its traditionalism but its tourism has boomed in recent years and while that authentic Greek feel still remains, it’s partnered with an air of cosmopolitanism, a combination of which has drawn visitors from other parts of Greece and beyond. Brimming with activity yet still offering opportunities for some peace and quiet, Tsilivi is an island hotspot to indulge in authentic cuisine at the family-run tavernas, idyllic soft-sand beaches and wonderful hotels and resorts that are dedicated to making your holiday to Zante one that you’ll never forget.
Speaking of idyllic beaches, Tsilivi is home to one of the most famous beaches in Zante, a two-kilometre ribbon of sand so white it resembles snow, full of sun loungers, beach bars and watersports centre. This is a Blue Flag beach, and parents are set at ease with the shallow, child-friendly waters that remain calm and safe all-year-round. For a spot with a little less traffic, head west of the main resort to the quieter beaches of Tragaki and Bouka and simply embrace the beauty of the landscape, the breeze from the sea and the brilliance from the sunshine. The family fun continues with Splash Fun Waterpark which has plenty of tempting slides and rides for the very young and the young at heart, and Fantasy Mini Golf set in gecko-filled gardens.
Best for: Peace, quiet and nature
We all need a little TLC every now and again, right? Kalamaki is the place where you can kick back, relax, enjoy the sunshine and immerse yourself in gorgeous surroundings without a care in the world. Located on the southern shores of Zante, Kalamaki certainly lives up to the ‘Flower of the Orient’ name given to the island, surrounded by traditional cypress trees and olive groves, and a five-kilometre beach of silky soft sands that wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard. The beach’s waters are warm and shallow, perfect for toddlers who want to splash safely but also for swimmers who can wade out and glide through the crystal-clear shimmers. If you’re visiting during the months of July and August, the beach is a popular spot for loggerhead turtles to nest thanks to its quiet and uncrowded nature, but these are endangered species so take all the pictures you want but don’t get too close. If the wildlife fascinates you, a trip to Turtle Island is a must. Take a mesmerising glass-bottom boat trip to the nearby archipelago (real name Marathonissi) which is nicknamed Turtle Island due to its uncanny resemblance to the shape of a turtle, and see if you can spot one the special animals laying their eggs on the shore.
The village is just five kilometres away from the lively Laganas, making it the perfect location if you want to enjoy the serenity by day and the ruckus by night. However, there is still plenty to do in Kalamaki for a little excitement including mini golf, a waterpark and local craft shops. Foodies will be in their element as the tavernas at Kalamaki are some of the best on the island, and the incredible landscape makes al fresco dining a real treat; tuck into succulent seafood, classic Greek treats and refreshing cocktails as the sun sets and imagine you’re in paradise – oh, wait…
We told you that there’s something for everyone! If you’re seeking a little more insight into Zante’s resorts before you make the big decision, don’t hesitate to contact Olympic Holidays for everything you need to know about your dream holiday. We’re here to make those dreams a reality…