If you're looking for a summer vacation that offers both relaxation and exploration, Zakynthos is the Greek island for you. Located in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of mainland Greece, Zakynthos is a destination renown for its crystal-clear waters, rugged coastline, and a rich culture that will leave you wanting more. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through this beautiful island and share some of our favourite experiences along the way.
One of our favourite activities on the island was renting boats to explore the rugged and picturesque coastline. Renting a boat for the day allowed us to explore the island's hidden coves and secluded beaches at our own pace.
You can start your day by either renting from Laganas or Agios Nikolaos. Your starting point will determine which part of the coast you will be able to explore. Renting from both will give you the opportunity to discover different parts of the island. You do not need a license to rent these boats however we do recommend starting in Laganas as the waters on the southern part of the island are easier to manage. Renting from Laganas allowed us to explore the Keri caves and Turtle Island, while renting from Agios Nikolaos allowed us to see the Blue Caves and the famous Shipwreck Beach as well as the more impressive cliffs and coastline. The turquoise waters and stunning views are unforgettable, and we highly recommend this experience.
Here's a fun tip: We used the Octaroma Classico from Wacaco to keep our beverages both cold and hot throughout the day. It was so convenient to have a portable thermos that kept our drinks at the perfect temperature while out on the water.
Don’t forget to bring along to swim and snorkelling gear. Some of the most fun we had was trying out new swimming spots. Packing a lunch and ample water is another must. We found the days went incredibly quickly out on the water so preparing this in advance and starting your day early is a must.
If you’re like us, no trip is complete without checking out the local trails. Zakynthos had no shortage terrain to explore.
One of our favourites is the short hike to Shipwreck Viewpoint, which offers one of the best sunsets on the island. The hike is easy and takes only about 20 minutes to reach the viewpoint. The panoramic view of the Shipwreck Beach and the surrounding cliffs is truly breathtaking. Beware of getting too close to the edge as the cliffs are known to be unstable.
Another hike we loved was the steep trek down to Plakaki Beach. While it may be a challenging hike, the turquoise waters and the pristine beach at the end make it well worthwhile. Plakaki Beach is one of the best swimming holes on the island, and we couldn't resist taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters.
Last but not least, we also went on a hike to explore the beautiful cliffs and beaches of Porto Limnionas. This hike was a bit more challenging, but the views were absolutely worth it. The turquoise waters and the dramatic cliffs make it a perfect spot for some stunning photos and a refreshing swim.
Here’s a fun tip: There’s no better way to enjoy a hike than a quick espresso break. But how do you get boiling water when out on the trail without your portable stove? Well we found that an easy hack for this was the boil some water beforehand and store in our Octaroma. The double-wall stainless steel construction kept our water hot for hours and the vacuum sealed lid made it easy to transport.
Before you go, remember that proper footwear is a must when exploring Zakynthos’s trails. The trails are often steep, rocky and can be at times technical. We saw many other hikers struggling in flip flops. Bring along lots of water and a hat. Heat exhaustion is very possible, especially when hiking midday.
Of course, no trip to Zakynthos would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. We enjoyed some delicious traditional Greek food at the island's many tavernas. Some of our favourites were grilled seafood, souvlaki, and Greek salads with fresh feta cheese. We also indulged in local desserts like baklava and loukoumades.
Before you go, here are a few more things to keep in mind:
Ferries are the best way to get to the island, with regular services from Athens and Kefalonia. Although great, they often are subject to delay. Flying is another relatively inexpensive option.
Instead of joining the standard tours, try renting a car or a boat to explore the island at your own pace and get off the beaten path. Tours are often crowded.
If you're not a fan of crowds and parties, it's best to avoid Laganas, which is known for its bustling nightlife.
Finally, remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months.
To keep us going throughout the day, we brought along two of our favourite Wacaco products. The Nanopresso and Octaroma Classico have as of late become a standard addition to any adventures. Whether backpacking through the Rockies, or travelling abroad, we’ve found this combination to meet all of our coffee needs. The Nanopresso and Octaroma Classico made it easy to enjoy a cup of coffee while hiking or boating, and the quality was unmatched. The compact and portable design made it convenient to carry around and easy to clean. Having a good cup of coffee always made our day, and we highly recommend bringing along a Wacaco portable espresso maker on your next adventure.
Overall, our trip to Zakynthos was an unforgettable experience. From renting boats to explore the rugged coastline to hiking to some of the most stunning views on the island, we had an adventure-packed trip. And with delicious food and great coffee, what more could we ask for? We hope this guide has inspired you to visit Zakynthos and explore all that this beautiful island has to offer.