Discover Zakynthos - The beautiful Greek island
The beautiful Greek island
Our first trip by plane after Covid is a fact! We could be found last week in sunny Zakynthos. This beautiful Greek island is so diverse, with breathtaking views and bright blue waters. Explore Zakynthos with us in this article. Bet you’ll want to go, too.
Traveling during Covid
Admittedly, we were a bit skeptical about traveling during Covid. How does it work abroad? Do other countries also follow the measures so strictly? Can I get through an entire flight with a mouth mask? We had many questions and few clear answers. This gave us a double feeling at first, but as a travel blogger we also feel it is our duty to investigate. We were confident of a safe trip, in the way we had envisioned, so we thought it was time to go back to exploring. Zakynthos seemed like the ideal destination for us. We were totally ready for sun-drenched days, water fun and total rest. We had missed the island life and Greece was screaming our name.
In advance (within 72 hours of arrival), we had to take a negative PCR test or provide proof of vaccination. This is the only way to get into Greece. Furthermore, you must also fill out the Greek Passenger Location Form at least 24 hours before arrival. If you are traveling back to Belgium you will need to complete the Belgian Passenger Location Form within 48 hours of arrival. Before departure and arrival, it is best to check what color code the country in question has. This may affect mandatory testing or mandatory quarantine upon arrival. You can consult the color codes for each country via this website. (Please note that this article was written in June 2021 – measures can change at any time so always consult official government websites).
Arrived in paradise
After a short flight (about four hours) with stopover in Corfu, we landed in Zakynthos. Fair is fair, flying with a mouth mask is not ideal but anything is better than not traveling at all. We are happy to make this small sacrifice in order to travel back. Also to eat or drink something you may take off the mouth mask for a while so it is not like you are completely dehydrated upon arrival. There was also plenty of room left between passengers and most people stayed in their seats throughout the flight. When we finally landed on Greek soil and experienced the beautiful views and pleasant temperatures, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. We had arrived in paradise.
Luxury boutique hotel in Zakynthos
The first hotel we stayed in was an instant hit. The Castelli Hotel is a sustainable, yet luxurious (adults only) boutique hotel in the village of Laganas. And for sustainability, they really go the extra mile. The family that built this hotel has a big, green heart. In addition to many initiatives to minimize environmental damage, they also have their own vegetable garden where they grow their own fruits and vegetables. Here you can be sure of freshly prepared dishes made from local produce. The family that runs this hotel also gives back to society and nature in many forms. For example, they support an organization that vouches for the welfare of the sea turtles that live in Zakynthos.
At the Castelli Hotel, we had the Junior Swim Up Suite at our disposal and frankly, we have not stayed in such a beautiful room before. A spacious room with lovely, comfortable bed and its own private pool! Could it be any better? As icing on the cake, you can also order a floating breakfast here and enjoy a full breakfast in the pool. Life could not be more beautiful. This is enjoyment!
Laganas as a base
Laganas, under normal circumstances, is considered a busier coastal resort where mainly young people flock to meet and go out. However, because of Covid, the place is now tremendously quiet and charming. Laganas is also a good base for exploring different places on the island. Zakynthos is not big and in an hour you cross the whole island. You can book diving and snorkeling tours in Laganas where we can highly recommend Diver’s Paradise. These are real professionals who also go diving somewhere else every day so you won’t get bored easily. Furthermore, from Laganas you can also take boat trips, do cycling and walking excursions, visit Cameo island and spot sea turtles if you are lucky.
Roadtrip through Zakynthos
Of course, for us, a trip would not be complete without a little road trip. If you want to explore the entire island we recommend renting a car from MotorClub Zakynthos. You’ll find their office right across from the airport. You will also encounter many quads and mopeds on the island, but a car is still more convenient and safer, we think. Insurance is included.
Our first stop? Porto Limnionas. This small bay with clear blue waters and impressive cliffs is mainly loved by locals and less known to tourists. You can enjoy fine dining, cliff jumping and long days of water fun. The road to Porto Limnionas is also worthwhile. A maze of winding curves leads you to this crazy place. Definitely a must visit if you have a car available!
Afterwards, we stopped at Keri Cape. Keri is a typical Greek village where you can linger quietly on one of the cozy terraces, but Keri Cape is where you want to be! Pearly white beaches stand out beautifully against the clear blue waters. The impressive rock formation is reminiscent of Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida (Indonesia) but you are still in Europe. Incredible to see. Perhaps this is the most beautiful view we have already seen in Europe. Definitely worth a visit. Note: Do not confuse this place with Keri Beach, as it is slightly less impressive.
Another spot on our first route is the impressive cave Damianos Cave. This cave is shaped like an hourglass, but mainly the view here is phenomenal. Dense forestation with the sea in the distance. A nice stopover if you’re in the area, as you don’t have to walk far at all until you reach this beautiful spot. It is also really quiet here (when there are no other tourists). Something you don’t often come across anymore.
Sailing the boat yourself
One of the most fun excursions we highly recommend is renting a private boat where you get to sail yourself. You do not need a boating license for this and the cost is also better than originally thought. For just over 50 euros, you can go sailing for about two hours. For this excursion we can recommend Dolphin Boat Rentals which you can find at Keri Beach.
hiking and biking
Yet another excursion for sports and nature lovers is to take a bike ride on an electric bicycle. Did you know that Zakynthos is perfect for hiking and biking? Some of the mountains and hills are challenging but you’ll pass some of the most beautiful scenery. Lovely to get to know the island in this way too! You can book a cycling or walking tour at hotels like Castelli Hotel and Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort. The guides are top-notch and you choose whether you want to ride a regular or electric bike.
Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort
That last hotel, by the way, is the resort where we got to spend our last days in Zakynthos. The Atlantica Eleon Grand Resort is a large, modern all-inclusive resort just the way you like it. Infinite choices of food and drink, all-day entertainment, and above all endless opportunities to relax by one of the many pools or on the beach where the resort is located. This hotel is mainly aimed at (young) families because there is also a wide range of offerings for the (very) young ones. From water slides to the Kids Club. The youngest generation is pampered here! But adults can also enjoy a top vacation here thanks to the many facilities offered by the hotel. From a spa to fitness to panorama bar.
Since this resort was located on the other side of the island near Tsilivi, a lively seaside town brimming with charming souvenir shops, we decided to take a little road trip here as well. We explored Zakynthos town and the impressive view from the famous Taverna Michali’s in Kampi. Both worthwhile if you have enough time. Another beach that is also nice to visit is Xigia Beach. At least if you can stand the pungent sulfur smell (“rotten eggs smell”).
However, the most beautiful, and famous, view of the entire island was yet to come. Zakynthos is known for one world-famous beach called Shipwreck Beach. Usually we don’t like touristy places but of course we couldn’t skip this place during our stay. Navagio, or Shipwreck Beach, gets its name from the ship that washed up on the beach in the 1980s. What now remains of the ship is nothing more than a rusty wreck but the view atop the limestone cliffs is phenomenal.
We can’t help but admit that it is rightly one of the island’s best assets. Whether it is also worthwhile to visit the beach itself with a crammed tourist boat? We think not. A big tip: don’t bother coming to this bay early in the morning. The shade then covers the view of the beach. During the day you better avoid this place because then the beach is full of tourists and there are numerous boats moored. This obstructs the beautiful view. So come in the evening (after 6pm) to this wonderful place and you will have the best experience. The light is perfect, the many tourists and boats have disappeared and you can walk to the best vantage point.
Zakynthos - Beautiful vacation destination
Zakynthos is without a doubt a wonderful vacation destination. Although the greatest asset of this small Greek island is mainly its clear blue waters and limestone cliffs, it is a hugely diverse island where there is so much to experience. We didn’t think so at first. We therefore highly recommend a vacation to this paradise island. We had the most enjoyable time in months on this beautiful island and we wholeheartedly grant it to everyone.