Zakynthos (Greek: Ζάκυνθος), also called Zante (its Italian name), is the third largest island in the Ionian Sea, located off the west coast of Greece. The island is named after Zacynthos, son of legendary Arcadian chief Dardanos.
While Ios and Kos are associated with partying and Rhodes and Crete with families, Zakynthos is something in between. Most of the beaches and towns are on the south and east coasts, as the west and north coasts are extremely mountainous often with cliffs dropping many hundreds of feet straight into the sea.
Towns and villages
- Zakynthos Town – capital, on the east coast. This has the main shops, piazza and harbour from which the frequent ferries to the mainland port of Kyllini depart and arrive.
- Agios Nikolaos – (north east) although the small village has only ~30 year-round inhabitants, it is the second most important port on Zakynthos, as the ferry to Kefalonia departs there. The bay itself is fairly sheltered by the tall mountains and island in the bay and has many sea front restaurants along with a local coastguard station. Boats running trips to the blue caves slightly to the north depart from here and although quiet it can get busy at certain times of day when bus loads of tourists arrive to get the ferry to and from Kefalonia
- Alykes and Alykanas – a closely linked pair of family resorts on the east coast north of Tsilivi.
- Argasi – A few km south of Zakynthos town on the Vassilikos penninsula. No real beach and consists of a few streets with hotels and more across the main road that runs up the peninsula. It has some bars and clubs but not a lot else to recommend it.
- Kalamaki – Located to the east of Laganas past the turtle “no build zone”. Although a busy resort its less of the all night party area than Laganas and is more suited to families. Most of its buildings and shops are located on the main road that runs between this resort, past the airport and towards Laganas. Like Laganas it shares a very long sandy beach that stretches for many miles across the south part of the island.
- Keri – Basically 3 parts to this. The pebble beach and coast area at Limniou Keri, the village of Keri itself in the mountains and further west the lighthouse of Keri which is popular with tourists who want to see a sunset.
- Laganas – The (in)famous resort of Laganas. This is the main “party” town on the island. The main street consists almost entirely of nightclubs, bars and fast food outlets. It’s very popular with the younger visitors and the 18-30 brigade. The beach itself has some nicer bars and restaurants along its length.
- Tsilivi – A family orientated resort north of Zakynthos town. It has some late night bars and near nightclubs but on the whole is a bustling family resort with all the usual hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and so on. It has a very wide and long sandy beach along with watersports available from it.
- Vassilikos – A quiet village in the south east on the Vassilikos penninsula. Here there are now no major hotels and just apartments, villas along with restaurants and tavernas. It has much more of a small village feel to it, has no nightclubs or other entertainment as is the place to look for a more relaxing, quiet holiday. In this area are the turtle nesting beach of Gerakas and Dafnia. Slightly to the north is Agios Nikolaos (not to be confused with the one in the north) where there are many watersports, basic scuba diving and a buisier place.