Head to the islands of Zakynthos
If giant white cliffs and crystal clear warm blue waters, shipwreck to explore, and clubs to entertain sound like the perfect holiday to you, then you need to make a bee-line to Zakynthos, Greece.
Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian Island and while it’s no secret beach escape, it is a fantastic and affordable island retreat with all the comforts of home and the exotic tastes of afar.
We found cheap flights to Zakynthos to be quite frequent. While many do their island hopping starting in Athens, we booked and decided to hit the islands from the islands!
The best way to get around the island is by rental car. We had considered hiring a scooter – imagine the warm Greek wind in your hair – but that dream can to an end as soon as we realised how hilly the island is. To get the best of both worlds, we hired a car and hired bikes for the day (which cost 5 Euro) and took to the rolling hills.
But the mode of transport we enjoyed the most was the boat. Yachts and boats are available for charter all over the island and tour boats go out daily if there’s just one or two of you. The beautiful white cliffs contrasted against the bright blue sea are a sight to behold. Enjoying a cocktail on the deck and a dive into the ocean is absolute bliss.
Zakynthos is known for its Blue Caves – these can only be reached by boat in the northern part of the island. Natural arches have been carved out by erosion; the water inside the caves is a magical colour.
Another great nautical experience is the shipwreck of Navagio, a smuggler ship which lost engine power in 1981 and washed ashore in the most beautiful bay, surrounded by giant cliffs. While you can also visit this island via chartered boat, if you go by car do in the early morning or late afternoon as tourist boats flock here around lunch time.
Zakynthos, like many in the Greek archipelago, is filled with history. A trip here is not complete without taking in the millennia of history found around every other corner. From the quaint in-land villages to the Venitian architecture – much of which was sadly damamged in the 1953 earthquake – scattered around the island, make sure you drag yourself away from the beach if only briefly. This is worth seeing.
Nicknamed “The Flower of the East” by the Venetians, Zakynthos is a popular tourist destination filled with clubs and bars and plenty of opportunity to slow down and soak up the sun. For us, it was the perfect blend between history, party and relaxation. It was also perfectly positioned to do more island hopping…but we were far too comfortable to move, so we just stayed!