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Zante Holidays 2016/2017

Home to one of the most photographed beaches in Greece, you'll recognise this cinematic paradise straight away. The sheer limestone cliffs, white sand beaches and clear blue waters have put this southern Ionian island on the map, making Zante one of the most popular Greek islands to visit.

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The Flower of the East

The Venetians nicknamed Zante 'The Flower of the East' with good reason. The island boasts a mild Mediterranean climate, rich vegetation and stunning mountain ranges dotted with traditional villages.

When it comes to resorts in Zante there are a multitude to choose from depending on what you want from your holiday. In the south you'll find the busy commercial resort of Laganas, which is popular with a younger crowd, whereas Kalamaki and Argassi are good options for those with little ones. While the east and south of the island have long stretches of sand and built-up resorts, the west offers a more authentic Zakynthian experience. Limestone cliffs shelter stunning bays serviced by beachside tavernas and clifftop restaurants at the beautiful retreats of Port Vromi and Kampi.

Further north of the commercial centre of Laganas you'll find quieter resorts well suited to families, with good sandy beaches, shallow water and plenty of family-friendly activities. At Tsilivi you'll find a long, wide beach, mini golf, bowling and a selection of international restaurants. The village of Tragaki, nestled into the side of the hills among olive groves and vineyards, is more low key. This spot is home to a handful of laid–back tavernas and music bars, and also has plenty of pretty beaches to choose from.

Where to stay in Zante

AlykanasView on Map

For a family holiday with a difference, Alykanas has a fantastic selection of activities for everyone. With its wonderful dance festival, long sandy beach and horse-drawn carriages – as well as a fantastic choice of restaurants – you won't want your holiday to end. There's even a shipwreck marooned on the sand.

ArgassiView on Map

A 10-minute drive from the island's capital, Argassi sits at the bottom of Mount Skopos with beautiful ocean views. This seaside village on the east coast of Zante offers a great selection of watersports down at the beach – and the shallow water makes it ideal for small children to paddle.

KalamakiView on Map

Relax on the white-sand beach and paddle in the warm, transparent water as Mount Skopos towers above. This family-friendly resort offers a wide range of activities suitable for all ages from mini-golf and play areas to boat cruises around the scenic coast where you can discover beautiful caves and secret bays.

KouklaView on Map

The small, traditional and authentic resort of Koukla is a peaceful haven on the southwest coast of Zante offering the ultimate getaway from modern life. You'll find one of the most beautiful golden-sand bays on the island, winding roads – and friendly tavernas serving freshly prepared local cuisine.

LaganasView on Map

This lively resort offers the chance to relax on the white-sand beach by day and enjoy wild parties by night. Laganas also offers historic local tours into the mountains, tranquil boat cruises and a conservation area dedicated to the resident loggerhead turtles.

TragakiView on Map

The charming village of Tragaki offers rural bliss with fantastic walks in luscious scenery. Close to some spectacular beaches, there's easy access to watersports, beach bars and restaurants. Nearby is an excellent theatre and a stunning 15th-century monastery perched on top of the mountain.

TsiliviView on Map

Tsilivi is an action-packed, family-friendly resort with white-sand beaches and tranquil, cobalt water. Take advantage of the wide range of watersports available along the idyllic coast or simply lie back and enjoy the gorgeous sunshine and delightful local cuisine from the nearby tavernas.


Quick Tips

  • Greek Orthodox
  • Euro
  • Greek
  • 40,650
  • GMT +2

Loggerhead turtles

The loggerhead turtles, or caretta caretta as they are known locally, have helped put Zante on the map. This idyllic island is their only nesting spot in the Mediterranean. The endangered turtles find refuge in the white and tranquil bays of many of the large resorts, and as a result you'll find many areas protected with some, including Laganas, strictly prohibiting watersports. If riding a banana boat or jet-skiing into the sun set is on your to-do list, head to Alykes or St. Nicholas Beach for the best selection.

If you'd like to observe the reptiles in their natural habitat, you can hop aboard a turtle spotting cruise. Regular boat trips are available to the uninhabited island of Marathonisi, where the turtles have been visiting for millions of years. Here you can snorkel in the caves around the island for a chance to spot one underwater.

Zakynthian cuisine

When visiting one of the larger resorts it may be tempting to stick with what you know and frequent the multitude of international restaurants on offer. But it's well worth stepping out of your comfort zone and finding a traditional taverna serving Zakynthian cuisine made with fresh, organic, home grown ingredients.

A typical meal begins with a selection of hot and cold starters called mezedes. Served in the middle of the table, these include classics such as tzatziki, yoghurt sauce with cucumber and garlic, and melitzanosalata, which is made with aubergines. You'll also find meatballs, zucchini, cheese pies and squid.

Traditional mains to look out for include stuffed chicken or rabbit, Skordostoumbi Melitzana a dish of aubergines in garlic sauce and beef ragout, slow-cooked beef in tomato sauce. Stuffed with well-cooked and seasoned meat, fries and tzatziki sauce, then wrapped in a delicious crispy pitta, no trip to Greece would be complete without sampling a souvlaki, one of the country's most popular street foods.

Accompany your meal with plenty of Zakynthian wine or some ice cold Greek beer and finish with a shot of ouzo, an aniseed flavoured liquor, or Metaxa, another Greek liquor based on brandy.

Wild nights out in Laganas

Once a small fishing village, the wild resort of Laganas boasts some of the best nightlife on the island and is easily accessed from neighbouring resorts. Popular with a younger crowd, the brightly lit main strip referred to as The Golden Mile is adorned with every kind of venue you can imagine, from karaoke bars to live music venues.

Offering the largest night scene outside Athens, state of the art nightclubs like Rescue and Plus Club host international DJs throughout the summer and promise to have you dancing until the early hours of the morning. If you're still going once the sun is up, down at the beach you'll find early-morning after parties at the beachside bars.

Cruise to offshore coves and caves

The coast of Zante is adorned with hidden treasures accessible only by boat. Take a cruise to the famous Navagio Beach – also known as Shipwreck Bay or Smugglers Cove – where you'll find an idyllic white sand bay with limestone cliffs towering above, featuring an old shipwreck. The viewing platform at the top of the cliffs guarantees you the perfect picture.

The Blue Caves are another popular attraction, with a series of sea caves and arches surrounded by stunning translucent waters. The tranquil water at Xingia Spa Beach is rich with sulphur and collagen, and a dip in the water here followed by some sunbathing on the beautiful sandy bay is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Day trips to the neighbouring island of Kefalonia depart daily from Zante. Visit the famous Myrthos Beach, the beautiful caves of Melisissani Lake, Drogerati Cave and stroll around the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos, guided by the friendly nuns who still reside here.

Don't ignore the mountains

Head to the mountain villages and you'll discover a totally different side of Zante. Preserving the traditional Greek way of life, you'll find locals producing honey, cheese, carpets, ceramics and lace, all of which make for unique souvenirs. There are plenty of places to eat, many with breathtaking views, and you'll find traditional, Zakynthian food prepared by mothers and grandmothers, made with produce picked from gardens that morning.

Volimes, a community made up of three hill villages, has some of the best preserved buildings on the island. This village offers stunning views of both the beautiful mountain landscapes and panoramic vistas across the Ionian Sea.

Louha is one of the highest mountain villages on the island and is easily accessed from the beaches on the west coast. Here you'll find Pelaponese architecture and a handful of tavernas renowned for their Greek cuisine and amazing views.