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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Zante

Things to do in Zante

Take advantage of our cheap holidays to Zante and you'll discover there's just as much dramatic natural scenery to take in as there are fun attractions. As well as the usual waterparks and mini-golf, you can visit the wreck of a smuggler's ship and spot loggerhead turtles by boat. Choose the north of the island for quiet villages and the family-favourite resort of Tsilivi, which is full of parks and games centres. In the south there's a bubbly night-time spot, Laganas, as well as towns sandwiched between the beach and Mount Skopos, all in easy reach of capital Zante Town.

A natural wonder

Full of mountains, olive groves and seas of pine trees, the scenery on any Greek island holiday is sure to be spectacular. And that's before we even look at the beaches.

From the coastal towns of Argassi and Kalamaki you can explore Mount Skopos and hike to the top to visit the monastery of Oanagia Skopiotissa. Horse riding is a very popular pastime in Zante and at Nana's Horse Riding Centre in Kalamaki you can get out into the countryside on horseback or trek along the five-kilometre beach all the way to Laganas.

Another horsey treat is hiring a horse-drawn carriage to take you around laid-back Alykanas in the northeast.

Coastal treasures

The beaches around the island are renowned for their white sand and blue waters. But one such stretch -- Xigia Beach -- attracts visitors for another reason, too. Coming from one of the caves is a stream of sulphur -- supposed to have healing properties -- so you can plunge into the water for soothed skin.

The Zante coast is one of only a few places worldwide where you can spot endangered loggerhead turtles. For the best chance of seeing them, head out on a glass-bottomed boat towards Marathonissi -- or Turtle Island -- from the National Marine Park around Laganas Bay.

Other intriguing spots best accessed by boat are the Blue Caves and Shipwreck Beach. The Blue Caves are so called because the colour of the sea reflects on the white cliff walls around Cape Skinari. You can get up close and personal to this spectacle as the caves are big enough for a boat to enter.

Tiny Shipwreck Beach is dominated by the wreck of the old merchant vessel Panagiotis, which ran aground some 30 years ago after being chased by the Greek Navy on suspicion of smuggling. If you're travelling with children, they will have great fun playing pirates while climbing on the ship.

Family fun

Holidays to Zante are brilliant for families, as the main resorts are well set up for visitors and have lots to keep the little ones amused. The usually quiet resort of Kalamaki is home to a small waterpark, a go-karting track and a crazy-golf course. The Caretta Fun Park is also full of arcade games and rides children are sure to enjoy.

Tsilivi in the north of the island is where you can find the Luna Fun Park, with bouncy castles, fairground rides, paintballing and Zante's only rodeo bull. Also in town is the Bowl'm Over ten-pin bowling centre, with its decor influenced by the American diners of the 1950s.

Couples and families love laid-back Alykanas, which -- as well as children's trampolines, mini-golf and the 'Trainiki' mini-train -- has an extraordinary archaeological site where the ancient city of Arcadia is being excavated.

Rural capital

It might sound like a contradiction, but the capital of Zante Town, known locally as Zakynthos Town, is predominantly a rural community. That being said, it's a good place to do some shopping and learn about the history of the island.

The pretty church of Agios Dionisios has a bell tower similar in shape to that of St Mark's in Venice, harking back to a time when Zante was under Italian rule. You can also climb up Bochali Hill above Zante Town for stunning views and to see the small Venetian castle at the top.