The Best Places to Stay in Zakynthos – Tips and Advice
- Which town in Zakynthos is best? With great views, a fantastic location, and the largest choice in restaurants & hotels, it has to be Zakynthos Town. Beautiful Venetian architecture, romantic town squares, and ancient castles only add to the appeal!
- Best nightlife in Zakynthos: Laganas is the party capital of Zakynthos and one of the most popular in Europe. Take to the 100s of bars and superclubs on The Strip and create some unforgettable memories (that you might just forget).
- Staying in Zakynthos on a budget: Zakynthos is generally more affordable than most Greek islands. To save even more money, stay at slightly less popular resorts like Argassi, and keep away from tourist hotspots like St Markos Square for food and drink.
- Where to find the best beaches: You would think that Navagio, the most beautiful beach in Europe, would be the obvious choice. But in reality, it’s the golden sands of the southeast corner of the island that has the best beaches – on the Vasilikos Peninsula.
If you’re wisely looking to Greece to find your personal beach paradise, look no further than Zakynthos, a typically stunning Greek island situated in the glittering azure waters of the Ionian sea.
Dubbed ‘The Flower of the Levant’ by the Venetians during their three-century rule, Zakynthos is an island famous mostly for its gorgeous beaches.
But this island offers a surprisingly versatile holidaying experience, and where you stay on Zakynthos can drastically change the feel of your vacation.
So where should you choose? We’ve compiled a guide to help you through it. For a more in-depth breakdown of each resort:
1. Zakynthos Town – A Charming Introduction to the Island
Zakynthos Town, or Zante, as both the island and town are also known, is the largest settlement on Zakynthos.
It’s both the main port and commercial hub of the island – making Zante a good choice for first-time visitors. Situated on the east coast, just 10 minutes from the Dionysios Solomos Airport, the town is easily accessible and makes an excellent base to explore the rest of the island.
You won’t struggle to find hotels and restaurants here. Thanks to its status as Zakynthos’ largest town, Zante has the most choice on the island in that respect and is certainly your best bet if you plan to rely on public transport.
As for the town itself, a unique blend of modern streets and classic Venetian architecture awaits you.
After a devastating earthquake in 1953, Zante was reduced to little more than a pile of rubble. The locals took the opportunity to rebuild the town with all the charm of the previous architecture, with a few added modern comforts.
After centuries of Venetian rule, the winding alleyways and romantic courtyards are more reminiscent of Italy than Greece.
Spend your days wandering through the cobbled streets, and enjoy the traditional cafes, craft shops, and local bakeries tucked away on every corner.
While in Zante, make sure to explore the colorful squares of Solomos and St Markos. Platia Solomos is the location of the fascinating Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos, as well as one of the few surviving structures of the earthquake; the picturesque stone church of Agios Nikolaos of Molos.
After a stroll down the main shopping street of Alexander Roma, visit the pretty Platia Markos and stop by the Solomos Museum, which houses the tombs of national poets Dionysios Solomos and Andreas Kalvos.
From the significant Church of St Dionysios to the ruins of a Venetian castle overlooking the town, you can feel the culture and history running through every corner of Zante. The castle – as is often the case in Greece – was itself built upon the ruins of an ancient acropolis.
Zakynthos Town is perfect for newcomers, with plenty of things to do and excellent connections to the rest of the island.
Best Hotels in Zakynthos Town:
Best Airbnbs in Zakynthos Town:
2. Tsilivi – Perfect for Families
Just a little north of Zakynthos Town is Tsilivi, a charming beach-side resort particularly popular with families – especially those looking for a little adventure!
The town is a bit of an all-rounder, with a lovely blue flag beach, an array of shops and restaurants, and plenty of activities to try with the kids. Mini-golf, bowling, and an entertainment center have all been added in recent years to add to Tsilivi’s already stellar facilities.
Tsilivi isn’t part of the National Maritime Park, meaning that water sports are allowed – and common – in the area. So lay back and relax on the sand, or jump on a jet ski now that you finally have the chance!
Another popular attraction is the Tsilivi water park, which is sure to keep the kids entertained for a day.
As for food, in true Tsilivi fashion, there’s something to cater to everyone. A mix of Greek and international restaurants are dotted around the resort.
The nightlife isn’t as intense in Tsilivi as some of the other resorts, but it still exists. Go dance in one of the clubs, sit in for a quiz night at one of the bars, or join in on a traditional dance as lively music spills out of the tavernas in the evening.
Best Hotels in Tsilivi:
Best Airbnbs in Tsilivi:
3. Agalas – A Peaceful Retreat for Hikers
Agalas is a mountain village to the southwest of the island, about 25 minutes by car from Zakynthos Town.
Nestled between pine forests and mountains, this rural village is a splash of color among the greenery, with pretty stone houses a myriad of blues and pastel yellows.
It’s very small and traditional – less a resort and more an actual village. You’ll have to be fairly self-sufficient here, but that’s part of the charm. You can sit in one of Agalas’ cafes and feel miles away from any other civilization, just another one of the locals living a simple life in a paradise on Earth.
The village is tiny, but still has a surprising amount of attractions for visitors. The old bell tower of Agalas Church, an art gallery featuring the work of local artists, and the spectacular two-story Damiano’s Cave.
A number of hikes begin and end in Agalas, including a 4.5km circular walk to the 15th Century Adronios Wells. Plakaki Beach isn’t far, and gives you the chance to meander through fields of wildflowers, olive trees, and vineyards as you take in the charming countryside and views of the sea.
Damiano’s Cave is a local restaurant with dreamy views over the horizon – book a table at sunset for a truly special experience.
Best Hotels & Airbnbs in Agalas:
4. Laganas – For the Best Nightlife
One of the party capitals of Europe, Laganas is famous for its wild nightlife and raucous atmosphere.
If you’re looking to join the fun, you should probably start at ‘The Strip‘, a long stretch of over 100 bars and clubs.
Superclubs like Rescue and Zero help Laganas draw in thousands of revelers every year. The crowd skews a little young – consisting mostly of 18-30-year-olds – but there are a few representing the older generations as well; all taking advantage of the cheap alcohol and decadent nights.
If it wasn’t clear already: this isn’t a resort for those looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway.
After the silent winter months, Laganas bursts into life in summer; thrumming with clear and effervescent energy. Events run through the season, from boat parties to the night of the year: the white party.
Laganas is a thumping introduction to the island for newcomers. Other than the superclubs, there’s an endless choice of bars, themed or otherwise. And whatever your classic 3 am hangover cure is, Laganas has it. The town offers everything from traditional Greek cuisine to Chinese takeaways and Mcdonalds.
For the day after the night before, there’s no better place for recovery than along Laganas’ 9km long stretch of beach. No water sports are allowed though, as the area is a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles, and part of the National Maritime Park of Zakynthos.
Best Hotels in Laganas:
Best Airbnbs in Laganas:
5. Argassi – Best for Those on a Budget
A short ride away from Zakynthos Town, Laganas, and the Vasilikos peninsula, Argassi is ideally located to explore some of the island’s most popular resorts.
It’s not quite as attractive as the aforementioned towns, but it is more affordable. Argassi has everything you need on vacation – easy access to shops, a mixture of traditional tavernas and high-end restaurants; and unlike Zante, it has its own beach.
While not as scenic as some of the other resorts, Argassi does still have some memorable sightseeing spots of its own.
The ruins of a picturesque Venetian bridge crumbling into the sea are just off the shore – an immediate hint at the elements of history and culture dotted throughout an otherwise fairly commercialized village.
One of Argassi’s premier attractions actually looms over it; Mount Skopos.
If you’re willing to make the slightly treacherous hike, you can visit the 15th Century church of Panagia Skopiotissa, a classically Greek-looking building with tall stone walls and a domed roof. Like many places in Greece, the site has echoes of a much older history – it was once the site of an ancient monastery, and a temple of Artemis before that.
It’s worth the trek just for the views alone. The panoramas over the bay are breathtaking. If you time it right for sunset, it’s a sight that will stick with you for a lifetime.
Best Hotels in Argassi:
Best Airbnbs in Argassi:
6. Agios Nikolaos – Quiet luxury, Well-Suited to Couples
Not to be confused with its namesake beach on the Vasilikos peninsula, Agios Nikolaos is a quaint working harbor to the north of Zakynthos, on Cape Skinari.
A world away from the bustle of Zante and the wild parties of Laganas, Agios Nikolaos is an escape from the rush of the well-trodden tourist hotspots of the south. For those looking for a more authentic Greek vacation, the remote wilderness of the northern tip of the island is perfect.
While the fishing village is very much a working port, it is steadily moving towards gentrification, and the backdrop of forest and mountains is overflowing with luxurious villas and high-end accommodation.
The mesmerizing Blue Caves are just around the corner, and if you’re feeling confident, you could take a sailboat to the water and journey there yourself. If not, there are regular boat trips to the caves that leave from the port. However you arrive, the Blue Caves are essential viewing on Zakynthos, as the white limestone of the overhanging caves turns the gentle waves an unforgettable ethereal blue.
The port also runs trips to the famous Shipwreck Beach, as well as transfers to the nearby island of Kefalonia.
The village is perfect for couples, with a relaxed and romantic atmosphere. If looking for things to do, you can easily hike to the Old Windmill for sweeping views of the landscape.
Further inland, Agios Nikolaos is close to Askos Stone Park. The park features ancient stone structures alongside native plants and wildlife.
A sheltered bay surrounded by the forests and white cliffs typical of Zakynthos, Agios Nikolaos is a quiet and peaceful slice of luxury in the most rugged corner of the island.
Best Hotels & Airbnbs in Agios Nikolaos:
7. Vasilikos Peninsula – For Beach and Nature Lovers
While the whole island is famous for gorgeous expanses of white sand and turquoise waters, the Vasilikos peninsula is especially idyllic.
If beaches are your priority on holiday, you will truly be spoiled for choice on this peninsula. There’s no higher concentration of them anywhere on the island, and these are some of the best.
Banana Beach boasts miles of soft golden sands and gentle waters, while Porto Zorro beach has a lively atmosphere and pretty scenery.
Agios Nikolaos Beach is the busiest, with the facilities to match. A small series of scenic beaches framed by tall pine trees and tavernas, bars, and souvenir shops help make this beach a full day out.
Porto Roma doesn’t stand out too much for the beach alone but is worth a visit for Nikos Beach Bar, which serves some of the best food on the island – a refined menu championing only the freshest of local produce.
Gerekas, or Turtle Beach, is famous for – you guessed it – turtles. It’s where the endangered Caretta-Caretta loggerhead turtles lay their eggs. Because of its importance, Gerekas has the most actively enforced protections on the island. A popular day trip for families is the Zakynthos Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Centre, which is a short walk from the beach.
There are also eco-friendly boat excursions to Turtle Island, which often include trips to Keri Caves and the chance to swim and snorkel among the brightly colored fish.
Besides the beaches, Vasilikos is a rather sleepy and peaceful peninsula, with an abundance of olive groves and vineyards to explore. Any fans of the great outdoors are sure to find their ideal vacation in this corner of Zakynthos.
Best Hotels & Airbnbs, Vasilikos peninsula:
8. Anafonitria – Off the Beaten Track, Close to Views of Shipwreck Beach
For those looking to step off the beaten track, Anafonitria is a traditional Greek village similar to Agalas, in the shadow of Volimes to the north of the island.
The finest view in all of Greece is only a 45-minute walk away. Navagio, Shipwreck Beach, or Smuggler’s Cove. All names for the same spectacular scene – it’s no exaggeration to say people come from all over the world just to glimpse this beach. White cliffs plunging into the sea, a rusted shipwreck tilted on the sand and the blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The view is best at the lookout point, where you can see everything at once.
As for Anafonitria, the village is classically Greek, with whitewashed walls and a rustic, local feel. Anafonitria only has a few shops and restaurants, but you’ll be dining alongside the locals, experiencing Greece as it is for the everyday man.
Enjoy a taste of Greek culture trying homemade souvlaki, and learn to distinguish between the usual tourist fare and recipes that have been passed down for generations.
The 15th Century Anafonitria Monastery is perhaps the most beautiful on all of Zakynthos and the standout attraction to the area.
This village doesn’t exist purely on the whim of the passing tourist. You can feel the history entrenched in every narrow street. Surrounded by olive trees, mountain views, and rich countryside, you will soon be swept up into a gentle, simpler way of life.
Best Hotels & Airbnbs in Anafonitria:
From Homer’s Odyssey to the 21st Century, Zakynthos has had millennia to establish itself as one of Greece’s most beautiful islands.
From Laganas to Agios Nikolaos, there’s a resort for everyone, no matter what your perfect Greek vacation looks like.