Zakynthos, also known as Zakinthos and Zante is a Green Island in the Ionian Sea. The Island covers just 158 square miles but the coastline stretches an impressive 76 miles.
The island is incredibly popular with holidaymakers and it is a popular stop on Greek Island and Mediterranean cruises. The Greek Islands are incredibly beautiful but Zakynthos has particular appeal with it deep azure waters, mountains and lush green valleys. The feel and look of the island is typically Greek, the houses and buildings are bright white with plenty of bars lining the streets and coastal resorts.
If you find yourself pulling into port in Zakynthos then you will find no end of things to do. There are of course, the beaches. It is indeed the beaches which attract so many visitors to this, the most ruggedly beautiful of the Greek Islands. The nearest beaches to the port are just three miles away.
Many cruise companies will offer planned excursions from various ports throughout your cruise, including transfers to some of the best beaches. You will usually be allowed plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beach before being collected to be taken back to your ship in plenty of time before you depart for your next destination.
Zakynthos boasts a number of especially beautiful beaches that can only be reached by boat. One in particular is really special. Look out for a shore excursion to see Shipwreck Cove. You will take a boat and tour the various stunning caves around the northern coastline before heading to the cove where a shipwreck is partially buried on the beach.
Much of the island was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1950s, the coastal areas were particularly badly affected. Head inland to see some of the more historical sites. Founded in 1708, the church of St Dionysios is the most important church on the island. Take a shore excursion to explore this and other significant attractions on the island such as Bokhali and Kampi. This type of trip may also include a traditional Greek lunch.
There is usually a tour which will give an overview or take you to all the highlights of a particular destination. In Zakynthos look for one that includes St Dionysios, Bokhali (where they make incredible Green sweets) as well as Macheratho. Here you will see a traditional and unique ceramic workshop and enjoy a demonstration on how these ceramic masterpieces are created.
Tzilivi is a great place to enjoy the beach and/or some shopping, so look out for this on shore excursions. Zilivi is a busy seafront tourist resort and you will find everything here, including bars, restaurants and the opportunity to get some souvenirs. However, keep an eye on the time, you don’t want to miss you boat.
To make sure you make it back to your ship in good time, it is a good idea to book your shore excursion in conjunction with your cruise provider. However, always check the length of the excursion against the time you have been given to spend ashore, just to be on the safe side.
This article was contributed by Lloyd, a freelance travel writer and blogger.