A villa holiday to the Greek of Zante - also known as Zakynthos - is the perfect family choice. Combining culture and history with stunning landscapes, quaint villages and miles of sandy beaches, there’s something for everyone. Regardless of whether you’re centrally located or in a countryside setting, it’s definitely worth hiring a car for a couple of days at least, to explore some of the hidden gems this island has to offer. Here’s our top pick of things to do for families…
1. Smuggler's Cove
The shipwreck at Smuggler’s Cove (or Navagio Beach), is without doubt, the most iconic place of interest on the island and the view most certainly won’t disappoint. The smuggler’s ship allegedly ran aground here in 1982 and it’s been a tourist hotspot ever since. If you want to make your own footprints in the sand, you’ll need to take a boat, but honestly, that mesmerising view is best enjoyed from the viewpoint in the north.
2. Turtle Spotting Cruise
Home to the Caretta caretta loggerhead turtles, a trip to Zante is not complete until you’ve caught a sight of these beautiful sea creatures. Your best chance of seeing them is in and around Laganas Bay, throughout July and August. Who will catch that first glimpse of one in their natural habitat?
3. The Blue Caves
Be your own captain for the day, by hiring a speed boat and exploring the mesmerising Blue Caves. They get their name due to the different shades of blue created by the reflections of the sun. If you’d prefer to kick back and relax, jump on board one of the many organised excursions. And don’t miss the opportunity to take a dive off the boat – there’s no better way to explore these natural forms. Stunning!
4. Turtle Island
Take a boat trip to this island, which is shaped like a turtle and is also a nesting spot for the Caretta caretta loggerhead turtles. It’s official name is Marathonisi Island but easy to see why it’s also known as Turtle Island too! You’ll be relaxing in your own little paradise with floating tuck shops to feed your ice cream needs, whilst you enjoy the wonderful views looking back to Laganas Bay.
5. Cameo Island
Cameo Island is one of Zante’s coolest hidden gems - just off the coast of Agios Sostis - and is only accessible via a footbridge. By day, the small beach makes a great place to relax but if you venture there at night, be sure to take your party shoes with you! The elevated bar has wonderful views of Laganas Bay and beyond, along the South Coast.
6. Zante Town
You’ll be wowed by the architecture in here. This vibrant town has strong Venetian influence and comes to life at night. Culture vultures will enjoy visiting Saint Dionysos Church as well as the hillside fortress. And for the shoppers, Alexandra Roma is the place to be. Once you’re done exploring, head to Solomos Square or the waterfront, which is lined with cafes and tavernas.
7. Drinks with a view
Fancy a drink with a view that all your friends will be jealous of? If so, take a trip up to Bocalli Hill, with views over Zante Town, to the sparkling Ionian Sea beyond. For a real treat, head there as the sun goes down – the sunset is out of this world!
8. Greek Food
Greece is a foodie’s paradise, and Zante is no exception, with endless tavernas cooking up a variety of Greek delights. Whether you fancy a classic Greek salad (with the juiciest tomatoes around!), a Lamb Klefkido (with meat so tender that it will melt in your mouth) or you just want to quench your thirst with a local ice cold beer (Mythos), you will be spoilt for choice.
9. Enjoy some of the best views in the Med!
Be sure to hire a car when you’re in Zante, to explore some of the wonderful scenery. The coastal road leading up to the north of the island will lead you to some of the most stunning viewpoints around.
10. Activities For Kids
Zante is an incredible choice for families with plenty to keep the kids entertained. Fancy getting your adrenaline pumpin’ at one of the water parks? Or visiting the fun park in Tsilivi where there’s trampolining, mini go-karting and much more. And let’s not forget the Fantasy mini golf course – with dinosaurs, volcanoes and much more, this is the crème de la crème of mini golf!