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20 of the best beaches in Zakynthos – Greece

Best beaches in Zakynthos Greece

If you’re visiting the Greek island of Zakynthos, part of the Ionian chain, chances are you’re looking forward to some sun, relaxation and beach time. We’ve been going to Zakynthos, or Zante as it’s also known, for years since my sister lives there and runs two hotels in Argassi where we always stay. Part of our routine is to hire a car and spend some time exploring the beaches in Zante, to relax and swim and of course enjoy lazy lunches in a local beach bar.

Navagio in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

There really are beaches on Zakynthos to suit all tastes, whether you’re looking for a lively atmosphere or a secluded cove, watersports and music or a natural and undeveloped atmosphere. The beach you choose will also depend on where you are staying, since you never have to travel far to find a gorgeous spot to swim, relax and work on your tan. I’ve put together my list of the best beaches in Zakynthos, arranged by location to help you make the most of your sunshine holiday. Look out for those marked ** which are our favourites, the ones we return to year after year. There’s also a handy map of the beaches in Zakynthos at the end of this article.

Beaches in Zakynthos – west coast

The west coast of Zakynthos is the wild and rocky shore and it’s more about small inlets and coves bounded by cliffs than about sandy beaches. Nevertheless, there are a few swimming places along this coast, in particular one of the best known and much photographed beaches in Zakynthos; Navagio or Shipwreck beach.

1. Navagio beach

Navagio in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

First clifftop viewpoint of Navagio in Zakynthos

Navagio beach or Shipwreck beach is one of those iconic spots that ends up on every postcard of Zakynthos, not to mention the coffee table books of Greece. This crescent of sand bounded by towering limestone cliffs shelters a rusty shipwreck, half buried in the sand. It’s a boat that went aground in the 1970s and there are stories that it was smuggling cigarettes from the mainland, giving it the alternative name of Smugglers cove. The instagram effect has taken hold on this beach and the viewpoint from the cliffs above where you can get some striking photos is as popular as the beach itself.

This tour includes many places on Zakynthos, a boat trip to Navagio, lunch at the viewpoint over Shipwreck beach and swimming at several other gorgeous beaches.

Navagio in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Shipwreck on Navagio beach in Zakynthos

Navagio in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Shipwreck on Navagio beach in Zakynthos

At the clifftop viewpoint, there’s a parking area with a small viewing platform, but in recent years the many visitors have worn additional paths through the scrub along the edge of the cliffs to a second viewpoint where you can get an even better perspective on the beach. Take care though, as the memorials of those who have died near this spot should warn you to stay away from the edge of the cliff, even if it seems tempting to get ever closer for the ultimate selfie.

The further clifftop viewpoint is too dangerous to visit with young children and because the landing on the beach can be tricky I’d recommend Navagio beach for adults or teens rather than family groups. The beach itself should also be enjoyed without going too close to the cliffs, as there was a serious rockfall in 2019 while many people were on the beach, although luckily no serious injuries.

Read more: Shipwrecked on Navagio – the most photographed beach on Zakynthos

Navagio in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Second clifftop viewpoint of Navagio in Zakynthos

Where to eat: There are no facilities at all on the beach, so take any refreshments with you, or have a snack on the boat. If you rent your own self drive boat or a private skipper you can book for lunch after your beach visit at Nobelos Restaurant near St Nicholas port, which has a jetty and small private beach area. There is no restaurant at the viewpoint on the cliffs above the beach, but there are often small stalls there selling souvenirs and refreshments.

Where to stay: There’s no accommodation close to the beach since it can only be accessed by boat, so we recommend looking for hotels, villas and apartments close to Agios Nikolaos Port in the north of the island. 

Beach access: The beach is only accessible by boat and there are many boat trips that will take you from St Nicholas port which is the closest port, Makris Gialos, Zante town or other parts of the island. If you want to get the best view of the beach from the cliffs above, take the road that runs from Volimes to Anafonitria on the west side of the island and look for the signs for the side road that leads to the viewpoint.

Best for: Those seeking the ultimate instagram image

 

2. Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos **

** Our favourite beaches

Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos Greece

Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos Greece

Porto Limnionas is an idyllic sheltered cove on the western coast of Zakynthos, with clear deep water and swimming into nearby sea caves for the adventurous. This isn’t a beach so much as a rocky swimming place and access into the water can be a bit tricky from the rocks, so it’s not ideal for young children or the less mobile. There are terraces with sunbeds that you can rent overlooking the water and it’s a beautiful spot which has become more and more popular in the years we’ve been going there.

When swimming in rocky coves like this be sure to check out the beach shoes I recommend in this beach trip packing list

Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos Greece

Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos Greece

Where to eat: There’s only one taverna here, but it’s a large one and the owners also run the sunbeds and have waiters who will bring you drinks to your lounger. The restaurant has a gorgeous view over the sea and rocky cove, but if you are planning to eat there be sure to reserve a table on arrival if it looks busy. There are toilets for the use of restaurant customers, or if you are renting a sunbed.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos Greece

Porto Limnionas in Zakynthos Greece

How to get to Porto Limnionas: Head for the village of Agios Leon and then take the winding road down to the Porto Limnionas taverna. There’s a large parking area beside the restaurant, however the popularity of Porto Limnionas has really grown, so to get a parking spot and sunbed I’d arrive before 11am.

Where to stay: We recommend looking for hotels, villas and apartments close to Agios Nikolaos Port in the north of the island. 

Best for: Lovers of clear, deep water and snorkelling (but not ideal for young children)

Read more: Swimming in the turquoise blue at Porto Limnionas

3. Porto Vromi Maries in Zakynthos

Further north on the west coast of Zakynthos is Porto Vromi Maries, another small inlet where you’ll find a few boats bobbing and a tiny beach. Like all the coves on the west coast, the drive down to the cove is on a steep and winding road and most people come to Porto Vromi beach to take a boat trip to the nearby sea caves along the west coast or to be taken to Navagio beach. If you want to swim here the beach is pebbly but the water is very clear and you can swim and snorkel around the rocky cove.

Where to eat: There’s a small food stand at the beach serving snacks and drinks.

Where to stay: We recommend looking for hotels, villas and apartments close to Agios Nikolaos Port in the north of the island. 

How to get to Porto Vromi: Take the road that runs along the spine of the west coast to the village of Maries and follow signs from there. The road down to the cove is steep, long and winding and there is a bit of parking by the beach. Because it’s a quite arduous drive I probably wouldn’t come here for the beach alone but mainly to take a boat trip.

Best for: Boat trips to the sea caves and Navagio Shipwreck beach.

Check out this boat trip from Porto Vromi that will take you to see the Navagio Shipwreck beach.

Porto Vromi Maries in Zakynthos

Porto Vromi Maries in Zakynthos

Photo credit: Falco Ermert

4. Porto Roxa on Zakynthos

Porto Roxa is another small cove that’s a short distance from Porto Limnionas and a good alternative if it’s already too crowded by the time you get there. As all the west coast swimming spots, this is less of a beach and more of a rocky cove with swimming places from the rocks. There are a couple of tavernas here that offer free sunbeds as long as you are buying food and drink there. The first one has sunbeds on a terrace overlooking the sea but the second taverna is probably the better place for swimming with a diving board to jump into the water from. Swimming shoes are helpful for clambering in and out of the water on the rocky shore but this probably isn’t the place for very young children due to the deep water and lack of easy access to the water.

Where to eat: There are two tavernas here overlooking to water that serve food and drink throughout the day.

How to get to Porto Roxa: Make your way to the village of Agios Leon on the western side of Zakynthos and then take the southern of the two parallel roads leading towards the coast, to reach Porto Roxa. If you take the other road it will take you to Porto Limnionas but you can continue along the road to reach Porto Roxa. It’s quite a long and sometimes steep drive, with not much to see apart from a rocky landscape once you leave the village. There is parking by the tavernas once you reach Porto Roxa.

Best for: Adventurous swimming and a good alternative if Porto Limnionas is too busy.

Porto Roxa Zakynthos

Porto Roxa Zakynthos

Photo credit: Rob Wallace

Beaches in Zakynthos – south east coast

From the rocky west coast I’m jumping to the south east coast where in my opinion you’ll find the best beaches in Zakynthos. In particular we love Vasilikos beach which runs right along the south eastern peninsula with a number of different beaches that are known for their deep, soft sand backed by sand dunes. Development in this area has been restricted due to the turtles nesting in on these beaches and the National Marine Park, so there are more small apartment complexes and villas than large scale resort hotels.

You may also get some ideas from my previous article: 10 best beaches and places to swim in Zakynthos

 

5. Argassi in Zakynthos

First I have to mention Argassi, the closest resort to Zante town, since that’s where we always stay at my sister’s hotels Windmill Hotel and Windmill Bay. Although the beach is a narrow strip of sand in places and not really a destination beach, if you are staying nearby it’s a pleasant place to relax and swim. There are numerous beach bars along the seafront for lunch and it’s also a great spot to watch the sun set with a view of Zante town.

As you walk along you’ll see the curious arches of an old stone bridge that’s half in the sea, but once supported the main coast road heading into town. If you are heading to Argassi, I’d recommend Kavo Zante who have sun loungers at their mezze and seafood restaurant or we love the grassy relaxation area for swimming at Windmill Bay where they are happy to welcome you for the day if you are buying drinks and snacks at their pool bar.

This half day tour includes a stop to see the old bridge in Argassi as well as a boat trip to the Keri caves and Marathonisi for swimming.

Argassi beach Zakynthos

Argassi beach Zakynthos

Venetian Bridge at Argassi beach Zakynthos

Venetian Bridge at Argassi beach Zakynthos

Where to eat: If you fancy a stylish place for lunch or all day snacks and drinks, try the new Kavo Zante Restaurant on the seafront opposite Windmill Hotel where they serve drinks, mezze plates and seafood as well as having sun loungers you can use to relax in a beach club atmosphere. As the sun goes down, head a little further down the road to Anadalis which is open in the evenings with Mediterranean and modern Greek cuisine and a beautiful view from the terrace by the sea as the sun sets.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Anadalis Restaurant in Argassi

Anadalis Restaurant in Argassi

Where to stay: I can recommend the two hotels owned by my sister at Windmill Hotel and Windmill Bay, or if you are looking for a luxurious boutique hotel experience try the Ionian Hill Hotel set on the hillside with wonderful views.

Best for: Afternoon relaxation and a cocktail by the sea as the sun sets

Just to disclose that the two Windmill Hotels, the Anadalis and Kavo Zante restaurants are owned and run by my sister and her family.

Check out more things to see in this article: Driving in Zante: what to see when you hire a car

6. Porto Zorro Beach in Zakynthos **

** Our favourite beaches

Porto Zorro is one of our favourite beaches at the start of the Vasilikos neighbourhood, which boasts a long sandy beach that’s one of the best on the island. We especially like swimming here due to the large group of rocks at one end of the beach which are fun to swim and snorkel around and offer a bit of extra interest.

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos

Over the years we’ve been coming to Porto Zorro in Zakynthos, more and more sunbeds have been added by the beach bar, now covering almost all of the beach in a way that can be a bit annoying if you’re just looking for a peaceful swim. Still if you don’t want to pay for a sunbed, go the the furthest end near the rocks or the opposite end of the beach which is a bit more natural. The beach bar here is very stylish with a fun atmosphere although the prices can be a bit higher than some other places.

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos

Where to eat: The main beach bar and restaurant that dominates the beach is Porto Azzuro Beach Bar, with plenty of tables in the shade of trees along a grassy strip that backs the beach. The beach bar has a small beachwear boutique and also rents the sunbeds on the beach stretching along the sand and on the grassy area behind. It’s a busy, stylish beach bar serving throughout the day and into the evening when they sometimes have a live DJ.

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos

Beach access: The beach is easily accessible from the main coastal road that runs along the south east coast of the island in the Vassilikos neighbourhood of Zakynthos. Look for signs from the road for Porto Azzurro or Porto Zorro which will take you to the large parking area just above the beach. There are actually 2 different parking areas, accessed by different side roads from the coast road

Where to stay: The Porto Zorro Beach Hotel is right on the beach, with sea views from every room or look at the many apartments and villas in the general neighbourhood of Vasilikos.

Best for: Sunbathers and style lovers

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Zorro beach in Zakynthos

7. Ionio at Vasilikos Beach

Continuing along Vasilikos beach is Ionio taverna, an attractive stone built bar and restaurant that has terraces with sunbeds that are typically free for customers. There’s a small parking area by the taverna and this end of the Vasilikos beach is a bit less developed, so you can walk along and find a quiet spot to sit if you don’t need a sunbed. The sandy strip is quite narrow here, backed by sand dunes and a few holiday apartments and eventually ends where the rocks and headland would take you around to Porto Zorro beach.

Ionio Beach Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

View of Vasilikos beach from Ionio restaurant

Where to eat: The Ionio restaurant and bar is well established and open through the day and evening, with drinks service for the sunbeds below the restaurant. They serve traditional Greek dishes and seafood as well as snacks and drinks through the day.

Beach access: Look for the Ionio sign to turn off the main coast road that runs through Vasilikos. There’s a small parking area by the Ionio taverna.

Ionio Beach Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Ionio Restaurant on Vasilikos beach in Zakynthos Greece

Where to stay: The same business that runs the restaurant also has built stone villas and apartments with pools on the side road that leads to the beach restaurant. More information on the Ionio holidays website

Best for: All day refreshments and relaxation

8. Banana Beach Zakynthos at Vasilikos **

** Our favourite beaches

Let’s continue along the long stretch of golden sand at Vasilikos where the next section of beach is known as Banana Beach, after the Banana Baya Beach Bar set back in the sand dunes above the beach. This is one of our favourite beaches and we seem to send up coming here every year to relax and swim, followed by a lazy lunch in the shade of the beach bar overlooking the beach. At this point the beach widens with lots of space and sand dunes where there’s a large parking area in front of the Banana Baya bar.

 
Vasilikos beach in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Vasilikos beach in Zakynthos Greece

While Banana Baya is our favourite place to make a base for a few hours, there are a number of other beach bars including Tropicana and Casa Playa which all rent sunbeds, or you can just walk along the beach as there’s plenty of space to set your towel and have a swim. A little further along in the direction of St Nicholas beach you can also hire watersports from Banana Watersports who have a base on the beach.

Banana Baya at Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Banana Baya at Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece

Banana Baya at Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Banana Baya at Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece

Where to eat: Our choice is is always Banana Baya where we like to have lunch in the stylish beach bar in the dunes overlooking the beach. They have hammocks and a flat grassy area, so it’s a good choice for families too. There are also a few other beach bars on this beach so you’re spoiled for choice.

Where to stay: Check out the many apartments and villas in the general neighbourhood of Vasilikos.

Best for: A beautiful beach location for all ages with lots to do.

Banana Baya at Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Banana Baya at Vasilikos in Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

9. Plaka beach at Vasilikos

Continuing along from Banana Beach is a smaller area of Plaka beach in Zakynthos, where the land flattens out and there are sunbeds on both the grass and sand. There are sunbeds offered by the Plaka Beach resort with a restaurant, bar and rooms in their hotel as well as other bars and restaurants along the beach. The atmosphere here is well organised and calm and I’ve come here in the past with my parents who enjoyed the atmosphere. The beach here is sandy and the water calm and shallow with a rocky area to one end that adds a bit of interest for swimming.

Where to eat:Take your pick from the beach bars and restaurants along the beach, such as the Plaka Beach restaurant and other snack bars you’ll find. Normally if the sunbeds are free then you are expected to buy your food and drink at the beach bar that offers them.

Where to stay: There are a few nice hotels close to this beach such as the Plaka Beach Resort, the 5 star Bay Hotel and suites and the Tambouros Boutique Villas as well as many smaller apartments and villas in the general neighbourhood of Vasilikos.

How to get to Plaka Beach: Take a turning off the main road that runs through Vasilikos in the same direction as St Nicholas beach and turn off to Plaka Beach.

Best for: A place to swim and relax in a calm atmosphere.

Plaka Beach in Zakynthos

Plaka Beach in Zakynthos

Photo credit: Phil Whitcombe

10. St Nicholas beach / Agios Nikolaos beach

St Nicholas beach in Zante is named after the pretty chapel of Agios Nikolaos that sits on a headland overlooking the beach. Located at the end of the Vasilikos peninsula, in the south east corner of Zakynthos, it’s a popular beach for young people and fun lovers due to the lively atmosphere and watersports on offer. This is where St Nicholas watersports is based, with diving, parasailing, jetski, waterski and other watersports activities on offer.

There are busy bars and beach clubs on both sides of the road that leads down to St Nicholas beach and plenty of sunbeds to rent, with shallow water for swimming. If you head to the right of the access road, there’s a bar on the high rocky ground and on the other side another narrower area of beach.

St Nicholas beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

St Nicholas beach in Zakynthos

Where to eat: You can take your pick of a number of beach bars and restaurants on the beach, which all serve a range of food and drink throughout the day.

How to get to St Nicholas Beach: Take the coast road that runs along the Vasilikos peninsula and take the turning after Banana Beach that’s signposted to St Nicholas beach. There’s a car park on the flat land behind the beach. If you are on the main Vasilikos beach (Ionio and Banana Beach) you can also walk right along the beach and over the rocky spit at the side of Plaka Beach to see the St Nicholas chapel, then find St Nicholas beach on the other side.

Where to stay: There’s plenty of accommodation in Vasilikos which is mostly small family owned apartments, villas and studios.

Best For: Watersports and a lively atmosphere

Church at St Nicholas Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Church at St Nicholas Beach in Zakynthos

11. Porto Roma beach in Zakynthos

Near the end of the Vassilikos peninsula is Porto Roma beach, which has an excellent taverna overlooking the bay. It’s a sheltered beach where small fishing boats are bob at one end of the beach, in the shelter of a stone harbour. The beach itself is quite narrow and in high season has sunbeds set on the grassy belt of land just above the beach. It’s a pretty setting although not always our favourite for swimming as it’s a bit stony and there’s sometimes seaweed on the shore. However, the taverna here is a great place for lunch with a shady terrace, lots of space and great views.

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos

Where to eat: Settle into the terrace of the Porto Roma Restaurant, which is open all day and into the evening, with a traditional menu of seafood and all the Greek favourites. There are also studios to rent here behind the restaurant.

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos

How to get to Porto Roma Beach: Take the coast road along the south east coast to Vasilikos and turn off to Porto Roma before you reach the end of the peninsula at Gerakas.

Where to stay: There are studios at the Porto Roma Restaurant which are simple but colourful and modern in decor or check out other accommodation in Vasilikos which is mostly small family owned apartments and studios.

Best For: A pretty beach for lunch with a view

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Porto Roma Beach in Zakynthos

12. Gerakas beach on Zakynthos

Gerakas beach is at the end of the Vasilikos peninsula and one of the best beaches on Zakynthos, with a long crescent of sand backed by sand dunes. The whole area is protected as a turtle nesting site and this is a good place to learn more about the caretta caretta or loggerhead turtles that make their home on Zakynthos. The beach in quite long and there are sunbeds to rent at the end that’s closest to the steps, but if you don’t need a sunbed and just want to swim, head a little further along the beach to set out your towel.

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos, Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos, Greece

There are wardens from the marine park on the beach and you’ll see any turtle nests marked out with wooden frames so avoid walking near these. Because of the turtle nests it’s prohibited to use your own sun umbrellas which might damage them, but no problem to sit where you like on the beach as long as you avoid the marked nests and any other areas that are roped off. The water at Gerakas Beach in Zante is shallow and warm so it’s great for families and easy swimming. Because the beach is quite large, the furthest end away from the sunbeds is unofficially used by naturists.

 

Also worth knowing: There’s an information centre in a wooden hut at the entrance to the beach, run by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and this is a good place to learn about the turtles and other wildlife of the area. You can also stop at the Earth Sea Sky turtle rescue and information centre where they have interesting information about the turtles on Zakynthos and can tell you about the numbers of nests that have been counted. It’s next to the taverna and you’ll spot it by the giant turtle at the entrance. If you are visiting early or late in the season when it’s not too hot, there’s a nice walk that leads along the cliff top in the opposite direction to the beach – turn right on the path just before you go down the steps to the beach.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos, Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos, Greece

Where to eat: There are no tavernas or beach bars on the beach itself since it is protected, but on the road that leads to the beach there’s a string of bars and tavernas where you can have a pleasant lunch. They are opposite the parking area and a short walk from the beach, so you may want to go to the beach for a few hours and then have lunch or a drink here afterwards. If you plan to stay a while on the beach it’s best to take your own water or refreshments.

How to get to Gerakas Beach: Take the coast road along the south east side of Zakynthos through the Vasilikos neighbourhood and Gerakas is the last beach you come to. There’s a large parking area on the field at the end of the road and then you walk down the wooden ramp to the beach itself.

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos, Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Gerakas beach in Zakynthos, Greece

Where to stay: There are quite a few locally owned villas and holiday apartments close to Gerakas although due to the turtle protection, none are on the beach itself. Take a look at all the accommodation in Vasilikos and use the map view to find those that are near to Gerakas beach.

Best For: Turtle and nature lovers

Check out this article: Saving the Caretta Caretta turtle – on Zakynthos, Greece

13. Dafni beach in Zakynthos **

** Our favourite beaches

Dafni beach in Zakynthos is one of our favourite beaches and we normally spend a day there each time we visit the island. When we first started visiting Zante, the access road was quite hair raising with terrible ruts and potholes which made it quite a challenge to get there. It’s still not the easiest, since the road winds up over a steep hillside and down the other side, but has been much improved and is now mainly tarmac, with passing places and only the odd pothole. I still would warn that it’s quite dangerous to try on a moped for all but the most experienced drivers and take care in your hire car as there can be stones and gravel on the road.

Dafni beach in Zakynthos, Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Dafni beach in Zakynthos, Greece

Once you get to the beach it’s a lovely long beach of deep sand and shallow, warm water. This is another of the turtle nesting sites on Zakynthos and need to avoid walking near any of the turtle nests that are marked with wooden frames. It’s prohibited to set up sun umbrellas on the beach itself, but there are plenty of sun loungers set back from the beach in the shade of the trees.

There are a number of restaurants lined up here and they compete for customers so you may find yourself being directed by the parking attendants to one or other of them. Take your time to decide which you want to settle in, as the sunbeds are normally provided by each restaurant and free as long as you are buying drinks, snacks or lunch from that restaurant. The water here is clear, shallow and great for swimming and it makes a pleasant place to relax for a few hours with a long lazy lunch in the shade at your chosen restaurant.

Where to eat: Take your pick of a number of seasonal beach restaurants that are set back from the beach in the shade of the trees. They all have all wide selection of food, drinks and all day refreshments and whichever one you like the look of, they will normally allow you to use their sunbeds and toilet facilities free so long as you buy from them.

Dafni beach in Zakynthos, Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Dafni beach in Zakynthos, Greece

How to get to Dafni Beach: Dafni beach is accessed from the coast road that runs through the Vasilikos peninsula in the south east of Zakynthos. Coming from the direction of Zante town, after passing through the resort of Argassi you need to look out for signs to the right directing you to Dafni beach. There are two separate turnings from the main road that will take you there and as mentioned, the road takes you steeply over the hill with lots of twists and turns, so take your time and go slowly to reach the beach safely. Once you get to the beach there is quite a large parking area which is free, but the beach can be popular in high season and at weekends so you may want to get there by mid morning to be sure of a parking place.

Dafni beach in Zakynthos, Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Dafni beach in Zakynthos, Greece

Where to stay: It’s prohibited to build any permanent accommodation on this turtle nesting beach, although you may see some places to rent. Personally, due to the steep road I wouldn’t look for accommodation on Dafni beach, but would visit for the day and either find accomodation in Vasilikos or stay at the closest resort of Argassi. In Argassi I can recommend the two hotels owned by my sister at Windmill Hotel and Windmill Bay, or if you are looking for a luxurious boutique hotel experience try the Ionian Hill Hotel set on the hillside with wonderful views.

Best For: Warm shallow waters and lazy lunches

Beaches in Zakynthos – south coast

From the beaches of the Vasilikos peninsula, we’re heading to the south of the island which is also known for its long, sandy beaches that stretch around Laganas Bay. The bay is part of the National Marine Park and the beaches are protected although there is still quite a lot of development here, especially around Laganas which has gained a reputation as a resort for the younger crowd who come here to drink and party in the bars and clubs. The resorts on this side of the island tend to be a favourite for package holidays and the beaches are used more by the holidaymakers staying in the nearby hotels rather than the locals.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

14.Laganas beach in Zakynthos

Although the Laganas beach is one of the nicest on the island with a broad sweep of sand and shallow water, it tends to suffer from the “Brits abroad” reputation it has gained in recent years, so I probably wouldn’t choose to go there in high season. The beach is very long and merges into the Kalamaki beach at the other side of the bay.

To find a quieter spot you need to head towards the Kalamaki end where there is no development on the sand dunes that back the beach. This is partly a measure to protect the nesting turtles and partly because the runway of the island’s airport starts behind the dunes, so the planes come in to land over the beach. Laganas is also one of the places that you can take a boat trip into the bay to try and look out for turtles which are getting increasingly hard to find, or to visit the sea caves that are around the Keri headland.

Check out this boat tour that will take you around Laganas Bay with a possibility to see turtles and swimming in the Keri sea caves.

Laganas beach in Zakynthos

Laganas beach in Zakynthos

Photo credit: Bane Novitovic

Where to eat: There are no shortage of bars and restaurants vying for your attention along the beach of Laganas.

How to get to Laganas beach: Head to the resort of Laganas and turn down the flat beach road through the resort. There’s a parking area right in front of the beach.

Where to stay: As one of the busiest holiday resorts in Zakynthos there’s lots of holiday accommodation here – check out all the hotels and apartments in Laganas

Best For: A busy beach with plenty of sand, shallow water and lively atmosphere

Check out this article on the best Zante boat trips

15.Kalamaki beach in Zakynthos

Kalamaki in Zante is the resort at the other end of the bay to Laganas and tends to be more family friendly, attracting those looking for a quieter holiday. The two resorts share the same stretch of sand but Kalamaki beach is a bit less developed, not least because of the protected sand dunes and space around the nearby airport, so you have to get used to the planes coming in to land over the beach. At the end of the beach, the flat land turns into a more rocky coastline and if you follow the footpaths there are some even more secluded beach spots that you can only walk to and are popular with naturists.

Where to eat: There are several beach bars and hotel restaurants which serve refreshments through the day although they tend to a bit more spaced out than Laganas.

Where to stay: Take a look at all the hotels and apartments in Kalamaki

How to get to Kalamaki beach: There are several access roads that lead to the beach from the main road through the Kalamaki resort.

Best for: A sandy and family friendly beach with lots of space and shallow water for swimming.

Kalamaki beach in Zakynthos

Kalamaki beach in Zakynthos

Photo credit: Mickey Logitmark Wikipedia

16. Agios Sostis beach and Cameo Island

Also on the curve of Laganas bay and a little further on from the Laganas resort is the beach at Agios Sostis. The sandy beach with shallow, warm water is great for relaxation and has a more low key, family friendly atmosphere than the nearby Laganas beach. There’s also a small marina where you can take a boat trip for turtle spotting in Laganas bay and visit the sea caves that are a little further along the coast.

This is one of the beaches where you can bring your car to park on the sand so it’s also popular with boat owners and there are pedalos for hire. There are sunbeds to hire and those that are run by the beach bars and restaurants are often free if you are buying food and drink from them. A narrower strip of beach also continues around the headland from the marina which serves the apartments and villas in this area.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Agios Sostis Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Agios Sostis Beach in Zakynthos

Agios Sostis Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Agios Sostis Beach in Zakynthos

Where to eat: There are a number of beach bars and restaurants behind the beach that serve food and drink throughout the day. One of the most popular is Sabbia beach bar which has an all day menu and a nice terrace overlooking the beach, serving cocktails into the evening.

Beach access: Once you arrive in the resort of Laganas, take the road leading to the bach and then continue further around the bay to the beach at Agios Sostis. There is a parking area on the beach itself, where you can also leave your car if you are taking a boat trip.

Where to stay: The accommodation in this area is mainly villas, apartments and self catering studios that are set in the area behind the beach and stretch along the coast.

Best For: A quieter alternative to Laganas beach with opportunities for boat trips

Read more: Why Agios Sostis is perfect for a relaxing holiday in the sun

Agios Sostis Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Agios Sostis Beach in Zakynthos

Cameo Island in Zante

At one end of the beach, past the marina you’ll find Cameo Island, a picturesque small island just off the shore that’s reached by a long boardwalk. It’s privately run, with a small charge to go onto the island and use their beach bar and swim from the small pebble beach on the far side of the island. Cameo Island is a also a popular wedding venue and nightspot with music and parties held there in high season.

 
Cameo Island in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Cameo Island in Zakynthos

17.Keri beach in Zakynthos

The small resort of Keri (also known as Limni Keri) is perhaps better known as a place to take a boat trip rather than for the beach itself, but you can certainly take a swim here. From the small Keri port you can hire a boat to drive yourself around the coast or over to Turtle Island / Marathonisi, or arrange a boat trip if there are a few of you. The beach is mostly pebble and the water clear, with some shady trees you can sit under along the beach. There’s also a lagoon that sits behind the beach. Keri is not so much a destination beach as I’d recommend nearby Marathias instead where we always go, but it is a pleasant location if you’re looking to combine a boat trip with lunch and a quick swim.

Where to eat: There are a number of shops and tavernas set by the road behind the marina area.

Beach access: The main road that runs through the southern part of Zakynthos will take you to Keri, then follow signs for Keri port and Keri beach. There is parking along the road and behind the beach.

Where to stay: The accommodation in this area is mainly apartments and studios. Take a look at all the accommodation in Keri.

Best For: A quick swim before a boat trip

Check out this boat trip that will take you out to spot turtles, with a visit to the island of Marathonisi where the turtles nest and the sea caves of Keri.

Keri Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Keri Beach in Zakynthos

Keri Bay in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Keri Bay in Zakynthos

Photo Credits: Mark Richards & Rob Wallace

18. Marathias beach **

** Our favourite beaches

Another of our favourite beaches is Marathias beach which is close to Keri and a little tricky to find if you don’t know that island. It’s a pebble beach, which means that this is more a place for swimming than sunbathing, but the water here is crystal clear and the views are beautiful. The small beach is reached from the coast road at the top of the hill, by walking down a lane to the sea, which frames the view of the Turtle Island.

Marathias Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Marathias Beach in Zakynthos

This Turtle island is known in Greek as Marathonisi and gives the beach its name. It is both shaped like a turtle and is a place where the turtles nest, on the protected Marathonisi beach, where boats are forbidden to land. There are just a few sunbeds at Marathias but no other facilities, although a man has often arrived selling bowls of fruit when we’ve been there. If you can secure one of the sunbeds, it’s a great place to swim and snorkel around the rocks at one end of the beach, although you do need your water shoes to avoid the ouch! factor of pebbles underfoot.

Marathias Beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Marathias Beach in Zakynthos

Where to eat: Just above the main Marathias beach is one of our favourite tavernas Votsalo, which is an ideal spot to relax for lunch after your swim. It’s a stylish place and the food is excellent, with all the classic dishes given a contemporary twist in their presentation. There are great views over the sea from their shaded terrace restaurant that’s open on one side.

Votsalo Taverna at Marathias Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Votsalo Taverna at Marathias Zakynthos

Rock swimming near Marathias: On the same road, little closer to Keri, a path leads down beside the Marathia Star taverna, which takes you to a large patch of flat rocks that is also a good place for swimming and snorkelling. There are places where you can get in and out of the sea, but watch out for the sea urchins that hide in the crevices of the rocks – again beach shoes are a good idea to protect your feet.

Swimming on rocks near Marathias Zakynthos

Swimming on rocks near Marathias Zakynthos

The family run taverna near the rocks is called Marathia Star and the style of food and decor here is more traditional. We also found a little food caravan run by the Arba guest house, further down the path in the trees, with cafe table laid out in the shade, selling drinks.

Marathia Star Taverna near Marathias Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Marathia Star Taverna near Marathias Zakynthos

Arba Cafe near Marathias Zakynthos Greece Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Arba Cafe near Marathias Zakynthos Greece

How to get to Marathias beach: From Keri port, drive past the marina on your left and head up the hill on a narrow road, keeping left as the road turns and follows the line of the coast on the high ground above the sea. The road winds past various villas and you’ll pass first the Marathia Star taverna where you can park if swimming on the rocks or afterwards the Votsalo taverna with some parking space just beyond beside the road. After this it’s a 5 minute walk down a footpath to get to Marathias beach.

Where to stay: The accommodation in this area is mainly apartments and villas. Take a look at all the accommodation in the area of Keri.

Best for: Those who love to swim and snorkel

North east coast beaches on Zakynthos

The beaches on the north east coast of Zakynthos run north from Zante town. The terrain here tends to be quite flat, with long sandy beaches and shallow water, making this one of the parts of the island that is a favourite for family hotels that are used by the major tour operator. There’s something for everyone in this part of Zakynthos, and it’s a favourite for couples and families looking for a relaxing sunshine break. The beaches here are used mainly by those staying in hotels and apartments nearby, rather than by independent travellers looking for a beach to spend the day.

 

19.Tsilivi beach in Zakynthos

Tsilivi is one of the most popular Zakynthos holiday resorts offered by major tour operators such as TUI and Jet2.com and the beach here is long and sandy, with shallow water. Over the years the resort has become quite busy and built up and you’ll find plenty of sun beds to rent as well as pedalos and other family activities within the resort itself. Nearby is the popular Tsilivi Water Park in case you want a bit more excitement than the beach alone can offer. Look out for the remains on the headland of a small, stone, Venetian observatory and the Bouka beach that’s a little further around this point.

Check out this boat trip to take you from Tsilivi or Zante town to explore Navagio Shipwreck Beach

Where to eat: There are a number of beach bars along the stretch of Tsilivi beach including our favourite Freddie’s Beach Bar, and plenty of choice of restaurants in the resort itself.

Where to stay: There’s a wide range of holiday accommodation in Tsilivi, from self catering studios and apartments to resort style hotels. This is a popular resort for the major tour operators so you may want to shop around for the best package deals and compare prices with booking hotels and flights separately. If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find it at the 5 star Lesante Classic Hotel and Lesante Blu Hotel in Tsilivi.

Beach access: Drive north from Zante town to Tsilivi and you’ll find plenty of parking on the roads near the beach.

Best for: A family friendly beach to relax if you’re staying nearby.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Tsilivi beach in Zakynthos

Tsilivi beach in Zakynthos

Photo credit: Wikipedia

20. Alykes beach and Alykanas beach in Zakynthos

These sandy beaches mainly serve the holiday apartments and villas nearby with sunbeds to rent and some watersports too. Alykanas is the smaller beach while just around the headland is the long stretch of Alykes beach with fine sand and shallow water. At one end of Alykes bay there’s a small marina and at the other the river leads into the sea, with an old stone Venetian bridge crossing it. The area is also known for the salt flats which you can see as you walk through the resort or get views when you drive along the road in the high ground further inland.

Alykanas Beach Zakynthos

Alykanas Beach Zakynthos

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Where to eat: There are plenty of beach bars and restaurants right along the beach and in the Alykes resort.

Beach access: Take the road north from Zante town and then turn off from the high ground to drive down to Alykes.

Best for: Family friendly beaches for relaxation and swimming if you’re staying nearby.

Alykes beach in Zante

Alykes beach in Zante

21. Xigia beach in Zakynthos

As we head north, the coastline of Zakynthos becomes rocky, with high cliffs and coves. Xigia beach in Zakynthos is one such cove and a little unusual in that there are sulphur springs just off the beach, giving off tiny bubbles that have a jacuzzi effect on your skin. The beach is small and rocky in places and there’s a smell of rotten eggs hanging in the air from the sulphur which is thought to have health giving properties for those who swim there. The beach can become crowded in high season, especially when boat trips visit the beach to drop people off there for a swim.

Where to eat: There’s a cafe at the top of the cliff which brings drinks and refreshments down to the beach.

How to get to Xigia beach: The coast road runs above the beach, then leave your car above the beach and walk down the path to the beach.

Best for: Swimmers looking for health and wellbeing

Xigia beach in Zakynthos

Xigia beach in Zakynthos

Photo credit: Wikipedia

22. Makris Gialos beach in Zakynthos

Just around the headland from Xigia is Makris Gialos, another rocky cove bounded by high cliffs. The beach here is a mix of sand and pebbles and the water a clear, turquoise blue so this is a nice place to swim in high summer as the water is cold and deep. There are some sunbeds to rent here but this is a mostly a place for those who love to swim with a natural feel. At the end of the beach there is also a kiosk where you can join boat trips to take you around the north of the island to Navagio / Shipwreck bay.

Just north of here there are a few other small coves and beaches such as Climati beach and Vathi Lagadi beach which don’t have sunbeds or facilities and are mostly for locals or those staying in nearby villas, as access by car is not always obvious.

 

Where to eat: Across the road from the beach there’s a taverna where you can buy refreshments and they do a takeaway service if you want to take food onto the beach.

Beach access:The main coast road runs past Makris Gialos and you can park your car by the Taverna or along the road and walk down to the beach

Best for: Swimmers and those looking for an unspoiled beach

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Makris Gialos beach in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Makris Gialos beach in Zakynthos

23. Nobelos restaurant and boutique hotel **

** Our favourite beaches

I’ve left one of my favourites until last as a little bonus for those of you looking for a special beach and lunch experience. Nobelos is not strictly a beach, but a boutique hotel and restaurant set among shady trees overlooking the sea in the north of Zakynthos. They have a beautiful small beach area with crystal clear water and a fine gravel beach, where there are sunbeds for the exclusive use of guests.

Nobelos in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Nobelos in Zakynthos

This is not a public beach, but if you have a reservation for lunch at their restaurant, you can also spend time relaxing on their private beach area and swimming around the rocks. They also have a jetty, so if you hire a boat from nearby St Nicholas port to explore some of the nearby caves and visit Navagio beach, you can stop here for lunch and dip into the luxury lifestyle.

Nobelos in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Nobelos in Zakynthos

The bio restaurant serves excellent food, with seafood and familiar Greek dishes that have been updated with a modern and very instagrammable twist. Be sure to finish with one of the delicious home made ice creams. Just to disclose, the owners are connected by marriage with my sister, so I consider them family, but it’s a fabulous place that I can heartily recommend.

Where to stay: Check out the luxurious boutique suites at Nobelos

Best for: Gourmets and style lovers

Nobelos in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Nobelos in Zakynthos

Nobelos in Zakynthos Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Nobelos in Zakynthos

I hope you enjoyed my tour of the beaches of Zakynthos. Whether you love sunbathing and relaxation or swimming and watersports, there really is a beach for everyone on this beautiful Greek island.

Need to hire a car on Zakynthos? Check prices and find the best deals for car hire on Zakynthos here

Map of the best beaches in Zakynthos Greece

Take a look at this map of all the best beaches in Zakynthos that I’ve mentioned in this article, or open this link to the map.

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Best beaches in Zakynthos Greece Best beaches in Zakynthos Greece

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