Zakynthos, also known by its Italian name Zante, is famed for its natural beauty. Fertile valleys covered in olive groves, pine forests, and fruit orchards look over idyllic beaches, where turquoise waters gently lap the golden sand. Protected wildlife, including some 1,300 sea turtles and Mediterranean monk seals, call this part of the Ionian Sea home. The best in boutique hotels, family-friendly resorts, and beaches lie just along the south coast. Here, you'll be able to find your own piece of paradise on Laganas Beach, the longest on Zakynthos at 5.5 miles long. Another firm favourite among both sun seekers and sightseers is Navagio, an exposed cove where the shipwrecked MV Panagiotis still remains, adding to the mystique of what many call 'Smugglers Cove'. The island's capital, Zante Town, is where you can learn about its rich and intriguing history. The Byzantine Museum displays frescoes and religious icons from as far back as the 12th century, while the 17th century Venetian Castle offers superb views back across town. As soon as the sun sets, several Zakynthos towns play host to non-stop drinks and dancing, which continue into the early hours of the morning.
Zante enjoys over 3000 hours of sunshine every year and is characterised by its long summers, typically lasting from May to October. During the hottest months of July and August, temperatures of 26 degrees are tempered by northern prevailing winds. Even so, balmy evening temperatures enable you to comfortably sit outside or next to the sea and enjoy cloudless full moons. Some restaurants and tavernas may be closed out of season, and can sometimes include the first half of May and last half of October.
No visa is required to enter Greece, with British passport holders able to stay as visitors for up to 3 months. Passports only need to be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. For more information about entry requirements, visit GOV.UK.
In addition to a profusion of vineyards and orchards, Zakynthos' location on the Ionian Sea means local cuisine makes the most of the finest, freshest produce. Resort restaurants serving traditional and international dishes often overlook the beach, combining fine dining experiences with beautiful vistas. Zakynthos Town has a lively evening scene, with cosy bars and rustic tavernas lining the narrow streets. For regional specialities, such as baklavas, stifado, briam, head to the quaint hill villages of inner Zakynthos.