One week on Zante!
I still can’t believe that we manage to extend summer spending first week of October in Zante! The tour was organized by TUI travel agency and we found this opportunity on wakacje.pl. If you want to know how much we paid, what was the hotel and weather like please check our previous content. Usually we organize the trip by bourselves, but from Poland to Zante fly only charters. However, considering the fact that the whole offer with the hotel and the all inclusive option was cheap, we bought for the first time (together) a trip from travel agency. It was a great convenience because we didn’t have to worry about food or transfers. In return, we were able to fully focus on discovering the treasures of the island. Don’t worry – you won’t be bored here – one week is a perfect choice 🙂
Let me introduce Zante
Before departure it’s good to collect some information🙂 Ready for a dose of knowledge? Okay, let’s start with geography lessons. Zante is the third largest island in the archipelago of the Ionian islands. Although Cephalonia is the largest island of the archipelago, Corfu is the capital of the region. It is also the second largest island of the archipelago. Lefkada’s fourth place. Little smaller is Kithira, but it is also the last island, which exceeds 100 km2. The rest of the islands are located on the west-south coast of Greece and are much smaller. In the whole area live about 200 thousand people and 40 thousand of them live in Zante. The capital of our island is the city with the same name – Zante. Most of the resorts are located south of the capital (Argassi, Laganas, Kalamaki). The airport is only 8 km away from the capital, but you can only reach the airport by taxi or coach.
As it is the story of the whole of Greece, the story of Zante is long and full of surprising events. At first, the island was part of the Odysseus state. Then island passed from hand to hand, from Ottoman rulers to Venetians, Frenchmen and Englishmen. The longest rulers were Venetian, who have been in power for nearly 300 years!! They left behind many traces, in the form of a magnificent Venetian building in the capital of the island. Unfortunately, the earthquake (or rather a series of 3 strong shakes) that hit Zante (and nearby islands) completely destroyed the island and along with the historic buildings of the city.
In addition to the subject, I will add that there is no greater industry on the island. The main branches of the economy are obviously tourism and agriculture, which you will surely notice during your stay. Lots of olive groves, esteemed vines, apiaries, etc. The biggest problem is the rubbish, which in the case of the islands is not surprising. Unfortunately, they spit a little the landscape of Zante, but I guarantee you that the beautiful views overwhelm these imperfections.
So what are the best places to see on Zante? 😀
All right, time for sightseeing! We spent one week on Zante and our base was Argassi. Pretty good location for exploring the island. Minuses? There is no beach, almost Polish zone (only Poles were in our hotel). Well, as you pay so little, there is nothing to complain about. 😛 Let’s start with beaches that can be reached by bus from Argassi. Then I will tell you about the trip with Zante Magic Tours – Mix North Vip, and finally I’ll show you places that we reached by car.
Will you live in Argassi? you can tke a bus to these beaches!
I’m cheating on this beach because we got here by car, but the bus also goes here and there is a bus stop sign! Just tell the driver you want to get off and he’ll blow you up. This is the first beach, right at Argassi, with big rocks in the sea, which undoubtedly add charm to this place. There is a bar, sun loungers with umbrellas, a clean beach and a gentle entrance to the sea. We highly recommend it! 🙂
This is the first beach we visited on Zante. Noteworthy, due to the wide and sandy beach (the widest we have seen). Again, there is a bar, sun loungers and umbrellas and wonderfully crystal-clear water. To be honest, we didn’t use sun loungers and umbrellas. The October sun is no longer so burned, hence the escape to the shade was not necessary in our case! 🙂 Besides, before departure, we bought mattresses on the Allegro in the water mattress section. Darek has invested 50 PLN in a lazy bag, which is very easy to pump, and I invested a similar amount in an inflatable ice-cream mattress. We are very happy and thanks to that we saved money on the beach (because 2 sun loungers + umbrella = 8 euros). 😀 On Banana Beach we also drank at the bar a delicious smoothie (I had banana-coconut with peanut butter, Darek – watermelon) and we ate baguette. We paid 15 euros for everything … at least it was delicious. 😛
St. Nicholas Beach (our favorite)
A little further is located in our opinion much cooler beach – St. Nicholas Beach. Interestingly, the free buses with the inscription Banana Beach stop here, although this beach is actually called St. Nicholas. Maybe not as impressive as Banana Beach, but it looks more neat. The water here is even more crystalline than at Banana Beach. Traditionally, we will find here a bar, sun loungers, etc., but there is also a point of water trips on bananas, scooters, etc.
Besides, there is also a small white church that attracts crowds of tourists. We also climbed to see it closer and from the nearby hill, from which you can enjoy the panoramic view of the beach and the nearby area. This place resembles a volcanic landscape.
Zante Magic Tours – North Vip Mix
I know it’s not in our style, but if you want to see some of the attractions on the island, you have to buy some tours. Sure, you can buy seperate cruises to the Blue Grotto (about 15 euros from Agios Nikolaos port) or to the Naviago Beach. However, we decided to go on full trip with Polish travel agency. We read on other people’s blogs that this trip is very popular and well set up. My parents were also on this trip in June and on facebook they have a lot of positive reviews. We paid 50 euros and we got a fantastic trip! 🙂 We highly recommend Zante Magic Tours, which also from this year organize tours in Corfu and Athens!
The view point next to the Katastari village
Our first stop on the tour with Zante Magic Tours is a popular scenic spot on the road to Xigia beach. Besides the eastern coast of Zakynthos, we can also admire the nearby Kefalonia and even the Peloponnesian peninsula. The view is maybe not outstanding, but for a few minutes it is worth to stop here.
At this point we stopped for a bit longer. We had about 40 minutes for rapid regeneration in a natural SPA. Here are located the most popular on the island cool sources of sulfur. Just after leaving the bus we felt the typical smell of sulfur in this place. During our stay, the sea was quite rough so the entrance and exit of the sea was a real challenge. The beach was rocky, so imagine to enter wavy sea on sllipery and sharp rocks. 😀 I also didn’t enter the cave, where the water temperature never exceeds 15 degrees, due to the large waves. Besides, even near the shore, the sea was quite deep, so those who can’t swim should stay on the beach. Remember to remove silver jewelry before swimming!
Agios Nikolaos + Blue Grottoes
After the sulfur bath we dressed in another swimsuit and moved on to the sea conquest of the next places. We got to the bus and a few minutes later we were admiring lovely harbor of Agios Nikolaos. The place is famous for its Blue Grottoes. They were discovered in 1897 and since then have been one of Zante’s greatest attractions. But for the best views the good weather is required! Well, in our case it was very sunny and pleasant, but the high waves made it impossible to see their beauty. You will definitely appreciate the rock formations of this place, but it’s not the same when the water is calm and has a wonderful color. Therefore, it is best to go here around midday, because at that time sunlight creates a spectacular visual effect and when the sea is quite calm. We didn’t swim in this place because of the high waves. In return, we were taken to a creek, where it was much calmer. I saved the honor of our group – I was the only swimer at this place! 😀
From this port we also sailed to Cephalonia.
Wreck Bay – view from the cliff
Finally came the most exciting moment of the whole tour (at least for me) !!! 😀 Wreck Bay admired from the cliff is definitely the most beautiful picture on Zante. Although the view is already known to everyone more or less from the Internet, I promise you – it’s not overrated. It is a bit busy, but can you be surprised when we deal not only with the Zante treasure, but with whole Greece! If you are not on a trip, I would recommend go along the treaded cliff path to the place where you will see the Wreck Bay in full splendor. Right next to the car parking is a viewing platform, from which you can not see the whole Wreck Bay and is always very crowded. Even in October this place looked like in the peak of the season.
Here we bought a local orange honey and red semi-sweet wine. Very tasty!
Tasting of Greek sweets, olives and olive oil + Anafonitria
Slowly we started getting hungry. But before we ate lunch in the mountain village of Anafonitria, we stopped for a little shopping of local specialties. We bought jelly sprinkled with powder and wonderful olive oil.
Then we went to Tavern, where the prices for lunch range between 7-10 euros. Quite a small selection, but very large portion. I decided on a rabbit that was quite tasty. Only the amount of bones was quite nuisance. Darek choosed shish kebab and I must admit that it was a much better choice than mine.
After lunch, we visited the monastyr, where used to live St. Dionysus – patron of the island. This place is considered sacred, not only because of the fact that Dionysos lived in it, but also that it survived in the untouched state the earthquake of 1953 and this year also a huge fire that caused great losses on Zante. Amazing how close were the flames, which luckily didn’t reach this place.
At least this is how they called this place in the description of the trip. 😀 In any case, we were on our way to Porto Vromi, from where we had to sail to the Navagio Beach. However, we stop for 10 minutes for “herb-harvesting”. The fact is, there are several bushes with a specific smell that we use in the kitchen, but don’t ask me about them. It’s not my topic. 😀 I was rather more focused on beautiful cliffs and amazing crystal water! 😀
Porto Vromi + Navagio Beach
Finally, we arrived at our luxury ship, which took us to the most famous and accessible only from the sea Navagio Beach. Even the journey along the cliffs is a real pleasure. Beautiful views spoil us from the beginning.
We spent about an hour in the Wreck Bay. Although everyone thinks it is a sandy beach, it is really rocky. On the one hand, it is good – because the water at the shore is not turbid, but on the other hand, feet hurt a little. Besides, the entrance to the water quickly falls down, so be careful. Only pity that we came here, as the sun was hiding behind the cliff.
As for the wreck, I’ll admit sincerely – it looks better from a distance. Sure, cool attraction, you don’t see things like this every day. We didn’t come too close – fragments or sharp edges have already mutilated many people here.
Getting back from Navagio Beach, we also admired the cliffs and gorgeous rock formations in this place. We also visited a small beach on which they supposedly arrange engagements at sunset. Really adorable! 🙂
What is the story behind the Wreck?
Good question, because there are a few versions. The most credible is that the smuggler’s ship escaped from the fleet and got too close to the shore. All this happened in the 1960s. The wreck had settled on the beach, and apparently local residents had stolen its contents and for several years on the island no one had legally bought cigarettes. 😀 Of course, there is evidence of the overthrow of this story. It is also said that the captain of the ship specifically crashed in this place, not by accident. Another theory is that the island government has decided to put the wreckage here to encourage tourists to visit Zante. 😀 Even the daughter of a seaman who was the owner, wanted to privatize this attraction. Since no one wanted to give her money, she decided to blow up the ship. Fortunately, not all the loads burned out, but some parts of the wreck were destroyed! 😛
Our last stop was Winery! We visited local producers, where we watched the process of wine production, and then test the flavors. I decided to take a bottle of white semi-sweet wine for 4.5 euros!
It was great!
The trip was fantastic and I’m very happy that we took part in this excursion. We definitely didn’t waste our money and we learned a lot about the island. Our guide had such an amazing knowledge of Zante so it was a pleasure to listen her stories! 🙂
Time to rent a car
We have already seen the North part of the island, now time to see the South! In this case we rent a car for one day. If you want to know exactly how much we paid for the car and petrol, check our previous content of Zante! Our first stop was Porto Zorro that I mentioned already above. Then we drove to…
The beach is located at the end of the Vassilikos peninsula in the national park and in the conservation area of the caretaker turtles Careta. During the breeding season on the beach you can not stay more than 3 hours. After this period there are no longer any restrictions. Many considered this place as one of the most beautiful beach on the island. I don’t agree with those opinions. For me it was a regular beach – nothing special. Maybe except the cliff, which is permanently eroded and looks really interesting. Scholars take a photo every day to monitor the progress of the damage. If you want to take a nice picture of this cliff, I recommend to visit this beach in afternoon. As you will see below, in the morning it doesn’t look spectacular.
Somewhere we have heard that one of the coolest beach on Zante. We decided to check. Sincerely? No big deal. First of all, it’s a pretty long, winding and unassault road, full of holes and bumps that kicked our ass. We almost crashed on it. 😛 And when we arrived, we were a little disappointed. Nothing special… The beach looked like a volcanic beach of Canary Islands but not that cool. Anyway, we didn’t enjoy and we don’t recommend this place. Especially due to rocky and heavy road.
The capital of Zante
After a short stay on Daphne Beach we returned to the hotel for a lunch It was on the way to the capital of the island, so we decided to not waste money somewhere in restaurant. 😀
From Argassi to Zakynthos is only 15 minutes away. We left the car at the first large free parking, which is located right at the entrance to the city. People told us that it’s hard to find a spot in the city. However, it wasn’t that bad – during our walk we passed many free spots.
The glory days of the capital are over. As I mentioned above, all Venetian buildings were destroyed during the earthquake in 1953. Therefore, the main attraction of the city is at this time the church of Agios Dionisios, dedicated to the patron of the island. The interior of the church is richly decorated with gildings and frescoes. As far as the exterior of the temple doesn’t look so impressive, its interior is stunning!
Besides, we walked along the promenade. There are no sights or places worth attention. Mainly there are shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels. At the end of the promenade there is located a representative square with the town hall and the church of Sts. Nicholas.
For those who want to see Zante “from the hill” I would recommend to climb the Venetian Castle. Although, not many left from the castle itself, but the view from it can be really nice (we didn’t check this place, we found in google maps). 😛
A walk around the Zante took about an hour. Our next stop was Keri on the west side of the island. There are beautiful cliffs and caves. There are two viewpoints on Keri. One is free, in which we admire the beautiful rocky coast and the turquoise sea. All you need to find this place is enter Keri view point on Maps.me and follow the route. It will take you here:
However, in the neighborhood you will find another amazing view point. On the way to this spot you will pass the tavern “Keri Lighthouse”, which has amazing view on the nearby cliffs. They call them Faraglioni, because indeed, they are very similar to their Italian friends located off the coast of Capri. The tavern also has a footbridge, from which it is possible to do even more beautiful pictures on the background of the rocks. Of course, such attractions only for tavern customers. Since we were still full after lunch, we ordered a frappe for 4 euros. The cheapest drink cost 3 euros, also if you want to see the cliffs, then at least 3 euros you have to sacrifice. 😛 Food at this place was quite expensive, because the cheapest pizza cost 11 euros.
There are also beautiful caves. My parents who visited Zakynthos in June bought a 3 hour Keri cruise from Laganas for less than 10 euros per person. Well, you have two possibilities: Either you will see them from the tavern with nice drink, or you will buy a ship cruise there from Laganas. 🙂
Sunset at Kampi
At the end of the day we went to Kampi to admire the sunset. Supposedly it’s the best place to admire the sunset. On the way to the view point you will pass 2 taverns. We recommend to ride to the higher one, because it has a specially developed terrace to admire the sunsets. We weren’t hungry, so we ordered the cheapest thing – lemonade for 2 euros. Of course, the expense paid off, because despite the slight cloudiness, the view was wonderful. The spectacle of colors that took place in the sky was a nice touch at the end of a successful day and stay at Zante. It was our last sunset on the island! 🙂
Zante is wonderful!
Despite its small size, I fell in love in Zante. Hard to believe, but we were both the first time in Greece! 😀 We enjoyed and probably our next trip will be also to Greece. 😀
Thank you for the attention. I hope the content is useful. 🙂 Don’t forget our previous content – practical information of Zante
Cephalonia is coming soon! 🙂
Meanwhile, watch our video from Zante and Cephalonia! 😀
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