What is your favorite place for cliff diving

It doesn't get turquoise: most beautiful places on Zakynthos (Greece)

Zakynthos, the southernmost island in the group around Corfu in the Ionian Sea, was called the “Flower of the East” by the Venetians. Because the most beautiful places on Zakynthos shimmer in blue and green tones, I also remember them as the “island of turquoise bays”.

A contribution from our guest author Jo Volkwein.

When I was planning an impromptu summer vacation in June, I had a variety of destinations in my head: Portugal and Croatia were at the top of the list, and I also considered Latin America and New York. I finally decided to look for a travel destination that could be reached easily and quickly, and that offered bathing and beach holidays, but also more than that. During my research, I soon came across the island of Zakynthos. Never heard? I hadn't at this point either. Most beautiful places Zakynthos - summarized for you:

"The world is still in order here"

Four weeks later I was on the plane with my companion - there are direct flights to Zakynthos in around 3 hours from Düsseldorf or Munich, for example. The small island offers great variety and diverse nature. Flat beaches in the south and east of the island, steep, bright cliffs plunge into turquoise water, especially in the north and northwest, the hinterland is fertile green. Due to the history of the island, which was ruled by the Venetians for more than four centuries, there is an Italian flair in Zakynthos town.

The people, especially in the hinterland, in the smallest of places scattered around the Vrachionas mountain range, live very simply and receive visitors with great warmth and hospitality. In many places time seems to go slower; or even to stand still. My first thought when I got off the plane at the small airport was: 'The world is still all right here'.

Most beautiful places Zakynthos # 1: Shoestring Beach

Like many of the Greek islands, Zakynthos lives mainly from tourism. However, this is centered on places such as Planos, Ampoula and Alikanas in the east, and Laganas in the south of the island, where the beach is bustling with turbulence. It's scary to like accommodations in smaller places Amoudi to choose where one shares narrow stretches of beach, cafes and restaurants apparently mainly with locals or visitors from the mainland. In addition to AirBnbs, you will also find many simple but adequately equipped apartments there.

In Amoudi we can highly recommend Calypso Studios. Those who stay here should definitely make the way to the foothills of the neighboring Alikanas, where with Shoestring Beach one of our favorite places the island finds. In the bistro of the same name there is fantastic Greek-modern cuisine, you sit outside under massive trees, here and there you can find lovingly hip details. The view of the mostly calm sea in different shades of blue, from which the larger island of Kefalonia rises in the distance, is also unique.

If you are not yet registered with AirBnB, I'll give you a free onehere an AirBnB voucher for your first booking.

Tip: Be sure to rent a car

To discover the small, but quite mountainous island, it is highly recommended to visit a automobile to rent. If you are staying in private or family-run accommodation, you should ask the host family about the possibility of renting a car before inquiring about one of the larger rentals. Often there are contacts in the neighboring towns, which give out small cars in sufficient condition on favorable terms. For reasons of cost or experience, some of the tourists also use quads to circumnavigate the island, but this is not advisable for your own safety, especially for longer distances.

We went on various tours with a little speedster. On Zakynthos the roads wind through valleys and mountains; again and again a breathtaking view opens up; the streets lead past dense olive groves where goats seek shade or old men and women sell local produce on the roadside. Often it is also worthwhile to make a stop in advertised and therefore more popular taverns. The island invites you to let yourself go.

Most Beautiful Places Zakynthos # 2: Shipwreck Beach

The most well-known destination is certainly Shipwreck BeacH in the northwest, a large sandy bay in the middle of steep rocky coasts, on which a large ship was stranded about 40 years ago. Bright, light blue, flat waves lap against the beach here. A spectacular view of Shipwreck Beach and to the horizon, along the winding coastline in the water, is from the cliffs. Also a thankful place for photographers - the lush green of the plants, the deep blue of the water, the bright rock walls and the shipwreck on the beach are not known as popular photo motifs for nothing.

Getting up early is worth it

At this point it must be said: on Zakynthos it is easily possible to spend a quiet vacation away from the tourist crowds that concentrate on two or three places on the island. Shipwreck Beach, however, should definitely be seen and accordingly has to be prepared for a high volume of tourism. This can only be avoided with one tip: in the morning before 09:00 Drive to the viewpoint on the cliff and dare to climb a little further to the right along the cliff ridge. We were amazed that this worked intuitively in order to experience the magic of this wonderful piece of earth in peace and more or less alone!

Boat tour to Shipwreck Bay: not advisable!

You can also experience Shipwreck Beach directly. Because all around the island, ship and boat tours are rightly offered to allow you to capture its full beauty. However, we have had different experiences with it: We would not repeat a boat trip to Shipwreck Beach.

Already in the early morning more and more small boats and large ships with hundreds of guests try to moor on the beach, which is accordingly overcrowded. There are only a few shady spots, while swimming in the sea it smells of kerosene. The shipwreck is impressive, even if the visitors immortalize it. Likewise, everyone has to decide for themselves whether they want to go on one of the half-day or full-day boat tours in the south of Agios Sostis or Laganas. Many of the tours head for the small offshore, uninhabited island of Marathonisi, past the hotspot Cameo Island, and sail on through the crystal clear sea towards Keri Caves.

The turtle Caretta caretta lives here

All of this is really worth seeing, a swim in the clear, turquoise waters is incomparable. However, this is one of the peculiarities of Zakynthos: These waters are also the habitat of the Caretta caretta turtle, which nest on some of the beaches between June and September. Although this area is a water national park and some beaches are not allowed to be entered, the survival of the hawksbill sea turtle is of course largely dependent on mass tourism. Small and large boats, divers and snorkelers do not give the turtles any space as soon as they appear on the surface of the water. If you want to make your own personal contribution to environmental protection, you should better forego these tours.

Most beautiful places in Zakynthos # 3: Bathing in the bay of Porto Limnionas

A trip to the well-attended Porto Limnionas Bay in the west of the island, however, is recommended. The access to the bay is rocky; their water, however, offers a play of colors that is second to none! In general, if you are looking for wide, bright white sandy beaches, you could possibly be disappointed on Zakynthos: many of the quieter sea accesses are passable via small stretches of beach or via stony entrances. But what awaits you is all the more breathtaking:

Shallow, crystal clear and clean water comparable to some of the northern beaches of Sardinia or coastal sections in Australia, whose turquoise I never got enough of anywhere on the island. Bays like Porto Limnios also invite you to snorkel, although expectations of a dazzling fish landscape cannot be met.

Most beautiful places in Zakynthos # 4: Excursion to Keri village

Then you should visit the village Keri Drive to the southwest of the island for dinner. There we are by chance on the little one Ouzeri Allegro tavern and its lovingly decorated seating on the small market square. Across the street, old men were sitting at brightly colored tables in a café and playing chess. In the kitchen of the Ouzeri Allegro, the owner Katerina and apparently friends and family conjure up excellent Greek home-style cooking, which is prepared with attention to detail. There is no card, the offer changes.

Anyone who is in Keri should also get the Sunset at Keri’s lighthouse on the white cliffs that plunge over 100m below him into the sea. As a rule, however, you are all alone there.

Most Beautiful Places Zakynthos # 5: Visiting the Capital

Last but not least, we recommend a trip to the capital and port city of Zakynthos, which looks very Italian with the bright houses on the slope, with the arcades and small alleys, with squares with monuments and cafes. A rise to the Bochali fortress on a hill above the city you will be rewarded with a fantastic view. Especially in the evening, this place invites you to take atmospheric photographs. On some days the fortress is closed in the afternoon. We have a little one Path left on the slope past the fortress discovered that leads to a no less beautiful view.

In short: this island grabbed us. I found them incredibly inspiring and beneficial. And again it has been shown that it is worth looking left and right; to leave old paths and simply to discover.

About Jo

My name is Jo and I live and work in Düsseldorf, but I am “at home in the world!” I was not quite a year old when my mother took me on my first big trip - to Malaysia. Since then I haven't got enough of the world - my exploration drives me to travel to new countries, to immerse myself in foreign cultures, to get to know old traditions and customs, to live far away from home. What fascinates me are the different colors, the local smells, the special food and exciting languages. In the past I have mainly captured my memories and experiences in pictures; Photography is a passion of mine that I unfortunately don't pursue enough in everyday life. Traveling fills me with happiness and exuberance; and it can be that simple! While a few years ago I planned everything down to the last detail, I now enjoy simply breaking out, letting go and seeing what comes out of it. I am pleased to be able to record the result here in word and in writing. Much, much love from the Rhine, your Jo.

Jo has already reported about her trip to Marrakech:

Marrakesh highlights - 8 favorite places

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