Zakynthos’ beaches are known throughout Greece as among the most beautiful in the country. Large and diverse enough to appeal to every type of traveller, Zakynthos (also known to many as Zante) boasts many kinds of beaches ranging from sprawling sands owned by 5-star resorts to rustic, isolated coves.

    Renowned for shallow waters in stunning shades of turquoise, the Zakynthos coastline is also a hotbed for wildlife, including the endangered and enigmatic Loggerhead turtle, which is a heavily protected species on the island. Whether you want to party all night or prefer a tranquil island escape, this selection of the best beaches in Zakynthos is the perfect place to start thinking about your next holiday.

    1

    Navagio Beach

    An isolated cove famous for its shipwreck

    Navagio Beach (known to many as Shipwreck Beach) is a pristine patch of sand that’s only accessible via the sea. The azure waters of Navagio are best reached by boat trip from Zakynthos town and while undoubtedly beautiful, the cove becomes extremely crowded at peak times. As a result, this popular beach is best enjoyed early in the morning when traffic is at a minimum.

    Alternatively, a viewing platform set amid the cliffs over the beach provides an ideal vantage point from which to enjoy Navagio. From here, the isolation of the cove becomes apparent and the colours that make up this famous beach are at their most vivid.

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    2

    Alykes Beach

    Fun for the whole family

    Alykes Beach is a long stretch of sand known for its cleanliness and remarkably shallow waters. For this reason, Alykes is one of Zakynthos’ most popular beaches for families, with excellent facilities such as changing rooms, showers and cafes widely available, too. Sun loungers complete with parasols are on offer at Alykes while the full gamut of water sports options can also be found including jet ski rental and paragliding.

    Alykes is a resort in its own right and is home to a variety of hotels and apartments to suit all budgets, with the emphasis very much on family-oriented accommodation.

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    3

    Kalamaki Beach

    This shallow beach is a haven for endangered Loggerhead turtles

    Kalamaki Beach is an enormous sandy beach that is part of the island’s National Maritime Park located on the southern shore of Zakynthos. This special status comes a result of the beach’s importance to the local Loggerhead turtle population, which use Kalamaki as a nesting place. This means that Kalamaki, for all of its popularity, remains a quiet beach that attracts couples and families to its relaxing surrounds.

    Tepid, crystalline waters make Kalamaki a delight for swimming, as does the shallowness of the sea. For those seeking to catch a glimpse of Loggerhead turtles, it’s best to head to Kalamaki at the first crack of dawn.

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    4

    Agios Nikolaos Beach

    Tranquility on the northern coast of Zakynthos

    Agios Nikolaos is a small yet pristine stretch of pebble beach on the North shore of Zakynthos. As one of the main jumping-off points for both ferries to neighbouring Kefalonia and boat trips to Smuggler’s Cove, Agios Nikolaos can become crowded in peak months with families and couples. On the other hand, the popularity of the area means that this beach boasts excellent bars and restaurants as well as free-to-use sun loungers and showers.

    Backed by cliffs and boasting the kind of shallow, crystal clear waters for which Zakynthos is famous, Agios Nikoloas is definitely one of the North coast’s finest beaches.

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    Porto Zoro Beach

    Natural beauty, tranquillity and great facilities

    Porto Zoro is one of Zakynthos’ prettiest beaches. It’s a narrow arc of shingle flanked by distinct rock formations. For all of its beauty, this beach remains quiet even at peak times of the year, with Porto Zoro attracting a more family-oriented crowd.

    Located 17 km from Zante town, this is by no means a remote beach and the presence of a luxury hotel make Porto Zoro extremely well stocked with facilities including restaurants, bars, changing rooms and more. As with many beaches in Zakynthos, Porto Zoro benefits from transparent waters renowned for their shallowness, making swimming safe for the whole family.

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    6

    Alykanas Beach

    A long sandy beach popular with families

    Alykanas Beach benefits from a tranquil vibe and stunning scenery just outside the idyllic fishing village of the same name. Backed by lush olive groves and rolling hills, Alykanas is a relaxing yet well-maintained beach that is known as a hub for families and couples. With a variety of bars and restaurants such as the excellent Shoestring, which serves Greek classics in a refined style, Alykanas Beach has top-quality amenities.

    One of the key benefits of Alykanas Beach is the variety and quality of water sports on offer, which includes kayaks, jet skis, banana boats and more.

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    photo by KrauS (CC BY 3.0) modified

    7

    Porto Roxa Beach

    This rocky cove is a staple on boat trip itineraries

    Though not technically a beach, Porto Roxa is definitely one of Zakynthos’ most widely visited coastal areas due to its undeniable beauty. Situated on the island’s rugged south-west coast, Porto Roxa attracts an energetic crowd who come to dive off the rocks and enjoy the variety of tavernas overlooking the cove. In fact, purchasing a drink usually includes free sun-lounger use, which otherwise comes at a premium here due to limited space.

    Porto Roxa can be visited by boat trip from nearby Porto Limnionas or, alternatively, it’s possible to drive to this beach and make use of the free car park nearby.

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    8

    Limni Keriou Beach

    An atmospheric village beach

    Limni Keriou, a small but spectacular stretch of coastline, is the name given to both the village and its adjacent beach. Shaded by pine trees and lined with traditional tavernas, Limni Keriou is one of the more relaxing beaches in Zakynthos. The water here is shallow and clear with sand underfoot, meaning Limni Keriou is a perfect beach for families. Nearby Marathonissi island will attract adventurers who can rent their own boat to tour this beautiful patch of land merely a mile off shore.

    For those who prefer more leisurely activity, the village of Limni Keriou itself is a delight to explore with its narrow streets, ancient houses and a delightful old monastery. The best views of the beach at sunset can be enjoyed from the lighthouse, which is accessible via the village.

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    9

    Tsilivi Beach

    A sprawling beach popular with locals and tourists

    Close to the island capital of Zakynthos town, Tsilivi Beach is a lively resort that attracts a mixed crowd including families, couples and younger groups. This long and extremely popular strip of coastline is equipped with a range of amenities including umbrellas, sun loungers, bars and restaurants. Tsilivi Beach is also renowned for its cleanliness and is often touted as one of Zakynthos’ most spotless beaches.

    Although Tsilivi Beach is a large resort, nightlife tends to be on the quieter side with cocktail bars preferred over raucous nightclubs. One of the most popular is Ark Bar, a town centre staple serving great cocktails and snacks in a convivial atmosphere.

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    10

    Laganas Beach

    A busy resort with a pristine seafront

    As one of the most popular resorts in Zakynthos, Laganas Beach is a great option for those seeking a lively time. Even so, the beach is long enough to never feel crowded even in peak months, with the selection of bars and restaurants on offer making it one of the best served on the island. Sprawling and buffered on both sides by lush green hills, Laganas is one of the island’s most picturesque large beaches.

    Laganas Beach is renowned as a vital area for the Loggerhead turtle, which comes here to lay its eggs. This means that Laganas Beach is a great spot to see these endangered creatures in their natural habitat, with the shallow and clear waters ideal for snorkelling with these beautiful animals.

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    James Connolly | Guest Writer

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