Zakynthos Island, also called "the Flower of the Levant", is an Ionian Greek Island featuring dramatic natural contrasts, wild beauty and marvelous beaches. Exceptional beaches of Zakynthos are scattered throughout the island, some of which can be approached only by boat. The largest concentration of noteworthy beaches are located on the Vasilikos Peninsula, but the Laganas Bay and Zakynthos’ eastern shore shouldn’t be neglected either. In order to explore Zakynthos’ seaside proactively, a two or four-wheeled vehicle is needed.
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Navagio Beach is probably the most advertised Greek beach. It appears in the brochures of agencies that don’t even sell Zakynthos travel arrangements. Located on the northwestern section of the island, Navagio Beach can be accessed only by a boat or cruise. Although similar beaches do exist along the western coastline, a popular shipwreck makes Navagio completely unique.
Edged by huge cliffs, Navagio can be approached only if the sea is peaceful enough for docking. During the season, various private yachts and boats anchor near the beach, while cruise ships make their stop here between 12 pm and 2 pm. Enjoying the pristine beauty of the beach is best before and after the appointed time. That doesn’t mean that the beach is overly crowded around noon because it is larger than it appears.
Navagio Beach features white sand and small pebbles, coloring the waters around the beach into a magnificent turquoise. Entry into the water is steep, and in less than a few steps you’ll be totally submerged. As for the shipwreck, it used to be a smuggling vessel that became stranded on the beach during a sea storm that threatened to sink it.
If you wish to visit Navagio Beach on your own, you can board Potamitis Brothers boats that regularly operate between the beach and the Skinari Cape.
The second most beautiful Zakynthos beach (in my humble opinion) is Gerakas, located at the tip of the Vasilikos Peninsula. Sandy Gerakas Beach is some 10 km (6 miles) away from Argassi, featuring gradual entry into the water. Prepare yourself for a prolonged stroll before you reach a decent depth for swimming. Such a feature makes Gerakas convenient for people with small children. The beach is very long and not usually crowded, which is probably due to its remoteness.
Gerakas Beach faces the Laganas Bay to the West, along which Caretta Caretta turtles nest. Pay attention to handmade devices that mark locations where eggs are located and stay clear of the marked areas. The rest of the beach is all yours to enjoy. A parking area is located next to the beach. Also, don’t worry about the hassle of finding a parking ticket, parking is free around most, if not all, beaches in Zakynthos!
Porto Zoro Beach
Porto Zoro is another exceptional gem of the Vasilikos Peninsula. It is flanked by a small cliff and a wooded hill. A parking lot is located nearby, and this long sandy beach features natural cooling shade. The waters aren’t especially deep, making it convenient for children. Grown-ups can reach deeper waters for swimming and diving easily.
A beach bar is located on Porto Zoro, featuring straw parasols and easy chairs. However, you aren’t obliged to use the bar’s facilities, and you can sit wherever you like. There are no costs to rent the parasols and easy chairs but ordering a drink from the bar is usually enough to be able to use them for the day. Since Porto Zoro is located on the eastern shore of the Vasilikos Peninsula, you don’t need to worry about the turtle nests.
Dafni (Daphne) Beach
Dafni is the most secluded beach of the Vasilikos Peninsula, on the Laganas Bay side. A narrow path, which connects the beach to the main road, leads you to a beach bar at the bottom of the hill. Once you park your car, you can choose to have a drink at the cozy bar (not mandatory) or select your favorite spot on the long sandy beach.
Since the path leading to Dafni Beach is not widely known, it’s most certain that you’ll enjoy a great deal of solitude when compared to other beaches (not that most other beaches are overcrowded, far from it). The water is shallow so entry into the water is gradual, and the endless sea the beach faces is broken by a somewhat distanced and forested Kalonisi Island.
Dafni Beach lacks natural shade, but, surrounded by hills, it is among the most charming of Zakynthos’ beaches. Since Caretta Caretta turtles nest throughout the Laganas Bay (including Dafni), nearby beaches are off-limits to visitors from around 8 pm until morning. If you depart from Dafni Beach just before the appointed time on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful sunset.
Xigia Beach, located further north along the eastern shore (on your way to the Skinari Cape), consists of two small, secluded beaches, featuring a sulfur spring in a nearby cave. In the related photo you can see a more isolated beach that can be approached only by boat or after a short swim from the "main" beach. The waters around the latter beach feature marvelous whitish color due to the spring, and bathing in these waters is strongly recommended for people suffering from sore legs, arthritis or cellulite.
The “main” beach waters are reasonably deep, and the cliff that looms over it is topped by a café bar. Improvised parking is a short walk away.
Back to the Laganas Bay, which is the favorite nesting place of the turtles. The easternmost beach that isn’t situated on the Vasilikos Peninsula is located in the Kalamaki settlement, and although the beach tends to be occasionally flown over by planes landing at the nearby Zante Airport, the beach shouldn’t be ignored. Certainly there are more beautiful beaches located around, but the length of Kalamaki Beach makes finding an isolated spot only for you very easy. As a bonus, spotting Caretta Caretta turtles is most likely in the waters of this beach.
Porto Koukla Beach
Located almost within walking distance from Laganas, Porto Koukla Beach is an especially charming piece of Zakynthos. You are very likely to spend some time searching for it, which certainly isn’t that bad considering the beauty of the surrounding area. Porto Koukla is a narrow sandy beach, surrounded with greenery and with gradual entry into the water. Prepare for a short walk before you reach a reasonable depth for swimming. Distanced Marathonisi Island makes a perfect backdrop.
There are a couple of beach bars and mansions with nicely manicured gardens around Porto Koukla. An improvised parking lot is a short walk away.
Limni Keriou Beach
Limni Keriou is the westernmost beach of the Laganas Bay, featuring some sand and a lot of pebbles. The beach is surrounded by verdant hills and has crystal clear waters. Limni Keriou is appropriate for small children because the bay’s shallow waters features gradual entry into the sea, making it a lot safer for children or unconfident swimmers.
Don’t stop here, press further on
While you wander around Zakynthos, various beautiful beaches are at hand more often than not. If you are a fan of water sports, you’ll certainly be enthusiastic about Banana Beach on the Vasilikos Peninsula or Tsilivi Beach in the resort area of the same name. Laganas Beach is probably the most crowded of Zakynthos’ beaches, but rich nightlife is its main hallmark. The point is that on Zakynthos Island, anyone can find exactly what he/she is looking for.