Zakynthos Island is called “The Flower of the Levant” for a good reason. Its eastern coastline widely differs from the western, and while the former abounds with green hills and settlements, the latter is dominated by rock formations and narrow coves. Since Zakynthos’ dramatic and wild coastal beauty is best perceived from the sea, taking a whole day cruise is highly recommended. Although it’s hard to separate one top sight from another during a Zakynthos cruise, a couple of interesting natural formations whichshould be observed with special attention are mentioned below.
Basic information for a Zakynthos cruise
Cruisers setting out on a Zakynthos cruise depart from and arrive to Zakynthos (Zante) Town, the island’s capital on the eastern shore. However, transfers are organized to and from all major tourist resorts throughout the island — Laganas, Argassi and Tsilivi. The cruise begins in the morning and ends in the evening at around 6 pm.
The coast of Zakynthos
The eastern coastline is pretty tame, with the majority of the island’s settlements, easily accessible beaches, and water sport opportunities. Turquoise waters and the sea of greenery make a perfect contrast for your photos, a harmony broken here and there by the whiteness of an occasional beach. On your way along the eastern coast, various yachts, boats and large ships will pass by.
As you pass the Skinari Cape, the northernmost tip of Zakynthos Island, the eastern tameness is swiftly replaced by high cliffs shrouded in a light mist of evaporating sea under the summer sun. At the beginning of your cruise along the western coast, the slopes of the imposing rock formations are covered with low vegetation, gradually replaced by the bare cliffs looming over the sea as you progress to the south.
Famous Blue Caves of Zakynthos
Blue Caves (the Skinari Cape), famous throughout Greece, are a unique natural phenomenon of Zakynthos Island, featuring a series of arches in various shapes and sizes. These rock formations are formed by erosion during thousands of years, and a moderate-sized boat can pass through them. Although the cruiser is highly unlikely to stop here for a quick swim, you should plan to visit Blue Caves for a memorable swimming and diving experience.
Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach
The first prolonged stay during the cruise is supposed to happen on the most famous Greek, and probably, Mediterranean beach. I say “supposed to” because it’s left to the captain to decide whether the sea is peaceful enough to enable safe anchoring. If Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea, isn’t merciful enough, your stop for sunbathing and swimming should occur somewhat to the south on a beach similar to Navagio, but without a legendary shipwreck.
Navagio Beach can only be accessed from the sea, and it’s likely that it will be crowded when you arrive because other cruisers won’t be far ahead or behind. The beach is much bigger than it appears before docking, and features steep entry into magnificent turquoise waters. Immense encircling cliffs provide a perfect backdrop for such an outstanding pebble beach, where the smuggling ship was forced to strand in order to avoid sinking during a violent storm.
Zakynthos’ Keri Caves
Keri Caves are outstanding sea caves you’ll have the opportunity to see at the southwestern part of Zakynthos. Keri Caves are the next stop for swimming, which should be used for some cave sightseeing. While Blue Caves mostly consist of arches that can be easily observed from the sea, Keri Caves can only be accessed by swimming into them - a swim that’s totally worth the exploration. Reflecting colors and sounds inside the caves are slightly short of mesmerizing, which makes Keri Caves a must-see attraction of Zakynthos.
Marathonisi Island is a fair-sized island next to Zakynthos, located in the Laganas Bay. Although Marathonisi isn’t intended for a brief stop, you shouldn’t ignore its turtle-like shape as you sail by. The island abounds with verdant greenery and is a favorite breeding place for seals and endangered caretta caretta turtles. In order to keep the natural resort safe, tourists are only allowed to use a narrow space on a beach, which can be accessed by a shuttle boat from Agios Sostis (around 10 EUR / 11 USD).
Additional cruising details
A Zakynthos cruise can be booked at each tourist resort on the island, and you should pay attention to prices, which tend to be widely different for the same package from one tour operator to another. Different prices may apply even for the same cruise in different resorts. Approximate prices range between 15 to 25 EUR (16.50 to 27.50 USD), and certain packages include lunch on the cruiser. If you book a cruise with lunch, you may also want to take some snacks with you.
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