Zakynthos is a charming little Ionian town with breathtaking beaches, beautiful natural landscapes and a rich past. But it is also a popular destination among foreigners and locals, which makes it crowded during the summer. While it is virtually impossible to avoid running into a crowded area, it is possible to limit your exposure to the masses, especially if you opt to rent a car. Here are a few tips to get away from the crowds in Zakynthos.
The northern region of Zakynthos, with the little port town of Agios Nikolas and the tranquil region of Skinari, offers a welcoming respite from the busy resorts along the eastern coast or down south. This remote area boasts small fishing villages, splendid nature and tranquility. At Skinari you can enjoy undisrupted views over the sea and long walks in the lush vegetation. You will get to enjoy Zakynthos with the locals.
Explore the mountainous west
Thanks to its mild yet rainy winters, Zakynthos is lush inland, where few tourists venture. The hilly landscapes are a refreshing alternative to crowded beaches and offer serenity away from the crowds. The central plain includes a mix of olive groves, fertile fields, and hidden villages, all featuring a beautiful little church or main café to savor local fare.
Stick to the sea turtle paradise
The peninsula of Vasilikos, south of Zakynthos town, features a beautiful coastline with a few relaxed and laid-back hotels and rooms to rent, as well as small beaches. It’s ideal if you don’t want to stay too far from civilization and don’t mind busy beaches. Since the region is a well-known breeding area for sea turtles, it has been protected from massive tourism development and still retains a sense of authentic charm. With beaches such as Gerakas and Porto Zoro or Porto Roma, you can still benefit from the fairly laid-back vibe.
Give the interior a chance
You can base yourself in the north or the Vasilikos Peninsula and spend a few days exploring the lush interior. There are a few less touristy villages in the interior and along the western coastline, such as Maries, Volimes, Katastari, Exo Chora, and Pigadakia. They all offer stunning views over the sea and the hills. There, you may be the only tourist and you will quickly see that locals will welcome you with a smile.
Zakynthos has a variety of outdoor activities to suit all tastes and ages. Whether you feel like hiking your way through the island or exploring on two wheels, there are plenty of trails or roads you can follow. If you prefer water sports, kayaking and SUP are also possible, as well as some scuba diving. A holiday in Zakynthos doesn’t have to be all about sunbathing and day drinking.
Avoid peak season
If you really, really want to avoid the crowds, your best bet is to visit the island outside peak season. With the majority of tourists visiting Zakynthos around July and August, try to come earlier or later. If you spend Greek Easter here you will see the island in full bloom and enjoy the more authentic and traditional Zakynthos. Alternatively, opt for a late summer break or visit up until November. If visiting Navagio Beach, you may even have it all to yourself for a few hours.