Travel

Greece – Zakynthos (August 2020)

It’s August 2020 and this is our first holiday article of 2020, as we haven’t left this year anywhere outside Switzerland, the country we live in (due to the covid19 pandemic). Minutes from starting my work day from home, I decided to quickly share my impressions before I forget certain details 🙂

Before I start do keep in mind that due to covid19 there are special procedures for entering Greece (which vary based on where you are travelling from / your country of residency). As of August 2020, most of us entering Greece needed to fill out an online form which you can find at travel.gov.gr and keep the QR code either on our mobiles or print it (though if you are traveling from certain countries like Romania you needed to show a negative covid19 recent test). Always check the latest information and have a mask on you as you might be required to wear it in certain public spaces (which was the case for us in the last couple days of the stay).

Budget

We found Zakynthos a relatively cheap destination, travelling from Europe, in comparison to other beach vacation in countries like Italy, France, Spain, both in terms of accommodation and food. Budget for accommodation was about 17 eur per person/night (we took smth basic), for car rental ~22eur pp/day) and the food budget depends on how often you prefer grocery shopping vs eating in a restaurant (we did both; price for a main course at a restaurant is ~ 7.5-10eur ).

When should I visit?

As it is a beach destination in Europe, best time is May to September.

Transportation

If you want to visit places I definitely recommend renting a car. You can also choose not to and do organized day trips by boat.

Accommodation

We went for a budget studio, 1min walk to the beach, with a balcony and kitchenette, as well as parking space, as this is all we needed for this vacation but you will also find 5 star hotels 🙂

The key question is where on the island to choose accommodation. We booked smth for the first 5 nights so that we can choose what we liked best/ asses on the spot, for the 2nd half of our vacation. After some research, we decided to go with Alykes/Alykanas area as our needs were: crystal clear water sandy beach, good choice of restaurants, relaxing atmosphere. The other good option would be the Vasilikos peninsula or Kalamaki. For parties, you have Laganos. You can also research “where to stay in Zakynthos” to find inspiration.

Top places to visit & things to do

  • Navagio shipwreck, visit the beach by boat (we did a trip with Theodosis cruisis from Agios Nikolaus, 20eur/pp; another option is to rent a small boat from the same port); if you rent your own boat try to go early in the morning (8-11) or later afternoon (4pm onwards to avoid touristy boats)
  • Navagio shipwreck, take pictures from the top of the click (travel by car to Navagio on Google maps)
  • Kampi (great place for sunset, have dinner at one of the restaurants, for e.g. Cross Taverna)
  • Keri (rent a small boat ~90eur per day, with Carreta Carreta motorboats) and visit Keri caves and Turtle island; bring your snorkelling equipment so you can snorkel!
  • Go scuba diving – my partner did it with Zante diving school in Laganos (and I was allowed to come on the boat for an extra fee to snorkel)
  • Have a massage at Serenity spa (in Kalamaki)
  • Stroll around Zante capital town after 6pm, but also have a look at the view from Bochali hill/ Venetian castle
  • Beaches we liked: Alykes/Alykanas, Kalamaki, Dafni, Makris Gialos, Gerakas, the beach on Turtle island (Marathonisi beach), Madrakia, Limnionas Porto
  • Note: turtle hatching season is in June-August so be mindful on the beach and follow signs so you don’t disturb this process which takes places during the night. We spoke to marine rescue center volunteers who said that this year they observed a record number of turtle eggs due to the lack of tourists & covid19 (smth to think about!)

Food and drinks

We love fruits &veggies and found loads of seasonal fruit & veggies stands in many villages (e.g. Kontos fruit in Alykanas). In addition we loved these restaurants:

  • To Paradosiako (Alykanas beach)
  • Agnadi (Vasilikos peninsula)
  • Cross Taverna (Kampi)
  • Votsalo (near Keri)

Our favorite local dishes: stuffed tomatoes and pepers, baked aubergine, fava, dolmades (stuffed wine leaves), etc.

Our favorite local dessert: sesame and honey crackers at Artogonia bakery in Zante capital town (where you can find a million other desserts).

Souvenirs

  • we brought back some olive oil made by the B&B hosts we stayed at (4.5euro/ l).
  • we also brought sweets from Artogonia bakery

What I didn’t manage to do and is still on my list:

We did quite a lot in 10 days, I just hope we get to visit another Greek island & destination soon, because I already miss their friendliness, food and beautiful weather and landscape, as well as the crystal clear water beaches.

Madrakia beach, Agios Nikolaus
Navagio beach
Kerri caves
Greek food 🙂
View from Bochali/Venetian castle (near Zante capital town)
View from top of Navagio shipwreck
Limnionas beach

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