Explore the Caves of Zante
Caves of Zante
Zante is not only home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the contrasting cliffs give way to some of the most beautiful cave formations you will ever see. The Keri Caves in the South and the Blue Caves in the north are natural formations etched into the high cliffs and are a must see when you visit Zakynthos.
The Keri caves are located on the south west shores of the island located near Marathia cape. They are also known as ‘Grotto Caves’ or ‘Marathia Grottos’ as they are lie next to the village of Marathis. These spectacular arches have been created by the thousands of years of coastal erosion. Some of the Keri caves arches are big enough to be accessed by boat and the water is deep enough for you to dive in and enjoy the ocean.
Also, along the same coastline are the Mitzithres. These are the two conical huge rocks that stand up from the crystal blue waters of Keri. Named “Big” and “Little” Mitzithra, these are another natural wonder to be admired up close.
When you reach them, you will find a great spot for snorkelling although due to the depth, it is unlikely you will be able to reach the bottom. Luckily, the water is clear enough for you to see all the way down to and you will find plenty of wildlife. This is home to an array of fish and starfish and if you are lucky to may see a rare Monachus Monachus seal or even the Caretta Caretta turtle..
How to get to the Keri Caves
1. Hire a Boat
Only recommended for those confident of negotiating the seas; this is the best way to reach the Keri caves and enjoy your day at your leisure. Boats can be hired from several places at a reasonable cost but ensure that you check what is covered by the insurance in case of damages.
Another thing to think about is that the caves of Keri are located inside the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. If you need to traverse the Laganas bay, there are marine rules that you must abide by so make sure you check.
The Keri Caves boat excursions normally leave from Laganas, Agios Sostis or Limni Keriou ports. You can visit them in small or medium boats and most trips will allow you 1 or 2 swim stops where you can dive or swim through the arches and the caves. Do not worry if your resort is not anywhere near one of these ports as the excursions will come with coach travel to and from the trip.
On my last trip to the caves, we saw 2 Caretta Caretta turtles in Laganas bay.
Although this stunning coastline is only accessible by sea, it is worth a visit. This serene and picturesque place is the perfect place to snorkel, swim in crystal-clear waters or just take in the breath-taking scenery.
The Blue Caves
The Blue caves are located on the north west coast of the island, starting near Agios Nikolaos, and ending near Shinari Cape at the northern tip of the island. The Blue Caves also known as the ‘Blue Grottos’ took their name from the stunning azure blue of the sea that flows through them. At the right time of day, especially in the morning when the sun hits the sea, there is a magical turquoise glow that shines and makes wondrous patterns on the cave walls.
The blue caves are a natural wonder and the majestic blue colour does not just apply to the water as once inside the cave it will turn you blue too. The light shines off the water and the colour spills and shines onto anything it touches. If you decide to get off the boat for a swim, you will be changing colour. This natural phenomenon is a fun experience for all the family, as long as you go on a day when the sea is nice and still.
The Biggest cave located in the Blue Caves is called ‘Kianoun’ also referred to as the ‘Great Cave’. Although the formation must be thousands of years old, they are credited with discovery back in 1897 by Antonio Komouto.
The blue caves are extremely popular with snorkellers and scuba divers. The translucent waters and surreal surroundings are perfect for taking in the natural beauty of the deep blue. The area is home to an abundance of fish and wildlife which can also be seen from the boat if you are travelling on a boat with a glass bottom.
How to get to the Blue Caves
1. By Car
Unlike the Keri Caves, the Blue Caves are the only ones possible to reach by car. There is a small mill located between Agios Nikolaos and Skinari Cape where you can find hundreds of pebble steps to take you down to the caves. At the bottom you will find a small piece of coast that has a Ponte to swim from although there is no beach to rest on here so you will need to be a strong swimmer. If you have children, the boat trips are the better option.
2. Hire a Boat
Again, hiring a boat is only recommended for those confident of negotiating the open water. This is however the best way to reach the Blue caves and enjoy the day at your leisure. Boats can be hired from several places at a reasonable cost but ensure that you check what is covered by the insurance in case of damages.
The Blue Cave boat excursions leave from several little harbours, the best places to start your tours from are Makris Gialos beach, Agios Nikolaos port or Cape Shinari. Like the tours to Keri, excursions will include travel to and from your resort. Just remember your sunscreen!
If you want to enjoy the majestic Blue caves, the best time to visit is early in the morning. The morning sun reflects on to the seas and creates the magical patterns and colours on the cave walls.
The Blue Caves and the Keri Caves of Zakynthos are some of the best places to visit on your holiday. The still waters around Keri in the National Marine Park are stunning and make for great swimming. The Blue Caves offer an altogether different experience and one that if you go at the right time of the day; is great for all the family. Once you have been, you will see why they are some of the most popular attractions on the island.
If you have been to the Caves of Zante before or are planning to go soon, please let us know in the comments below.