Zakynthos, also known by its Italian name of Zante throughout the English speaking world is the third largest of the Greek Ionian islands. The island of Zakynthos covers approximately 405 km² and has around 123 km of beautiful coastline.
Unlike many sub-tropical islands, the coastline is not entirely made up of luscious beaches; Zakynthos’ coast is interspersed with cliffs & caves and there are some stunning secluded coves accessible only by boat.
Famed for well-known beauty spots such as Navagio and Kampi (pronounced Kambi); Zakynthos is only around 10 miles from the Greek mainland which is easily seen across the water on the clear days. Zante is also just a short flight from Athens at 300 km as the crow flies.
Since the opening of Zakythos airport in 1972, Zante has turned into a hotbed of European tourism. Throughout the summer season, you will see people from all over Europe; particularly people from the UK and Italy.
Zakynthos is located in the temperate region of the Mediterranean that has nice hot summers and mild wet winters. The months of July and August are in stark contrast to December and January. Rain in July and August is extremely rare however December and January the opposite is true with rain a frequent occurance.
Average Sea Temperature
Due to the wet winter months, Zakynthos is only really open for tourism from May to October with July & August particularly busy.
May: The Summer season begins. This is a lovely time to go. Very peaceful although not everything is open just yet.
June: The temperatures begin to rise during the day although they stay cool in the evening. Tourism starts to increase.
July: July see’s the start of the 2 month peak season. Temperatures begin to feel hot and air-conditioning is recommended at night.
August: The busiest month on the island with all of the resorts full. This is a great month to see the Caretta-Caretta turtles in Laganas bay.
September: September remains beautiful and warm and the kids have gone back to school. The island takes on a little more relaxed feel with couples enjoying the pools without any kids around.
October: The temperature starts to drop and the beach is perfect especially during the day. There are a few rainy days as the island begins to wind-down for the winter.
Paradise for Wildlife Too
The moderate winter and abundant winter rain favours the growth of dense vegetation. The island is covered in olive trees and amongst other things, you will find vin-yards, orange groves and pomegranates too.
Along with plant life, there is also plenty of animal life including a few different reptile species (Lizards & Snakes) that like to bask in the summer sun.
As beautiful as Zante is on land, it is at sea where the place really becomes even more special. The south of the island is made up of the protected area known as the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. This area was created in 1999 primarily to protect the breeding ground of the Caretta-Caretta turtle that comes here each year to nest. Caretta-Caretta is the scientific name for the oceanic Loggerhead Turtle. The loggerhead spend their whole lives at sea except for when the female comes to lay eggs every 3-4 years. Incredibly, the loggerhead female will nest on the very beach that they hatched.
The Marine park is also home to another Mediterranean animal and that is the Monk Seal. The Monk Seal (scientific name Monchus-Monchus) lives along the West Coast of the island and are a real joy to see if you are lucky enough.
If you are planning to move to Zakynthos; before being introduced into the country, animals are required to have a certification of good health. For Dogs, the certificate must be between 6 days and 12 months old and for cats; 6 days and 6 months.
There are no strict rules about dress except maybe for some churches and monastery’s.
Wifi is available in the resorts and most Taverna’s – don’t expect super fast broadband.
Greece is part of the EU and uses the Euro
If you are an EU citizen you do not need special documents to enter Greece. Everyone else will need a passport (that includes the UK following brexit).
If you are from the UK, you will need a UK to EU Travel adapter.
The food is mostly fresh unless you are ordering imported foods that you eat back home. Being an island, there is a lot of seafood.
In Zante Town there is a hospital where you can get healthcare should you require it. There are also many private clinics and pharmacies that speak English in most resort area’s.
In Zakynthos, you drive on the right hand side. The roads are not in the greatest condition and in the summer months they are very dry and dusty. If you are not used to the culture of driving in Zante, you may be in for a shock.
Greece is two hours ahead of the UK.
In Greece, people are relaxed about time and the watch is only worn for aesthetics. The Greek people know how to take it easy (except when serving tourists). “Here you don’t run because there is no punctuality!”.
Tipping is not compulsory and is done as per your own culture or custom. For example, the UK would tip 10% as per a normal situation.
Airport: (+30 26950) 28322
Bus station: (+30 26950) 42656/22255
Coastguard: (+30 26950) 28117/28118
Fire Brigade: (+30 26950) 22199
Hospital: (+30 26950) 59100
Police: (+30 26950) 22100/48266/24470
Radio taxi: (+30 26950) 48400
Tourist Police: (+30 26950) 24482/24484