Where to stay in Zakynthos
Zakynthos (commonly known also as Zante)is one of the most iconic Greek Islands thanks to the world-famous Shipwreck Beach.
However, there is so much more than that, including unique snorkelling between the very rare turtles.
It is not a big island but the towns are so diverse, catering to different types of travellers.
It is not surprising that you may find challenging to understand where to stay in Zakynthos. Which town works best for a relaxed stay or for nightlife, for a family holiday or a couple’s getaway.
That’s where this guide comes to help.
I go through all types of trips providing the best areas to stay with a map as well.
But let’s dig into it.
You can read also
- Best Greek Islands for couples
- Best Greek Islands for beaches (sandy or pebbles)
- Corfu Travel Guide (the best 7 areas to book your holiday)
- Crete Travel Guide
Best places to stay in Zakynthos for nightlife, a family trip or a couple’s getaway – in a nutshell
You may have already read how the island was completely destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1953.
Only a bunch of buildings were left after that terrible event.
Zakynthos Town, once the Venice of the East, is now a more chaotic town with a nice esplanade, popular in the evening with family walks.
The West and North coast of the island are very hilly with huge cliffs into the sea. It’s a spectacular coastline but only a few reachable beaches.
This is why most of the resort towns are on the east and south coast, where you will find also the international airport.
I attach below a map with the major destinations in the island. You can also download the high-resolution version.
Here below a list of key points followed by a more detailed description of the destination.
- Where to stay in Zakynthos for nightlife: Laganas is the (in)famous place to be if you plan to party and go clubbing. Very popular with a young crowd. There are so many bars along the main street that you can easily visit a different one each night. A more subdue alternative is Tsilivi, with a nice beach and a few bars without the noisy part of it. Zakynthos Town is also another option, especially if you want to mix more with a local vibe.
- Best place to stay in Zakynthos for couples: Alykes is a great destination if you are looking for a nice beach, restaurants and bars for a late drink with some minor nightlife (for more party you can go to the nearby Tsilivi). If you are more into a romantic holiday than the Vasilikos Peninsula is the place for you and your partner with the most spectacular beaches of Zakynthos and a chilled out vibe between never-ending fields of olive trees.
- Where to stay in Zakynthos for families: Kalamaki is the best spot for families, especially with young kids. The town has a 5km beach, absolutely gorgeous and undeveloped. Its shallow water is the perfect place to play with kids. You may be able to spot even a turtle. It’s a relaxing place for a quiet holiday. Alykanas is a good alternative if you are travelling with older kids. There are plenty of water sports and you are a stone away from Alykes with a bigger choice of bars and restaurants.
- Where to stay for lads holiday: this is an easy pick, Laganas. The international airport is just a few meters away and in no-time you can have the first drink.
- Best place to stay in Zakynthos for relaxation: the Vasilikos Peninsula is the best spot to have a relaxing stay. It’s not just that there is no nightlife. It’s also the landscape made of lovely beaches and never-ending fields of olive trees, so outstanding.
- Best cheap area to stay: the towns where you will be more likely to find budget accommodations are Laganas and Tsilivi.
- Where to stay for beaches: Kalamaki has the longest and most natural sandy beach with a turquoise shallow water. Truly fantastic. The Vasilikos Peninsula has however more variety with the few different beaches on the east, south and west coast within 2-3km from each other. You may want to rent a bike to see all.
- Where to stay for the shipwreck: Navagio Beach (actual name of Shipwreck beach) in on the north-west coast, far from everything and everywhere. You would need a boat to reach it. It does not matter which town you decide to stay, be sure you will find a tour that will take you there. They usually drive you to Porto Vromi Maries from where you will take a boat to the beach. There are also direct boats from Zakynthos Town but it takes a much longer time. I highly suggest getting the earliest possible tour to avoid the mid-day crowd
- Best place to stay to see the turtles: Kalamaki beach is the place to be. Rent a canoe or a SUP and go out exploring by yourself. Take a snorkel and have fun. A pedalo is another option. Avoid motorboats as they may unsettle the female turtles and their breeding.
- Best place to stay for watersports: Alykanas is one of the best spots for watersports. Banana Beach in the Vasilikos Peninsula has also some gear.
- Where to stay in Zakynthos without a car: Zakynthos Town is the hub of the bus network. It may not be the best Greek public system but it works well. Keep in mind that Zakynthos Town has not amazing beaches so you will need to get a bus to the nearby ones.
- Where to stay with a car: the Vasilikos Peninsula is my favourite spot. From there you can easily explore all the beaches around and take day trips to all of the other destinations. You can easily circumnavigate the island on a day trip, stopping at a couple of beaches for sunbathing too.
Where to stay in Zakynthos for nightlife
Laganas (crazy bars & clubbing)
Laganas has a reputation for having the wildest party scene on the island and it definitely lives up to this.
What sets it apart from other party villages in Zakynthos is the younger and livelier crowd as well as the numerous crazy bars and clubs.
The Rescue Club is a great example of what the party scene is like.
This club is popular for the awesome music sets as well as cool events like themed parties.
If you want more of the bar vibe than a night out clubbing, consider Bar Fantasy for the perfect combination of awesome drinks, live music and fun activities like karaoke.
When you are not in the party mood, Laganas also has several beaches for you to explore including the nearby Kalamaki Beach.
While in Laganas, also make time to visit the iconic Sizzlebang Grill.
This spot is popular among both locals and tourist for the amazing food and ambience that makes you feel right at home.
In addition to being within walking distance of the beach, you get amenities like a large pool and free Wi-Fi to look forward to.
Zante Bay Studios has some of the cheapest accommodations on the island.
Spacious and clean rooms, walking distance to the town centre. Ideal for a stay on a budget.
Tsilivi (easy going nightlife)
Tsilivi is a party hub on the island that is perfect for night owls who prefer things a little more chill.
You also have a lot to look forward to with this town’s day scene.
When the locals and tourists aren’t partying the night away, you will find them lounging on the many beautiful beaches that litter the coastline on Tsilivi.
One that you definitely must visit is the local Tsilivi Beach which is known for the beautiful water and fantastic panoramic views.
The Olea All Suite is an amazing and unique accommodation to stay in Tsilivi.
The location is perfect to relax during the day and only a 10 minutes walk from the town centre.
The view from the multi-level infinity pool and the rooms is just breathtaking (see photos here).
Add the incredible breakfast and food to make it one of the best hotels in Zakynthos.
The Domus Alta is also a nice and simple accommodation if you are on a budget.
It’s in a perfect position too, close to the centre of the action and next to the beach.
Zakynthos Town (local nightlife)
Zakynthos Town is a real cultural and historical hub in the area and it is ideal if you want to party like the locals and with the locals.
Start with the many awesome restaurants and cafes in the area.
Stathmos is a particularly popular one and is known for serving tasty, authentic Greek cuisine.
You will also get to interact with many locals in bars and pubs like the Fuego Del Mar.
In addition to the night scene, Zakynthos town has a couple of decent beaches for you to explore by day.
They may not be the most breath-taking on the island but they definitely get the beach bumming itch taken care of.
Palatino Hotel is a wonderful place to stay in Zakynthos town if you are looking for a great value lux accommodation.
Lovely view from the balcony (see photos here), recently renovated rooms in a modern environment and a nice breakfast to look forward to.
Best place to stay in Zakynthos for couples
Alykes (beach, restaurants and bars)
If you and your partner want a beach paradise destination for your getaway then Alykes is more than ready to deliver.
It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches including Alykes beach and Amoudi Beach.
And for active couples, you can find also a few water sports options as SUP at Surf Zante.
The night scene is also moderately lively with a lot to offer to couples.
You could start your evening with a romantic dinner at Asteria Taverna.
They have awesome food and really beautiful views of the water especially if you go during the late afternoon and early evening hours.
You could wind up your evening with some good music at Spikey’s Place.
They are particularly known for their awesome cocktails and general welcoming vibe that makes you feel like you are part of the community.
If you are looking for budget accommodations then the 7 Islands Hotel is just all you need for a nice quiet sleep.
The rooms are spacious, newly renovated and spotlessly clean. Great value for money.
Vasilikos Peninsula (romantic stay with best beaches in the island)
Vasilikos is sometimes referred to as the Quiet Paradise and with the general laid back vibes of the locals and visitors, it is not so hard to see why.
For this reason, it is ideal for couples looking for something more secluded and romantic.
There is a lot for you and your partner to try out while on the peninsula as far as romantic dates are concerned.
You could take a walk, a drive or even a bike ride around the peninsula exploring all the wonder from the beautiful olive trees to the fantastic views of the green rolling hills.
You could also have a fun day out together at one of the many beautiful beaches the peninsula has to offer.
Here are 3 of them and what you and your partner have to look forward:
- St. Nicholas Beach: ideal for the active couples that want to try out different water sports. It is also known for the occasional chill-out beach parties if you are into that kind of fun
- Banana Beach: known for its laid-back vibes, perfect if you want to avoid crowds
- Gerakas Beach: a great long and wide sandy beach in a beautiful bay. You can also visit the nearby Turtle Sanctuary.
While in Vasilikos, make sure to book a table at the Mesala Restaurant & Cafe.
The place has a very romantic atmosphere especially at night with the décor and lighting.
They also have really awesome food with their fresh seafood being what they are best known for.
The Ammos Beachfront Resort is a fantastic place to stay for couples.
In addition to the beautiful boutique interior design (see photos here), it is an adults-only establishment so you are guaranteed privacy, peace and quiet.
Where to stay in Zante for families
Kalamaki (with small children)
Kalamaki is ideal for families with small children due to its relaxed vibe and child-friendly beach.
The beach, in particular, is long and wide which means there is rarely crowding.
The water itself is shallow, clear and calm which makes it perfect for the little ones to go splashing about without being in any danger.
Part of Kalamaki Beach is also a turtle sanctuary where you will get to see the endangered loggerhead turtles and their young.
If you time your trip right, you might get a chance to help take the young turtles back to the water.
In addition to fun in the sun, Kalamaki is home to parks and playgrounds where you could take the small kids.
These include the Careta Fun Park Center. Here, your kid will get to enjoy everything from inflatable slides to arcade games.
The restaurant scene also promises a lot for your family with the likes of Zepos Restaurant.
This family-friendly establishment is known for its wide food variety which is ideal if you are travelling with a picky eater.
When figuring out where to stay, you should consider the Aeolos Resort.
As far as aesthetics go, this is one of the most beautiful hotels in the area and it is ideal if you are looking for boutique accommodations for your family (see photos here).
The Kalamaki Apartment is another option if you prefer to have a self-contained accommodation.
The two bedrooms are spacious and the kitchen and bathroom have been recently renovated.
It’s also very good value for money.
Alykanas (with grow-up kids)
Alykanas is known for having some of the best beaches in the area whose beauty rivals those in the equally popular neighbour, Alykes.
It is particularly awesome for older kids because the water allows for some pretty fun activities from SUP to more exciting sports.
For these activities, you have several surf shops and schools to choose from.
Here, you will have access not only to the equipment needed but also to experienced trainers so your older kids can have a holiday to remember.
For a nice meal, take your kids out at the Lemon Tree Taverna, a great pick.
They have really good food, at a reasonable price, in a lovely family relaxed setup.
The Zante Mare is one of the best places to stay in the area for a family with older children.
The beautiful villa (see photos here) offers fantastic views of the water and the hill town.
It is also fully equipped and includes 4 bedrooms and 2 baths for a genuine home away from home feel.
For a more economical choice, the Eleni Apartment may be just what you are looking for.
It’s a spacious 2 bedroom accommodation with a nice garden area, just between Alykes and Alykanas, so practical.
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- 1 Best places to stay in Zakynthos for nightlife, a family trip or a couple’s getaway – in a nutshell
- 2 Where to stay in Zakynthos for nightlife
- 3 Best place to stay in Zakynthos for couples
- 4 Where to stay in Zante for families