Where to Stay in Zakynthos, Greece: Best Areas & Hotels
If you’re wondering where to stay in Zakynthos, or where is the best area to stay in Zakynthos, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Zakynthos for first time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Zakynthos.
The Ionian island of Zakynthos, also known as Zante, off the southwest coast of Greece, is a well-established hotspot for both family vacations and exciting party breaks. With plenty to keep you entertained whether you want a relaxing holiday by the beach, a cultural escape full of sights to see, or a mix of both, you are sure to have a wonderful vacation in Zakynthos.
From the clubs of Laganas, to the white cliffs of Keri, Zakynthos has earned its place as one of the top tourist destinations in Greece. With this article, I will help you to determine where you would be most likely to find your perfect Zakynthian escape.
Where to Stay in Zakynthos: Tips & Info
With such a wide variety of things to see and do on Zakynthos, and resorts catering to so many different types of visitors, it can be difficult to decide which of the many options best suits you. I have a few suggestions for which regions are best for particular visitors’ needs.
The south of the island is most popular with tourists. Here you will find most of the big tourist resorts popular with the party crowd and families. If you want a quieter break, consider the smaller villages in the north of the island, such as Askos or Mikro Nisi.
If you are staying for a short break consider Zakynthos Town, where you will find plenty of sites and hospitality to keep you entertained and relaxed for the duration of your stay. If you want to spend your time on the beach, however, consider the resort towns of Kalamaki or Laganas. Located close to the airport, you won’t have to waste time travelling to your accommodation.
Families with children would enjoy the convenience and amenities of Kalamaki, with its long sprawling beaches and children’s entertainment centres. Alternatively, Vasilikos is a more relaxed, family friendly town, with plenty of smaller beaches to choose from and prime spots to view the island’s turtles.
Party animals will almost definitely want to head to Laganas, the island’s primary party town. The main Laganas Road is lined with popular clubs, whilst the long beach, with its waterfront bars and cafes, is perfect for relaxing in the sun.
If you want to stay near the airport, Kalamaki and Argassi are the closest resort towns. Meanwhile there are several smaller inland villages including Kalliteros, where visitors can camp in a goat farm, and the traditional residential town of Ampelokipoi.
Where to Stay in Zakynthos – The 10 Best Areas to Stay in Zakynthos
To help you decide which of the many options available on the island is best for you, I have selected what I feel are the ten best areas to stay in Zakynthos. I have summarised what these areas have to offer visitors, so read on to discover which best suits your preferences.
Where to Stay in Zakynthos Map
To see more detail of where to stay in Zakynthos Map, go to Google Map;
1. Zakynthos Town – Where to Stay for First Time Visitors
Zakynthos Town is the capital city and largest urban area on the island. Whilst typically overlooked by visitors in favour of the more tourist centric beach resorts, there is plenty to keep you occupied here. The town has all the conveniences and amenities you would expect from a modern city, from a wide array of restaurants and bars, to several modern shopping centres.
There are several historical sites within the local area, including the remains of a venetian castle in the north. There are also multiple museums nearby, providing insights into the history and culture of the island.
If you are visiting for just a few days, the city makes for a very convenient base, with plenty to see in the immediate area as well as plentiful connections to the rest of the island. The main bus terminal on Zakynthos is in the town, so if you are not intending to hire a car but would like to explore the rest of the island, Zakynthos Town would be a great option.
The town is home to the main port of the island, with routes connecting Zakynthos to both mainland Greece and Italy. If you are travelling in or out of the island by ferry, there is a wide range of accommodation right here near the port for your convenience.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN ZAKYNTHOS TOWN IF:
- You are staying for a shorter trip
- You are travelling to or from the island by boat
- You want the conveniences of a modern city
- You do not intend to hire a car
2. Laganas – Where to Stay Zakynthos for Nightlife
Laganas is a large beach resort town in the south of the island. It’s the primary hotspot for Zakynthos’ famous nightlife scene, largely centred around the main Laganas Road, also known as the Laganas Strip.
The ‘Strip’ is filled with a number of popular clubs, bars, late-night restaurants and fast-food establishments. It gets incredibly busy in the evenings through the party season from June to September. If you are not a fan of crowds, it is best avoided during the summer, particularly at night.
There is a range of accommodation available along the strip, so if the party scene is your primary reason for visiting Zakynthos, you can stay just a few steps from the heart of the action. No need to worry about getting lost on a long walk home after a night out.
If clubs are not your preference, there are plenty of bars and tavernas away from the busy strip. Particularly along the waterfront, you can find a wide selection of cocktail bars and restaurants that provide the venues for relaxed evenings of wining and dining by the sea.
During the day you can spend your time relaxing on the long sandy beach that runs along the length of the town. Serviced by a number of cafes and beach bars, as well as several mini-marts, there are plenty of amenities to keep you comfortable and refreshed.
There are several diving schools operating here, or boat tours available along the beach, if you want to explore the crystal-clear waters off the beach. There are also escape rooms and various tour companies operating in the area to keep you entertained throughout your stay.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN LAGANAS IF:
- You are visiting Zakynthos for the nightlife
- You don’t mind crowds and rowdy party goers
- Comfortable beaches with plenty of amenities are a priority
3. Kalamaki – Where to Stay in Zakynthos to Stay for Families
Kalamaki is one of the most popular family resort towns on the island. Quieter than neighbouring Laganas, Kalamaki is no less full of convenient tourist amenities to provide you with everything you could need for a relaxing vacation. Kalamaki Main Road is lined with cocktail bars, tavernas, and a variety of restaurants that are sure to have something to appeal to every taste.
The main draw to the area is the sprawling Kalamaki Beach that stretches all the way to Laganas beach in the west. The uninterrupted expanse of soft sand against shallow waters makes for a perfect location for families with young children to relax and play.
Some restrictions are in place, particularly at the east end of the beach, to protect the local population of Caretta Caretta sea turtles, so there are no water sports or boat trips available here. However, the crystal-clear waters mean it is perfectly likely you will be able to spot some turtles swimming about in the water with you.
In addition to the beach there are several facilities in the area to keep children entertained. The Caretta Fun Park Centre and Kalamaki Mini Golf course are just two of the options available for keeping young ones busy.
There is a wide variety of mid-range and affordable accommodation here. Though you won’t find anything along the beach, due to the protected status of the waterfront, hotels further up in the hills still offer some beautiful sea views.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN KALAMAKI IF:
- You are visiting with family and children
- You want the opportunity to see the island’s turtles in the wild
- Access to a big, beautiful beach is a must
- You want to stay near the airport
4. Vasilikos – Best Area to Stay for Laid back Family Vacations
Vasilikos is the end point of Zakynthos’ south-eastern peninsula. Removed from the larger resorts along the main bay, it has a small-town atmosphere that is perfect for laid back family vacations.
The beaches here are smaller than those of Laganas or Kalamaki, but there are more to choose from, and all are fully equipped with sun loungers and amenities, such as beach bars and minimarts. The beaches are generally less crowded too, so their smaller size doesn’t compromise their comfort.
If you are interested in Zakynthos’ population of endangered Caretta Caretta sea turtles, head to the south end of the town to the Zakynthos Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Centre. Here the whole family can learn about the turtles, as well as conservation efforts and the environmental challenges that threaten them. The attached gift shop is a great place to pick up turtle related souvenirs.
The nearby Gerakas Beach is a popular spot with both humans and turtles. Spend an afternoon swimming around here and you have a good chance of sharing the water with the turtles. However, to protect the turtles, there are no water sports available here. If you are looking for a more active day at the beach, head to one of the beaches along the north of the peninsula, such as Banana Beach or St Nicholas Beach.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN VASILIKOS IF:
- You are interested in learning about the island’s population of Caretta Caretta turtles
- You are visiting for a family vacation
- You want a smaller resort town away from the busy main bay
5. Argassi – Best Area to Stay for Budget Travelers
Just south of Zakynthos Town is the small resort village of Argassi. Connected to the capital by a main road that runs along the seafront, Argassi is ideal for anyone who wants to stay near the convenience of the larger town but prefers a quieter neighbourhood and cheaper accommodation.
There’s a wide variety of mid-range hotels and apartments available that make Argassi ideal for travellers sticking to a budget.
The aforementioned main road is lined with several popular clubs. If you are interested in enjoying Zakynthos’ famous nightlife scene but are put off by the intense crowds of Laganas, this would be an excellent area to consider.
The town itself is full of beachfront bars, tavernas, and restaurants, where you can enjoy some more sedate evening entertainment by the water. The beach is small, and a little pebbly, but there are plenty of beach bars to keep you comfortable. The remains of Argassi Bridge in the west offers a great backdrop for photographs.
One of the more unique attractions worth visiting in the area is the Nougat Factory about a kilometre outside of town. Great for picking up some freshly made, local confections. Alternatively, the World Tour Mini Golf course in the centre of town offers some light-hearted fun for all ages.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN ARGASSI IF:
- You want to stay near to Zakynthos Town but away from the city crowds
- You want to enjoy the nightlife of the island but without the rowdy crush of Laganas
- You are working with a smaller budget
- Sprawling beaches are not a priority
6. Planos – Best Area to Stay for Families
Planos, or Tsilivi as it is also known, is another small beach resort popular with families. Situated just north of the capital city of Zakynthos Town, Planos is ideal for anyone who wants to stay near the convenience of the larger town, whilst also staying near to a good-sized beach, in a resort.
The beach in question is a comfortable stretch of soft sand, serviced by several beach bars and cafes. Several companies offer water sports activities, and at the north end of the village, boats can be hired for personal use from the small marina.
There are plenty of facilities here to keep the whole family entertained, most notably the Tsilivi Water Park, full of slides and rides that draws visitors from across the island. The Fantasy Mini Golf course and Bowl ‘m Over bowling alley offer fun family outings. Meanwhile, several unique museums, such as the Olive Oil Museum and the Milanio Maritime Museum are worth a visit if you have few spare hours.
Older visitors will appreciate the range of tavernas and restaurants throughout the town. Particularly along the beachfront, there are plenty of bars to keep everyone entertained into the evenings.
The area has a vast array of hotels, apartments, and villas, catering to the full spectrum of budgets. Options for accommodation stretch right up against the seafront, offering uninterrupted views of the ocean and convenient access to the beach.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN PLANOS IF:
- You are travelling with family, particularly children
- You want a beach resort close to the capital town
7. Alikanas – Best Charming Local Village Area to Stay in Zakynthos
If you are looking for a beach resort with all the authentic charm of a local village, the north-eastern town of Alikanas is the place for you. Several kilometres north of Zakynthos Town, Alikanas is well separated from the bustling party and tourist towns of the south, without being terribly far removed from the convenience of the capital and the airport.
There are several beaches to choose from in the area, with the largest being the eponymous Alikanas Beach. All of the pleasure beaches here have bars or cafes nearby, but the undeveloped nature of the area means that not all are serviced by water sports companies, so if you are looking for an active day out, try neighbouring Alykes Beach.
The town itself is full of traditional tavernas and locally run bars and restaurants, serving food made with produce from surrounding farms. Accommodation is available across the breadth of the region, offering a good mix of hotels and apartments to suit most budgets.
For a novel way to tour the local area, board the Trainaki land train and embark on a fun journey into the nearby hills. The tour winds through olive groves and rural villages, with amusing commentary from your guide and includes a stop at the Vertzagio Cultural Museum and a small taverna where you can sample complimentary wine and local food.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN ALIKANAS IF:
- You want a charming local village with the convenience of a beach resort town
- You want a quiet neighbourhood, removed from the rowdy party towns of the south
8. Anafonitria – Best Convenient Area To Access To Beautiful Views Of Navagio Beach
Anafonitria is the closest town to Zakynthos’ most iconic attraction, the shipwreck of Navagio beach. Although the beach is not accessible by foot, only by boat from other beaches and ports on the island, walking routes along the surrounding cliffs offer some amazing views of the cove.
The main route to the cliffs above Navagio Beach will take you past the beautiful Monastery of St. George Kremnon. This 16th century monastery includes a tower built to defend the area from pirates, manicured gardens, and a small museum for learning about the island’s history.
The town itself is full of beautiful and historic architecture, including the byzantine Anafonitria monastery, founded in the 15th century. Anafonitria has a distinctly traditional atmosphere, full of local tavernas and family run restaurants. In the south end of the village, you can find the Iliessa giftshop, where you can pick up local, handmade souvenirs and craft goods.
As a primarily residential small town, there are no big hotels in the village, although there are several private villas available to rent for your stay. Ideal if you want to experience authentic Zakynthian life.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN ANAFONITRIA IF:
- You want convenient access to beautiful views of Navagio Beach and the iconic shipwreck
- You love history and old buildings
- You want to stay in a small town with a traditional local atmosphere
9. Keri – Best Quiet Area to Stay in Zakynthos
The region of Keri is spread across the entire southwestern peninsula of Zakynthos. There are two main urban areas here, the town of Keri in the east, and the small village of Keri in the west. Both are connected to the public bus service, but being further from the main towns, if you want to explore the rest of the island from here, you would do well to consider hiring a car.
The town is located right by the sea, against Keri Beach, from where you can rent boats and diving equipment or hire scuba diving instruction There is a good selection of mid-range hotels in the area, as well as several restaurants and cocktail bars.
Most of the popular tourist sites around the peninsula are closer to the village of Keri. The most famous structure in the area is the historic Keri Lighthouse. The still functioning lighthouse is a well photographed site and if you make the effort to walk out to it you will be rewarded with some stunning views over the water and surrounding landscape.
The cliffs of Keri are a natural wonder that draws tourists to the area. The bone white cliffs tower 300 metres above the sea and jut out far into the water. There are several scenic walks to viewpoints along the cliffs that will grant you a stunning perspective of this landscape.
The Keri Caves at the southern end of the peninsula are beautiful but only accessible by boat. Some tour boats visit the area, or you can hire your own boat from Keri Town.
There are many more options for accommodation available in Keri Town than the village, as well as more amenities. If you choose to stay in this area for more than a day or two you would benefit from staying in the larger town and visiting the village and surrounding sights by car, taxi, or bus.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN KERI IF:
- You want a quiet village or town
- You’re interested in the stunning natural landscape of Keri, with its iconic cliffs and sea caves
- You are planning to hire a car for your trip
10. Askos and Agios Nikolaos – Best Quiet Location to Stay in Zakynthos
Askosand Agios Nikolaos are two small neighbouring villages in the north of Zakynthos. Far from the large party resorts of the south, if you’re looking for a quiet retreat this is a great area to consider.
Askos is an inland village, although it is less than a kilometre from the sea front and raised into the hills, so you won’t be missing out on ocean views. It’s a small village with a very rural feel. There are a couple of restaurants to choose from, and bars closer to the water looking out over the sea.
The main attraction of Askos is the Stone Park. Featuring a number of curious stone structures, such as stables, carved basins, and rock towers, some dating back centuries, the circular walking route around the park is an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Visitors are able to take part in various activities involved in the park’s maintenance, including fruit picking and goat milking. The park has its own zoo housing an array of animals, such as goats, pigs, and horses. There are also hundreds of species of wild animals and birds to be seen in the protected land around the park.
Nearby Agios Nikolaos is closer to the sea, with a small port linking across to the neighbouring island of Kefalonia. There are several bars and restaurants along the seafront with views across to the small island of Vardiola St. Nicholas and the ruins of its old watchtower. There is also a small marina where you can rent a boat or take a cruise to famous Zakynthian sites, such as Navagio ‘Shipwreck’ Beach.
Beaches here are mostly rocky with a few small sandy banks. They’re great for swimming in the clear blue water but not ideal for a long afternoon of sunbathing. The closest comfortable beaches are Krimidi, Vathi Lagadi, and Climati, about a kilometre south, around the little village of Mikro Nisi.
Despite the villages’ small size, there is a wide range of accommodation available here. There are several four-star hotels in the area, as well as self-catering apartments and villas.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN ASKOS AND AGIOS NIKOLAOS IF:
- You are looking for a quiet vacation
- You are interested in learning about the native animals on the island
- Beaches are not a priority
Where To Stay In Zakynthos For Families?
Kalamaki is the most popular tourist resort for families, particularly those with young children. The eponymous beach, which runs along the south of the region, is a long expanse of soft golden sand against shallow waters, perfect for young children to paddle and play. Meanwhile there are several facilities dedicated to keeping children of various ages entertained, including the Caretta Fun Park Centre and the Kalamaki Mini Golf course.
The Vanessa Hotel is a ‘very good’ option near the beach, with a large pool and family bar area.
Vasilikos is another excellent option, at the end of the southeastern peninsula of the island. Smaller and quieter than the resort town of Kalamaki, Vasilikos has a number of smaller beaches to choose from. The Zakynthos Sea Turtle Rescue & Information Centre is a wonderful place for the whole family to learn about the island’s endangered Caretta Caretta turtles.
The Areti Orfeas Studios are a ‘fabulous’ self-catering option, near to Gerakas Beach and the turtle information centre.
Where To Stay In Zakynthos For Couples?
Couples can enjoy the various amenities of the tourist beach resort of Laganas. Popular as a party town, there is plenty of vibrant nightlife to keep you entertained of an evening. Meanwhile during the day, a number of tour companies are available to transport you to the various romantic locations and sights around the island.
The long stretch of beach is ideal for relaxing during the day, whether sunbathing on the soft sand or playing together in the shallow waters. In the evening, the cocktail bars, tavernas, and cafes that run along the back of the beach provide a beautiful date night setting, where you can enjoy dinner and drinks whilst looking out over the ocean.
The ‘superb’ Shellona Rooms & Apartments offer beautifully decorated rooms with an exotic, rustic vibe and stunning ocean views.
Where To Stay In Zakynthos For Nightlife?
Laganas is the undisputed capital for nightlife on Zakynthos. The main Laganas Road is lined with popular clubs and bars that provide the iconic party scene the island is famous for. If clubs aren’t your preferred nightlife scene, the long beach is backed by a row of tavernas and cocktail bars where you can sip your drinks whilst enjoying views over the ocean.
The area is well populated with hotels and accommodation options to suit every budget. Plenty of affordable options line the main party district, so you won’t need to worry about a long journey home at the end of your night out.
Casa Del Mar is a ‘superb’ option at the southern end of Laganas strip, conveniently placed between the clubs and the beach.
Best Time to Visit Zakynthos?
With its southern Mediterranean climate, Zakynthos has mild winters and comfortable temperatures year-round. However, if you are looking to spend time lazing on the beach, you will probably want to avoid the cooler winter months.
Temperatures peak in July and August, remaining pleasantly warm even at night, and stay comfortable through October.
Party season in Zakynthos runs from June through September, with its peak in July and August. If you are heading to Zakynthos specifically to take advantage of the nightlife scene, you will benefit from checking ahead to see what events are being hosted and when. Pre-planning not only helps you make sure you are visiting when your favourite club is hosting the best party, but also allows you to prebook tickets, which can really help with budgeting.
If you want to steer clear of the bustling nightlife and the rowdy crowd that comes with it, avoid Laganas for most of summer. The rest of the island has considerably less of a nightclub culture, so you will be safe from noisy revellers even in the height of summer.
How to get Around Zakynthos?
Zakynthos is well serviced by its public bus system, which runs routes accessing all populated areas on the island. Routes between the larger tourist towns and more populated south end of the island are more frequent, though you can definitely get around the whole island by bus if you are staying further north.
The whole island is served by a single operator, KTEL, so it’s easy to check bus routes and timetables through their website before you head out.
If you prefer more independence and convenience for your travelling, there are many car rental services both at the airport and in most towns across the island. Visiting smaller towns is entirely possible by bus but hiring your own car means less time waiting around for the less frequent service.
Some of the most popular tourist sites on the island are in more remote, difficult to access locations, such as Navagio ‘Shipwreck’ Beach, which is only accessible by boat. No need to worry though, as there are plenty of dedicated tour services available to transport you to and from most of the primary tourist locations.
Best Things to Do in Zakynthos?
Navagio ‘Shipwreck’ Beach, is inarguably the most iconic sight to see on the island of Zakynthos. Images of this sheltered cove with the rusted ship laying in the middle of the sand are all over the internet and tourists flock from across the world to see it for themselves every year.
The cove is only accessible by boat but plenty of tour companies around the island offer cruise trips to the site, so you won’t have any trouble finding a tour to suit you.
Aside from its human history, Zakynthos is a naturally beautiful place with stunning biodiversity. One of the best-known inhabitants of the island is the endangered Caretta Caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle. There are various beaches around the island that act as vital breeding grounds for the turtles, two of the most prominent being Vasiliki and Marathonisi.
You can find a lot of turtle-centric souvenirs and craft goods for sale on the island, so if you love turtles you can definitely find some charming trinkets to take home.
Of course, one of the major reasons people visit Zakynthos is its reputation as a party island. If you want to experience the island’s famous nightlife scene, you should head to Laganas, where popular nightclubs line the main road, and a plentiful array of bars flanks the long sandy beach.
If you are more interested in the historical and cultural sites, there are plenty of old buildings and ruins dotted around the island, including the remains of a venetian castle just outside of Zakynthos Town and several old monasteries around Anafonitria.
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Zakynthos has a reputation for being a party island, popular with the young and wild, but there is so much more to this beautiful island than just its thriving nightlife scene. Those who love nature and quiet retreats can escape into the stunning landscape of golden beaches, towering cliffs, and forested hills. Meanwhile, families can play in the shallow waters and swim with turtles or explore historical castles and old shipwrecks.
Regardless of what you are looking for in your perfect summer vacation, you are sure to find it on Zakynthos.