Exploring Zakynthos by car
Are you thinking of Exploring Zakynthos by car? It isn’t big – just 40 kilometres (25 miles) long and 20 kilometres (12 miles) wide.
We did 4 trips in 3 days, plenty of time to see other tourist resorts and a bit of the countryside.
All directions are from the starting point of Kalamaki.
Argassi – Vassilikos – Gerakas Beach
The first trip was heading east and then south. Argassi is a tourist resort, usual restaurants, shops etc. Pleasant for a stroll.
Then south down the Vassilikos peninsula to Gerakas Beach. The area is part of the Zakynthos Marine Park and provides protection for the loggerhead turtles (Caretta-Caretta) and seals. The beach access is quite steep down some rough ground. There are no facilities on the beach, the nearest is back up opposite the car-park.
It was interesting to learn about the Marine Park but there’s not much else there.
Keri – Limni Keriou – Laganas
Head towards the airport to pick up I35 and head west to Keri, keep going towards Keri LIghthouse (which is just a restaurant!) then follow the road for about another mile or so. You end up in a car park above some cliffs. Nothing there but it is a pleasant spot to eat a packed lunch and look at the view.
Return back along the road and head to Limni Keriou (Keri Beach). A small harbour, a strip of beach, somewhere for a beer and to while away the afternon. This little place is a gem and we wouldn’t have known about it if we hadn’t been driving around.
On the way back to Kalamaki we stopped off in Laganas. Firmly there for the 18-30 crowd, full of nightclubs and bars extolling the virtue of having a fish bowl of drink! Macdonalds, Subway.. need I say more?? It’s a shithole. (But that’s only my opinion!)
Tsilivi – Alykanas – Alykes – Agios Nikolaos
Head east and then north to the tourist resort of Tsilivi (Planos area). We had breakfast at one of the many restaurants and then went for a walk to the beach and the small harbour.
Further north you’ll find Alykanas and Alykes. We didn’t think much of Alykanas there isn’t much there other than a beach so we carried on Alykes. This resort is quite big and bustling with the usual tourist bars, restaurants and shops. It has quite a pleasant beach area and if you go to the Alykanas end of Alykes there is a sort of canal where small boats potter up and down.
Off to Agios Nikolaos next, up at the north east end of the island. This is a very scenic drive, the road climbs quickly with some hair-pin bends to negotiate. When you get the opportunity to stop at a look-out point it’s well worth it, the views are spectacular.
Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) is a small harbour town where you can can have an alfresco lunch and watch the world go by. You can also join trips to the Blue Caves. Well worth it as the small craft get right up inside the caves and the water is bluer than you can imagine!
Other trips include Navagio to see the ship-wreck. If you are planning on seeing the ship-wreck go by boat. DON’T go to the viewing platform (just outside Volimes) you queue up for ages to get a partial view of it. There’s no shade and the toilet was disgusting. (At least it was in October 2015)
On the drive back there are some better views of the coastal areas again well worth a short stop for a photo or two.
My favourite place on the island. Just follow the road signs, it’s about 4.5kms (2.5miles). Follow the road along the front to the far end by Solomos Square and park along the road there. (It’s safer than parking along the front!)
Start at Solomos Square and walk through it to St Marks square where there are a few nice cafes for a quick coffee (or something stronger!). From here you can walk through the shopping area, no high street shops, just locals selling all sorts of things. Keep going until the shops run out and turn left, you should be able to see the front again and hopefully be by St. Dionysios church.
It may be time for lunch and if you’re feeling adventurous head to Ouzeri Snack Bar (cross over by the church and walk towards the ferry) and have Ouzo Meze. If you not adventurous then walk back along the front and try out one of the restaurants there. Lots to choose from and they get busy with locals, which is always a good sign.
You can get fantastic panoramic views of the town by driving up to Bochali. As you reach Bochali there is a one-way system in place so you can’t miss where you have to stop off!.
Have I tempted you to go exploring Zakynthos by car?
Hints and tips
- When hiring a car take out the extended insurance cover to take care of any excess.
- The locals drive like loonies! They overtake you, double park, drive on either side of the road, have your wits about you all the time!
- If you can afford a better car than a Kia Picanto pay the extra. The only good thing about it was the brakes. The air con was useless, it was on full blast and it wasn’t even high summer!
- Don’t pay extra to hire a sat-nav. If you have a smart phone make sure you the Google Maps app and follow this before you set off. You’ll need an internet connection..
- Open the Google Maps app
- Make sure you’re connected to the Internet and signed in to Google Maps.
- Search for a place (in this case ‘Zante’)
- At the bottom, tap the bar that has the name of the place you searched.
- Select Download. Then save it.
When you want to use the map just open Google maps and click on the three lines at the top left, go to ‘offline areas’ and select your offline map. Search for where you want to go and click on ‘navigate’. It will run the same as if you’re connected. (Oh and you can fit the whole of Zante on one map!)
Have you been to Zakynthos? Where did you venture off to?
If you’d like to read more I have some previous posts you might like.