Time of visit August 2007
Zakynthos or Zante is the northernmost island in the Ionian Sea in Greece. It covers an area of 405 m2 and is the third by size from this group of islands. Specific for this island are the beaches with incredible pure, crystalline and warm water on one side and big massive rocks on the west side of the island.
As most specific for this island is the fact that in the northern part of the island a rare species of turtles CARETTA-CARETTA come to breed and are protected as part of the Marine Park.
Laganas and the entire coastline around Laganas is connected in a long sandy beach.
To avoid the central beach of Laganas which is crowded, you may walk on the west side of the Lagans coast where the small island of Agios Sostis is situated.
Agios Sostis is connected to the mainland by a bridge.This island by day offers a cute beach cafe and at night turn into a disco. The beach is too small, but you can sit in the cafe and drink, sunbathe and swim, and is one of the better places for diving on Zakynthos.The feeling on the beach of Agios Sostis is relaxing. The entry on the island costs 3-4 Euros during the day, 7 euros after 6 p.m, 10 euros after 10 p.m. With the entry ticket you can order a free drink (cocktails are extra charged). Here are pictures of the island and the beach of Agios Sostis.
The beach in front of which this island is also called Agios Sostis.The beach has chairs and cafes. It is located next to the beach Porto Koukla. Renting for two chairs and umbrella on the beach is 5-7 euros. Along these two beaches there are bars and taverns, but the crowd is smaller and the beaches are much cleaner than Laganas. It takes about 20-30 minutes walk from the center of the beach Lagans to beach Porto Koukla(10 min to Agios Sostis ).
After Porto Koukla the beach Kaminia is situated which differs from the rest with smooth white pebbles. In front of this beach lies island Maratonisi. You can find a few people on this beach, and don't be surprised that some of them are nudist.
All these beaches are connected and can be reached by walking by the coastline.
If you take the east side of the coastline of Laganas you can reach a separate beach that is part of the National Marine Park. Here the crowd is less evident. No bars, no chairs, but the beach is lovely, clean and peaceful. Restrictions apply within the National Park for protection of the turtles. Once we have found this beach it was our common destination.
The sandy beach goes to the beach of Kalamaki town, where the airport on this island is located.
Keri area and the island Maratonisi
Maratonisi Island is located west of Laganas and that's the largest of the two islands in front of Laganas which looks like a turtle.East of Laganas is situated small island Peluzo to which the access is forbidden. (the island is in the red-zone of marine park).
To Maratonisi island tours are organized by ship from Laganas, but we went with our own arrangement from Limni Keri. This tour covered swimming at the Keri caves and couple of hours on Maratonisi. With this tour the motorboats leave you on the island and you can stay until the next tour come along.
Here is a picture of Keri caves.
Maratonisi Island is part of the National Marine Park. There are no bars, but there is a boat which provides a refreshing drinks and ice cream.There are no shades, and umbrellas are not allowed. But the beach is wonderful. In my opinion one of the most beautiful we saw on this trip.
At the end of the day you can visit the Keri lighthouse from where you can watch the sunset.
The Vasilikos peninsula has the most beautiful sandy beaches on the island. After a few miles from Argasi which is a continuation of Zakynthos town on the right side of the road there is a sign to Dafne. Road to Daphne is mostly unpaved.
Daphne beach is part of the National Park. Because of bad road that gets you to this beach, and because it is part of the National Park, you can find lonely beach with taverns and shadows and it's worth if you came here to plan to stay most of the day. The beach is prominently marked on the places where eggs of turtles are laid down.
After Dapfni follows Gerakas beach which is also part of the National Park. There are no bars, but offers umbrellas and chairs. Carrying umbrella is forbidden. There are no shadows. If you plan to stay longer, necessarily carry water and food.These two beaches, Dafne and Gerakas are loctaed on the west side of peninsula.
The first beach on the east side Porto Zoro which is a beach for recommendation. The beach has a charming cafe which played a relaxing reggae music.The beach is long and ends with a few rocks where you can dive and where there is clay, which can be used for beautification and for fun. The clay is why along the beach you will find people with green mask on there faces.
After Porto Zoro the road leads through pine forest to the Banana beach. Banana is endlessly long and wide sandy yellow beach full with cafes and sun chairs.
After Banana beach follows Ag Nikolaos - beach with young people and water sports. Ag Nikolaos beach offers sandy beach and necessary accessories for a fun day pass. The beach has a interesting cafe. For younger this beach is obligatory, and for the family there is a secluded part thatis more peaceful and is sepparated from this part on the picture, but equipped with all necessary accessories (chairs, umbrellas, etc.).
National Marine Park
Some parts of the island belong to national marine park and have limitations in movement and ways of behavior.
Beaches as Daphne, Gerakas, part of Laganas beach (by Kalamaki), Maratonisi island, island Peluzo (this island has a total ban) have limited time to visit, from 7-19 because outside of this period visitors are the turtles that come to bring their eggs. Any noise or lighting interfere the laying down the eggs of turtles.
Between 7-19 am on these parts umbrellas are forbidden, the towel may be placed to 5 meters of water, you must not dig the sand, not to make any figures in the sand, because they can obstruct the path of small turtles seeking the way to the sea.
On the entry of these parts the Marine Park staff take care to inform the tourists with relevant leaflets for the behavior. On every beach there are people in small cottages which supervise the behavior of tourists on this parts.
The places with a turtle eggs are visibly marked.