The bright blue waters off Zakynthos are home to rare loggerhead sea turtles and monk seals that have been returning to the island for generations. See what keeps bringing the turtles back and maybe even meet some of them yourself with this six-day itinerary that covers the island's beaches, villages, and vineyards.

Highlights

  • Discover Ionian wine varietals with an island vineyard tour
  • Sail to the shipwreck beach
  • Visit old village monasteries

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner Athens
Day 2 Ferry to Zakynthos Zakynthos
Day 3 Zakynthos Boat Cruise Zakynthos
Day 4 Explore Zakynthos Villages Zakynthos
Day 5 Zakynthos Wine Tasting Zakynthos
Day 6 Return to Athens, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Athens, Welcome Dinner

Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis
Monastiraki Square and the Acropolis

Welcome to Greece! You'll begin your trip in Athens, home to both the iconic Acropolis and so much more. The mythology of this spectacular city precedes it, with towering temples to Classical deities and the ruins of ancient marketplaces rubbing shoulders with lively nightlife, crowded flea markets, and contemporary cuisine. Make the most of your time in the city at some of these spots:

  • Check out the views of the can't-miss Parthenon. (Pro tip: The Parthenon is the temple, the Acropolis is the hill.) This temple to Athena has enchanted visitors since its construction was completed in 438 BC. It's probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of ancient Greece and is visible from many of the city's high points.
  • Stop at the sprawling National Museum for a crash course in ancient iconography. Be sure to seek out the room housing the Antikythera mechanism, essentially an ancient astronomical computer.
  • Visit a smaller archaeological site at the Tower of the Winds, then stroll down neighboring pedestrian Aiolou Street to stop at shops and cafes. 
  • Find your perfect souvenir or sun hat in the busy stalls of the Monastiraki flea market. 

In the evening, you'll sit down to enjoy either a welcome dinner with views of the Acropolis or wine tasting in a bar in downtown Athens.

Day 2: Ferry to Zakynthos

Zakynthos town and harbor
Zakynthos town and harbor

Head to Kyllini port in the morning to hop a ferry to Zakynthos. Also known as Zante to the Italians or "Flower of the East" to the Venetians, the third-largest Ionian island awaits. 

The southern coast of the island is lined with resorts and sandy coves and beaches, while on the western side forested cliffs sweep down into the sea. It's also home to the first Greek national marine park due to its regular egg-laying visits from loggerhead sea turtles. 

The main Zakynthos town is also home to plenty of on-land attractions. Start at the church of Agios Dionysos, the island's patron saint, then walk the restaurant-lined Strata Marina along the water down to Solomos Square. Stop in the Post-Byzantine Museum or just linger in the square taking in its characteristic island architecture.

Day 3: Zakynthos Boat Cruise

Navagio Beach
Navagio Beach

See the island from an aquatic perspective with this full-day boat ride. Cruise around to Zakynthos's many secluded coves and clear waters for six to seven hours.

Start off with an overland drive of just under an hour to the Skinari Cape. Once there, hop on a small speedboat to sail past beaches and resorts to the distinctive geographic formations of the Blue Caves, where you'll stop for photos and a swim. Then continue on to drop anchor at Smuggler's Cove, also known as Shipwreck or Navagio beach, where you'll swim and take in the views of this popular spot, home to the wreck of the Panayiotis on its white sands. 

Boat back to the Skinari Cape, then board a bus up into the hills for a bird's eye view of the shipwreck. You'll have the options to stop for lunch at a taverna and a winery tour and tasting as you make your way back to town.

In the evening, head to Aghios Markos square, once the meeting place of Greek revolutionaries in 1797. Follow Alexandros Romas street out of the square and through town, taking in the arcades of the main commercial center of the city.

Day 4: Explore Zakynthos Villages

Coastal cliffs from Kampi
Coastal cliffs from Kampi

Head inland on today's expedition to the hidden corners of Zakynthos as you travel over the scenic roads to traditional villages. You're in charge, so pick whatever destination points pique your interest.

Capture the views from the island's highest point in the Vrachionas mountains, stop for lunch or a sunset view at clifftop Kampi, or swim in the deep turquoise waters of Makris Gialos beach.

If you're more a village visitor, see the market and monastery of Anafonitria, the old homes in Exo Hora (some of the few to escape the 1953 earthquake), or the highest village on the island at Gyri. The villages of Keri and Maries are known for their rural island life, or you can explore the island's agriculture in northern Volimes or resort scene at Argassi.

Day 5: Zakynthos Wine Tasting

Goumas Estate
Goumas Estate

Head out to Maries village to visit a tranquil local vineyard for today's wine tour. You'll be surrounded by all the trappings of provincial life amid olive, pear, and peach trees. The vineyards were originally planted in 1900 and revitalized in 1987, and the winery has kept growing and expanding its operations since as they work with other vineyards to build up the reputation of Zakynthos wines.

Learn about Ionian varietals such as augoustiatis and robola and the characteristics and history of wine on the island before you try four different wines under the guidance of a dedicated sommelier. The tastings will be accompanied by an assortment of snacks over the course of two hours.

Make your way up to the Bochali village over the main Zakynthos town in the late afternoon or evening to take in the views of the sunset or city lights over the harbor. Visit what remains of the Venetian castle in the pine forest or Byzantine icons in the church of Zoodos Pigi, or linger over a meal in a restaurant with panoramic views of the island.

Day 6: Return to Athens, Depart

Wave to the city
Wave to the city

Time to say farewell to Greece. You'll head back to Athens after breakfast to catch your flight, either home or onward to your next adventure.

Map

Map of Explore Zakynthos Island - 6 Days
Map of Explore Zakynthos Island - 6 Days