Our top selection of the most amazing things to do in Zakynthos. These Zakynthos tours will take you to Navagio Shipwreck Beach, the Blue Caves, and beyond!
Zakynthos in Greece
The Ionian island of Zakynthos, to the west of mainland Greece, is a popular summer destination. With some of the best beaches in Greece, it’s yet another magical Greek island to explore. Here’s our guide to the best Zakynthos tours and day trips.
The Shipwreck on Zakynthos Beach
Zakynthos is the tenth biggest island in Greece, and has a population of just over 40,000 people. It’s world-famous for the Navagio (Shipwreck) beach, where you can have a look at the famous shipwreck of a boat named Panayiotis.
This boat was first launched in 1937 in Scotland, and crashed on the coast of Zakynthos in 1980, while illegally carrying several thousand packets of cigarettes. It’s become a trademark of the island, and is a popular tourist spot.
The beach itself is stunning, with crystal clear waters and soft, white sand. Visiting shipwreck beach in Zakynthos on a boat tour is a must-do when on the island.
Other Zakynthos Boat Trips and Tour Ideas
As you can imagine, there are plenty of other beaches and sea caves that are worth exploring in Zakynthos, the most famous of which are the Blue Caves, that remind me a little of Kleftiko Beach in Milos, and Keri Caves.
At the same time, the island is full of mountains and pine forests, and the landscape is very different from the dry, rocky terrain in Mykonos or Santorini.
Apart from its natural beauty, Zakynthos is one of the last homes of the Caretta Caretta loggerhead turtle, an endangered species, as well as the Mediterranean Monachus Monachus seal. The National Marine Park in the bay of Laganas has been founded for their protection, and several areas are closed to the public at different times of the year.
While it’s perfectly possible to pick one beach and never leave, it’s worth exploring the island. There are a number of Zakynthos tours and day trips that can help in that direction. Note that several companies offer similar tours, of which we have picked the best.
Best Zakynthos Tours and Day Trips
This is our selection of the best Zakynthos tours for you to choose from. Visit the famous shipwreck beach in Zakynthos, take a sailing trip, or even make a day trip to Ancient Olympia... the choice is yours!
No visit to Zakynthos will be complete unless you visit the world-famous Navagio beach. The tour begins at your hotel, from where you will be transferred to Skinari Cape to catch a speedboat.
You will first visit the Blue Caves. Surrounded by unique geological formations and crystal clear waters, the caves are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, though you will most likely find that the water is quite fresh.
Navagio beach is the next stop. You can go swimming, spend some time on the pretty white beach, and observe the shipwreck. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the top of the mountain, at a spot which offers the best views of the shipwreck.
Towards the end of this tour you will stop at a local winery, where you will have a guided tour and free wine tastings.
This tour follows roughly the same itinerary with the previous one. The main difference is that you will be transported in a glass-bottom boat and you will be able to better appreciate the beauty of the Blue Caves.
Like mentioned earlier, the water temperature at the Blue Caves is likely to be quite low, so you might not be able to swim for as long as you’d like!
During this tour, there will be plenty of photo-stops all day long. If you are into photography, this might be one of the best Zakynthos day trips for you.
This private day trip from Zakynthos will take you to the Blue Caves and Navagio beach, in the comfort of a small luxury speedboat. In fact the speedboat is small enough to fit through some of the caves!
You then have a choice of either seeing the Navagio beach from above and visiting a small street market, or go to Xigia beach for a dip in the sulphurous water.
This is a fun half-day activity, especially if you are visiting Zakynthos with kids. You will visit the biggest water park on Zakynthos, where you can easily spend a few hours splashing and having fun.
Not all activities are for the faint-hearted though. There is even a 60-meter slide where you’ll have to race down the rest of your family – or your fun-loving adult friends!
While it’s possible to arrange this on your own, an organized tour will take some of the pressure away and you will only be left with great memories.
This minibus tour combines exploration of the mainland, popular photography spots, some beach time and a winery visit. It’s a perfect combination if you don’t want to spend a long time in boats, but you want to experience the best of Zakynthos nevertheless.
There will be a stop at Xigia Beach, where you can bathe in the warm, sulphurous water. You will also stop at a viewpoint from where you can see the famous Navagio beach.
This is one of the few Zakynthos day tours that includes a visit to a local market, where you can taste several local products. Finally, you will get to visit a winery, and sample some of the varieties in Zakynthos.
If you don’t have time for a full day activity, but want to experience some of the caves in Zakynthos, and hopefully see some loggerhead turtles, this is the perfect Zakynthos day trip for you. This half day tour will give you the chance to swim and snorkel around Keri Caves, to the south of the island, and also swim in Laganas Bay, where you can come across some loggerhead turtles.
In our recent trip to Asia, we took a similar tour around the Perhentian islands in Malaysia, and were really annoyed with the way tourists treated the turtles.
If you take this Zakynthos day tour, please remember that the turtles are animals, and therefore do not try to poke or touch them. Just observe them from a distance, and help them grow and survive.
This private boat trip can accommodate up to 6 people, and it’s the best way to see the Caretta Caretta turtles in an eco-friendly way. You will first stop at one of the nesting areas of the turtles, Marathonisi, where your guide will explain more about these fascinating creatures.
The Keri caves, with their unique white rock formations, will be your next stop. You can swim and snorkel, to explore the underwater world. There will also be time for a meal at a local taverna, where you can taste the local cuisine. On the way back, you will get the chance to stop at an olive oil making factory, and learn more about virgin olive oil.
Yes, you have read this correctly. It’s perfectly possible to go on a day trip to Ancient Olympia from Zakynthos. Transport time is 2 – 2.5 hours each way, and you will be transferred by bus and ferry.
Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese is where the first Olympic Games took place in 776 BC, though settlements had already been here thousands of years prior. Ruins of different eras remain in the grounds today, and you will be able to understand more about the site and museum during your guided tour.
If you haven’t been to Olympia before, this day trip from Zakynthos is a great option, as you will get to visit one of the most important religious and athletic centres of Ancient Greece.
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Yes, the shipwreck in Zakynthos, also known as Navagio Beach, is a real location. The shipwreck is a popular tourist attraction on the island of Zakynthos in Greece, and draws visitors from all over the world to see its stunning beauty.
Is Zakynthos shipwreck closed?
For 2023, the Zakynthos shipwrecj beach is closed as there are dangers of landslides. Boat trips may be able to approach the shipwreck, but tourists will not be allowed on the beach. Check with local tour operators whether the Zakythnos shipwreck beach is accessible on the day you want to travel.
How do I see the shipwreck in Zakynthos?
The shipwreck in Zakynthos can be seen by visiting Navagio Beach, which is accessible by boat. Many tour companies offer boat trips to the beach, which typically include a stop at the shipwreck along with other nearby attractions. Visitors can also view the shipwreck from a nearby cliff, which offers a spectacular bird's-eye view of the beach and the surrounding area.
How did the shipwreck happen in Zante?
The shipwreck in Zakynthos occurred in 1980, when a freighter carrying contraband cigarettes was caught in bad weather and ran aground on Navagio Beach. The crew was rescued, but the ship was abandoned and left to rust on the beach. Over time, the shipwreck became a popular tourist destination, and is now one of the most photographed sites in Greece.
Why is the water in Zakynthos so blue?
The water in Zakynthos is renowned for its stunning shades of blue, which are caused by a combination of factors including the depth and clarity of the water, the white sand on the sea floor, and the reflection of sunlight on the surface of the sea. The island's unique geology and location in the Ionian Sea also contribute to the vivid colors of the water.