Party on a jewel in the Ionian Sea

Zante holidays open up centuries of history to the classically minded visitor, although the island also has a more-recent reputation for partying that brings it bang up to date. The third-largest Ionian island, it’s situated 20 kilometres from the Greek mainland and was first documented by the Greek poet Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey. A long history of invasion followed, and Zante’s picturesque towns and villages are a monument to numerous civilisations gone by. Incredibly, you can visit Ancient Greek ruins or Venetian aqueducts one day and 18th-century markets and medieval monasteries the next.

The southern part of the island is a popular destination and is known for its resorts and vibrant nightlife. Away from the busy centres, however, the island’s natural beauty distinguishes Zante holidays from many others. If you venture north, you’ll find verdant forests and quaint rural villages, while to the west the rugged landscape gives way to towering cliffs and waterfalls.

Zante is home to numerous beautiful expanses of sand, including Instagram favourite Navagio Beach (also known as Shipwreck Beach), which has still turquoise waters, platinum-sand beaches and atmospheric caves. Wildlife lovers will be delighted to discover that the Bay of Laganas is the main nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean. From ancient culture to contemporary nightlife and natural wonders, Zante is a fantastic destination all round.

Three tips for a top trip

Get on your bike
Rent a motorbike for the day to access some of Zante’s picturesque beaches. There’s also a bus network running from Zakynthos Town to the rest of the island.
Visit the Blue Caves
Hop on a boat from Agios Nikolaos or Cape Skinari to the Blue Caves and Shipwreck Beach. The water in the caves turns a particularly translucent blue between 9am and 12pm.
Party like a local
For an alternative to the wild nights at the big beach resorts, head to Zakynthos Town – its bars and clubs attract more of a local crowd.

Best attractions to see in Zante

Cape Skinari views

The farther north you go, the wilder the scenery, but nowhere more so than Cape Skinari, the island’s most northerly point and home to the Skinari Lighthouse.

Monastery of St George

The Monastery of St George’s tower was built in 1561 to guard against pirates – the monks would hide inside and throw boiling olive oil down on their intruders.

Turtle Island

Just off the south coast of Zante is the tiny island of Marathonisi, also known as Turtle Island, as its beach is the main turtle-nesting site in the area.

Your Zante questions, answered

There’s plenty for children to do on Zante. The best child-friendly hotels are in the northeast and east of the island, particularly in the village of Tsilivi and resort town of Kalamaki.

Zante is known for its warm and sunny climate, which stays hot until the end of autumn. Temperatures fall to an average of 16˚C in December.

There’s an abundance of tavernas along the beach and in towns, but the best local cuisine is found in the mountain villages in the middle of the island.