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.
The best time to visit Zante is in the summer. During this period, the island’s nightlife is at its busiest and best, while temperatures reach highs of 33℃. However, if you want to avoid the hot weather or are not interested in the party scene, the spring and autumn months are also a good time to visit. Temperatures often reach highs of 25℃ in the spring and 28℃ during the autumn, though do prepare for a few rainy days.
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.
Apart from its nightlife, Zante is known for its beaches and has several good spots. Laganas Beach is one of the island’s most popular to unwind after a night’s partying. The remote Xigia Sulphur beach has crystal clear waters as well as incredible views from the nearby cliffs. The sulphur in the water here is said to be therapeutic. The perfect location to take in Zante’s stunning surroundings, Navagio beach, often known as shipwreck beach, has a marooned ship that is a popular draw with tourists.
The food in Zante is typically Greek, with meat and fish dishes very popular. Stuffed rabbit served in a stew is perhaps the island's most famous dish. Bifteki, a large meatball made with minced meat, parsley and garlic, and youvetsi, pasta with lamb, are also much-loved dishes and can be found on many restaurant menus. Fish caught from the surrounding seas are mostly served grilled. A favourite in many of the local bakeries, tyropita is a puff pastry filled with feta, spinach or meat.
Flights from London to Zante take just over three hours. From Liverpool, it takes around three and a half. When travelling to Zante, it's important to be aware that the region is two hours ahead of the UK.
Laganas has countless bars and nightclubs and is the best spot if you want to enjoy the island’s nightlife. Perfect for keeping families of all ages entertained, Alykes has a beach with watersports and boat trips. If you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of the island’s resort towns, the charming village of Agalas with its traditional Greek buildings and picturesque surroundings is ideal.
Zante is famous as a group holiday destination, particularly among young holidaymakers seeking a party atmosphere. The island has plenty of family-friendly resorts, as well as activities for just about everyone, including watersports and tours. There are also some good beaches if you prefer to spend your holiday relaxing while there’s more than enough bars and nightclubs to keep you busy if that's what you want.