If you close your eyes and imagine a dreamy Greek Island, it probably looks an awful lot like the Ionian Island of Zakynthos. With its spectacular beaches – including the iconic ‘Shipwreck Beach’ – homely tavernas and a healthy nightlife, it’s no wonder that Zakanthos’ star is rising. With so many beaches and villages, deciding where to stay on Zakynthos can be quite confusing, so we’ve put together a write up on our favourite villages and our favourite Zakynthos hotels.
Zakynthos is one of the larger Greek Islands, which means there is quite a lot of space to go around, with both hustling hotspots and a few Greece hidden gems. So, whether you’re searching for your slice of quiet paradise or looking to join the party, there will be plenty of choices, including visiting the island of Kefalonia next door.
The best place to stay in Zakynthos for first timers: Zakynthos Town
The largest city on Zakynthos is called Zakynthos Town (or sometimes ‘Zante’).
With a population of around 10,000, it’s not too big and not too small – just perfect for offering up a host of eating, shopping, drinking, and sightseeing options without being overwhelming.
Situated on the coast, Zakynthos boasts a picturesque location. There’s easy access to one decent beach, and the lively promenade between Solomos Square and the Church of Agios Dionysios is ever-popular.
Most of the buildings are in Venetian style, however, they are actually fairly modern as the town was almost entirely destroyed in a large earthquake in 1952.
Aside from the selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques, Zakynthos Town is also a very convenient base for exploring the rest of the island.
It has good transport links if you’re travelling without a car, and many tours will offer hotel pickups from Zakynthos Town. If you have hired a vehicle, then you’ll find quick and good-quality roads out in all directions.
If you are looking for a self-contained house with amazing sea views and a beautiful pool that is perfect for a group then Villa Pasithea is hard to beat. For a splurge, the incredible Golden July Villa has the most spectacular views and can sleep up to 12 guests.
The best place to stay in Zakynthos for nightlife: Laganas
Zakynthos might not quite have the reputation of juggernauts Santorini and Mykonos, but it attracts its fair share of revelers every year.
Offering a party experience that is just as picturesque but not quite as pricey, it’s no wonder that Zakynthos is becoming a go-to destination for nightlife seekers.
If you’re hoping to experience the sought-after nightlife, then the best place to base yourself is Laganas. It’s here that you’ll find the top resorts, bars, and beach clubs, all filled with fellow revelers of all ages.
Whether it’s an upmarket cocktail bar or a fabulous foam-filled superclub you’re after, you’ll find it along ‘The Strip’.
By day, there are few better places to recover from last night’s sins than on one of Zakynthos’ longest and most beautiful beaches. Or, you might like to head out to try to spot some of the protected sea turtles who nest on the nearby beaches.
For big groups, Vafias Villa is high on the hill above Laganas. It sleeps over 16 people and has a beautiful shady pool and baby cots and a highchair if required. It is actually 2 villas joined together by an underground tunnel which is not only extra special but great for families travelling together to Zakynthos!
The best place to stay in Zakynthos for families:
Alykes or Tsilivi
It’s not just well-heeled partygoers who love Zakynthos – families will also find plenty of calm beaches and fun activities perfect for visitors of all ages.
Each year, many visitors from all over the world arrive for a fun and relaxing stay as a family.
Alykes is well-known as a popular base for families, thanks to its calm waters and abundance of fun activities to try.
The water here is relatively shallow, so little ones will enjoy paddling in the safe seas, while older teens can try their hand at windsurfing or even jet-skiing. For a dose of culture, neighbouring Alykanas has a more traditional feel, and is located atop an ancient archaeological site.
Another great option for families is Tsilivi, which is perfect if you’re looking for a slightly more adventurous family holiday.
Most famously, this neighbourhood boasts the Tsilivi Water Park, which is sure to bring a smile to the face of every family member. There are also many water sports on offer, and the famous Shipwreck Cove is within striking distance as well.
For a wonderful Luxury hotel check out Alykes Park Bungalows & Apartment, and Olea All-Suite Hotel (Tsilivi). Zante Palace (Tsilivi)is a great choice for a budget traveler.
For families or large groups Niova Villa in Alykes has a stunning swimming pool right on the beachfront with spectacular views. It can accommodate 7 guests.
Villa Arokaria can sleep 12 people and is in the hills near Tsilivi in a village called Marineika. It’s a renovated country farmhouse that is great for kids with a big pool and a big fully fenced yard with lemon and olive trees.
The best place to stay in Zakynthos for nature:
Agalas or Keri
Although parts of Zakynthos do get crowded, if it’s tranquillity you’re after – you’re in luck! There are still several places where you can disconnect and recharge, while still being conveniently located for the attractions and amenities of the island.
If you don’t mind foregoing the coastal views, then Agalas is a beautiful inland town that is a popular setting-off point for hikes and bike rides. You can visit an enchanting cave, or hike over to the coast to watch the magical sunset.
As Agalas is a small village, most accommodation options are just outside it, although you’ll find a few B&Bs in the centre of “town”.
If you’d like the tranquility but aren’t keen to miss out on the proximity to the beach, then another great option is Keri. As it is quite far south on the island, it misses out on a lot of the foot traffic – meaning you’ll have plenty of space to enjoy the stunning coastline.
There’s also some great diving near Keri.
For a house rental Villa Eora is ideal for a group of 10 or more and is set in huge gardens in the hills behind Marathias with expansive sea views. It’s perfect for families traveling together as it includes a separate 3 bedroom apartment off from the main house.
The best place to stay in Zakynthos on a budget: Argassi
There’s no need to miss out on the fun if you’re on a budget on Zakynthos. Not too far from Zakynthos Town, you’ll find the neighbourhood of Argassi. Perfect for those wishing to save a bit on accommodation, it offers some great hostels, B&Bs, and three-star accommodation options.
You’ll also find an excellent choice of eateries, from stylish restaurants through to humble and welcoming traditional tavernas.
At night, the bars and beach clubs come alive, meaning it’s a top choice if you’re looking to experience the nightlife of the island.
There are also many great choices for how to spend your day if staying in Argassi.
There are several excellent beaches, or perhaps head up Skopos Mountain for a lively hike. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a peek inside the centuries-old monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa.
A great budget hotel is Doras Zante Studios & Apartments while a good mid-range hotel is the lovely Windmill Bay Aparthotel . If you’re happy to splurge then be sure to check out the Ionian Hill Hotel.
The best place to stay in Zakynthos for the beach: Vasilikos
Looking to enjoy some time on the beach while visiting Zakynthos? Of course you are! In truth, you’ll find jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches located all over the island. There are probably more beaches on Zakynthos than you can cram into your holiday – so you’ll really be spoiled for choice.
If you want to prioritise access to Zakynthos’ most beautiful beaches, then a great base is the Vasilikos Peninsula.
It’s not a neighbourhood but an area, covering the entirety of the southwestern peninsula of the island. Here, you’ll find many of the most beautiful beaches anywhere on the Greek Islands.
To have full access to all the beaches, it’s ideal to have access to your own vehicle. Some parts of the peninsula are less developed, meaning you’ll need transport to get there. However, many luxury hotels do have access to their own private beaches, so it’s not a must. Just remember to bring the sunscreen and get ready for an amazing beach break.
In the beautiful Vasilikos Peninsula Villa Levante is a lovely budget hotel, while Sea View Villagis is one of the best mid-range ones in the area. The Bay Hotel & Suites is a beautiful beachfront hotel at the high end.
Families will be hard-pressed to go past Domenica Villa which can sleep 8 and is a short stroll to St Nicholas beach. It has a lovely pool surrounded by a flat grassy yard and a full kitchen and laundry.
For a real splurge check out Arismari Luxury Villas which have stunning contemporary fixtures and furnishings as well as draw-dropping sea views, even from bed!
How to get around Zakynthos
It’s a good idea to hire a car on Zakynthos even just for a day or two. It’s a fairly big island and the best beaches are far apart so a car will open up a whole lot of options and allow you to be more spontaneous on your holiday.
We use and recommend RentalCars which are an affiliate of Booking.com
Further reading: Driving in Greece
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