We could just point you towards a well-curated list of beaches and declare our guide on things to do in Zante complete. Such is their allure. But, that’s not the Orbzii way. These shores have enough marketing and word of mouth heft behind them to see that you’ll gravitate there without any help from us. We have of course, covered a couple of essential shoreline must-sees, but we’ve also snuffled out some of Zante’s hidden gems. Head into the mountains for sunsets, wine-tasting and sparkling views, dive down to an octopus nest or pack your binoculars for a glimpse of a squacco heron…
Visit Shipwreck Beach
Ask literally ANYONE for a list of things to do in Zante, and they’ll lead with Shipwreck Beach. Zante’s photogenic nook would otherwise be another gorgeous Greek inlet of little interest – if it weren’t for the rusting great hulk of a shipwreck on its shore. And, since 1983, the stricken Panagiotis has been chillaxing on the sands while a steady stream of curious travellers drop by, adding angular snaps of her deteriorating hull to the ‘gram. The smuggling rumours that swirl around the wreck add a certain romance and thrill factor to the splendid sight. Rather ironically, the wreck – and beach, are only accessible by boat.
Ride the slides at Zante’s water park
It may seem a smidge foolish to swap Zante’s azure waters for a set of sturdy water slides and a lazy river. But families with little ones in tow will know all too well that the allure of theme park fun, more often than not, outweighs the prospect of a day on the sands. And, while Zante’s Water Village does deliver high-speed action across its range of attractions, it might feel a little small if you’re used to larger parks. At €20 for adults and €15 for children, there are enough rides to keep everyone splashing into the pools for a full day. And, sometimes, the peace and quiet that follows is worth every single cent.
Head to Turtle Island
Getting to Turtle Island is easy. But picking from the numerous Zante excursions that promise a chance to get close to the loggerhead turtle population is a little trickier. Boats crowd the turtles as they make their way to Marathonisi (Turtle) Island to nest. And, let’s face it, the last thing the turtles need right now is added stress from well-meaning wildlife seekers. The solution? A sea kayak. Or, more specifically, a few hours paddling Zante’s waters with Eco Zante. They’ll guide you to the island – via some gorgeous caves and inlets on route, and pop you in the water for some snorkelling. There’s a good chance you’ll see turtles, but with far less crowds, boat engines and stress. A win-win for everyone.
Scan the salt flats
If you’re in Alykes, nipping along to the disused salt flats might seem like the driest thing to do in Zante. But, these disused salt pans have become a haven for the island’s wildlife. Take a pew and point your binoculars towards the flats for glimpses of sandpipers, little egrets, yellow wagtails, little ringed plovers and more. They’re all here to feast on the bugs and insects pollinating the wildflowers. Squacco herons occasionally drop in too – and there’s usually a healthy gecko population scurrying around to avoid the kestrels, owls and anything else that might see them as a snack.
Admire the views from Bochali
Greek island holidays are all about the tiny villages – rather than the tourism-centric resorts. Which can mean long treks to far flung places. On Zante, the exceptionally mooch-able streets of Bochali lie just a couple of kms from Zante town. Nip up into the hills for a birds-eye view over the harbour below and a leisurely amble around the narrow streets, vintage Greek houses and Chrysopigi church. Bochali’s proximity to Zante has seen the village add a restaurant and cafe or two for your grazing pleasure, but that’s all the more reason to stay up here until sunset. Don’t miss the chance to muse over the ruins of the Venetian Castle while you’re here.
Find your own secret cave
Secret caves and beaches rarely stay hidden for long, especially when travel insiders reveal their whereabouts. Thankfully, on this island, there are plenty of secret coves, caves, inlets and beaches to seek out. The numbers run into the thousands, so expect to experience a little FOMO as you cruise the coast looking for a spot to drop anchor. Rather than book yourself onto a Zante excursion – along with a clutch of other secret beach seekers, you can head out independently in a 60HP speedboat from Tsilivi Boat Rentals. If that leaves your sea legs decidedly shaken, there’s also the option to hire a skipper who can whisk you to some secret places instead.
Gaze at Zantes dreamy sunsets
Zante sunsets are a sight to behold. Catch one from the beach, a balcony or a well-placed cocktail bar – but do try to book a spot at Cave Damianos. More specifically, secure a space on their sunset terrace. Already one of the best restaurants in Zante, when the sun starts to set, this hideaway in the hills is bathed in golden hues photographers and romantics can only dream of. Their fusion menu mingles modern cuisine, Zante-sourced produced and Greek classics to hit all the right culinary notes, without taxing your travel budget too heavily.
Seek out shade in Helmi’s Natural History Museum
Filling a display case or ten with a clutch of taxidermied wildlife is an interesting approach to promoting ecotourism. But here we are. And, for the most part, Helmi’s Natural History Museum in Zante does showcase the island’s flora and fauna – alongside prized finds from around the world. Handy for quick and easy way to get the lowdown of the different species you might spot when you scamper out onto the island, the small museum also provides a place to retreat from Zante’s weather – rain or shine. Views over Zante are best experienced from the top floor and visitors of all ages will find the fossils, butterflies and sea creatures fascinating.
Get acquainted with Zante’s grape varietals
As is often the case on an island, things to do in Zante involved being in, on – or looking at water. Not so at Grampsas Estate winery. Here, you’re focusing on grapes, barrels and tasting notes. The award-winning wines, estate hospitality – and the chance to wander the gardens and vines with the in-house sommelier make for a green and gorgeous break from the irresistible azure tones of the sea. Your wine tasting does come with the chance to snack on Zante delicacies, but do consider popping back for a seat at their restaurant. The chef has cooked alongside Heston Blumenthal, Joachim Wissler and Gordon Ramsay – picking up some Michelin level skills along the way.
Dive to Octopus Reef
Turtles are a big deal in Zante. Loggerhead turtles come here to breed and nesting turtles haul up onto the beaches to lay their eggs. All of which means you’re highly likely to see – or swim with a turtle. So why then are we pointing you to Octopus Reef? Well, with all eyes on the turtles, this gem of a dive from Divers Paradise is slipping under the radar. Beginners and experience divers can get a look at an octopus nesting ground. Depths range from 6 – 50m – so there’s plenty to challenge divers with more hours under their PADI dive belt. In the height of summer, lobsters cruise by to scope out the site too.