When we go away for rest and relaxation, there are several items that are on our wishlist. And believe it or not, they’re pretty simple – good weather, food, pretty scenery and plenty to occupy the whole family. After all, when the kids are happy then so are we.
Top Things To Do in Zakynthos
On our recent trip to Zakynthos in Greece, the boxes were ticked off quickly and the one thing that continually took my breath away was the island’s turquoise waters. The exquisite colour of the sea coupled with Zakynthos’ charming qualities meant in only a short space of time, we really did feel like we got to the heart of the island. The sea plays a big part in many activities on Zakynthos, so if you have water babies, then you’re in for a treat. But back on dry land, there are also many other things to see and explore. Here’s a round-up of the MTM’s Top 10 Things To Do in Zakynthos With Kids.
Take a boat trip
From private boat tours to boat excursions there are many ways to explore the azure waters of Zakynthos. While private tours are much more bespoke and less crowded, they’re also very pricey. However, some of the larger boat companies such as the one we went on, don’t overfill their vessels and are proactive in being kinder to the environment. Not only is it worth taking a boat trip to be able to explore the many bays and coves Zakynthos has, but you can also see loggerhead turtles and shipwrecks – the famous being on Navagio Beach which is home to a smuggler’s boat!
There are over 28 beaches in Zakynthos, which stretch across the coastline offering sandy fun, watersports and great views. Our favourites included Banana Beach (read more about the best beaches on the island) which not only has wooden walkways which are brilliant for pushchairs but great facilities including restaurants and luxurious sun loungers. As mentioned above, Navagio is possibly the most famous beach on Zakynthos, but there are so many beautiful spots, it will be impossible not to find one that will delight.
Visit a waterpark
Not that there isn’t enough watery fun in Zakynthos, however, if you’re looking for more thrills and spills then perhaps a day trip to a waterpark will offer just that. There are two waterparks on the island. Water Village in the southeastern part of the Zakynthos has a family tower where you can race one another to see who reaches the bottom first, while there are several children’s areas which are suitable for younger guests. Tsilivi water park which is on the beach of the same name also has countless slides including Turbolance and the Black Hole! There’s even a pirate ship for little ones to play in.
Grab a gyros – or two!
What is essentially a Greek kebab, gyros is traditionally made up of pork, which is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Served in pitta bread with salad and french fries, it really is a quick, tasty meal for the whole family. My boys loved it! And we spent some time sampling them when we were out about – a favourite being Molos in Zakynthos town. It was fresh and delicious and the owner was so welcoming to us.
Go turtle spotting
Zakynthos is home to the largest nesting site of the endangered loggerhead turtles. Via boat or on the beach the chances of seeing them during the months from May-October are high. And while there is still huge debate about whether tourism and protecting these amazing creatures really go hand in hand, I do know that there are many organisations including the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece who is educating visitors to their actions – including us on our boat trip. We specifically chose an eco-friendly tour, not a glass-bottomed boat which confuses turtles below the surface. We even watched over 50 baby turtles hatching and making their way to the sea on Gerakas beach. A magical moment only witnessed by about 15 of us who made it before sunrise that day. This was made even more special because we had taken Monkey to the Turtle Rescue Centre close by, to learn more about them.
Enjoy some culture
Museums may not instantly spring to mind when you think of activities on the Greek island, but Zakynthos is home to a few interesting ones – the Solomos museum which is dedicated to the Greek poet Dionysios Solomos and The Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos which houses art from famous Greek painters including Katouzis and Damaskinos, as well as Byzantine statues and sculptures.
By chance, we also came across the church dedicated to the patron saint of Zakynthos, Agios Dionysios. It preserves the relics of the saint and also has a museum with Christian artefacts. The intricate detailing inside the church is well worth a look.
If you want to discover more about one of the leading political families on the island, visitors can also tour the Roma Mansion, which is one of the very few surviving properties after the 1953 earthquake and subsequent fire which destroyed the town.
Because much of the sea surrounding Zakynthos is protected by the National Marine Park – there is an abundance of great snorkelling hotspots. And with shallow and calm waters at many of the Zakynthos’ beaches, even novice snorkelers like Monkey, can practice and have a go in relative safety. We spent a lot of time snorkelling and trying to spot as many marine life at possible around Vasilikos, where we were staying. There are too many to list but Porto Limnionas, Marathonissi and Plakaki are all known for their fantastic snorkelling, too – and there are plenty of stores selling snorkelling gear if you don’t have any.
Play crazy golf
Perhaps it’s because I played crazy golf a lot during the holidays of my childhood, but it’s impossible for me to walk past a crazy golf course and not have a game. Great fun for the whole family, we’re big fans and in Zakynthos, there are a few. Fantasy Mini Golf in Tsilivi is an epic crazy golf which has 18 holes covering four acres in landscaped gardens with ponds, rivers, waterfalls, fountains and even an erupting volcano! World Tour Mini Golf and Kalamaki Crazy Golf also offer up golfing entertainment, too.
The Blue Caves which lie at the tip of Zakynthos’ peninsular is probably one of the island’s most popular attractions. Discovered by Antonio Komouto in 1897, these magnificent white limestone arches and caves take their name from the reflections of the sun off the sea floor, giving the water its distinctive azure colour – and you can reach them by boat. It’s also a popular diving and snorkelling spot. If you’re looking for a more deep sea diving experience, then Keri Caves are worth a visit, too.
Do you have any other suggestions for top things to do in Zakynthos with kids?