It may be one of the Greek Island’s best loved destinations, but dig a little deeper underneath the usual tourist trails and resorts, and you can still find Zante’s ancient past. From natural wonders to man-made marvels, any holiday to Zante should include some day trips out to discover some of the island’s best kept secrets.
Tsilivi is top of the list for beach resorts on Zante, but if you want to escape the crowds and find something more tranquil, head along the coast to Gaidaros, or ‘Donkey’ Beach. There really are donkeys in the wide-open spaces behind the beach, and it’ll be just you and a few locals sharing the sand. There may not be the usual touristy facilities, but with natural beauty like this, who needs noisy fun fairs and waltzers?
The Blue Caves
This stunning natural cave system is a must see. Head over to the west coast of the island and the Blue Caves, or ‘Blue Caves of Volimes village’ will take your breath away. The white chalk reflects the startling blue colour of the water, turning the caves blue as well. The best way to get to them and to see this natural wonder at its best is to hire a boat.
The Venetians had a lot of influence in the Greek islands for centuries, and you can see this at the Venetian Castle on the top of Bohali hill. The current fortress was built in the 17th century, although there have been churches and important buildings on this site for thousands of years. It’s a peaceful, tranquil spot that lets you glimpse at Zante’s hidden past.
It might be the best-known beach in Zante, but Navagio or ‘Shipwreck’ Beach is only accessible by boat, making it a real hidden gem. It’s well worth a detour, and you can hop on board a day trip from Porto Vromi, or the Agios Nikolaos in Volimes village.
Monastery of Saint George at Gremna
This charming little monastery is filled with stunning artwork and gorgeous statues, and is also an incredibly peaceful spot to escape the crowds. The original monastery was destroyed by pirates in 1553, but was rebuilt in the 1600s. Today it welcomes visitors all year round.