Secrets Of Zakynthos
This year I headed back to North Zakynthos for the third year running. As much as I love to explore as much of the world as possible, and am continually striving to tick off my bucket list, there are some places in the world I can’t help but want to return to, New York, The Cotswolds, Val D’Isere are all places I want to go home to time and time again, and North Zakynthos has fast become another place on that list.
The North of the island is home to not just my favourite Peligoni club, but also beautiful untouched coves, the bluest water you could ever imagine and some of the most wonderful sunsets you’ll ever see.
A few years back I shared my chance discovery of the incredible secret beach, which I managed to find again this year much to my delight, but I also got the chance to explore a few more areas of the Island and got to explore more by sea too (a must for secret beach discovery and cave swimming). So I thought i’d share a few of these spots with you today, incase you’re looking to visit Zakynthos any time too.
The secret beach isn’t a new one I know, but I couldn’t share a post about the North Zakynthos and not remind you of this beautiful place. The first time I visited it was pure chance, a total accident on a trip home from the shipwreck, a wrong turn that turned into pure magic. The cove stole my heart, so secluded, so beautiful and just so so blue. It’s a tricksy drive down the one way track from near Volimes (it’s a little road as you approach Volimes right by the Graveyard), and the rocky dead end is one to watch on your car, but once you’re parked and climbing down those rocks to the water, there’s truly nothing like it.
I highly recommend swimming across to the beach, it’s the only way to access it, and once you’re there looking out, it’s like something from The Beach.
This trip we also visited Porto Vromi, stopping for a greek salad and grilled prawns at the top of the hill, with views across the bay, before taking the long winding road down into Porto Vromi beach.
What was only a few years ago empty and almost entirely untouched, it’s beauty has since attracted a few more visitors and boat tours, but it’s still worth a visit and a dip. Porto Vromi isn’t much more than a little beach and boat port, with a few sun loungers and brollies to decorate its white sands. The two little huts on the hill are so charming and really encapsulate the local feel so much of North Zakynthos has.
The Shipwreck is one of Zakynthos’s most visited areas, and the views from the top of the cliffs over the shipwreck in Navagio beach are quite something. But truth be told, it’s less the shipwreck and more the crystal clear blue waters that steal the show. The view over the beach, the white cliffs and the aqua blue water is spectacular – and definitely worth the hike to the furthest viewing point to see. If you have vertigo it’s definitely not one for you, the lack of safety precautions and the sheer drop takes your breath away, but it’s definitely a site to behold.
I highly recommend avoiding a visit at peak daytime or on a tourist bus. Instead hire a car and pop along at 430pm and you’ll get the place (almost) to yourself and it’ll be far more enjoyable than the midday heat and mass of coaches that swarm the tiny area.
There are lots of tours to the blue caves and Navagio beach, but if you can, opting for a small, locally run, private boat is your best port of call. We were lucky enough that the owners of the villa we stayed in had a fab boat, and offered to take us around to see the sites by sea – it meant we didn’t have to wait for hoards of people or share the boat with others, we just got to explore the bits we wanted and stop and dive in as many times as we wanted (a lot). The blue seas from the cliffs of shipwreck bay were just as magical when you were down swimming in them, and the blue caves were also beautiful, especially those smaller ones which are just big enough for a couple of you to swim into. With the reflecting sun, white sand bottom, and crystal clear water, it’s really incredible.
I’d highly recommend hiring a boat and using it to not only see the shipwreck and blue caves, but also to stop off at a few of the many secret beaches that you can only access by boat.
AGIOS NIKOLAOS & KORITHI
Agios Nikolaos is the area of North Zakynthos where we’ve spent most of our trips, with our Villa this year just around the corner in Korithi, and the Peligoni and a few of our favourite restaurants being based in the Agios Nikolaos bay area (Sophias Art Cafe, Nobelos & the little fishermans restaurant tucked in around the far east corner of the port).
By day the port and beach front rivals some of the white sands and blue seas of Palawan, a high claim but the pictures above could easily be mistaken for a few of my shots taken in the Philippines, and by night its the most magical spot to sit and watch the pink skies set over the sea.
MIKRO NISI BEACH & XIGIA
Mikro Nisi and Xigia have always been parts of the island we’ve driven past on route from the airport to the Peligoni club, but this year have made the effort to visit for dinner and an afternoon dip. Mikro Nisi is a fab little beach with yet more blue seas and a pebble beach. It’s a great spot to stop for an afternoon dip and drink, or if you’re big into cycling a rest break on a trip around the whole Island.
We visited Xigia for dinner twice during our trip this time around, the food at the Taverna on the top of the hill was fantastic, and only seconded by the incredible views over the east of the Island, it made for a perfect sunset watching spot.
North Zakynthos truly is so beautiful and has so many magical coves, beaches, ports and villages to discover. There’s nothing big, developed or commercial about the area and that’s what makes me love it so much, that local charm and Greek magic.