You can fly direct to Zakynthos with charter airlines from airports across the UK as well as continental Europe. British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair also fly direct and there are daily connecting flights from Athens should you wish to spend a few nights there first. If you are arriving by car the ferries from the mainland port of Killini are cheap and plentiful, normally running from approx. 6am to 10pm, with the crossing lasting around 75 minutes. In the summer months there is also a direct ferry service from Italy, in addition to frequent services to Patras, which is only a one hour drive from Killini.
Zakynthos is the most southerly of the Ionian chain, 14km off the coast of the Peleponnese. Famed for its beauty Edward Lear painted a number of watercolours here on his travels through Greece, and Zakynthos was also christened Fior di Levante, or the “Flower of the Levante” by Edgar Allen Poe when he visited in 1837. Zakynthos differs from most of the rest of Greece in two important ways. Firstly, rather than having been occupied by the Turks for 400 years, the Venetians were the occupying power until 1797, when in short succession the French, Russians and then the Turks briefly seized control, before the British finally ruled from 1814 until 1864, when the Ionian Islands joined the Greek nation. Secondly, it’s a green island with a very high rainfall in the winter meaning that there is plentiful water – the water supply for Psarou comes from its own well. The main historical sights on the island are the Venetian Fort positioned above Zakynthos town, the local museum on Solomos Square (famous for its religious icons) and a small group of Mycanean tombs in the north of the island.
Malanos – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189462-d3193368-Reviews-Malanos-Zakynthos_Ionian_Islands.html – just off the road from Zakynthos town to Argassi this is a Zakynthian institution which has been open for decades serving traditional Greek dishes.
Stathmos – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1429598-d5598145-Reviews-Stathmos-Zakynthos_Town_Zakynthos_Ionian_Islands.html – another great traditional Greek taverna, this time in the centre of Zakynthos town, which used to be the main bus station, and now serves wonderful food.
To Kantouni – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1429598-d5426855-Reviews-To_Kantouni-Zakynthos_Town_Zakynthos_Ionian_Islands.html – probably the best Greek food on the island, but they’re only open for lunch until about 5pm and the later you leave it the more will have sold out!
Komis – https://komis-tavern.gr/ – we’ve known this place since it was just a hut for the local fishermen. Now much changed, but still owned by Yiannis, it’s a very smart restaurant serving brilliant fish, but be warned it is expensive.
Lofos – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1075566-d739527-Reviews-Lofos-Meso_Gerakari_Zakynthos_Ionian_Islands.html – we’ve know the family who run this place since we first came to Zakynthos. They’re lovely people, the pizzas are brilliant and the oft touted claimed to have the best view on the island is actually true in this case. Only a few minutes drive up the hill from the house.
To Stavrodromi – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1429599-d8533500-Reviews-To_Stavrodromi-Kypseli_Zakynthos_Ionian_Islands.html – this time just a few minutes down the hill, and opposite the local supermarket, you’ll find our local grill house. Great for kids as they have a huge inflatable slide in the garden.
To Steki – https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g1429598-d14949207-Reviews-To_Steki_Tis_Gefsis-Zakynthos_Town_Zakynthos_Ionian_Islands.html – another very good, and very reasonably priced grill house on one of the roads into town.
Taverna Psarou – http://www.shorturl.at/epES6 – this is our local on Psarou beach, open all day with wonderful views of the sunset.
Mikro Nisi – http://www.mikronisi.com/ – about a 30 minute drive north you’ll find this lovely little restaurant on the coast, serving food in a beautiful spot. Whilst we’ve never used their boat rental service, you could easily use this as a stopping off point on the way the famous smugglers cove.
There are plenty of places to drink in nearby Tsilivi, Planes, Alykes or Alykanas, but if you want to go to where the Greeks like to hit the town we recommend the following…..
Base – http://basecafe.gr/ – many, many years ago this used to be one of the best restaurants on the island, now it’s one of the best bars
Movida – https://movida.gr/ – whilst this is also a restaurant I’ve only ever drunk here. Situated on the hill behind Zakynthos Town, and adjacent to the Venetian Fort, the views over the harbour are stunning.
And finally, if you would just like a cold beer near the house pop in to Armonia – http://armoniahotel.gr/ – the restaurant is sadly no more, but Saki keeps the simple bar attached to his hotel open until late and his beers are ice cold.