Where to stay, eat and what to do

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If you are looking for a vacation destination that offers the perfect combination of natural beauty and nightlife, put Zakynthos (aka Zante) at the top of your list. As one of the seven main Ionian islands of Greece, Zakynthos is an ideal scream all summer long, with the hot season lasting from June to September.

And, yes, when you think of Zante, you Most likely think of post-A Level parties and hungover days spent sleeping on lounge chairs. The mile-long party strip of Laganas (the Zante you think of) has absorbed the reputation of the whole island. But there’s so much more the real Zakynthos has to offer, from perfectly sculpted caves in crystal clear water, to hiking trails and surprising greenery, to the arrival of a number of luxury hotels.

Need inspiration for your trip? Here’s our guide to a stay in Zakynthos, including where to check in, where to try the best Greek cuisine, and what activities to fill your itinerary.

WHERE WE STAYED

Lesante Blu

First, we headed to Lesante Blu located in the picturesque village of Tragaki Zakynthos. This is an adults-only hotel, making it an ideal option for a relaxing trip full of rest and relaxation. As its name suggests, Lesante Blu is surrounded by magnificent sea views from every angle, overlooking a secluded private beach.

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I stayed in one of the double suites with huge sliding doors facing the ocean – that is, the perfect view to wake up to. Other suites come with their own private pool (good morning, morning swim), while the hotel’s main infinity pool is super luxurious.

If you fancy a swim in the sea, there’s also a private beach, while you can relax over mealtimes in one of the hotel’s six restaurants and bars (more info on those below).

Lesante Blu suites start at €182 per night (member rate) and €203 per night for non-members. For more information and to book, head here.

Cape Lesante

Then we took a short drive to the sister hotel Cape Lesante in the village of Akrotiri. I stayed in one of the signature suites with garden view and private pool – which was beautifully spacious and relaxing. Decorated in neutral tones from floor to ceiling with wood and wicker details, I still dream of the whole setup (besides mentally modeling my future home around the bohemian beach house aesthetic) .

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My private pool overlooked the on-site vineyards of Lesante Cape – perfect for a lovely couples getaway or a trip with your bestie to totally relax and switch off. Other rooms offer sea views instead (honestly, how do you choose?), while private villas are also available if you want to travel with family or a larger group.

I spent a relaxing afternoon swimming in the hillside pool at Lesante Cape overlooking the ocean and the neighboring island of Kefalonia, pausing to relax in one of the hammocks or beds floating pools. The rest of the hotel is laid out almost like its own Greek village, with a tavern, a small church and even a museum.

As if sunbathing weren’t enough to recharge your batteries, you can optimize your moments of relaxation at the hotel’s Armonia spa. There’s an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, and fitness center, plus a full menu of treatments. I opted for a full body massage and body scrub, and that was enough to (literally) put me to sleep.

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    You can book a stay at Cap Lesante from €217 per night (member rate) and €240 for non-members. head here to book and for more information.

    WHAT WE HAVE DONE

    Shipwreck Beach and Blue Caves

    Zakynthos is famous for its Blue Caves, and seeing them up close is a real treat. Think turquoise waters and postcard-worthy white cliffs. Yes, everything is very dreamy. The crystal clear water is too enticing to resist, and diving in to swim = the ultimate refreshment after a long hard day of, uh, relaxation. We went on a private boat trip from Lesante Blu, with a few small beaches accessible only by boat.

    One place you’ll need to arrive by water is the famous Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, with a real shipwreck still abandoned from the 70s (ask your guide or boat driver to tell you the whole story; it’s a good thing) . The beach can get busy with tourists, so try heading out earlier in the morning for a quieter look.

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    Hike to the village of Keri

    If you like your holiday with a little more activity/relaxation ratio, the green hills of Zakynthos are ideal for a sunny hike and an invigorating break from the beach. The Ionian Islands are decorated with more greenery than other Greek destinations, which means that Zakynthos and Kefalonia are particularly ideal for hiking.

    We mastered 10km in over 30 degree heat (not an easy feat) but worth it for the views once at the top. Moreover, the road between Marathias and Keri Village seems to be one of the best kept secrets in the region; we didn’t spot a living soul throughout our hike, which made the scenery (and our Insta pics) all the more aesthetically pleasing.

    zakynthos travel guide hotels, food and what to do

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    Greek Cooking Class and Coffee Experience

    If you’re like us, a big part of your vacation is of course trying the local cuisine. And while eating out is always a treat, sometimes food really tastes better when you’ve made it yourself. The Lesante Cape chefs gave us a hands-on cooking lesson, where we found ourselves doing all the classics: think Greek salads, tzatziki and rolling our own dough for an authentic Spanakopita.

    Plus, while the on-site vineyards at Cap Lesante are still quite young, future guests can also start making their own wine (old-fashioned barefoot grape crushing included).

    For coffee lovers, Lesante Cape has also offered a Greek coffee tasting experience – a must if you want to replace your usual flat white.

    Night life

    If you do want to experience the world-famous nightlife of Zante, you will of course want to head to Laganas. We skipped a visit this time, but the mile-long strip that runs along the south-east coast of the island has around 50 bars and clubs – ideal for a group holiday or a post-exam celebration.

    WHERE WE EAT

    Nobelos, cove of Agios Nikolaos

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    Moussaka, tzatziki and everything seafood imaginable. For authentic Greek dishes, head to the organic restaurant and beachfront lodge, Nobelos. Located close to the Blue Caves in Agios Nikolaos Cove, we got off our boat straight onto the beach and were seated at our table faster than you can say ‘souvlaki’.

    With tables dotted among dozens of trees, it’s the perfect place to shelter from the midday sun. Sitting in a welcome shaded spot watching the waves lapping on the shore, we got stuck into a range of authentic Greek food and wine before getting back on our boat.

    Restaurant Ostria in Lesante Blu

    The best thing about staying in a hotel is that you don’t even have to leave the premises to find delicious food. While staying at Lesante Blu, we tried the on-site Ostria Restaurant located right by the pool. Seafood and fresh fish = delicious.

    Novita Restaurant and Fiore Fine Dining at Cap Lesante

    The same rules apply at Cap Lesante, with several restaurants available. We ate at the on-site Novita and Fiore restaurants, where we tried the extensive multi-course tasting menu overlooking beautiful sea views. Think seafood, wines and all the desserts. The dream.

    Learn more about Lesante Blu and Cape Lesante.

    Happy holiday booking!

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