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Zakynthos in Greece has a reputation for having vibrant blue waters and an impressive landscape with high cliffs and caves. Most people think that Shipwreck Beach is what this destination is the most famous for, but those who love the ocean and its creatures know that Zante is an important nesting site for the endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles. Every year, hundreds of them lay their eggs at the southern beaches between May and August when you can easily see them while snorkeling in Zakynthos. To swim with these wonderful creatures and explore how interesting underwater landscape this Greek island offers, here are the best spots to visit!
This large sandy beach in the busiest resort area of the island is not only a popular spot for different types of watersports, but it is also the main area where loggerhead turtles come to lay their eggs, so it is common to see them while swimming here.
The water is shallow and really warm in summer, making it feel like you’re spending time in bathwater. The sandy bottom and excellent visibility offer perfect conditions for snorkeling. There are also several diving schools available if you want to get more experience underwater.
Laganas has to offer something for all types of beachgoers, although it is a tourist hotspot with vibrant nightlife. Therefore, it is not the best ares the stay for families, but couples, solo travelers and visitors who love a lively atmosphere will find it perfect.
Sunbeds are present on the shore for those who want to spend time lounging. With the nearby restaurants, it’s enjoyable to listen to music throughout the day while hanging out, or if you want to stay active, you can visit the nearby Cameo Island where you might see turtles too!
If you are thinking about staying in Laganas, we recommend the Denise Beach Hotel.
Next to Laganas, there is another popular Zakynthos snorkeling spot, Kalamaki Beach that is located in a protected ara. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos was established to preserve the coastal area and creating a safe place where Caretta caretta turtles can nest.
With sand dunes and rich flora, this beach is not only a beautiful place to enjoy the clear waters of the Ionian Sea, but with seagrass meadows and Mediterranean reefs in the water and the possibility of seeing turtles, this is definitely a prime spot to go snorkeling in Zakynthos.
The clean, maintained environment makes it comfortable to visit, while the lack of water sports ensures that Kalamaki is safe for swimming. If you come to the island with small kids and looking for a shallow sandy beach where the whole family can relax, this might be one of the best options.
Should you wish to book your accommodation at Kalamaki, check out Crystal Beach Hotel.
If you seek out a secluded Zakynthos snorkeling beach where there is a high chance to see turtles, make sure to go to Dafni Beach. It is also a nesting ground that is observed by marine biologists. With clear, deeper water, Dafni is perfect for swimming too and it is said that this beach has the warmest sea of the island.
The marine life here is incredibly diverse, so it easy to spend several hours in the water. Dafni is about 30 minutes from Laganas. To get here, you need to drive on the coastal road towards Vasilikos, but the last part is a bumpy dirt track so be careful and drive slowly.
For a relaxing vacation, stay at Tortuga Dafni Bay Villas that offers accommodation right on Dafni Beach!
At the southern tip of the island, Gerakas is a hidden snorkeling beach in Zakynthos with a stunning backdrop. It’s surrounded by lush hills with plenty of vegetation, making it feel like a secret hideaway tucked away from the touristy spots.
Due to the area’s protected status, boat traffic is prohibited here and there are no buildings on the beach to leave the sand free for the turtles to lay their eggs. When walking around, you can see here many marked and wooden frame-protected nests along the shore.
If you want to go snorkeling with turtles in Zakynthos on your own directly from the beach, Gerakas is one of the best places to do it. The calm, clear and shallow water makes it easy to spot them as well as to get a closer look at the different types of fish present.
St. Nicholas Beach
As one of the top Zante snorkeling beaches, St. Nicholas in Vasilikos is the place where young and old will find a lot of water activities available. The main beach area is sandy and shallow offering ideal conditions for kids, while the rocky corner around the small Agios Nikolaos Greek Orthodox Church has very clear water and interesting underwater landscape that offers fantastic snorkeling.
St. Nicholas is perfect for families because it’s easy to get into the water and is extremely clean.
The sand is also soft and doesn’t contain many pebbles. Restaurants are located on the beach serving delicious food and making easy to enjoy good drinks directly on the water. When in Zakynthos, it is a perfect choice to have a comfortable day at the beach!
Marathonisi Turtle Island
If you don’t mind taking a boat to see some of the famous Zakynthos turtles, Marathonisi Turtle Island should be included in your itinerary. This uninhabited islet off the coast of the main island got it’s name because of its turtle shape and because it is also an important nesting site.
Marathonisi features both a sandy and rocky beach where you can relax and explore small coves and caves while snorkeling. There are beaches where you cannot enter because of the presence of nests, but your captain will take you to those spots where it’s allowed to swim. If you arrive in the hatching season (it is from mid-July to the end of October that are the best months to see turtles in Zante) you might see babies being born right on the beach.
You can book a tour to explore and visit Marathonisi Turtle Island at several tour organizers around Zante, but we recommend choosing a smaller boat (ideally a private trip) to get close to the caves and impressive rock formations. Don’t forget to bring your own food because there aren’t any facilities available.
Those who look for a pristine spot to go snorkeling in Zante should visit Plakaki. This remote beach lies far from the busy parts of the island on the west coast.
It is not easy to get to, but those who make the effort to come here can experience wonderful views, fantastic rock formations and incredible blue waters with underwater caves and plenty of fish around.
To reach this unique place, drive to Agalas and follow the signs that will take you to the parking area. To get down to the actual beach it’s a 30 minute hike on a steep, at some points narrow path, so wearing proper shoes is a must.
Make sure to bring enough water and an umbrella or sun tent to create shade. Visiting Plakaki is definitely not for the lighthearted, but it totally worth the extra effort.
Korakonissi is considered the most beautiful part of the island and the best snorkeling in Zakynthos by many. This remote location does not attract a lot of crowds (except in the main season) making it a quiet and serene place where you can feel isolated.
The cliffs and rock formations make it a beautiful place to photograph, while the sea with its beautiful vibrant color and many underwater caves is excellent for snorkeling and freediving. Locals often go spearfishing around the small island on the left where bigger fish can be found in the deeper water.
You can access this beach by taking a long drive on a winding road, which will take you to a small parking lot. There are plenty of caves where you can swim into. If you come in the shoulder seasons, Korakonissi is very quiet, but in the main season it gets busy. A small restaurant is also located nearby where you can take in the views and get some snacks and cool drinks.
Porto Limnionas Beach
As one of the most picturesque Zakynthos snorkeling beaches, Porto Limnionas is a must-to-visit when on the island. It is not a typical beach where you can stretch out on the sand but a beautiful lagoon with transparent, emerald green waters and rocks to sunbathe.
When you jump into the water, you’ll immediately notice that the sea here is colder than at other beaches on the island. The reason for this is that there is an underwater river here coming from a cave.
You cannot swim into that cave (it is not fully explored yet) but there are many caverns and arches to explore. Thanks to the fresh undercurrents, there are always many fish to be seen here, and we even spotted a turtle on the right side of the lagoon!
Porto Limnionas is easy to access from Agios Leon, which is a mountain village. You can drive down on a concrete road until you reach the parking area. It features a tavern and terraces with loungers to ensure visitors have plenty of spots to relax and sunbathe.
Near Porto Limnionas lies one of the island’s most unique properties, the White Rock Cave Villa.
Our favorite Zakynthos snorkeling spot is Filippoi Beach. This place is so remote that not even locals know it, although it is not difficult to get to. It is 15 minutes by car from Volimes and you can drive all the way down on a good quality, panoramic concrete road.
The beach itself is small and rocky, so actually it is good that not many people come here. With crystalline blue waters, magnificent caves and dramatic rock formations, swimming and snorkeling is fantastic here.
Note that you need to climb on rocks to get into the water, so small kids or people with mobility problems won’t enjoy this location, but if you love diving from rocks and exploring caves, you will love Filippoi!
Xigia Sulfur Beach
Xigia Sulfur Beach on the eastern coast is famous for its sulfuric water that is not only healthy for the skin but also an interesting snorkeling spot in Zante. We recommend marking the location on your map because getting here is a bit tricky since the beach is not visible from the road, it is hidden at the bottom of the bay. There are actually two beaches, right next to the coastal road towards Agios Nikolaos.
Both beaches are small and can get busy, but it is worth visiting this location. In the water, cold and warm streams are mixing and you can see white flakes (sulfur that didn’t dissolve completely) that look like it is snowing underwater! Such a unique Zakynthos snorkeling experience!
For bigger families, the nearby Xigia Beach Residence offers excellent accommodation.
When you want to explore mysterious azure waters in Greece, Blue Caves is one of the most serene spots for snorkeling in Zakynthos. This location was originally discovered in 1897 and features remnants of caves. It attracts thousands of visitors each year and stands out for its verdant landscape.
You can get to Blue Caves by boat from the Agios Nikolaos harbor or by car. If you choose the latter option, there is parking next to Potamitis Windmill (that is an apartment house and restaurant) and walk down hundreds of steps to the water while enjoying some of the most fantastic of the island’s coastline. When arriving to the water level, you can swim and relax, or jump from the high platforms that were built here to entertain adrenalin junkies.
Zakynthos snorkeling tours
To explore Zakynthos best snorkeling sites in the most convenient bay, consider joining these boat tours:
Navagio Shipwreck Beach & Blue Caves Tour
If you have limited time on the island but still want to see the most of it, this whole day tour that includes a minibus trip to famous landmarks such as the Bohali panoramic viewpoint, Xygia sulfur beach, the rocky coast of Makris Gialos and Exo Chora’s 2000-year-old olive tree. To level up the day, you will hop on a glass bottom boat to visit the picturesque Navagio Beach and swim in the nearby magical blue caves. The tour lasts approximately 7-8 hours, so it is excellent value for money!
Turtle Spotting Glass-Bottom Boat Cruise
This eco-friendly turtle spotting boat trip departs from Laganas and offers guaranteed turtle sightings since its stops include all the spots in Zakynthos where sea turtles nest and live. You will visit Cameo Islet and Marathonisi Island, which are their natural habitat. If you want to swim with turtles in Zakynthos but are afraid that you won’t find them while snorkeling from shore, this tour is for you! The cruise also visits Keri cave along the island’s southwest coast where you will pass under the island’s famous rock arch!
Private Boat Trip to Turtle Island and the Caves
If you’d like to have an exclusive experience, then look no further than this private tour where your skipper will show you some of Zakynthos’ most beautiful places. After leaving Agios Sostis where the boat departs from, you will be exploring the Laganas Bay National Marine Park and search for Caretta Caretta turtles. To complete the trip, you will be swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters around Keri Caves and Mizithres rocks. This trip is perfect for honeymooners or for anyone searching for an intimate way to explore the island’s top attractions.
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