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About Zakinthos

Call it Zakinthos or Zante, this most southerly of the Ionian chain is still one of the most ruggedly beautiful of all the Greek islands. Springs run down from the mountains in the north to the lush green valleys below and the flat plains in the south feed an abundance of wildflowers which add even more colour to the landscape.

There are also lovely sandy beaches tucked away in hidden coves, some only reachable by boat. Others are used by the endangered Loggerhead sea turtles as their main nesting areas. The main town and cruise port, Zakinthos, is typically Greek with blindingly white houses and bar after bar along the harbourfront. It was destroyed by an earthquake 50 years ago and, although it has a couple of good museums (including one on Greek literature), you have to travel inland to find historic sites such as the Venetian fortress thought to have been built within the walls of a long-gone acropolis. Argassi and Tsilivi, the most popular beach resorts, are each just three miles away from the port.

 

 

Shore excursions in Zakinthos

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Anafonitria Monastery and Handicrafts

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4 hours

Combine a visit to the Monastery of Anafonitria with some shopping in the village of Volimes.

Sit back, relax and admire the magnificent scenery as you head up into the hills towards the quaint village and suburb of Bokhali. Located under the Venetian Fortress, Bokhali offers breathtaking views over Zakinthos Town and its surrounding areas.

Continue to the traditional village of Anafonitria, with its charming old houses, white washed walls and local stores selling their produce on the streets, giving you a real taste of untouched Greece.

Visit the Monastery of Anafonitria dedicated to the Virgin Mary and built on the spot where locals found the icon of the Madonna bearing her child. Legend has it, that the icon was emitting a flickering light, as if it was crying out to be found. From this Anafonitria, meaning ‘she who cries out’, takes its name. The Monastery was recently renovated and uncovered many impressive 15th century frescos.

The town of Volimes can be found in the mountainous part of Zakinthos and is famous for its local handicrafts. Enjoy some free time to explore the village on foot and browse the shops, which are full of local handicrafts and products such as rugs, embroideries, pure honey and olive oil.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot and involves approximately 2 hours of walking over uneven surfaces with some inclines. Respectful attire must be worn while visiting the Church. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes are recommended.

Beach Break

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Zakinthos has become famous as a resort that attracts the multitudes of its visitors to its beautiful beaches and coastline.

Relax as your escorted transfer takes you from the port and capital of Zakinthos through lush and verdant countryside to Aghios Nikolaos Beach.

There you will have three hours to sit back and enjoy this beautiful setting. This golden beach is the ideal place to swim in the crystal-clear waters and pay homage to the sun and sea. If you wish, you may hire beach-beds and umbrellas to further relax and there are beach bars on hand if you would like to purchase refreshments.

At a designated time, the coach and escort will be waiting for you to bring you back to Zakinthos Town and the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. This tour is weather dependent and may be cancelled at short notice. Please remember to bring sun protection, a hat, a towel and some euros. Sun-beds and umbrellas can be hired and are payable locally. The approximate cost for two sun-beds and an umbrella is 10 euros. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that may offer watersports. These are provided by parties unconnected to P&O Cruises. This tour only operates in the summer months from June to September.

Blue Caves and Shipwreck

Activity low

Duration: 5 hours

Shipwreck Cove is the world renowned postcard image of Zakinthos, accessible only by sea, it is an endearing sight.

Your scenic drive will take you to the northern side of the island to the little harbour of Vromi. From here, your boat will cruise up to the Blue Caves, where you can marvel at the arches created by erosion over thousands of years and capture the amazing sight of the water reflecting a dazzling aquamarine and turquoise from the sea floor.

From the Blue Caves, your boat ride continues to the highlight of the tour, one of the most photographed locations, not only in Zakinthos but the whole of Greece, known as Shipwreck Cove. This famous cove is hidden by imposing cliffs and is home to a shipwreck half buried on the beach. With crystal clear waters lapping on the beach it a striking image that will stay with you forever.

Take time to dip into those inviting waters and swim up to the beach. After a refreshing swim, cruise back to Vromi and the awaiting coaches to return to the port of Zakinthos.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and motor-boat. There is a fairly steep slope to negotiate to and from the boats. It is advisable to have a hearty breakfast and to take a bottle of water. At the boat pier there is a small canteen selling water and soft drinks, and local currency will be required for purchases. This tour is weather dependent and may be cancelled at short notice. The beach at Shipwreck Cove consists of small, white pebbles. Please remember to wear swimwear and take sun protection. In order to swim you will have to use the boat’s ladder and swim or wade ashore as the boat cannot get into shallow water. There is a drive of 1 hour to and from the port. This tour generally operates in the summer months from June to September.

Zakinthos Highlights

Activity mediumRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 3½ hours

This scenic tour takes you through the Ionian countryside, from charming Zakinthos town to the views from Bokhali.

St Dionysios Church is dedicated to Saint Dionysios, the patron saint and protector of the island whose body is held in the Church. It is the largest and most important church on the island and is located along the seashore of Zakinthos.

Macherado is the location of a rare and unique ceramic workshop, where an artist will take you through the traditional ways of making the ceramics.

Located just under the Venetian fortress is Bokhali, which offers incredible views of Zakinthos Town. During a photo stop, try a piece of ‘Mandolato’, the Zakinthian sweet.

The seaside resort of Tsilivi is the perfect place to do some shopping. Alternatively, you can bask in the sun on Tsilivi’s sandy beaches or swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea. Relax here for approximately 40 minutes, during which you can enjoy a refreshing soft drink, tea or coffee and cookies at a local hotel.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The resort of Tsilivi is out of season during the months of October through to May and will be replaced with a stop at Zakinthos Town. Shoulders and knees must be covered at the Church of Saint Dionysios and shorts are not permitted to be worn. Cameras and video cameras are not permitted in the Church. Walking is over some uneven ground and there a number of steps at the workshop. Passengers are reminded to wear swimwear, take a towel and sunscreen. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that may offer watersports. These are provided by parties unconnected to P&O Cruises.

Zakinthos Olives and Wine

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 4½ hours

Enjoy a guided walking tour of Zakinthos Town and taste some locally produced olives and wine.

Join your guide as you head towards Solomos Square to embark on a guided walking tour of Zakinthos Town. A statue at the square commemorates Dionysios Solomos, the poet who composed the ‘Hymn of Freedom’, that later became the Greek National Anthem. The square is surrounded by imposing buildings with arched windows, pillars and archways. These include the Byzantine Museum, St Nicholas Church and the Cultural Centre of Zakinthos.

Continue to the historic St Mark Square, famously linked to the island’s struggle for independence. It is here where the ‘populari’ (people of the island) gathered with wild enthusiasm to burn the Libro d’Oro (Book of Nobility) in 1797.

Travel to Bokhali and see how the ramparts of the old Venetian fortress tower above the village, which in turn overlooks Zakinthos Town, offering stunning views.

Next, you’ll head to Lithakia to visit an olive factory. Enjoy a tour of the factory and see how the famous olive oil from Zakinthos is produced in the winter.

A highlight of your tour will be a visit to one of the island’s wineries to learn how wines were traditionally made and see the new technology being used today. Sample some of the local wines during your visit.

Essential information

This tour involves approximately 3 hours of walking over uneven ground with some inclines. Comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended and passengers are reminded to wear a sun hat and take a bottle of water with them. The order of sights may vary.

 

A selection of cruises to Zakinthos

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