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Just off the west coast of mainland Greece, Zante (also known as Zakynthos) is the postcard of Mediterranean holidays. Miles of fine golden sands, clear blue water and some of the best nightlife in Greece, this Ionian Sea island does sunshine getaways right.
From the iconic, cliff-backed Smuggler’s Cove to the long, sheltered stretches along Laganas Bay in the south, pick almost any beach on Zante's coastline and it’s sure to be spectacular. Soft sand and shallow water make its south coast beaches ideal for swimming and sunbathing, while its northeast coast draws in thrill-seeking watersports fans.
Tussling for the spotlight is Zante’s hinterland and, spoiler, it’s worth leaving your sun-lounger for. The Venetians (who ruled here for almost 600 years) called the island the 'Flower of the Levant’; head inland to discover its hidden valleys, olive groves, vineyards and fields filled with wildflowers.
As night falls, ditch the flip flops for fashionwear. Parties here are 24/7 and legendary, making Zante is a favourite with groups of fun-loving young singles. The best nights out are all clustered along the well-developed eastern and south-eastern coasts, particularly at Laganas.
Despite its wild reputation, you’ll find there’s a traditional side to Zante, too. Wherever you stay on the island, it’s easy to track down classic Greek experiences, with plenty of traditional tavernas serving old-fashioned Greek plates such as moussaka and souvlaki, and tiny villages with pretty churches and historical sites.
Itchy feet? Zante is within easy reach of the Greek mainland, so if you want to explore, it's easy to hop on a ferry to discover the sights of the Peloponnese.
Violent crime involving visitors is rare in Zante, but there is some petty crime, including theft from rental cars. Be cautious when riding rented scooters and quad bikes, as accidents do happen. For the most up-to-date travel advice for Greece, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
No, travellers with a full British passport do not need a visa to visit Zante.
Allow at least a week to enjoy Zante's beaches and all the watersports activities and excursions on offer around Zante. A two-week stay gives you time to explore off the beaten track and perhaps take a trip to the nearby Greek mainland to discover ancient temples and medieval castles.
No – Zante has much more to offer than cocktails and clubbing, including family-friendly sandy beaches, bright blue seas, bags of watersports, and gorgeous scenery.
More than 200 inhabited islands draw millions of visitors to Greece each year, yet it's surprisingly easy to escape the crowds... if you know where to look.Read moreabout Secret Greece: How to escape the tourist trail
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