10 Reasons You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

10 Reasons You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

The first time I visited Greece, I did what just about every other tourist to Greece does. I went to Santorini. And Santorini was beautiful, but how I wish someone had told me about Zakynthos (also called Zante), one of the Ionian islands. There really is no place in the world like it.

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

A lush green island with clear turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and towering limestone cliffs. Zakynthos really does have it all and caused me to love Greece all that much more. Here are my reasons to choose Zakynthos over Santorini.

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

10 Reasons You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

1. The Greek Hospitality Prevails Here

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

I have visited a lot of Greek islands, but it was in Zakynthos where Spiros, the owner of the lovely Villa Contessa made me a cup of traditional Greek coffee before showing me my room. Not only that, he sat and chatted with me, and told me a little about the island. It was during that first impression that I realized there was something a little different about Zakynthos. Here, time moved slower. People seemed to enjoy life a little more. It was one of those places where the word “hurry” has lost all meaning, and I felt myself slipping into the present moment a little deeper.

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

2. The Views Are More Affordable

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

Yes, I admit the views on Santorini are absolutely magnificent, but they will also cost you. A room with a view on Santorini will cost well over 100 Euro. My room with an ocean view at the Villa Contessa was just under 45 Euro a night. I loved watching the blue sea change colors each day and having my own private balcony to enjoy the view all to myself.

3. Incredible Local Food With High Quality Ingredients

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

The local olive oil is considered to be some of the best in all of Greece. Most of the tavernas are all family-run, and you will find many traditional foods in Zakynthos which you won’t find in the rest of Greece. Don’t miss the stuffed rabbit cooked in wine or stifado (veal with onions and tomato sauce). And of course, make sure to eat octopus every chance you get. The Greeks do it the best, and while all of Greece has food to swoon over, Zakynthos has an extra something special.

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

Also, make sure to go into the local markets and buy some of the local produce. My favorite breakfast was the thick Greek yogurt served with lashings of syrupy thyme honey and an entire pail of apricots that were perfectly ripe. They were the best apricots of my life, and a breakfast like this is only possible in Greece. (Trust me, American Greek yogurt doesn’t even come close.)

4. The Blue Caves

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

The blue of the water surrounding the Blue Caves is mesmerizing. These caves are a sight you don’t want to miss. To get a closer view make sure you take a tour on a smaller boat or rent your own. The big boats won’t get close enough for you to enjoy the true magic of these caves.

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

5. Turtles

 Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

The Caretta Caretta Turtles or loggerhead turtles are the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world. They are an endangered species, so it’s important to show respect to the turtles and to their environment. They are found at The Bay of Laganas which is the most important breeding ground in the world for this type of turtle.

6. Glorious Beaches

Reasons Why You Should Visit Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

Whether made of stone or sand, the beaches of Zakynthos are absolutely glorious. Gerakas is a long sandy beach that you shouldn’t miss and Agios Nikolaos is great for watersports.

7. Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

I’m sure you’ve seen one of the many pictures of Shipwreck beach from above. Well, from below it’s even more beautiful. It was so beautiful, it actually made me cry. I can’t even describe the color of the water or how it felt to be so small with the towering limestone cliffs above me. Sadly, I took one of those terrible big boat tours to see it and because the boat was so big we were unable to land on the beach the day we visited because of the wind. So, then I cried some more. But just to get to be there, even for a moment, was one of the biggest highlights of my life. It was that breathtaking.

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

8. The Relaxing Pace Of Life

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

You will never feel more relaxed than in a place where it’s not about seeing every site you can see. Instead, it’s about enjoying a two hour lunch, savoring a glass of wine on a pretty beach, enjoying the way the light hits the water. Everything about Zakynthos says, “sit, relax, and stay awhile”….

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

9. 50 Shades Of Blue

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

I’ve never seen more shades of blue than I saw in Zakynthos. I saw shades of blue I didn’t even know existed. And, it was nothing short of magical.

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

10. Less Tourists

 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini

There are far less tourists on Zakynthos than in Santorini. Here, it’s possible to have an entire cave to yourself to snorkel in and it’s even possible to find a few secluded beaches.

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 Reasons Why You Should Go To Zakynthos Instead Of Santorini