No holiday in Zakynthos, Zante, in the Greek Islands, should be complete without exploring the delightful region and Zante beaches in the far North of Zakynthos.
As you drive over the hill from Alykes, you will enter the spectacular region of the Far North. Be sure to visit the wonderful region of Skinari in the very far north of Zante. The Potamitis Brothers at lighthouse in Skinari provide the best and most economical boat trips to the Blue Caves and Shipwreck at Navagio Bay.Among other impressive attractions, it is in this region that you will find the stunning blue caves of Zante and the charming fishing village of Micro Nisi. Heading further North in Zante, over the hills from Alykes, the first beach we recommend visiting is the wonderful Zante Sulphur and Collagen Spa Beach at Xigia.
There are two beaches in this region of Zante, and both are known as Xigia. The first Xigia beach you arrive at on the road north has a long stairway down to the beach below.
You can't easily see this beach of Xigia from the road, and the walk down is quite a challenge - not for the faint hearted. However, once you reach the beach at the bottom you are sure to enjoy your stay. The crystal waters and completely tranquil atmosphere is a unique break from the busier tourist spots. This is the perfect place if you are looking for a day of completely natural relaxation.
Xigia Sulphur and Collagen Spa Beach in North of Zante, Zakynthos
The next Zante beach of Xigia, on the road north is just a couple of minutes further north. This second Xigia really is an extraordinary beach, one of our favourite spots on the island. It is this beach that is known as the Xigia Sulphur Springs and Collagen Spa because of the unique mineral waters pouring down from the mountains above.
A canteen and free parking area at the top of the the Xigia Spa beach makes access to the bay easy. The walk down to the beach below is rather steep, but only a minute or two to the bottom. The view of the beach from the canteen above is quite spectacular. The bright turquoise waters, white pebble sand and stark cliffs make this a really picturesque spot.
Sulphur spring waters at Xigia Spa beach flow down from the mountains into the sea caves at Xigia Spa beach.
From above the beach you can clearly see the white collagen flowing into the sea from the caves. These natural spring waters mix with the sea water here, making the water highly therapeutic and extremely relaxing. The spring water is particularly rich in collagen and very good for rheumatism, arthritis, and skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Along with the medicinal benefits, the beach itself at Xigia Spa is an absolute delight. Just a few palm umbrellas and sun beds provide a place to shelter from the sun and give the beach a distinctly tropical feel. To add to the fun, the family run canteen at the top of the cliff offers snacks and refreshments which are wheeled down to the beach in a whicker basket from the canteen above.
The Xigia Spa Beach is a really unique and memorable experience and should not be missed during your stay here on the island of Zante.
Makris Gialos Beach in the Far North of Zante, Zakynthos
Driving a few kilometers further North in Zante, Zakynthos along the main road from Xigia Spa, you will come to the charming pebble beach of Makris Gialos. The beach at Makris Gialos is particularly pretty and quite unique in Zakynthos. The water here often takes on a green hue, reflecting on the lush vegetation surrounding the beach.
There is a small snack bar over the road from Makris Gialos beach, where you can find light lunch supplies and drinks to enjoy during the day. Just up the hill, the Pilarinos Camping Taverna provides a great place for lunch in the heat of the day. The Taverna boasts beautiful views over Makris Gialos beach and the sparkling Ionian Sea.
Micro Nisi Beach in the Far North of Zante, Zakynthos
If you are staying in the Far North region of Zante, or just exploring for the day, we recommend that you visit the charming fishing village of Micro Nisi. As you enter the village you will instantly get the feeling that time has stood still here. This small seaside village, bathed in geraniums and dotted with colourful urns, is packed full of traditional Greek island charm.
The Micro Nisi village in Zakynthos is steeped in history and the quaint water tower, overlooking the sea at the edge of the village, dates back to the seventeenth century.
The Fish Restaurant at Micro Nisi provides a welcome retreat in the heat of the day. Right on the edge of the sea, you can choose from a selection of Greek seafood and starters – this really is wholesome Zakynthian nutrition at its very best. Many of the fish on the menu here are caught by local fishermen and are fresh from the sea that very morning. You dont get much fresher than that!
St Nicholas Port Beach in the Far North of Zante, Zakynthos
The port of St Nicholas is the largest marina in the North of Zante. From Saint Nicholas there is a daily summer ferry connection with the nearby island of Keffalonia, the neighbouring island most famous for being the wartime setting of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
This charming port boasts a quaint fishing tavernas and a small pebble beach where you can sit and watch the boats roll in.
Skinari and the Blue Caves in the Far North of Zante, Zakynthos
At the northern-most tip of Zakynthos lies one of the islands hidden treasures, the Skinari windmills and lighthouse. This area is characterized by steep, ragged cliffs and sparkling deep blue waters. This stunning natural environment is enhanced by the quaint and idyllic lighthouse and windmills set within the dramatic scenery.
From Skinari, The Potamitis Brothers operate the best boat trips, at the best prices, to the Blue Caves and Shipwreck Bay.
You can take a combined trip from here to enjoy both the Blue Caves and Shipwreck – two of the most famous things to see here in Zakynthos. Alternatively, you can also take single trips to either the Blue Caves or Shipwreck from Skinari - depending on your schedule.
While you are in the Skinari area be sure to visit the Windmills as they are really enchanting to explore.
The two windmills, one blue and white, the other traditional stone, have now been renovated to provide accommodation. Spending the night in the windmills here is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The windmill cafe sits at the cliff edge in Skinari and offers a number of refreshments, always welcomed after a drive to the far north. We always enjoy a Greek yoghurt and honey here at the cafe – all of the ingredients are from the local area and taste just divine.
Leading down from the windmill cafe is a set of winding stairs, marked with a sign promising ‘The most amazing swim in your life’.
At the bottom of the winding steps, we discovered that you can dive into the deep sapphire waters and swim to the left for about fifty meters where you’ll spot a small narrow entrance to a sea cave. Swimming in to the cave is an eco-challenge with a difference and an extraordinary experience. Your body actually turns translucent blue while you are swimming in the Blue Caves. This is Zakynthos at its best - an out of this world experience, not to be missed!