The South West region of Zakynthos Island is one of the most popular places for tourists to stay during their Greek Island holiday in Zante. Within this area are the popular resorts of Laganas and Kalamaki, both bustling during the peak summer months, as well as the quieter resorts of Agios Sostis, Keri, and Porto Koukla.
The South West of Zante is also home to the spectacular Marathonisi Island - more commonly known as Turtle Island.
Kalamaki beach, Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
The popular Zante beach of Kalamaki is one of the longest beaches in Zante, stretching from Crystal beach right down to Laganas. The fine golden sand of Kalamaki beach makes it a popular spot for tourists during the summer, in particular with families on vacation. The rocky cliff, at the far end of Kalamaki beach, at Crystal beach, consists of gypsum, and is a beautiful sight sparkling in the sun.
The beach at Kalamaki has restricted opening times, closed from sunset to sunrise, due to the nesting times of the Caretta Caretta Loggerhead turtles. As the sun goes down all tourists are asked to leave the beach so that the turtles are not disturbed during their nesting process. Zante is the main nesting ground for the Loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean and the South West region of the island is where they most commonly choose to return to lay their eggs. Subsequently, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos take a number of steps, including the opening times of the beaches, to ensure that the protected turtles are as unaffected by tourism as possible.
Laganas beach, Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
The famous Zante beach of Laganas, at approximately nine kilometers in length, is one of the longest beaches in Greece. You will find the busy stretch of Laganas beach just off the main Laganas resort street. Laganas is a favourite holiday spot for young people coming to Greece for fun in the sun.
All along the long sandy beach you will find a wide selection of beach bars, as well as sun beds and umbrellas for hire. From Laganas beach you can also take a number of boat trips. If you want to explore the South West of Zakynthos by boat you can head off from here to the Keri Caves, or Marathonisi Island, or for some turtle spotting of the Caretta Caretta who nest in the summer months in Laganas bay.
Marathonisi Island Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
During your holiday in Zakynthos it is well worth taking a boat trip to the famous Marathonisi ‘Turtle’ Island. This picturesque turtle shaped island lies in the middle of the Bay of Laganas, floating like a turtle in the sparkling seas.
The magical island is about five minutes by boat from the shore of Laganas, Agios Sostis and Porto Koukla. You can visit Turtle island by renting a private boat and sailing over on your own or by taking part in an organized boat trip. There are many trips running daily throughout the summer months and you can often combine a bit of turtle spotting with your trip.
There are two beautiful beaches on Marathonisi. On the front of the island there is a large, sandy beach with a distinctly tropical feel. The white sand is matched beautifully by turquoise, crystal waters. Most would agree that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Zante. Around the side of the island there is also a smaller bay with intriguing sea caves to explore.
Marathonisi island has no inhabitants or buildings as it is one of the major nesting grounds of the Caretta Caretta Turtles and is heavily protected by the National Marine park of Zakynthos. As a result there are no sunbeds or umbrellas on the beaches here and the Marine park ensure that the beach is empty by sunset when the turtles approach to lay their eggs.
While you are relaxing on the beach of Turtle Island you will be able to grab a snack from the quaint little picnic boat that sails around the island keeping everyone refreshed. With everything from watermelon to doughnuts onboard it is an added treat to grab something from the picnic boat while chilling on your very own deserted island.
Agios Sostis Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
There are two beaches within the area of Agios Sostis. The first is a small bay located on Cameo Island. Cameo is an island in front of Agios Sostis harbour. In the evenings the Cameo Beach Club becomes a disco - popular with youth on holiday in Zakynthos.
Around the corner from Cameo Island, the main village of Agios Sostis is a very pretty little resort. Agios Sostis offers a small sandy beach, dotted with sun beds and fabulous tavernas. The beach here looks directly onto Turtle Island and from here you can depart on a turtle spotting trip, rent taxi boats to Marathonisi Island, or even take a trip to the more distant Keri Caves.
Porto Koukla Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
The Zante beach of Porto Koukla is narrow and sandy, with a few rocky patches. Situated directly in the middle of the Laganas gulf, the beach at Porto Koukla provides a wonderful panoramic view of Marathonisi island.
The best place to enjoy Porto Koukla beach is from the Tropics Bar at the Gloria Maris Hotel, situated right on the sea. You can relax on sun beds around the pool, or in the shaded terraces of the tropical gardens.
From the Tropics Bar you can hire a private boat by the hour, or take a variety of boat trips to Marathonisi island, the Keri Caves and head out on boat trips for turtle spotting.
Limni Keri Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
The Zakynthian seaside village of Limni Keri, situated in the south west of Zakynthos, is a charming spot for a holiday or even just to spend the day. A small pebble beach along the village seashore of Limni Keri is lined with restaurants and assorted shops.
The Zante beach at Keri is another popular departure point for boat trips to the Keri Caves and Marathonisi island. There is a great diving center at Limni Keri. From here you can try a supervised deep sea dive, with a great diving boat excursion to the Keri Caves.>/br> The small harbour at Keri is an extremely pretty spot, with charming little benches where you can sit and watch the boats rolling in.
Marathias Zante South West Coast Zakynthos
Just beyond the village of Limni Keri, up a rather bumpy road, you will arrive at the Marathias coastline. There are a number of places to swim at Marathias and the area is largely untouched by tourism. You can stop and jump from the rocks into the crystal sea, or you can walk down a steep path to the main beach where there are a few sun beds and kayaks for rent. The isolated and unspoilt beach at Marathias is ideal for sunbathing and snorkelling.
The water around Marathias is a mixture of salt sea water and natural spring water which means that the swimming here is particularly cool and clear - perfect for a hot summers day in Zante.
Even during the busiest month of August, it is rarely crowded here. This is a great place for total relaxation, especially if you feel the need to get away from it all. There are no beach bars or commercial development on these beaches, although the region above the beach has one or two great tavernas if you fancy a traditional Greek meal or snack during your day in the region.