Zakynthos is a fantastic place to go diving, boasting a selection of dive sites and courses to choose from. Highlights include Barracuda Reef, Octopus Reef, Marathia and Arc de Triomphe, famed for resembling its namesake Parisian landmark. As you swim through the arc, look out for beautiful red corals and sponges, as well as morays, large bream, grouper and, often, tuna.
On the south-west coast, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos in the Bay of Laganas was created to protect the endangered Caretta Caretta, or loggerhead sea turtle. It’s one of the largest nesting grounds in the Mediterranean and the turtles are the world’s biggest hard-shelled turtles, weighing up to 160kg. The area is also home to a variety of other flora and fauna, including the exquisite sea daffodil, stunning underwater reefs and the shy Mediterranean monk seal. Don’t miss a wildlife watching boat trip to spot these wonderful creatures swimming in their natural habitats, and find out more by visiting the Thematic Exhibition Centre or join guided eco walks and presentations.
With its plummeting limestone walls, gleaming white-pebble sands and extraordinarily turquoise seas, ‘Shipwreck Beach’ is a celebrated image of Zakynthos and “must-visit” on the island. Also known as ‘Smuggler’s Cove’ or Navagio Bay, the beach is only accessible by boat and day trips are often combined with the Blue Caves and a traditional lunch in a mountain taverna. Relax on the sands and soak up the sun, enjoy a swim, and gape at the famous shipwreck that ran aground in the 1980s. You can also glimpse this spectacular cove from a lookout tower outside the village of Anafonitria – a dizzying experience with breathtaking views.
While tourism is a huge source of income for Zakynthos, many traditional Greek practices are still carried out on the island. In the summer, local fishermen scour the coast for the freshest catches, while the winter months tend to focus on the agricultural industry, particularly the production of olive oil, raisins and grapes. The latter is made into local wines and at the end of August or start of September, the Wine Festival provides a great opportunity to sample various bottles of island grapes, alongside an evening of traditional dancing.
For a glimpse of the island’s history, explore Zakynthos Town’s Byzantine Museum on the main waterfront. Nearly all of the artefacts were rescued by volunteer sailors following the big earthquake of 1953, including exhibits of church interiors, ecclesiastical art and fancy frescoes. Another gem is the Church of St. Dionysios, dedicated to the island patron saint. Located near to the ferry jetty, there are some splendid examples of gilt work and frescoes, as well as a museum filled with religious garments and accessories. Follow this with a short, steep hike out of town up to Kastro, an abandoned Venetian fort atop a hill from which the panoramic views are awe-inspiring.
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Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
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Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance.
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.