Vassilikos is a village found at the bottom of the Skopos hill, on the island of Zante. This peaceful place is located in one of the most unspoilt corners of the island. The main attractions of this area are the many stretches of beaches surrounding the scattered village, giving you a real taste of island living.
There is plenty of wildlife to spot around Vassilikos. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is dedicated to preserving the marine life around the extended area of Laganas Bay. Many of the beaches across Zante and near to Vasilikos are known as nesting sites for loggerhead turtles, known locally as Caretta-Caretta. As they lay their eggs in the sandy beaches, many beaches are monitored and protected to allow the baby turtles to safely hatch and make their way to the very clear waters of the ocean.
The island’s temperate climate means that the weather is regularly warm all year round, with most of the rainfall reserved for the winter months. It is also a short distance from Zante Town and the airport.
This lovely, clean beach is near to many of the hotels is well-liked due to its warm waters that gently shelve into the sea. On a daily basis you are likely to see people taking advantage of the clear waters for snorkelling. There are plenty of bars nearby, which makes this beach an easy day out for families who are looking for a safe beach that isn’t too far away.
Set a little further from the hotels, but still the most popular beach in the area, Banana Beach provides plenty of fun. From water sports to parasailing, the beach takes advantage of the higher winds that naturally pass through the waters here to offer activities bound to satisfy your inner adrenaline junkie. For those more inclined to simply lie back and relax, there are plenty of sunbeds available to rent on what is the largest beach in Zante.
More secluded than Vasilikos and Banana Beaches, Gerakas is closer to what a natural beach should be. This means that much of the beach may be cordoned off due to turtle nesting at certain times of the year. There are also no restaurants or bars, although you can rent a sunbed. However, this all means that Gerakas beach is frequently a more peaceful alternative to the noisier beaches of the neighbourhood.
Being surrounded by the Ionian Sea means that it’s easy to take a boat trip. The uninhabited isle of Marathonisi is home only to a small church and the sea turtles, making it a beautiful and well-preserved landscape to explore.
Other popular boat trips include the Keri caves, which are small openings in the bright white cliff face, and the Blue Caves, which are named after the pretty blue reflections of the water onto the cave ceilings.
Those seeking a little more adventure can sail out to the Smuggler’s Cove, also known as Navagio Beach. It is also nicknamed Shipwreck after a freight ship ran aground in a storm in 1980, apparently after being chased by the Greek Navy. The boat was abandoned to rust half buried in the sand. Now, the distinctive ship is one of the island’s best known tourist attractions and one of the most photographed sites in the whole of Greece. If you make the trip out there, be sure to bring enough supplies, as there are no facilities available in the private cove.
Zakynthos Turtle Rescue Centre
Those who have been enchanted by the nests which populate many of the beaches around Vassilikos may wish to visit the Zakynthos Turtle Rescue Centre. Here you can learn about the turtle’s habitat and the risks they face from nesting on the beach. If any turtles struggle on their journey to the ocean due to bad weather or injury, they may be rescued and brought here until it is safe for them to depart back to the wild. However, be prepared to visit for educational purposes, as if the turtles are healthy and happy out in the ocean, the tanks reserved for them will be empty.
With plenty of tavernas around the area, you don’t have to wander far to enjoy the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The food of Zante is particularly aromatic, with fresh herbs thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano.