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Best known for the towering white cliffs and rusty red shipwreck of Navagio Bay, there's more to Zakynthos (also known as Zante) than the Instagram-famous beach. You can visit the Greek island for quad biking expeditions past olive groves, loggerhead turtle-spotting in the protected National Marine Park of Zakynthos or basking in the sun by crystal-clear water. There are also plenty of towns with bar-lined beaches for a night out, from relaxed cocktails in Agios Nikolaos to all-night parties in club hub Laganas.
Hostels in Zakynthos (Zante) are mostly apartment-style, with kitchenettes where you can create your own mezze feasts. You can also choose from hostels with fuschia-filled gardens and courtyards to chill in. Look out for Zakynthos hostels with pools to dip into – some are even surrounded by palm trees and lush mountains views. You can find hostels with rustic wood-beamed rooms and balconies looking out over the sea too.
The south of Zakynthos is more developed, and this is where you'll find popular towns such as party central Laganas with bars and clubs along the shore. Agios Nikolaos is a tiny taverna-strewn beach village with golden sand; in the summer, it transforms into a lively holiday town. Head to Alykes for a calmer spot with a more traditional feel, especially further away from the beach in the olive groves and vineyards. You can snorkel in the clear waters at Kalamaki, where you might even see loggerhead turtles.
Navagio Bay, where a bright white beach meets brilliant blue water, is usually only accessible by boat. You can get a bird's eye view of it from the surrounding chalk-coloured cliffs. A boat trip is the best way to appreciate Zakynthos' coastline, so sign up to a group tour. You can also book trips to visit the smaller, serene isle of Marathonísi, where the waters are perfect for scuba diving.
Renting a quad bike or scooter is a fun way to get around Zakynthos. You can hire them from bigger towns like Argassi, Zakynthos Town, Kalamaki, Keri and Laganas. Travellers fly into Zakynthos International Airport, 3km outside Zakynthos Town, and you can take a bus or taxi to the various towns from there. Buses also serve much of the island. If you're coming by ferry, you'll arrive at Zakynthos Town's port.