Sailing to the Pirate Caves of Zakynthos

A boat tour is a quintessential part of any trip to Zakynthos. In the summer, it’s an ideal way to escape the scorching heat and explore the island’s highlights – from paradise-like Navagio Shipwreck Beach to the Blue Caves.

Whether you’re a thrill seeker or leaning into pure relaxation and vacation mode, there’s a boat tour for every traveler. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing yours.

The Boat

Whether you’re an island hopper who wants a quick highlight reel of the best beaches, coves, and snorkeling spots or a traveler who’d like to soak up as much as possible about this unique Ionian island, there are a wide variety of top-notch beach and boat tours in Zakynthos to choose from. Some of these are just a few hours long while others are full-day affairs. All of them offer a chance to relax on the water with stunning views of the coast and learn about the culture and history of the region from knowledgeable local guides.

Some excursions include a meal on the beach or at a restaurant in the town of Smugglers Cove as well as a dip in the sea for those who want to cool off and relax after their journey. Depending on the tour you select, you may also take a ride to Marathonisi, a small, uninhabited island that’s home to a tiny church and ringed by steep cliffs that drop off into the ocean.

The lush vegetation of the island is another reason that many visitors love Zakynthos. Scarlet bougainvilleas dangle over whitewashed buildings, and fragrant wild roses add splashes of color to country walks. The fertile soil enables the cultivation of figs, oranges, and grapes in addition to olives and other fruits. Many farmers welcome visitors for discovery tours that showcase how these products are produced.

The Captain

A trip to Zakynthos would not be complete without a boat trip to see the spectacular Shipwreck Beach, also known as Navagio. This evocative site is one of the most popular spots to visit on the island, and for good reason. Its cliff-top backdrop is an epic sight to behold, and the seascape stretches on in every shade of blue imaginable. It’s also home to a natural wonder of its own: the famous “Blue Caves”.

The caves are the result of a series of limestone formations that have carved out a succession of small grottoes and caverns. Their trademark color comes from the way they reflect and capture the limpid sunlight – a striking and beautiful natural phenomenon. It’s recommended to head here at sunrise or sunset to get the best experience.

The rocky island was a hub of maritime activity during the Venetian-Ottoman Wars (known as the Seventh Morean War) that raged between 1714 and 1718. During this time, pirates and corsairs posed a constant threat, forcing the locals to remain vigilant and develop a number of early warning systems. However, despite being constantly threatened by piracy, the island is not widely considered to be a den of pirates. This is due to the fact that the island was home to several prominent mercantile families, including notable Stradioti poets like Dionysios Solomos, and Renaissance surgeon and anatomist Andreas Vesalius.

The Weather

The Ionian Islands are blessed with a warm-summer Mediterranean climate that brings long, sunny days to the region. The lush landscape is a testament to the rich soil, endowing Zante with dense vegetation and a multitude of edible and fragrant crops such as olives, currants, and grapes.

The flora isn’t the only thing that will delight your senses on a yacht tour of Zakynthos: a visit to Shipwreck Beach, Navagio, and the Blue Caves will mesmerize your soul with their ethereal blue shades and jaw-dropping beauty. The glistening waters also make for a spectacular backdrop for a photo or two.

Boat tours can be enjoyed all year, though they’re at their best in springtime and fall. These seasons allow you to experience the island’s natural beauty before the summer heat kicks in and the tourist crowds arrive en masse.

On a private cruise, you’ll be able to customize your trip based on your party’s unique interests and schedule. For instance, if you’re susceptible to motion sickness, stock up on Dramamine before your journey. Otherwise, your once-in-a-lifetime adventure could quickly turn into a nightmare. The captain of your boat should be able to recommend the right dosage for you. This way, you can enjoy your cruise without worrying about nausea. The calming effects of the medicine will help you to remain relaxed and focus on enjoying your day out at sea.

The Destination

When you book a sailing tour to the Blue Caves of Zakynthos, you’ll be enchanted by the wondrous coastal scenery. With awe-inspiring beaches, rocky coves, and mountaintop views, the Ionian Islands of Greece offer a paradise for beach lovers. The coastlines of these luscious islands are sculpted with glistening white sand, sapphire-blue water, and secluded bays, making them the perfect backdrop for epic photos.

The islands are also a foodie’s dream. Secluded bays and beaches provide ideal locations for fresh seafood and locally-grown vegetables, while inland regions are lush with forests of cypress trees and olive groves producing delicious olive oil. Many tour companies include tastings of these fine products in their packages, along with expert tips on how to pair the perfect wine with a dish.

Known as the Fiore di Levante (“Flower of the East”) by Venetians who once ruled the island, the natural beauty of the Ionian Islands is undeniable. Towering cliffs plunge into hidden coves of pristine white sand, while the crystalline waters are dotted with sea caves and grottoes. The landscape is as varied as the cuisine, with quaint villages reminiscent of the Cycladic Islands and cosmopolitan cities bursting with swanky waterfront hotels and Romanesque piazzas. Zakynthos, which is also a popular destination for cruises to the nearby Kefalonia island, offers a little bit of everything for every type of traveler.