At the south-eastern tip of Zakynthos, around fifteen km from Zakynthos Town is the Vasilikos peninsula. Unlike other Zakynthos resorts, Vasilikos is a group of small villages including Agios Ioannis, Ano Vasilikos and Vasilikos itself. Accommodation in Vasilikos is plentiful, made up of a mix of apartments, hotels, studios and lovely traditional stone built houses. It’s a resort that feels quite traditional and unlike other resorts on the island, and it’s perfect for couples and families. Like other resorts though there are lots of amenities including bars and tavernas, but the nightclubs that attract the younger generation are far away across the bay. The villages have many shops including bakeries, tourist shops and supermarkets, many also sell traditional products.
The Vasilikos area is a haven of Greek countryside with a tranquil atmosphere, just perfect for nature lovers and those who like exploring the outdoors. Olive Groves hug mountains, and turquoise seas wash upon beautiful beaches that are popular with families and couples. There are plenty of walks in the area, both on the crest of the peninsula by Gerakas beach, as well as along the coastline up into the mountains and forests by Dafni beach. Local farms offer outdoor activities such as cycling on mountain bikes and horseriding, the farm also produces wine, olives and goat milk products, which are available from their shop. Horse and Carriage trips and horseriding around the peninsula are also available from dedicated horseriding centres.
The area also has its own historical element, although there isn’t as much to see as there is in other parts of the island. Vasilikos was once an area where ancient people made their home and a number of archaeological excavations have taken place in Vasilikos to try and learn more. On the cliffs overlooking Gerakas beach however you can see the “Canons of Vasilikos” old World War Two armaments and dugouts that were built between 1941 and 1943 by the Germans to defend the headland from allied invaders.
If you love handmade products the Hanne mi.S. Ceramic Art Studio is a great place, visitors can buy handmade gifts, sculptures, tableware and tiles. There’s also an opportunity to tour the studio, and even join in a pottery class. In Ano Vasilikos there is the brightly whitewashed St. Nicholas Church which stands out against the blue skies and sea, on the coast next to St. Nicholas beach. Even though the church isn’t open to visitors it’s a traditional building in a lovely setting that’s worth a visit.
The peninsula has some fantastic beaches where visitors can rent sun beds and parasols to relax or take part in water sports. Porto Roma and Porto Azzuro overlooking the mainland, are two great beaches just perfect for those who want to sit back and take in the beautiful view. For those who are looking for adrenalin filled watersports then St Nicholas Beach has everything needed including parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing, canoeing, paddle boarding, scuba diving and snorkelling. The beaches of Dafni and Gerakas, overlooking Laganas Bay, are turtle nesting beaches for the islands famous loggerhead turtles, so there are restrictions for beach users in the summer months. For anyone wanting to learn more, the Exhibition Centre of National Marine Park is located on the peninsula and is dedicated to the education and protection of the islands turtles including their lives, habitat and nesting sites. The exhibition centre also provides visitors with a wealth of information about the surrounding fauna and flora.
For anyone wanting to get up close and personal with the wildlife there are boat trips where visitors can learn more about Zakynthos’ diverse sea life including monk seals, octopus and of course, turtles. There are also opportunities for viewing the coastline and even cave swimming. Other options for sport and leisure are available at the Zante Royal Palace which has a multitude of events for both adults and children including a cinema, health club, swimming pool with water slides, tennis courts, yoga. The resort also hosts Greek nights, karaoke and shows at an outdoor open air theatre. Visitors who wish to travel further afield or explore the island can do so via Buses and taxis that serve the resort making it easy to get about.
Many visitors to Zakynthos don’t consider Vasilikos as a resort but it’s a wonderful place. It has a lovely atmosphere, with lots to do and is perfect for anyone who wants to relax in beautiful surroundings, experiencing nature and everything this area has to offer.