Exploring the Ionian Islands in the months either side of high summer gives you the opportunity to enjoy every one of those incredible colours in ways you’ve never imagined.
Getting active on Zakynthos
You might have heard about the Blue Caves or the shipwreck of Zakynthos... but we bet you’ve never approached them by a Sailing Catamaran! Exploring Zante in the months either side of summer is the perfect excuse to get active on holiday, whether that means exploring the coastline, strapping on a set of aqualungs (the caves of Lake Keri are a must for diving exploration!), or getting a mountain bike and heading for the hills. But possibly the most rewarding activity is on foot, hiking to the top of Vrachionas, 756 metres above sea level. You’ll love the sleepy village of Gyri two-thirds of the way up, but the real treat is the 360-degree view at the top.
Sailing towards Blue Caves which is ideal diving from the yacht in the transparent deep blue waters. The wild white rocky landscape together with the calm crystal clear blue water of the sea creates a contrast that leaves you speechless. We are anchoring very close to the caves, so that you can enjoy the view, touch and swim inside the caves.
And second, third and fourth. Just a nibble of a local sweet and you'll be hooked. There's mandolato (nougat and roasted almonds), pasteli (sesame-and-honey bars) and semolina-based fitoura. Or if you're the savoury type, how about taking a bit of Zakynthos home with you? You'll discover aromatic honey (from bees feeding on local mountain herbs) and peppery olive oil. Or perhaps cheeses (smooth myzithra or spicy graviera), fruit (sweet melons and zingy wild strawberries) and any number of specialities are available from local producers.
There are over 19,000 acres dedicated to growing vines on Zakynthos and dozens of different grape varieties. A few have become closely associated with the island – like the red Avgoustiatis, grown since the 14th century, and yellow-gold robola
It's one thing witnessing the impressive colours of Zakynthos' Blue Caves, and quite another doing so when you feel like you're literally part of them. That’s the effect of visiting them by sea kayak or canoe.
The experience is challenging enough to give you a sense of holiday adventure, but more than doable as a family or group of friends. And it makes a wonderful alternative to visiting by boat.
There are nooks all the way along the wild and rocky northeastern coastline that no boat could get into. And once at the caves, you'll have a unique water-level appreciation of the iridescent blue colours created by the play of sunlight on the cliff-face and the sea, together with the occasional orange-purple hit of coral in the rocks. Every one of the caves seems to put on a different light show just for you. Just make sure you stop for a snorkel whilst you're there.
Most trips start from Agios Nikolaos and follow the coastline north, where the Blue Caves are located. And along the way, there's a view of your island-neighbour Kefalonia that adds to an adventure that feels so much more intimate than it would on a boat.