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There is a reason Greece is known as one of the top travel destinations in the world. The picturesque scenery, the ancient civilizations, the impeccably blue Mediterranean waters…
For regular travellers, Greece is a dream vacation; for avid scuba divers it is pure bliss.
The Greek island of Zakynthos
The island of Zakynthos is located on the western coast of Greece 20 kilometers from the Greek mainland. Surrounded by the rich waters of the Ionian sea the island is only accessible by boat or plane.
Every year, tons of tourists flock to Zakynthos to enjoy the world class beaches and adrenaline pumping watersports. One of the most popular places to visit is the small town of Keri, located on the southwest tip of the island about 40 minutes from the main landing harbour.
Scuba diving on Zakynthos
After our arrival on the island, it took only one glimpse at the blue Ionian sea for us to get the scuba diving itch. In no time we had found a dive shop in Keri to get salty with over the next two weeks.
From the Keri harbour there are about 12 known dive sites that can be explored. The dive sites range from plunging wall dives carpeted in marine life to dark and dismal cave dives forcing you to navigate cracks and crevices with only a flashlight. Over our two week stay on Zakynthos, Joey and I had the chance to dip our toes into a little of everything.
Day after day Joey and I would prep our gear, head out to one of the dive sites, roll off the boat and hit the cool blue water. Like clockwork, every time the water enveloped me I knew it was going to be a good dive; I felt like a Mediterranean mermaid.
Colourful fish were darting this way and that way with no set path in mind. Enormous rocky walls coated in colourful sponges and plant life went by me as I was sweeping from the surface deep past my diving ability. For two scuba divers who have done most of their diving in Canada, it felt like heaven on earth.
My favorite dive site was Lakka, it had the best of both worlds; caves and great creatures for macro photography.
What is the cost of diving on Zakynthos Island, Greece?
The cost of diving on Zakynthos Island was 40 euros per dive. Check out the note below on diving equipment so your costs don’t increase.
4 Greek diving things to consider:
Keep these important questions in the back of your mind when planning your Greek scuba diving vacation to Zakynthos. They could make or break your experience.
The time of year:
The country of Greece may seem like a year round summer weather destination but don’t be fooled, it’s not. In the winter months it can get pretty chilly and tourist season doesn’t really start until June.
Bring your own equipment:
It’s no secret that scuba diving can be hard on the bank account. If you’re looking to save a little money on your Zakynthos dive adventure consider packing some of your dive equipment for the journey and just rent the tank and weights from a local dive shop.
The island of Zakynthos may not be big (only 405.55 km2) but it can still take awhile to get around, especially if you don’t have a car. Figure out which diving company you will use and make sure to book accommodations close to its location. For a local experience check out the properties Airbnb has to offer in Zakynthos.
How to get to the island:
There are two different ways to get to Zakynthos; via boat or via plane. Make sure if you arrive by plane you give yourself the recommended 24 hour off-gassing window before taking flight. Safety first! (See our tips on finding cheap flights)
We may have arrived early in the season but that didn’t make our dives any less fintastic. From diving in giant shrimp filled caverns to swimming with a rare and endangered Mediterranean monk seal, the clear blue waters of Zakynthos took our breath away. Prospective divers should be prepared for the cold and unexpected because you never know what you will cross paths with in this neck of the sea.
If you’re interested in Zakynthos dive site specific details, take a look at an in depth article on our scuba diving blog.
Beyond scuba diving on Zakynthos:
While the island of Zakynthos many be surrounded by water, scuba diving is not the only neat thing to do on this island. Here are a few activities worth looking into during your Zakynthos vacation:
1. Navagio Beach
Azure blue water meeting white pebbled beach, need I say more? Spend your surface interval on Shipwreck Beach which gets its name from the gigantic rusted 1980 ship washed up on its shore. This beach is only accessible by water and has no shade or facilities. Check out this awesome day tour to Navagio beach and the blue caves!
2. The Blue Caves
The first thing you will notice when you arrive on Zakynthos is the rugged coast plunging into turquoise waters. All around the 123 kilometers of coastline there are small caves to be found carved into the limestone by the continuous tide and wave action.
The most famous of those caves are the Blue Caves around Cape Skinari which can only be accessed by boat. The best time of day to visit the caves is before noon when the lighting is just right to have the sun reflecting off the blue water giving the white walls of the cave a magical appearance.
3. Olive orchards
Everywhere you turn on Zakynthos island you will find rows upon rows of olive trees. If you plan your vacation during prime olive season (in the autumn) you can join the locals during the “liotrivi” and pick, press and enjoy the delightful bite of some authentic Greek olives.
4. Snorkeling with sea turtles
The waters off the Bay of Laganas are considered nesting grounds to the largest population of Loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean. At the beginning of June try your luck at spotting some of these incredible endangered marine animals and take in their grace and poise as they glide seamlessly through the water. If you are a turtle lover like me, you can also check out our Costa Rican turtle nesting adventure!
Joey and I spent a glorious two weeks on Zakynthos and that was not nearly enough time to see it all. Being first and foremost scuba divers, we inevitably spent most of those 14 days underwater, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way.
While most people think of coral reefs and tropical waters when it comes to a scuba vacation, our underwater adventure in Greece is living proof that great scuba diving can happen even when you’re far from the equator.
Plan Your Trip to Zakynthos, Greece
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Do you have any amazing cold water diving experiences to share?