HalalBooking guide to halal-friendly holidays in Zakynthos
The best way to introduce the idyllic Greek island of Zakynthos is to start with the name - its Greek name is what we are all accustomed to, but many also call it by its Italian name, ‘Zante’. The third largest island of Greece is located in the Southern part of the shimmering Ionian Sea and is notably known for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches, blue caves, breathtaking green hills, slopes full of wildflowers, lemon and orange trees, olive groves, vineyards and the famous shipwreck beach.
The pace of which you discover Zakynthos is as unique as you, for the city to come to life, why not engage in renting a boat to visit the old town or alternatively, if you choose to relax, take in the natural surroundings around you and enjoy the soft sand and the Caretta Caretta sea turtles at Laganas Bay Beach. Zakynthos town has museums, a church and a fortresses.
For those that like to discover new and hidden locations, there are other parts of the island that can be visited via boat, or travelling inland. Here you will be welcomed by peace and tranquillity on a different level. Residents still grow their own fruits, olives and grapes in untouched and remote surroundings.
Practical information before visiting Zakynthos
Zakynthos International Airport (ZTH) is the main airport and flights can be taken from most major cities around the world. The airport is only 5km away from the city centre, and the journey only takes 10 minutes by car. Due to the short journey, the most common method of transportation is taxi and it is usually fairly affordable.
The best time to visit Zakynthos is from May to October as the weather is warm and sunny. However, Zakynthos is blessed with approximately 300 days of sunshine in the year, so whenever you choose to visit, you will most likely be enjoying good weather. The warmest month is July and the coolest is January. However, be aware that during the summer months of July and August, there are more tourists, so it may be crowded and flights are more expensive.
Zakynthos for the halal-conscious traveller
Greece has a hidden Islamic history that many Muslims have forgotten about. In the 14th century, Greece came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Muslims resided there for 500 years, during which most churches became mosques. Although Zakynthos doesn’t have any mosques in which you can congregate in prayer, you can take some day trips to other cities where you will see the Muslims that have made Greece their home. There is a lot of Turkish influence in the cuisine as you will discover in Greek dishes and architecture. However, not much remains from the Ottoman rule in Zakynthos and there are no buildings to visit which represent the time of the Ottomans on the island.
Greece is the 3rd largest producer of olive oil in the world, which you can find in a variety of gifts like shampoo, soap, oil, creams. Remember the Hadith:
“Eat the oil and use it on your hair and skin, for it comes from a blessed tree.” - Tirmidhi.
Activities and sites to visit in Zakynthos
Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach)
The famous Navagio Beach is a cove that is often referred to as ‘Smugglers Cove’. The beautiful enclosed area of sand lies amongst sparkling blue seas with tall whitewashed cliffs on either side and hosts a shipwreck that was accused of smuggling contraband in 1980 that lies within the soft sand beach. It was voted the best beach in the world in 2018.
Another beach amongst many in Zakynthos makes the list of places to visit. However, Gerakas Beach is unique because it is a Caretta Caretta turtles nesting site. For tourists visiting between May and October, they may be able to witness and assist the turtles eggs hatching and their return to the sea. Be aware, you may have to wake up before dawn to see this and the beach may get quite crowded later on in the day.
National Marine Park of Zakynthos
The National Park of Zakynthos was established for the protection of sea turtles and is their natural habitat. Its beach is a great place to relax and immerse yourself within nature. Keep an eye out for the sea turtles - a wonder which all the family will enjoy. The National Park is also an ideal place for swimming in the crystal blue waters.
The Blue Caves are one of the most popular attractions in Zakynthos. The collection of natural coves are known for the reflection that the water inside them takes on turning them into a unique hue. The caves are only accessible by boat, but there are various tours, excursions or private boats, easily available close by. A popular summer activity is diving into the water surrounding the Blue Caves and appreciating the unique turquoise waters upfront.
During the summer months, the Lighthouse is a must-visit. Climb to the top with your loved ones for romantic and breathtaking views of the sunset beyond the horizon. Appreciate the enchanting Zakynthos landscape.
Bochali village is home to various restaurants offering a tantalising dinner in romantic settings under the stars. Not only does the village give off a tranquil and serene aura, it is also home to an ancient Venetian castle that you can visit for a panoramic view of both coasts of the island. The best time to visit this little village behind Zakynthos town is just before sunset, for the best atmosphere and an amazing sunset.
Halal food and restaurants in Zakynthos
The best part of Greek cuisine is how fresh and simple the ingredients are, tasting delicious and tantalising. The plethora of fresh seafood dishes is amazing as are the salads. Enjoy the Greek take on succulent kebabs on skewers, refreshing dips such as Tzatziki - yoghourt, cucumber and garlic, Melitzanosalata - aubergine dip, tantalising starters such as fresh bread and of course tempting and delightful desserts like Kataifi - honey and nut pastry rolls. On the island of Zakynthos, there are unfortunately not many halal food options except for some Indian food restaurants. However, Muslim visitors can be reassured that there are many fresh fish and vegetarian options and recently, some vegan and vegetarian restaurants that will suit a halal diet - just be sure to ask if any dishes include alcohol.
Halal-friendly properties in Zakynthos
With over 400 properties in Zakynthos on HalalBooking and a great range of halal filters, you will be able to find the perfect hotel to meet yours and your family's needs. Villas are always a popular option when staying on the island due to the privacy and freedom they offer. Whilst there is not much halal food available on the island, some hotels offer halal food available on request. Choose from other halal-friendly amenities including alcohol-free stays and secluded pools. Make your tranquil stay complete with spa and wellness facilities as well as beachside stays and stays with mixed pools. Feel secure in your booking with HalalBooking knowing you have the options of ‘Free Cancellation’ and ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ so you are sorted no matter what happens.