If you’re looking for a laid-back beach holiday in 2017, Kalamaki is the place to go. With 5km of soft, sandy beach and the sparkling, crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea, Kalamaki is a beach-lovers haven. This stunning area of Zante is inextricably linked to protecting its most famous visitor, the loggerhead turtle. A protected National Marine Park, the beaches in the protection zone are the only European nesting spots for the magnificent loggerhead turtle. While this means part of the beach is cordoned off in nesting season, it also offers visitors the chance to see these endangered sea creatures up close and personal. Whether you join them swimming in the warm waters or spot them from one of the glass bottomed boat trips, the turtles are a big part of a Kalamaki holiday. Away from the beach, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly activities to keep you entertained. While the bars, restaurants and cafes serve up some first-class Greek and Mediterranean food.
Visit the nearby town of Vassilikos, with their world-class water-sports centre and another stunning beach. Or head to Laganas to hit the clubs and party late into the night. If all that sounds a little too adventurous, you can stay in Kalamaki, relax by the pool and enjoy the impressive ocean views in one of Kalamaki’s many excellent hotels.
Most popular hotels in Kalamaki
Two Brothers Studios
Dolce Vita Hotel
Anagenessis Village Hotel
Elanthi Village Apartments
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- Average flight time: 3h 20m
When to go
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A huge draw for nature lovers on a holiday to Kalamaki, the resident turtles give you the opportunity to see these wonderful sea creatures in the wild. Take to the water on a glass-bottomed boat tour or swim and snorkel near the coast to try and spot the graceful creatures swimming by. From mid-May to August the loggerhead turtles come to the beach from Africa to lay their eggs. While you can’t go on the beach at night, you may catch a glimpse of them coming ashore from a short distance away. Beside the visiting turtles, there’s still plenty to see and do here. Test your golfing skills on the crazy golf course, pit your racing wits against the family at the go kart track, or see Kalamaki from horse-back on a trek along the coast. There’s also a small waterpark in Kalamaki where you can shoot down waterslides and swim in the pools for an extra dose of water-based fun.
Wine and Dine
Greece is famous for its colourful and fresh Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Head to any of the traditional taverns and restaurants in Zakinthos or Kalamaki and expect hearty dishes created from the staples of meat, fish, olive oil and vegetables. Expect to find your fair share of Greek salads, tzatziki and moussakas served alongside some unfamiliar but still tasty delicacies. A popular lunchtime snack, gyros are pitta wraps filled with meat, salad, fried potatoes and delicious sauces. Putting most so-called kebabs you’re likely to find in Britain to shame. Don’t forget to pay a visit to a Greek pastry shop to try Loukoumades - bite-sized donuts covered in cinnamon and syrup - and, of course, the famous Baklava, the region’s much-loved flaky pastry sweet treat. For a fantastic family meal, head to Essence. A welcoming restaurant serving wonderful Mediterranean, vegetarian and Greek meals, the thoughtful owner has even provided a children’s corner in this beautifully decorated eatery.
From the beautiful stretch of coastline and family-friendly restaurants to glass-bottomed boat trips and crazy golf fun: a Kalamaki holiday is perfect for families looking for a Greek island stay in the sun. Kids will love racing around the resort’s go karting track, looking out for turtles swimming by or enjoying a long day on the beach building sand castles. Active families can enjoy water-sports in Vassilikos or a trip to Caretta Fun Park - a water park and children’s play area full of fun and activities. Imaginative visitors young and old will want to seek out the shipwreck at Smuggler’s Cove. Ran aground in the 80s, the wreck still sits on the beach to this day, and boat trips bring keen explorers to visit the wreck and enjoy the turquoise waters and soft sands.
Action and Adventure
Kalamaki’s coast has some spectacular scenery and hiking around the island is no different. Head away from the town to Argassi, climbing Mount Skopos en-route, for a hearty hike which rewards all comers with expansive views over all of Zante, but remember to wear comfortable shoes. For water-sports, head to Vassilikos, where you can paraglide high above the crystal clear waters below or whizz over the water on water-skis, banana boats and jet-skis. For water-based adventure at a much slower pace, you can also hire canoes and pedaloes. Slowly canoeing along the coast will give you the chance to take a different view of the island and spot some hidden coves. If you’ve ever thought about taking up diving, Vassilikos is the place to try. Beginner courses are available from the experienced dive staff. A bike ride through Kalamaki and onto the surrounding villages is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Bikes are available to hire in the town, meaning there’s no excuse not to work up an appetite and tackle some of the hills.
Life's a Beach
Laze away your worries on the soft, soft sands of Kalamaki beach. Quiet and peaceful, there will be no jet-skis roaring past as you flick through your holiday page-turner or soak up the rays. Water-sports are strictly forbidden as they scare off the resident turtle population and boats are also regulated within the marine park. You can take to the water to swim though with no problems. The shallow shores are safe enough for even tiny children to play in. A stroll through the shallows gives access to the deeper waters for a swim or snorkel. The crystal-clear waters give you a great chance to see the resident fish and sea creatures against the pale sands below. If you’re really keen to try some water-sports on a Kalamaki holiday, there’s a beach in Vassilikos - about 30 minutes away - where you can whizz across the water to your heart’s content. With banana boats, jet-skis, waterskiing and much more on the menu, you’ll be spoilt for choice. You won’t go hungry at Kalamaki beach either - nearby cafes and restaurants mean you won’t have to give up your prized sun spot on the beach to go in search of food.
Ideal for families, the gentle pace of life on a Kalamaki holiday means the nightlife is low-key too. Expect chilled-out cocktails on terraces and leisurely evening meals that end with a stroll around the town. There are plenty of bars offering entertainment, from karaoke and quiz nights to bingo and beachside barbecues, with all places being family-friendly. For chilled out beats stay in Kalamaki, where the leisurely vibe carries on late into the night in the beach bars. For thumping bass, all night parties and legendary dance music, head to Laganas. Just a short taxi ride away, you can dance all night in one of the many clubs, bars and discos. The real party starts after midnight in most of the larger clubs and club culture is most definitely on the menu here.
Watching the sun set beyond the turquoise Ionian Sea is the quintessential setting for a romantic evening on a Kalamaki holiday. Sip cocktails on a beachside terrace or enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner for two in the town’s secluded restaurants. With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning scenery, Kalamaki’s coastline was made for spending lazy days on the beach, exploring nearby coves or taking to the warm Ionian waters for a swim. This coastal idyll can get busier in the summer months, but with the rest of Zante on your doorstep it’s easy to escape and take a road-trip to a nearby resort. If you like exploring at a slower pace, bikes are also available to hire. Cycling off to a secluded spot is an ideal way to enjoy a romantic picnic. To explore the coast, hop aboard a boat trip to Smugglers Cove and see the area’s famous ship wreck. Alternatively, you can head to Turtle Island to learn more about the resident endangered sea creatures.
Take a Kalamaki holiday in July and you may able to take in the sights and sounds of the island’s Jazz Festival. An annual event dating back to 2009, the chilled out event takes place in an open-air theatre in Zakinthos. For historic buildings you’ll need to explore the island of Zante to find the various relics. With earthquakes destroying many of Zante’s old buildings and monuments, few are left standing. The closest to Kalamaki is the Venetian Castle in Bochali. Very little of the building remains, just the walls, but the remains offer an insight into the once imposing building. Other interesting sights include the Vrysakia aqueduct and Venetian Bridge in Argassi. Art-lovers will want to head to the Post Byzantine Art Museum. Home to 16th - 19th century frescoes it also houses photos of Zakynthos before the 1953 earthquake.