BAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEBAREFOOT BLONDEDRESS: Mara Hoffman // ONE-PICE SWIMSUIT: Trina Turk // David – SHIRTSimply Cotton // SHORTS: ZARA // Atticus – ONESIE: Polarn O. Pyret

I originally wanted to go to Zakynthos to see Shipwreck Beach and wasn’t sure what else was there (when you google it or look it up few things except Shipwreck Beach come up since its so popular!) so I guess I didn’t have crazy expectations and was blowwwn away by how amazing it is there!! So many amazing beaches and the whole island has all of these awesome caves. We thought we would share details of our stay in Zakynthos and answer the FAQ we get on insta and comments so here is everything we did!

Where we stayed

We stayed at another amazing villa in Zakynthos that we found on HomeAway.com. (You can find the exact listing here.) Villa Armos is the hills on the east side of the island with a beautiful view of Ionian sea. It has 3 rooms (sleeps 6), 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and the best part is, it has a pool and a hot tub! Once again it was nice to have our own space, which is what I love about HomeAway. And this one was big! The grounds were beautiful and spread out and although it was a bit of a drive, it was well worth it because of the view and amenities in the villa. We had such a good experience there like we did in all our HomeAway rentals. Once the owner found out that we were traveling with a baby, he went out and got a crib for us.

How we got around

Zakynthos is a lot different than Santorini. It’s a much bigger island and pretty spread out. Fortunately, from the southern most tip to the northern most tip, it’s only about an hour and a half drive, which is great for day trips and sight seeing, but it’s big enough to where you need to plan out how to get from A to B. Many of the streets are a larger than the tiny pot hole filled streets of Santorini. So we rented a big 7 seater van, and it was the right move. I would definitely recommend it. We alway rent with Avis because they always have great rates. We love Avis Preferred because it’s great to skip the lines at airports, especially when traveling with a baby. If you don’t want to get a car, then be careful where you end up staying because things are spread out. There are taxis and buses across the island, but if you plan to see the sights, they will start to add up. The freedom of a rental car is so nice. Our Villa was 45 minutes away from the airport and 20 minutes away from Alykes, the closest larger town with grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and ATMs. Like in Santorini, the villa manager met us at the airport and escorted us back which was nice because we got there late. Overall it was a great location because it was central enough to be able to get to most of the sights easily and quickly by car.

What we did

If you saw my instagrams from Zakynthos you probably saw Navagio (Shipwreck) beach. It honestly is indescribable. The water is so unbelievably blue. Not like Hawaii aqua/clear, but blue! This was something that was on my bucket list and it didn’t disappoint! With pinterest and photoshop now days, sometimes you’ll see a photo and when you see the place in real life, it is a let down because people edit pictures so heavily, but photos can’t do this place justice (photos dont even need to be edited!). It’s just one of those places you have to see. The beach is only accessible by boat, or I guess by base jumping if you’re crazy, but the overlook was only about a 15 minute drive from our Villa. You can drive right up (you will see a bunch of signs for Navagio Beach Lookout!), park, and walk to the edge where there is a rail and place to check out the view. You can also walk the ridge for even better views. From there, it is about a 20 minute drive south to Porto Vromi where water taxis make trips every hour to the beach. They drop you off and pick you up an hour later, but if you ask them and there is a boat scheduled to come later, you can extend your stay and get on a later boat. We stayed for about 3 hours, swam around the coves, hung out at the beach and took pictures by the shipwreck. Bring water and food, because when you’re there all you have is what you bring. On the way back they take you on a tour through a lot of the caves on that side of the island. The boat drives right up in them. The water is so pretty, and the boat captains stop to let you jump out and swim around the caves. The whole thing is only 15 Euros per person so it’s a great deal.

We went to Makris Gialos Beach a couple times because it was the perfect little beach and only 10 minutes from our Villa. There are caves on the north side of the beach, a little bit of a swim but worth it and nearby restaurants. If you don’t want to drive to Porto Vromi, there are boat tour for caves and shipwreck beach right there at Makris Gialos.

There are cruises that go around the entire island. In Alykes on the main street there is a strip of boat tour companies advertising various cruises. We almost went on one that looked so fun. It is a cruise around the entire island on a pirate ship. They have a restaurant and bar, live performances, stop at all the coves and best beaches and it’s only 25 Euros a person with an extra discount for large groups. We would have done it but it was 8 hours long, a little too long for a baby:)

At night, most of the time we just hung around the Villa. We had a beautiful view and great place so it was fun to just relax, play games and talk in the hot tub which was such a plus to have.

Where we ate

We were referred by the villa manager to the Old Windmill Restaurant in Askos about 10 minutes away. Like most greek restaurants they had traditional Greek cuisine, pastas, seafood, and freshly squeezed orange juice:) Half way to Navagio beach there are great fresh fruit stands where we got big watermelon and fruit for breakfast. On that road there are so many  traditional greek restaurants and grills. We also ate at Makris Gialos beach a few times because they had great restaurants and are right by the beach which was convenient. Taverna Pilarinos was on a cliffside overlooking the beach with an incredible view, and the bar/grill was right across the street from the water. We went to the beach at Agios Nikolaus which we didn’t love, mainly because there were so many prettier ones, but it a lot of great restaurants, grills, bars and markets. Even though the beach wasn’t the best, it was nice to have a change of scenery. We ate at La Grotta right over the water. The menus of most of the restaurants are pretty similar. Traditional Greek cuisine, grill items and pasta.  We went at a really great time because it was just the end of low season, so most of the restaurants (we kept commenting on how many restaurants there were!) and beaches were empty. Once again, we had a full kitchen, and it was stocked! (It really was such a great deal of a villa and so affordable, especially if you plan to split it amongst multiple couple or families) We arrived to fresh fruit, juice, cheeses, meats, eggs and more. With all that and a trip to the grocery store we had more than enough for an amazing pizza night. David made dough from scratch and we all took turns rolling out dough with jars as the boys made a fire in the pizza oven they had in the courtyard. It was one of those nights that we’ll always remember.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

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  1. I stumbled upon your blog when I was researching about Zante 🙂 Your pictures are beautiful! My friends and I are planning to visit the island for 3 days. How far in advance did you purchase your flight tickets? It’s about $93 one-way from Athens, where we’re staying for a night. Was it easy navigating the island? Is there much to do in the town? As our time is limited, where do you suggest we spend our time? Thank you so much!

  2. I just recently started following you Ans I just noticed you visited my hometown via your photos on instagram !
    You are right , photos doesn’t do justice of how beautiful Navagio is. Even though I am a local I can’t get enough of trips and visits to Navagio , Blue Caves and Porto Vromi ! If only the water wasn’t so cold !! Ha ha !

    I m glad you enjoyed your visit here 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for your post on zakynthos. My family and I are staying at villa Armos at the end of May and its great to see such positive reviews about the villa and the manager as there aren’t many online and I was starting to feel apprehensive! We love the look of your pizza- we’ll definitely be trying that!

    1. Of course!! I am so glad to hear that!! You will LOVE it there 🙂 Have a blast!!! Can’t wait to hear about your experience.

  4. I am planning a trip in a few months to Greece to celebrate my husband graduating with his doctorate. I love your pictures, could you help me with a few questions. did you fly in to Athens? How did you get to Santorini? and biggest question, How did you get from Santorini to Zakynthos? I have been trying to look up ferries, but did know if a plane was easier- the flights look long.

    1. How fun!! You both will LOVE it 🙂 And Okay yes, so we flew into the Santorini (Thira) Airport and got a rental car and drove to our place like 20 minutes away in Oia. I suggest skipping the rental car in Santorini though.. we didn’t need it like at all! And then when we went to Zakynthos, we flew from the Santorini airport to Athens and then Athens to Zakynthos(pretty sure there’s no direct flights). I hope that helps!!

  5. hey amber, we just came back from a nice holiday at zakynthos. i really like your page. your writing was helpfull to us. so thank you a lot. may you would like to take a look at our zakynthos pictures at instagram my name there is “rinisunrise” it would be a honor to us.

  6. Hi Amber!

    My husband and I are planning a trip to Greece May 2016, we would like to do Athens, Oia and Zakynthos. Any recommendations on the order we should visit each in? We live in New Jersey. We’re flying into Athens. Not sure what makes the most sense. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer!! I am sorry I am just seeing this! But I would suggest starting with Oia, then Athens, and end with Zakynthos. Or vice versa with Zakynthos first, then Athens and end with Oia. The reason I say Athens in between is because on our flight from Oia to Zakynthos, we had a layover in Athens and I think all the flights do. So I suggest choosing a flight with a long layover and to go out and explore Athens for a day. Or just breaking up the flight and book them separately if you want to spend more time there. I hope that helps!! You will LOVE Greece!! xoxo

  7. Hi Amber! your pictures capture the island of Zakynthos so beautifully! One day I shall have pictures of my own 🙂
    P.S Love Your Blog !!

    1. Thanks so much Alyssa!! I am glad you liked the post 🙂 And yes!! Definitely add it to your must-see travel list!! xo

  8. Dear Amber,

    I really enjoy reading your blog and following you on instagram. You inspired me to start braiding my hair and the more I read your blog, you make me want to start a family too. 🙂
    I guess people have asked already 100 times but I would love to know which color and brand your nail polish is. I would love to rock that on my toe nails too. 😀

    Thank you so much for inspiring me so often in my life. I wish you and you family all the best in the world.

    Aline

  9. I am in LOVE with these pictures! Such a gorgeous place to stay! It’s definitely on my list. Just recapping our Hawaii adventures on my blog. Travel is so important to learning and life. I love it!

    1. Thanks so much Shelby!! That is so nice of you!! I agree, traveling is so good for the soul!! Thank you for following along!! xo

  10. So glad you liked my country! I hope you tried out many local dishes, because, I don’t want to brag, but Greece has an amazing cuisine! All of your pictures were so lovely and it’s great to hear you had an amazing time with your family!

    1. Yes!! I LOVED it 🙂 What a gorgeous place to live!! The food was delicious!! 😉 Thanks so much for your sweet comment!! xoxo

  11. I have always wanted to go to Greece!! I love reading about your travels. They give me some great ideas of things to do WHEN I eventually go! 😉 Thanks for sharing!!

    Christin
    hoosierhearts.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you so much!! I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I hope you can visit someday, it’s definitely a must-see!! Thanks for reading!! xoxo

  12. When I was younger we would have pizza nights at home, and they remain so fondly in my memories 🙂 We were less cool and just got dough from Trader Joes, but such an amazing bonding experience for a family night in 🙂 Doing it in Zakynthos must have made it so much more special!! 😀

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

    1. It is such a fun family activity huh?! We have recently started doing homemade pizza nights with our family and we loved it!! I have used the dough from Trader Joes too!! It’s the easy way, we love it also 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comment Julia!! xoxo

  13. Seriously, I need to get Greece to the top of the travel list for next year. I love how you broke down the travel guide, especially the tips about food. I’ve not always had great luck when I’ve been traveling internationally so it’s nice to get some good tips. Food is such a huge part of travel for me. I take that back. Food is such a huge part of life for me.

    http://alittledailyhappiness.com

    1. Yes yes you do!! You would love it!! And thanks so much for the positive feedback, I appreciate it so much!! Food is a huge part of traveling for us too 😉 xoxo

    1. Thank you Kelly!! I am glad you like it 🙂 it’s the best coverup to just throw on for the beach! And oh yes! Homemade pizzas are one of our family’s new favorites!! Thanks for reading!! xoxo

  14. You stayed in such a beautiful villa! When i was in Zakynthos we went to a turtle island and went turtle watching which was fun but I didn’t go to shipwreck beach. Such nice photos and the food looks amazing! <3

    The Quirky Queer

    1. No way?! I heard about turtle island!!! Too bad it wasn’t the right time of the year to see them 🙁 It looks amazing!! Thanks for reading Izzy!! xoxo

    1. You will have to visit on your next vacation 🙂 It is definitely a must-see!! We loved it! Thanks for reading!! xoxo

  15. You trip looked amazing!! Would you mind sharing the link for the HomeAway you stayed at in Santorini?!

    Thank you!!!

    xoxo

    1. The scenery was too die for!! So lush! Greece is definitely a special place 🙂 Thanks for reading!! xo

  16. You’ve definitely made me want to visit Greece! Your photos are so beautiful and you look so happy. I love that dress on you as well xx
    Lana
    lana-sultana.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks so much Lana!! That is so nice of you!! Greece was so beautiful, definitely a must-see in my book 🙂

  17. Hey, Amber,
    For every pathetic hater/online bully out there – there are 10 more of us that love you. Keep doing what you’re doing, Amber!

    1. Aww thank you SO much for that Zarah!! Your comment made me feel so loved!! I appreciate it!!! xoxoxo

  18. Looks like an amazing vacation! Can’t wait to go one day, hopefully soon.

    PS love love love your bathing suit 🙂

    1. It was such a beautiful place!! I hope you can visit too!! Add it to your bucket list 😉 Thanks for reading Jenna!! xoxo

  19. We are planning a trip to Greece with our 14 month old and your insight is helping me out so much! I know it’s a little funny to think of you as a friend since I’ve never met you but after following you on instagram for over a year, I trust your advice so much more than than all the travel sites out there! So heartfelt, and love your pizza pics! Thanks so much Amber!

    1. Yay!! How exciting!! I am so glad I could be of some help 🙂 And aww that is seriously the sweetest comment!! Thank you for that! That’s exactly how I feel 🙂 Thanks for reading and happy planning!! xoxo

  20. Beautiful photos! Any food that comes out of wood fired, stone oven is food for gods! Nothing tastes as juicy as the food from such oven.
    It’s very common that people in this part of Southern Europe fire them up in the Summertime. You can prepare anything there, from fresh
    bread, to fish, meats, etc.

    http://lartoffashion.com

    1. Thanks so much!! I agree!! I love wood fire pizza yum!! A new favorite of ours 🙂 And no way?! Thanks for sharing that!! How neat! Love it 🙂

    1. Thank you so much!! We had a wonderful time 🙂 Thanks for reading!! xoxo

  21. That house is INSANE! I haven’t ever tried anything like homeaway, but looking at all of your photos now has me convinced it’s the way to go. Definitely beats a cramped and cold hotel room. And that pizza?! How amazing! AND your husband makes pizza dough?! Lucky lady!! I am using a lot of exclamation marks but it’s all I can say!!!! 😉

    x. Morgan / http://www.morningappleblog.com

    1. It was such an awesome place!! The grounds were gorgeous too!! Definitely check out Homeaway, it’s always our first option for places to stay 🙂 Homemade pizzas are one of new family fav’s!! Lots of fun and they are yummy!! Thanks for reading Morgan!! xoxo

    1. We loved making homemade pizzas!! It’s so fun and they are delicious 🙂 It’s a win win for my family!! Thanks for reading Brett!!

    1. Thanks so much!! I am glad you like the post 🙂 And the pizza was delicious!! I am craving it now haha 🙂

    1. As it should be!!! One of my favorite places yet 🙂 I hope you can visit someday!! Thanks for reading Krista!! xoxo

  22. Both Santorini and Zakynthos are on my bucket list. Your pictures of both are amazing! Shipwreck beach is beautiful! Hopefully I will get to make a trip out there soon!

    Danielle

    1. Ahh yes!! They totally should be!! I hope you make it out there too 🙂 Thanks for reading!! I am glad you liked the pictures!! xo

  23. Living in the uk and having visited Greece n it’s islands since I was 8 now gulp 42
    Zante is a fav as it’s the first place I went alone with girlfriends at 17 and the first place I went abroad with my partner 17 years ago , he lived there in his early 20s
    Avoid it like the plague in June July August or if you go ,go to the opposite side to laganas n Kalamaki
    Go to the hills and pine forests breathtaking
    Oct and may best times to go ️xx

    1. Wow!! It sounds like you have been all over!! That is amazing 🙂 Zante is so beautiful, I am glad you love it too! Thanks for the tips about Kalamki! If we ever go back we will go check it out 🙂 Thanks for reading!! xo

  24. love your dress & suit (as usual) and if my husband and I ever get to travel to amazing places like you and your family we will obviously need to mirror your trip haha and ps I don’t know which bigelow that is because they all look so alike to me but that’s cool that your inlaws came and stayed with you guys! that would be such a fun vacation!
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    1. Thanks so much Candace!! Greece is definitely a must-see!! I hope you and your husband can go someday! 🙂 And that is Brad Bigelow, my sister Jamie’s husband!! Do you know the Bigelows?! Small world!!

  25. Greece has been on my bucketlist for a looong time now and I really didn’t have any other spots besides Santorini on the list. Your pictures on IG from shipwreck beach were incredible so definitely adding to the list. That villa looks like a dream!
    xo Adri
    http://www.adrilatley.blogspot.com

    1. Yes!! Definitely add it to your list because it is breathtaking!!! We loved it! Thanks for reading love!! xoxo

  26. I remember seeing your photos on Instagram & thinking “I am so jealous!!!” 🙂
    I love reading these Travel guides hehe – I always feel so inspired to travel when I read them. & I absolutely adore your family!!! Happy Birthday to baby Atticus <3

    http://www.xandrarose96.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks so much for the nice feedback 🙂 I am so glad you liked this post!! You are so sweet!!! He had a great birthday 🙂 Thank you!! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much Courtney!! That is so nice of you!! I agree, such a great way to save money!! And it’s fun to get local ingredients and make something yummy as a group 🙂 xoxo

  27. I would love to visit Zakynthos or any other Greek island, as they seem to have beautiful sceneries. Great Post!

    1. Thank you so much!! It was such a beautiful place, I hope you can visit someday too!! Thanks for reading!! xoxo