Zante, Greece

Rent a boat in Zante – No Permit Needed

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For those planning a trip to Greece and craving a unique summer adventure, don’t miss out on the chance to be your own captain. Rent a boat in Zante (also known as Zakynthos) all to yourself and explore the amazing coastline at your pace, with littles surprises along the way.

If you’re intrigued and eager to learn more about this must-do Zante boat rental experience, read on. For the others, well, let’s just say you might be missing out on something truly cool!

Where is Zante?

Zante, also known as Zakynthos, is a Greek island nestled in the heart of the Ionian Sea. Located off the western coast of mainland Greece, Zante is part of the Ionian Islands archipelago.

It sits south of Kefalonia and is easily accessible. If you’re coming from neighboring islands, ferry connections are available, allowing you to easily reach Zante from places like Corfu, Kefalonia or Greek mainland. Personally, I came from Corfu as I was there for a bit before this Zante holiday: the ferry takes around 13h and you have the feeling being on a private yacht, instead of a ferry. Cherry on the cake: it costs only around 33 euros.

The island of Zakynthos is also well-connected internationally through its airport, which offers direct flights from a lot of European cities. It is then easy to hop on a taxi to reach your end destination.

Where to Stay in Zakynthos?

Let me tell you about this hidden gem of a hotel we stumbled upon in Zakynthos: the Bitzaro Grande Hotel & Suites.

For the first time in a long while, we decided to break away from our usual travel routine and opt for an all-inclusive holiday in Greece. It was an opportunity to relax without a worry. This hotel is anything but your typical overcrowded all-inclusive resort you might find elsewhere. It felt more like stepping into a haven of culinary delights. The food was out of this world, and the service and staff? Simply outstanding, making every moment truly memorable.

When to Go to Zante?

When it comes to planning a trip to Zakynthos, timing is key. The best time to visit this Greek island (and most of Europe) is during the shoulder seasons of May and June or September and October.

During these months, Zante offers a great balance of excellent weather and fewer crowds. You can still enjoy plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures, and the sparkling blue waters of the Ionian Sea, all while avoiding the peak holiday season rush.

Rent a Boat in Zante

What is it All About?

Well, unlike many other locations around the world where you need a boat permit or must be accompanied by a skipper to venture out on the sea, Zante offers a unique opportunity. You can rent a boat in Zakynthos by yourself at a reasonable price!

Picture yourselves as the captain for the day, steering the boat all by yourselves, surrounded by friends or family. Imagine cruising along the stunning coastline, feeling the refreshing sea breeze, and soaking up in the warm Mediterranean sun.

Boat rental in Zante, Greece

With a self-driven boat rental in Zakynthos, you’ll have all the essentials for a fantastic day on the water. You’ll have a cooling box to keep your favorite drinks chilled, the ability to plug in your USB and play your favorite tunes on the onboard speaker system, and perhaps even enjoy a designated sunbathing area to work on your tan.

What to Expect?

If having your own boat rental in Zante isn’t enough, here are a few extra highlights to sweeten the deal:

  • Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Zakynthos is renowned for its significant population of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), which have become beloved symbols of the island. During the nesting season from May to September, these sea turtles come ashore on the island’s nesting beaches to lay their eggs. Navagio Beach, or Shipwreck Beach, is particularly noteworthy as a popular nesting site. Sea turtle protection organizations work diligently to protect these vulnerable turtles and their habitats.

Turtles in Zante, GreeceTo be honest, when we first arrived, we were a bit skeptical, thinking that the talk of sea turtles was just a tourist attraction. But imagine our face when, while enjoying our day on the boat, we suddenly spotted a sea turtle floating nearby. Several other boats in the area respectfully maintained their distance, allowing us to observe her gracefully navigating the waters. We were incredibly fortunate to encounter three or four different turtles during our time on the boat.

I’d like to add that personally, I’m not usually a huge fan of wildlife watching activities that may disrupt natural habitats. We went during the off-season when there were almost no boats, but I can only imagine how crowded it gets in peak season. If you decide to explore on your own, please be mindful of your boat’s impact and avoid getting too close. We must remember that we are not in a zoo, and the sea is their playground, not ours.

  • Marathonisi (Turtle Island)

Marathonisi, also known as Turtle Island, is a small and uninhabited island nestled in the Bay of Laganas, and it’s accessible only by boat. As you approach, you’ll notice that the island is shaped like a turtle. Its crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Turtle Island in Zante, Greece

Despite being uninhabited, Marathonisi is not devoid of amenities. You’ll find a few bars and facilities on the island, catering to visitors who come for a few hours to bask in its beauty. The friendly staff are available to assist you with boarding and docking your boat.

Turtle Island in Zante, Greece

  • Keri Caves

These sea caves feature impressive rock formations, arches, and crystal-clear waters. Navigating through the caves allows you to witness the breathtaking formations up close.

Now, I have a confession to make. As we embarked on our journey to the Keri Caves, I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the waves. The exposure to the wind and waves was a bit too much for me, and I found myself feeling seasick. I feel a bit ashamed, but we made the decision to stop short of reaching the Keri Caves.

While we missed out on exploring the famed caves themselves, cruising along the coastline of Zante was an absolute pleasure. That’s why, for the remainder of your trip, I highly suggest taking the opportunity to cruise around and enjoy the freedom to stop wherever you want.

Where to Rent a Boat in Zante?

We actually rented a boat online the day before our Zakynthos boat trip, and we can highly recommend both the boat and its owner (Yacht charter in Zakynthos · Nikita — 450 (2022) by Manolis). Check it out here. The rental process went smoothly, and the price was incredibly reasonable (in May 2023: 180 euros, fuel included, for the whole day).

However, it’s worth noting that there are other companies in the area that may propose higher prices to rent a boat in Zakynthos, so it ultimately depends on your personal preferences.

Here’s a little insider tip: Since Agios Port is a bit secluded and not close to the more touristy areas in Zakynthos, I would advise against making the same mistake we did by assuming you can easily find a taxi for the return journey. We ended up waiting for about an hour!

Most people come with their own car, or even better, I suggest considering renting a quad bike. In the end, the cost of the taxi to go and return was almost the same as renting an ATV for the whole day, and it’s a lot more fun! If we were to do it again, we would definitely choose the ATV option without hesitation.

Final Thoughts – Rent a Boat in Zante

While I can’t delve too deeply into the specifics of Zakynthos itself, I can assure you that the coastline is absolutely stunning, the Greek cuisine is amazing (nothing new about that!), and its easy accessibility makes it a fantastic holiday destination.

Trust me when I say, you don’t want to miss out on the self-driven Zakynthos boat rental activity. It was the absolute highlight of my holiday, and I would eagerly do it again without hesitation. Exploring the stunning coastline at your own pace is an absolute blast.

So, make sure to add this activity to your Greek itinerary and get ready for an adventure that will exceed your expectations.

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