Diving in Zakynthos - The Essential Checklist

Greece, with its 13,736 km coastline and over 6000 volcanic islands scattered off the mainland coast, is a big name in the scuba diving world. The waters of Greece are blooming with marine life and is a truly mysterious world of submerged cities and sunken ships, a true diver’s paradise in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Why is Diving in Zakynthos so Special?

Zakynthos or Zante island is a part of the Ionian Islands, 20 km from the west coast of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. The island is famous for its fertile lands, the exclusive flora and fauna and sandy beaches overlooking the clear, turquoise sea.The unique geographical location and terrain makes it one of the most popular diving destinations in Greece. Deepwater caves, to ruins of ancient ships and colorful coral reefs, Zakynthos’ cold waters have a site for all. Zakynthos is part of a National Marine Park, and home to many endangered species including the Loggerhead Turtle (Carreta-Carreta), and the Meditteranean Monk Seal, which are also main attractions for divers in Zakynthos. 

Best Time to Dive in Zakynthos

The waters of Ionic Sea is colder than the Aegean, and the peak diving season in Zakynthos is from late May to late September. February is the coldest month with waters cooling to 15 degrees Celsius, and the hottest is August with waters reaching a temperature of 26.2 degrees Celsius.For more experienced divers, the chilly seas still offer great visibility to explore the natural tunnels and shipwrecks, though the marine life may not be as common. 

Best Diving Sites in Zakynthos

1. Marathonissi

Marathonisi Island
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Marathonisi is located in the Keri Peninsula and is also known as Turtle Island. It is a famous reef diving sites, where Giant loggerhead turtles are found. Other marine life including octopus, cuttlefish and moray eels are also found in the area. It has an average depth of 10m with a maximum depth of about 20m. 

2. Dafni

Dafni is a shallow diving spot, which is suitable for all levels of divers. The place offers divers a view of rock formations riddled with octopus and scorpion fish. One of the major attractions is the upright sunk motorcycle. 

3. Lakka

The Arch in Lakka
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Lakka is famous for the Arc de Triumph or The Arch, an underwater natural rock formation in the shape of an arch. The whole site is divided into various parts with reefs, walls and caverns which averages a depth of 18 meters with a maximum depth of around 70 m. 

4. Elefant

An elephant head shaped rock seperating the surface gives the name to this site. There;s a wall going from 12 to 30m along the rock. You can spot brightly colored nudibranches like durits on the way down. There are many swim-throughs in the area, where one can see spanish lobsters. 

5. Oktopus

Oktopus is Reef/Cave site with huge walls of limestone which goes to a depth of about 30m. You can follow down through the wall to find the cave around 15m deep. In crevices along the reef, divers can see grouper and moray eels and also remains of ancient cities like pieces of amphora pots.

6. Alati

Alati is a spot with deep walls which run down to around 30m deep. Both new and experienced divers can enjoy Alati with swim-throughs, and coral and aquatic life. The remains of a canyon where one can spot spanish lobsters is also a popular attraction of the dive.

7. Faros

A shallow dive with a maximum depth of 12 m, Farrow is a perfect site for beginners. The spot is a 40 minute ride from the harbour. There are 2 tunnels and a huge cavern. The tunnel produces a cannonball sound as you dive, due to the water presure inside. 

8. Keri Caves

Blue Caves in Zakynthos
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The dive in Keri or blue caves consists of a deep cave, reef walls, tunnels and caverns, one of which is a huge 75m blue cavern which gives the name. The deepest part of the wall goes to over 40m and the average depth is 18m. At the end of the dive is the ascend through the cave, with a freshwater layer in the sea as the exit point. 

9. Barakuda

Barakuda caves host some of the largest marine life in Zakynthos. The first reef wall ends at a depth of 18m, but a second wall goes up deeper than 50m, where predatory fishes like bluefin tuna are found. 

10. Four Caves

Four Cves Zakynthos
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Four caverns lay adjacent to each other and is accessible through a single dive. Maximum depth is around 35m. Divers can also spot the big monk seal (Monachus Monachus) in the caverns. 

11. Poseidon Cave

This is a unique diving experience in Zante. The cave tunnel has a cavern with two chambers, a lower and an upper chamber. The maximum depth can go up to 70m with 18m of average depth. The porous chamber wall pushes out the exhaled air from the divers to form air bubble at the surface.

12. Cave Tunnel

The iconic cave tunnel or the butterfly cave is a cavern with a fully closed tunnel at the end, stretching for 75m. The closed tunnel is preferable for experienced divers. You can also cross the mountain through the tunnel, at the other end of which is the butterfly shaped opening.

Top Diving Clubs in Zakynthos

Zakynthos has many diving clubs which offer a dive at most of the above-mentioned diving sites. Diving equipments are provided from the clubs and are generally of good quality and condition. Instructors provide demo classes for the inexperienced divers. Packages vary across the clubs but the average package is around EUR 40 per dive. Some of the popular diving clubs in Zante are:
  • Zante Blue Reef
  • Eurodivers
  • Zante Diving Dive Center
  • Diver’s Paradise
  • Diving Center Turtle Beach

Tips to Follow while Diving in Zakynthos

  • Check the water temperature before planning your diving trip to Zante, as the waters get cold during winters.
  • Decide on the prefered diving club in advance and book resorts accordingly, as it can get inconvenient to travel within the island, and also because the diving season can get pretty crowded.
  • Always follow the lead and commands of the instructer as the underwater terrain can get confusing, especially for longer dives. 
So, if you have scuba diving in your travel checklist, Zakynthos is surely one of the best places to experience that.

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