It is not often that you can find a beach that is absolutely beautiful, safe and perfect for families with children and has all amenities close by. Moreover, it’s a fantastic beach for those young at heart and water sports thrill seekers. St. Nicholas Beach Zakynthos is one of those places.
Your one-stop relaxation and non-stop excitement destination, all rolled into one. Honestly, this is one of my favorite beaches in Zakynthos, together with Mizithres Beach and Porto Limnionas Beach. A true hidden gem, that deserves to be on your itinerary.
Not only is it a popular tourist destination, but also plays a significant role in the sphere of marine conservation. St. Nicholas Beach is the northern boundary of the Laganas Bay, part of the Zakynthos Marine Park, a protected area, and one of the few remaining breeding grounds of the endangered loggerhead turtles (scientific name: Caretta Caretta) in the Mediterranean.
St. Nicholas Beach itself, is however, not a recognised turtle breeding spot, but loggerheads are regularly seen offshore by divers and on the surface from passing boats. Another place where you can see the cute loggerhead turtles is Turtle Island.
1. St. Nicholas Beach – Location
Not to be confused with the St. Nicholas Harbor on the north-eastern coast of Zakynthos, or Zante, as the Venetians have named it, this St. Nicholas Beach, is located on the Vasilikos Peninsula on the south-eastern corner of the island.
St. Nicholas Beach is easily accessed by road, being less than 20 kilometres from the capital and from Laganas Bay, where the vast majority of visitors tend to stay. It can also be accessed by boat. You can hire one from various points along the nearby Laganas Bay.
2. How to get to St. Nicholas Beach
Public buses run regularly to St. Nicholas Beach from Zakynthos town, Argasi and from Laganas Bay. A one-way trip usually cost less than €2 per person. Various tour operators also offer bus rides to St. Nicholas Beach and other popular destinations.
The St. Nicholas Watersports Centre, offers a courtesy bus running daily to and from Laganas Bay to Argasi and onto St. Nicholas Beach. Both of these services are free to anyone spending a minimum of €50 on any of their numerous exciting watersports activities.
The most popular way of getting around Zakynthos is by hiring a car or scooter. Having your own transport, gives you the freedom to come and go as you please, and is also fairly inexpensive and easily available. We rented our car from Alamo for one week and I think they have the best value for money ration on the island.
3. What to expect at Saint Nicholas Beach
Flanked by two rocky outcrops and a high rocky and green wooded background, this 400 metre stretch of fine, soft, white sandy beach, is sheltered from the winds and has virtually no waves. The gentle sloping seafloor allows small children to wade out for up to 50 metres and still be in calm, shallow and clear water, making it the best beach for children in Zakynthos.
There are no rocks, pebbles or sharp shells on this beach to warrant any footwear. The sand does, however get pretty hot in the summer at midday. On the beach you’ll find plenty of sunbeds you can rent.
Ample free parking is available directly behind the beach. Also, there is a vast array of food outlets, offering a wide range of food and drinks, from quick takeaways to traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Food and drinks can be ordered from the comfort of your beach spot, without moving a muscle. The music coming from the various restaurants, coffee shops and beach bars add life and vibe to this otherwise tranquil setting.
During peak season it does become packed with lively young tourists and it can get a little hectic, especially when boatloads of teenagers are unleashed onto the beach. But don’t stress; they normally head for the nearest bar.
4. Things to do at St. Nicholas Beach
There is virtually nothing that you can’t do at St. Nicholas Beach Zante. From lazing on a sunbed while sipping a refreshing cocktail and watching people go by, to parasailing or being dragged by a speedboat at a hundred miles an hour on a crazy sofa out at sea, and everything else in between.
The crystal blue waters provide a wonderful playground for kids, safe bathing and also excellent snorkelling with tons of small fish hovering all around you. Some may even try to nibble your toes. Best spots to snorkel would be near the shallow reefs around the two outcrops on either side of the beach, where the passing boats keep well away.
The St. Nicholas Beach Watersports and Diving Centre, situated in the middle of the beach, provides an endless variety of watersports activities, ensuring nobody gets bored. There is a floating jetty, allowing safe docking and launching of their high speed boats in an extremely organised manner, without ever comprising the safety of casual swimmers and snorkelers floating around the water.
Scuba diving lessons and excursions to some of the best reefs in the Mediteranean can be arranged, as well as kayaking, stand-up paddling, water-skiing and jet skiing. If these seem mundane, you can experience their high speed rides on the inflatable banana, crazy sofa, or flying fish.
The ultimate thrill is to parasail across the bay, while being towed by a speedboat, taking in the stunning scenery of the clear turquoise water and colourful shoreline from high up in the sky. A truly unforgettable experience.
They also provide a trendy bar and restaurant offering a wide choice of meals and drinks throughout the day. All in all, this company providing all these vital tourist services and activities, ensuring that St. Nicholas Beach is by far the best beach for watersports in Zakynthos. A true and most valuable asset to the island.
Rent a sunbed and relax
If you’re just looking for a quiet spot to let the children play while you sunbathe, relax ir stroll along the water’s edge, look no further than St. Nicholas Beach Zakynthos.
The sun can get pretty hot during summer, particularly in the middle of the day, but there are tons of sunbeds underneath thatched umbrellas for rent along the entire beach. If you’re wanting to book one close to the water, it’s always best to arrive early. After 10 am, when the tourist masses start to arrive, the place quickly fills up.
Visit the nearby church
The tiny, humble but picturesque St. Nicholas Church, built on the rocky promontory to the left of the beach, adds charm and charisma to this already beautiful coastal Mediterranean setting. The church’s whitewashed walls and bright red painted doors, windows and gate, with its distinct bell tower, offers endless photography opportunities for creative photographers. It’s an instant magnet for instagrammers.
I have to admit that I gave in and I took quite a few photos here. Simply one of the most beautiful photography places in Zakynthos!
A stroll along the rocky outcrop to the point, also offers sweeping views of the entire beach and the blue ocean on the opposite side. For SLR photographers, a wide angle lens with polarising filter will remove the water’s glare capturing panoramic views of this stunning shoreline. This is one of the best spots to enjoy stunning sunsets.
Relax at one of the beach bars
Whether you want a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a cocktail, a quick snack, brunch, lunch or dinner, or just to relax in the shade listening to music, choices are endless here without ever leaving the beach.
Conveniently situated, some almost on the water’s edge, with breathtaking views, you’ll find dozens of beach bars and tavernas providing plenty of shade and welcome relief from the scorching sun, serving delicious meals to suit all pockets, tastes and appetites.
5. Where to stay near St. Nicholas Beach
Numerous hotels, villas and resorts, as well as apartment rentals and other self-catering accommodation, along with markets and shops are available within walking distance from the beach, for those wishing to make their base here in this picturesque setting and save money eliminating unnecessary travel.
However, if you’d like to spend your vacation in a more popular areas, I recommend the ones below. We stayed at Alterego Studios and absolutely loved our stay!
- Budget – Aggeliki Studios – beautiful rooms in good location, beautiful garden, amazing hosts, good amenities
- Mid-Range – Alterego Studios – awesome location, clean and spacious rooms, beautiful pool, close to many restaurants and shops
- Luxury – Zante Maris Suites – beautiful views and infinity pool, excellent restaurant on site, luxurious and spacious rooms, friendly staff
Although this island is blessed with dozens of absolutely drop dead gorgeous beaches, sought after by romantic couples, adventure-seeking individuals, and sightseers, after spending a day or two at St. Nicholas Beach, you’ll also come to the conclusion that this is by far the best beach for families in Zakynthos.
May the travel bug bite you!