Marathonissi Island Greece
On your trip to Zante, you'll encounter natural beauty around every corner, from the island's olive groves to miles and miles of unspoilt golden sandy beaches. But one of the most beautiful places to visit must be Zante's Turtle Island, in the middle of the Bay of Laganas. You might hear Zante's Turtle Island referred to as Marathonissi Island, and until the Second World War, this tiny private island was inhabited by a number of local people. Today, people have moved on and the only residents of the island are endangered loggerhead turtles. Also known as Caretta Caretta turtles, these rare, gentle creatures come to the island to breed, and if you're lucky, you may get the opportunity to spot them! Heavily protected by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, all boat trips must leave the island by sunset; this is when the turtles approach the beach to lay their eggs. The island is accessible by organised boat tours or you can rent a private boat to explore at your leisure. It takes around 5-10 minutes by speed boat to reach Marathonissi from Laganas, Agios Sostis and Porto Koukla. On your Zante Turtle Island trip, you'll have the opportunity to spot turtles and hopefully get some great photographs of these amazing creatures by the shore. With time to wander around and see the whole island, you can enjoy a spot of swimming or snorkelling, or just relax and unwind. Take the time to explore both the island's beaches. One is a pebble beach which is surrounded by intriguing sea caves that you can explore. This is a great spot for snorkelling as the waters are crystal clear! The other beach is one of Zante's most beautiful beaches; a shelf of tropical white sand and turquoise waters where you can relax, soak up the sun or enjoy a picnic with the family. Although here are no amenities on Zante's Turtle Island, this is part of the charm of visiting an uninhabited island. Make sure you pack your own food and drink, and bring plenty of water as it can get pretty hot under the summer sun. There's also a quaint little picnic boat which sails around the island, selling everything from doughnuts to watermelon and cold drinks! When you leave, always ensure you take all your rubbish with you to ensure the island stays looking as beautiful as when you found it.