There are two main ways to get from Athens to Zakynthos: drive to Kyllini (or take the KTEL Intercity bus from Athens) and then take the ferry or just fly directly. It is usually best to fly to Zakynthos, but I explain everything below.
I honestly believe that the Best Way to get from Athens to Zakynthos (or Zante) is by taking the 1-hour direct flight and by doing this you avoid buses and ferries overall.
Also, to make it clear: Zakynthos is also called “Zante”
But also, if you are just flying from anywhere within Europe to Greece, chances are there might be a direct flight from a European city to Zakynthos (Zante) as there are a lot of direct international flights to Zakynthos from all over Europe every year. The same applies to every Ionian island, like Kefalonia and Corfu, as they are all famous Greek islands well connected to Europe.
A direct flight from a European city (other than Athens) is usually a much better option than flying to Athens first and then trying to get the bus/ferry to Zakynthos, so I highly suggest you check that first (unless you want to visit Athens first for a few days).
If you want to go from Athens to Zakynthos, then these are the two options you have:
|How Long It Takes
|Bus to Kyllini & Ferry
(bus/drive to Kyllini port and then ferry)
(it’s about 3.5 hours drive to Kyllini port & the ferry from Kyllini is 1 hours and 15 minutes)
|26 euros bus to Zakynthos (ferry price is NOT included and it costs 12.5 euros)
(from Athens Intl. Airport)
|100 to 250 euros
There are no direct ferries from Athens to Zakynthos so you have to reach the town of Kyllini and then take the 1 hour and 15 minutes ferry to get to Zante port. This is too much hassle, in my opinion, especially if you only have a few days on the island of Zakynthos, so I highly suggest you just take the direct flight from Athens International Airport to Zakynthos.
- Ferryhopper is the largest and most safe website in Greece to book your ferry tickets from Athens to Zakynthos, but you can also use it just for checking timetables and prices between Athens and all greek islands.
- Expedia has all the available options for flights from Athens to Zakynthos (ZTH is Zakynthos’s airport code) with all possible airlines (Aegean, Olympic, Sky Express)
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It goes without saying that whatever I am detailing in this post also applies to the return trip from Zakynthos to Athens.
ATHENS TO ZAKYNTHOS TIPS:
- Best way To get From Athens to Zakynthos: by direct flight (1 hour) because it’s just a lot faster; the ferry might be worth checking though if money is an issue or if you cannot find a flight ticket or you just want to visit Athens as well
- Best Website for Ferry Prices & Timetables: Ferryhopper
- There is no direct ferry from Athens to Zakynthos but you have to get to Kyllini port first (3.5 hours drive from Athens)
- Bus from Athens to Kyllini: you have to take it from the Central KTEL Bus Station (on Google Maps), which is unfortunately one of the worst in the country and really old-fashioned and chaotic (see below how to get there)
- Kyllini Port on Google Maps
- Zakynthos Port on Google Maps
- Between April-October there are usually 5 ferries from Kyllini to Zakynthos port
- How long is the ferry ride from Athens to Zakynthos: there is no direct ferry, but you have to drive to Kyllini first (3.5 hours) and then take the 1 hour and 15 minutes ferry to Zakynthos
- How much does it cost to take a ferry from Athens to Zakynthos: there is no direct ferry from Athens but the ferry from Kyllini costs around 12 euros but the best is to just take the KTEL Bus with 26 euros which DOES NOT include the ferry ticket
- Where to Get the bus from Athens to Kyllini/Zakynthos: from Kifissos KTEL Bus Station
- Best Way to Get From Athens Airport to KTEL Kifissou Bus Station is by taking the Express Bus X93 (see its route here)
- Where to Book the Bus from Athens to Zakynthos: from KTEL Zakynthou website
- You must book your ferry online and you can then enter the ferry with the barcode that will be on the email that will be sent to you. This will be clearly written on the email you will receive from Ferryhopper and it is now the system that most ferry companies use BUT some smaller companies may ask you to get a printout from a kiosk that is outside of the ferry and it is this print out that will allow you to enter the ferry. As a rule of thumb, if your ticket you got through email from Ferryhopper has a barcode then you can enter the ferry directly.
- How long is the flight from Athens to Zakynthos: the flight is 1 hour long, and checking in is usually quick but you have to be 2 hours in advance at the airport, as with any flight worldwide.
- Direct International Flights to Zakynthos: there are many international flights to Zakynthos from all over Europe and if you don’t want to visit Athens, I highly recommend you take a direct flight to Zakynthos from a European city. Actually, if you are flying from the US or Canada, I recommend you fly to a European city first (London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome) and then take a direct flight to Zakynthos. The bus from Athens to Zakynthos takes too long and can be tiring.
- The Best Airline to fly from Athens to Zakynthos is Aegean Airlines (Check flights on Expedia)
- Strikes in Greece: strikes can happen anytime in Greece and for any means of public transportation within short notice; usually, they may happen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays; yes, they may mess up your trip but they are necessary for the hard-working people of Greece so that they can have decent salaries and benefits for their lives. So, get over it and try to find some alternatives for your trip (a taxi is usually the best option).
- Strong Winds – Ferries Cancellations: in case there are strong winds (which can be pretty common in August in Greece), then the Greek Port Authorities may stop all ferries from departing, so bear in mind this is also a possibility that can mess up your trip; as an average there might be 4-5 days during the summer months that this can happen so get prepared
- Punctuality of ferries in Greece: in general, all ferries in Greece depart on time with no delays, and they won’t wait for you if you are late; however, they don’t always arrive on time as there are weather or other conditions that may affect their route to the islands along the way
- The Ferry Schedule for all greek islands is announced only 2-3 months before the actual trips, so if you cannot find any scheduled ferries for your trip 3 years from now, please check again 2 months before your actual trip.
So, let’s see all the available options from Athens to Zakynthos (that also apply to the return trip Zakynthos to Athens):
Athens to Zakynthos Ferry Schedule
There is no direct ferry from Athens to Zakynthos nor from Zakynthos to Athens. You have to get to Kyllini port first.
The Ferry Schedule from Athens to Zakynthos is only announced a few months before the actual dates of the trips, which means that the times for the busy summer months of May, June, July, August and September are only announced around February or March of the same year.
These ferries only connect Kyllini to Zakynthos, so you must get to Kyllini first!
Here is an example of a Ferry Schedule from Athens to Zakynthos in September from Ferryhopper:
This is just an example of a ferry schedule though!
For the latest Ferry schedule, always check on Ferryhopper.
The winter ferry schedule is less frequent, probably 1-2 ferries daily.
BUS FROM ATHENS TO ZAKYNTHOS
The Zakynthos Local Bus company operates a route from Athens to Zakynthos, which is basically a bus that will take you from Athens Central Bus Station in Kifissos to Kyllini to take the ferry to Zakynthos Port. The whole journey can take up to 6 hours.
Here are the available buses from Athens to Zakynthos:
The whole bus ride takes about 6 hours, of which 1.5 hours is on the ferry from Kyllini.
ATHENS BUS STATION (KIFISSOS)
Athens Bus Station is located in Kifissos area and it’s probably the worst in the country with very old facilities and amenities, that is also pretty difficult to reach as it’s not close to anything.
Here is Kifissos Bus Station on Google Maps.
HOW TO GET TO KIFISSOS BUS STATION
There are only Athens buses that serve Kifissos Bus Terminal in Athens and there is no metro connection.
So here are the possible ways you can reach the station:
- From Athens International Airport: you have to take the X93 Express Bus
You can also see the details of X93 Route and timetables on the official website of Athens Buses.
- From Piraeus Port to Kifissos Bus Station: you have to take the 420 Bus
FLIGHTS TO ZAKYNTHOS (ZANTE)
Expedia is the best and cheapest website to book or search for flights to Zakynthos, as it has all the available options (including any available low-cost airlines like Ryanair).
A few useful info to have in mind when booking your flight to Zakynthos:
- Zakynthos Airport on Google Maps
- Athens Airport Code is : ATH (Athens)
- Zakynthos Airport Code is: ZTH (Zakynthos)
- Every plane that lands on Zante, takes off after 1 hour to fly back to Athens.
- The exact times of the flights change, and they are not the same throughout the year, so make sure you get the right times from Expedia as it will give you all the available flights immediately.
- There are more flights from Athens to Zante between April – October (high season)
- If you book your tickets well in advance (6 months) you could probably find some very good deals with return tickets.
- The cost of the flight from Athens to Zakynthos may come up to 250 euros during the high season (April-October)
The airlines that fly from Athens to Zakynthos (April-October) are:
I highly recommend you fly to Zakynthos instead of taking the bus and ferry from Athens.
There are flights to and from Zakynthos from pretty much any big European city. This is extremely helpful, in my opinion, as it’s much better to fly directly to the island from somewhere in Europe instead of wasting time with the bus and the ferry (and the same applies to the trip to Kefalonia or Corfu).
I honestly believe that, it’s definitely worth flying to Zakynthos and it’s a much better option than you taking the bus and the ferry from Kyllini. You will be on the island within 2.5 hours in total (1 hour flight and 1.5 hours for the check-in process at the airport) and you will avoid dealing with the bus and the ferry after all. Also, you will avoid visiting the notorious Kifissos Bus Station in Athens.
Zakynthos Airport is International, which means there are direct flights from London, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Brussels, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Warsaw, Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Nottigham and many more European destinations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long is the ferry ride from Athens to Zakynthos?
There is no direct ferry to Zakynthos from Athens, so you have to take a bus that will take you to Kyllini port first, which takes 3.5 hours, and then the ferry takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to Zakynthos. The bus journey might take more than 6 hours and can be tiring. A direct flight to Zakynthos is much faster and more comfortable (but it can be more expensive).
What is the best way to travel from Athens to Zante?
The best way to travel from Athens to Zante is by direct flight because it is quicker and easier than getting on the 6-hour bus and ferry. The flight is only 1 hour on the air and Zakynthos International Airport “Dionysios Solomos” is modern and easy to get to.
Is it better to fly or ferry to Zakynthos?
It is generally better to fly to Zakynthos because in order to take the ferry, you need to get to Kyllini port first, with a 6-hour bus ride from Athens. The bus and the ferry to Zante might be a better option if money is an issue and you are looking for the absolute cheapest way to get to Zakynthos.
To wrap it up, you have two options to get from Athens to Zakynthos: by plane or bus/ferry. I highly recommend flying directly to Zakynthos instead of the bus and ferry because it’s the quickest option. Flying is also the best option if you are visiting the island with young kids, as the bus road trip might be tiring for a child.