How To Get From Athens to Zakynthos

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

athens to zakynthos zante
Zakynthos is not directly linked by ferry to Athens and it’s usually better to take the plane

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 TakesCost*
Bus to Kyllini & Ferry
(bus/drive to Kyllini port and then ferry)
6 hours
(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)
Flight
(from Athens Intl. Airport)
1 hour100 to 250 euros
*Obviously, the cost fluctuates a lot and may differ; always check Ferryhopper for ferry costs and Expedia for flights

zakynthos ferry port
Zakynthos Port is where the ferries from Kyllini arrive

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.

zakynthos ferry port
Levante Ferries are the ones that will take you from Kyllini to Zakynthos

Keep reading…

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)
  • 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
  • Best Way to Get From Athens Airport to KTEL Kifissou Bus Station is by taking the Express Bus X93 (see its route here)
  • 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.
  • 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

zakynthos ferry port
Levante Ferries are the best to take you to Zakynthos (from Kyllini) – here it is in Zakynthos port

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:

zakynthos ferry timetables
This is a typical Ferry Schedule from Kyllini to Zakynthos in the summer months (May, June, July, August, and September); the trip is only 1 hour and 15 minutes

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.

ferry ticket greek islands blue star ferry highspeed
If you book your ticket through Ferryhopper you are going to get a link through email where you can download the tickets with the barcode that looks like this (it will open up in your browser, and you can just screenshot it); this ticket will have your seat number as well, and it is individual for every passenger, so kids and vehicles will have their own barcodes and separate tickets
ferries kefalonia greece
Levante ferries take 1 hour and 15 minutes to get you from Kyllini to Zakynthos
levante ferries kefalonia inside
Levante ferries are comfortable and modern from the inside
levante ferries kefalonia food inside restaurant
There is a small cafe with snacks in the Levante Ferries

BUS FROM ATHENS TO ZAKYNTHOS

zakynthos bus ktel zante greece
There is a KTEL bus from Athens to Zakynthos that can actually take you straight to Zakynthos but it’s just a ride from Athens to Kyllini port and then a ferry ride; you can take them from the KTEL Central Bus Station in the Kifissos area in Athens

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:

athens zakynthos bus timetables
There are usually 3 το 4 buses a day from Athens to Zakynthos (it’s through Kyllini port), but the ticket DOES NOT include the ferry price

You can book the ticket for the Athens to Zakynthos Bus here

The whole bus ride takes about 6 hours, of which 1.5 hours is on the ferry from Kyllini.

ATHENS BUS STATION (KIFISSOS)

ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
Athens Bus Station in Kifissos is a very old building that’s pretty much the same since the 50’s but…it does the job, I guess; there are several bus bays for each prefecture in Greece

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.

ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
There are lots of KTEL Buses that depart from Kifissos central bus station in Athens but there is also another smaller KTEL Bus Station in Athens called Liossion Bus Station, where some other buses depart (mainly for Volos, Larisa, Karditsa, and Trikala towns in northern Greece).
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
The ticket area of Kifissos Bus Station has kiosks for every destination (there is no central office you can go to; you have to find the one that operates your destination)
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
The ticket area of Kifissos Bus Station can become very busy a few minutes before departure, so make sure you arrive well in advance as you need the printout ticket to enter the bus (not in every bus, though, as some of them accept the electronic ticket)
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
Don’t expect any luxuries in Kifissos Bus Station, and apart from a coffee shop that sells Greek pasties, you won’t find much food
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
The coffee shop area in Kifissos has a few tables where you can sit and have something to eat or drink
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
Every bus bay has a sign on top for the destination/prefecture that it actually serves; you have to find yours and wait there to enter the bus, as there are no announcements or electronic tables to show departures.
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
There are lots of buses that go to almost everywhere in Greece in the Kifissos Bus Station
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
There are Athens Local Buses that will drop you literally at the Kifissos bus station
ktel bus kifissos bus station athens
The interior of the KTEL Buses is pretty standard and most of the buses are quite new actually.

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:

x93 bus athens kifissos airport
This is the route of the express bus X93 from Athens Airport to Kifissos Bus Station (it’s a 45 minutes ride and the ticket costs 6 euros)

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
420 athens bus kifissos piraeus
This is the route of the 420 Bus from Piraeus port to Kifissos Bus Station (it’s a 30-minute ride and the ticket costs 1.60 euros)

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).

zakynthos airport zante greece
Zakynthos’s airport has been renovated and it’s modern and comfortable

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:

zakynthos airport zante greece
Zakynthos Airport (ZTH) is quite spacious and the check-in process is easy and quick.
zakynthos airport zante greece
Zakynthos Airport can be quite busy in the summer months of June, July and August

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).

zakynthos airport zante greece
Zante airport has a few shops for last minute shopping

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.

Check the latest available flights to Zakynthos on Expedia.

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

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AUTHOR
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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