One of the best things we did in Greece was renting a boat and if you want to rent a boat in Zakynthos, it’s one of the best islands to do so. Renting a boat in Zakynthos is easy. You don’t need a boat license, it’s not that expensive and there are plenty of places where you can rent a boat in Zakynthos.
But if you’re not careful, you could end up with a shady company that charges you extra or gives you an unreliable boat without the proper safety equipment inside.
Renting a boat for the day and exploring hidden coves around the Greek islands was one of the most incredible experiences we’ve ever had while travelling. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Zakynthos and in fact, it’s one of the best things to do in Greece as a whole.
How to Rent a Boat in Zakynthos
In this post, I’m going to break down everything you need to know when you’re planning to rent a boat in Zakynthos, from how much it costs to the best companies to go with. This is based on my personal experience over 10 days in Zakynthos.
We first rented a boat for ourselves in the nearby island of Corfu, and then we hired a boat with a private driver in Zakynthos. I learned a lot while researching the process of boat rental in Zakynthos, and I’m happy share this information with you now.
Whether you want to rent and drive your own boat, or you want to hire a company to drive you around the island, you’ll learn everything about renting a boat in Zakynthos in this post.
Best Time of Year to Rent a Boat in Zakynthos
The best time of year to rent a boat in Zakynthos is the same as the best time to visit Greece and the best time to visit Zakynthos. Our favourite time to come to Greece is in the shoulder season (March-May or September-November) when the sea is still warm enough to swim (although very cold on either end of those dates) and there are much fewer crowds.
Another great time to rent a boat in Zakynthos is in the summer. This is when the sea is at its warmest and the sun is shining the most, but it’s also when more crowds descend on the island of Zakynthos.
In the winter, most of the companies in this post will be closed down. There are some that are open year-round but in the winter months the sea can be extremely cold and you’ll have to be more mindful of the weather.
If you’re visiting in the summer months, it’s a good idea to call ahead and book your boat in advance. If you’re unable to book over the phone, then I recommend going into the rental office and paying a small deposit to rent your boat at a later date.
In July and August, you may have to pay a €20 deposit about 2 or 3 days before you plan to rent the boat. Some companies can take deposits online through their websites, but that’s not always an option.
If you’re visiting in the shoulder or off-season, you should have no problem simply calling a shop and coming to rent a boat on the same day.
Where to Rent a Boat in Zakynthos
There are plenty of different companies offering boat rentals all around the island of Zakynthos. The most popular places are down south (the first two listed below), but if you’re staying in the north then you still will have some boat rental companies near you and you won’t have to drive all the way south to pick up your rental boat.
Keri Beach (South Zakynthos)
One of the most popular areas to rent a boat in Zakynthos is near Keri Beach just east of Keri Village & The Keri Cliffs on the southeast corner of Zakynthos Island. Here you’ll a few of the most popular boat rental companies lining the beach.
Fun & Sea Boat Rentals
📍Unnamed Rd Keri Lake, 290 92, Greece
★ 4.8/5 (13 Reviews on Google)
💵€120+/day + Gas
Fun and Sea Boat Rentals is just off the beach in the Keri Beach area and is a good option for renting boats. They have good reviews on Google and their boats have stereo systems. The staff here is friendly and there’s no reported “surprise extras” from customers
Big Blue Motorboat Rentals
📍Keri Lake Main Road, Zakinthos 290 92, Greece
★ 4.7/5 (171 Reviews on Google)
💵€120+/day + Gas
Big Blue is one of the most popular places to rent boats on the entire island. They have a great website that displays all of their boats and prices for rentals which start at €120 per day + gas. They also easily explain to guests where you can and cannot take the boats and they charge an extra €30 for a skipper to go with you and take the boats to further areas like Navagio beach.
Calypso Boat Rentals
📍Keri 290 92, Greece
★ 5.0/5 (5 Reviews on Google)
💵€100+/day + Gas
Calypso is another well-rated company on Google. They have been around for more than 20 years and has good prices on boats. It’s a local, family-run company and the prices here start at €100 / day for a boat. They also have skippers available upon request.
Laganas Beach Area (South Zakynthos)
This is another very popular place to rent a boat in the south of Zakynthos. There are plenty of companies here to choose from but the ones listed below are the highest-rated ones.
Laganas Boat Rentals
📍Laganas 291 00, Greece
★ 5.0/5 (32 Reviews on Google)
💵€120+/day + Gas
Laganas Boat Rentals is one of the most popular places to rent a boat in Zakynthos for those staying around the Laganas Beach area. They have friendly service, beautiful boats and no hidden fees.
Blue Cave Boat Rental
📍Laganas 290 92, Greece
★ 5.0/5 (2 Reviews on Google)
💵€120+/day + Gas
This place is located towards the southern end of Laganas beach and has some nice boats. They are open from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm every day of the week including Sundays and they have decent prices on boat rentals.
Koroni (North Zakynthos)
Once you rent a boat in Zakynthos, you’re going to want to rent one again! A good idea is to rent a boat for one day in the south, using one of the companies above, then rent a boat for another day in the north. That way, even if you don’t pay extra for an accompanying skipper, you can see both sides of the island.
Blue Cave Boat Rental
📍Μικρό Νησί 290 91, Greece
★ 4.6/5 (40 Reviews on Google)
💵€140+/day + Gas
If you’re in the north of the island around the town of Koroni then this is your best option. The owner here will give you a good briefing of where you can and cannot go and you’ll get some safety briefings as well. Prices are a little higher here but it’s a good option for the north end of the island.
The Cost of Renting a Boat in Zakynthos
As you can see from the above-listed companies, the average cost of renting a boat in Zakynthos is between €100 – €140 per day.
If you’re visiting during the shoulder season, consider calling a few companies and bargaining for a good price. We did this on the island of Corfu in May and because there weren’t too many tourists and they had boats just sitting parked, we were able to get our boat for €80 for the day plus gas.
If you’re coming in the high-season then expect to pay high season prices. Some boat companies jack up their prices by 20-30% during this time. Don’t expect to bargain in July and August.
All rental boats will charge extra for gas. It’s worth asking the boat company how much a full tank of gas will cost before you agree to rent with them. That way there’s less chance of them trying to rip you off for extra gas charges at the end of the day.
The best companies will show you on the gas meter how much a quarter, half and full tank of gas will cost you, then when you drop off the boat they’ll simply look at the gauge and charge you accordingly.
Some companies don’t have gas gauges on their boats and they charge tourists whatever they choose. Of all of the reviews for boat rental companies in Zakynthos and the rest of Greece, this is the biggest gripe that travellers have.
A few questions before you agree can help ensure that you won’t be ripped off by the company.
Do You Need a Boat License to Rent a Boat in Zakynthos?
No. You do not need a boat licence to rent a boat in Zakynthos or in most islands in Greece. This may change with regulations in the coming years, but as long as tourists abide by the limitations of the boats and where they can be taken, for now you can rent a boat in Zakynthos without a boat license.
Boats are easy to drive and really not that dangerous, plus the owner of the boat rental shop should give you a long and useful briefing on the safety of the boat (including where the fire extinguisher is, life jackets etc.) as well as where you can and cannot take the boat.
Listen carefully to this briefing and make sure you understand it well. Also, abide by the limitations of the boat. Some crazy storms can quickly sweep into Zakynthos without warning. There’s a reason these rules are in place.
Even the experienced captains with years of boating experience in these seas won’t take boats to further places like Navagio Beach during a storm. These captains know how to read the weather in this area. You don’t. Simply stay within the boundaries laid out by the boat rental company, and you’ll be fine if you rent a boat in Zakynthos without a license.
Do You Need to Hire a Skipper to Come with You?
Technically you do not need a skipper to come with you when renting a boat in Zakynthos or most islands in Greece. Whether you’re renting the boat in the north or east of the island, there will be designated distances and areas that you’ll be allowed to take the boat by yourself.
If you’re going to more dangerous areas or places where you’ll need to exit the headlands and go into the open Sea, you’ll need to bring a skipper with you.
If you have no prior experience driving a boat, consider hiring a skipper to come with you for the day. The cost of a skipper starts at around €30 per day.
To make things even simpler, you can choose to take a tour in a private boat to some of the top places to see in Zakynthos. The tour takes you to around Zakynthos Island, with stops at Turtle Island and the Keri Caves. Snacks and drinks are included. Click here for more info.
Where Can You Take Your Rental Boat?
Typically you will be able to take your rental boat within a 10-20 kilometre area along the coast from where you rent it. The boat companies will tell you exactly where you can and cannot go.
This will ensure that you’re not going out of the area where it is safe to take the boat.
The boat companies have these limitations for your own safety. Storms can be very dangerous in Zakynthos so as I mentioned earlier, be sure to stay within the recommended boundaries.
Zakynthos has some of the best beaches in Greece so simply head out and explore the lesser-visited coves and find your own little slice of Ionian paradise.
How to Rent a Boat in Zakynthos Safely
Renting a boat in Zakynthos is very safe. The companies here generally try to ensure that the boats are equipped with all the proper safety equipment and that the tourists who rent them come back with the boats and themselves in one piece. Here are a few tips to rent a boat in Zakynthos safely:
Stay Within the Recommended Boundaries
I’ve said it enough times in this post that I’m sure it’s a given by now. Stay within the boundaries set forth by the boat rental companies. A good idea is to get the Google Maps app and download the map of Zakynthos to use offline. Then have the boat company create a flag on the map of the furthest distance you should go east, west, north, south etc.
Don’t Drive the Boat at Night
You should be heading back to the beach to return your boat long before the sun starts to set. The boat company will give you a curfew and you should abide by it. Not all boats are even equipped with lights and if you can’t see the water when you’re driving at night, you could crash the boat or injure someone swimming.
Have a Mobile Phone with Service
When you’re in the boat within 500 meters or so to shore, you should have cell phone service. Make sure you have a phone with you that is connected to 4G so that you can contact the shore in case of an emergency.
Check the Boat for Safety Equipment
Every boat should have a fire extinguisher, ores, a radio and enough life jackets for everyone onboard. Check the boat over before taking off and make sure that the owner of the boat gives you a detailed safety briefing before you leave.
Hire a Skipper If You’re a New Captain
When in doubt, hire a skipper. It’s a blast having your own boat for sure, but if you don’t have any prior experience driving a boat, then it’s worth the €30-€50 per day to hire a skipper to come with you.
Pretty much every boat rental company on the island will require that you take a skipper with you if you plan to go to Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Cove). There’s a good reason for this.
The beach is called Shipwreck Cove because there’s a massive freightliner that crashed here during a storm. The storms in the Ionian are no joke and can come without warning.
If you plan to visit Navagio Beach in your rental boat, you should either hire a skipper or go as part of a tour. This tour in a private boat not only takes you to Navagio Beach but also blue-water caves and hidden coves. Click here for more info.
Taking a Rental Boat to the Blue Caves Zakynthos
Some boat rental companies in the north of the island will allow you to take your boat rental to the Blue Caves. These are in a more secluded cove that’s easier to get to than Navagio Beach. Be sure to ask your boat rental company if it’s okay to go to the Blue Caves before renting the boat.
When in doubt, go as part of a tour. This popular tour takes you to the Blue Caves as well as Shipwreck Beach and a viewpoint. It’s in a small boat, although not a private tour, meaning it’s more affordable than tours with a private boat (like this one mentioned earlier in this article).
Can You Take a Rental Boat Between Islands?
Unless you’re hiring a yacht or sailboat, you won’t be allowed to take your rental boat between islands. Most of the boats that you’ll be renting will be between 25-70 horsepower and simply aren’t equipped to go between the islands of Greece.
Stick to ferries to get you between islands and simply use your rental boat to cruise up and down the coast of Zakynthos, staying close to the shore and enjoying the many secluded coves and hidden bays around the island.
Renting a Boat in Zakynthos with a Driver
If you’re worried about renting a boat in Zakynthos, then you can simply hire one with a driver. This is a more luxurious experience. You can sit back, relax and enjoy some drinks while someone else drives you around the island.
We did this in Zakynthos with Luxury Island Cruises and we can highly recommend it. Depending on the weather they can take you to all the best sites around the island including Navagio Beach and the Blue Caves.
FAQs about Boat Rental in Zakynthos
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about renting a boat in Zakynthos. Most of these were answered in the article above, but I’ll give a quick answer to them here too.
No, you don’t need one. It’s possible to rent a boat in Zakynthos without a license.
Based on our experience, the average cost of renting a boat in Zakynthos is between €100 – €140 per day.
You can take your boat in a 10-20 kilometre area along the coast from the place where you rented it.
Yes, you can choose to be accompanied by a driver when renting a boat in Zakynthos. It costs more but might give you a more relaxed and carefree experience.
Unless you rent a large boat like a yacht or sailboat, when you rent a boat in Zakynthos without a license, it won’t be large enough to travel with between islands.
Should You Rent a Boat in Zakynthos?
Renting a boat is probably the single most fun thing you can do in all of Greece. It’s a good way to get away from the crowds during the high season because you can pull your boat into hidden coves, anchor down and just chill for a while.
There are so many great places that you can take a boat in Zakynthos and there are enough trustworthy and reputable companies that you can do so with the confidence of knowing that the quality of the boat and the safety of you and your passengers is almost guaranteed.
I hope this post helped you to better understand how to rent a boat in Zakynthos. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment down below.
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