Greece's Geodynamic Institute reported the quake as 6.4-magnitude, while the U.S. Geological Survey rated it 6.8. The epicenter was in the Ionian sea, some 38 km off the island of Zante and 14-km deep.
The tremor was felt strongly throughout western Greece as far as Athens, as well as in Albania, Italy, Libya and Malta.
Was quake felt on Zante, Crete and Corfu? .
"We felt a quake about 1.30am and later a larger one half hour later". A couple of people were treated for minor injuries.
Hundreds of residents in Zakynthos spent the night in the streets in fear of more earthquakes, videos shot from inside stores and homes the moment the quake hit show the extent of the force of the tremor and tens of aftershocks were felt.
The island's main harbor in the Ionian Sea was damaged though it was still functional, civil protection agency press spokesman Spyros Georgiou told the Associated Press.
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"The energy unleashed, based on the angle of the faultline, fanned out towards Italy", he added.
The quake was fairly shallow, only 16.5km below the seabed, which would have amplified shaking. Firefighters in Calabria, Puglia and Sicily received thousands of telephone calls seeking information about the quake.
Local media reported damage caused by landslides and power cuts.
An official confirmed a tsunami alert had been issued.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said sea level changes were observed after the natural disaster. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an quake and follow advice given by the local authorities.
Greece straddles two tectonic plates and often gets earthquakes.