This flower is the gateway to Zakynthos, to its marvellously peerless Venetian aesthetic and beauty. It’s time to set a course for the most appealing beaches in the Ionian Sea. Zakynthos is an island with much to offer, and consequently attracts tourism for much of the year. Verdant hills seem to roll into enchanting turquoise waters; the main town is teeming with historical buildings and the villages dotting the landscape are filled with well-hidden treasures. Imagination runs rampant and undeveloped areas await visitors to explore them. There are two myths surrounding the name of Zakynthos. The first comes from the Venetians, who gave this name to the flowers blooming on the island during their occupation (1484-1797), while the second claims Zakynthos, son of Dardanus, the ruler of the ancient kingdom of Fria, was the first inhabitant of the island. Zakynthos is an island that will take your breath away with its many different beaches: sandy stretches, remote coves with dark blue crystal-clear waters, quiet beaches with glistening water that combine sand and pebbles, and some that are even more sandy and untamed.
Navagio (shipwreck): the world-renowned exotic beach with white sand and turquoise-green water.
Marathonisi and Gerakas: glass bottomed boats offer a peak at the sea turtles.
Vassilikos: a lush green oasis with a sandy beach, ideal for children.
Bochali: the perfect place to admire the wonderful and romantic views of the town, both during the day and at night.
A stroll through picturesque Agios Leontas and diving from the rocks at Porto Roxa and Limniona.
Kalamaki: the continuation of Laganas beach, where the Caretta Caretta turtles lay their eggs.
Xygia: for thermal baths, where the beach with warm blue-green water is ideal for those suffering from arthritis and musculoskeletal discomfort.
Keri Lake: with trees casting a cool shade on the quiet beach of Marathia.
Makris Gialos: a small picturesque beach on a cove, with a view of rocky cliffs.
Vrondonero: for adventurous visitors – this beach is the preferred haunt of nudists!
SPOT THE CULTURE
Visit the two-story building filled with the island’s surviving ecclesiastical art. This gorgeous building dominates the main square of the town, giving it a unique glamour. Inside, an ornate reproduction of the Monastery of Agios Andreas shelters the restored frescoes.
Museum of Solomos
The museum houses personal belongings and files of Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857), who was born on Zakynthos and is considered the father of Modern Greek poetry. His Hymn to Liberty became the national anthem of Greece.
Church of Agios Dionysios
One of the greatest Orthodox pilgrimages in the Ionian Sea, the church attracts devout crowds all year round. The ecclesiastical museum features amazing works and frescoes. The majestic temple was built in 1926 and was designed by A. Orlandos.
MUST DO – A VISIT TO THE ZAKYNTHOS NATIONAL MARINE PARK
- Bochali: stunning and romantic views of the town, day and night.
- Sunset at the Lighthouse of Keri, on the southern tip of the island – the most enchanting corner of the Mediterranean.
- The feast on 24 August honouring Agios Dionysios, the patron saint of the island, featuring impressive events and a unique festival.
- Giostra di Zante: the revival of one of the oldest events of the Zakynthian carnival. The event features dances and “omilies” (street theatre), as well as competitions on horseback to honour the maiden chosen by the competitors, where first and second prize are a silver sword and silver spurs respectively. Visitors from all over Europe come to Zakynthos to participate in the event! www.giostradizante.gr/en-home.php
- Open-air cinema, of course! Cine Foskolos. www.cinefoskolos.gr
- Korakonisi: a unique natural monument in the western section of the island, ideal for hiking and wildlife enthusiasts.
- Kabi or Schiza: a cape overlooking the sea with incredible views and an amazing sunset.
- Local cuisine: the morphology of the soil lends a special flavour to local agricultural products, and hence Zakynthian gastronomy is extraordinary in its own right. From the “mandolato” (Venetian sweet) to the delectable “stifado” (stew) to the “fritoures” (fried semolina sweets), visitors savour the incredible cuisine on an island that produces its own olive oil and raisins, not to mention incredible wines.
- Quiet, shady and full of pine trees, a Venetian fortress is situated high above the town of Zakynthos, just 2.5 km away, where according to written testimonials, the walls of the Ancient Acropolis (Psofidas) once stood.