People that have been to Zakynthos or Zante usually have very different
opinions about the island. Some have found their paradise, others never
want to return. Fortunately, most people think it is a lovely island.
The island of Zakynthos has a significant
development of tourism and a good tourist infrastructure without huge
It basically depends on where you stay. There is the very busy town
Laganas with its many taverns, bars and clubs, that for obvious reasons
can get very busy and very loud, and then there are quieter parts,
better suited for families like Argassi.
Zakynthos is an island rich in vegetation and the best time to visit is in
spring before the arrival of the package tourism. The island at this
time is full of flowers and colors, perhaps for this reason, it was
named fioro of Levante (the Levante flower)
the island produces grapes and wine and this is
probably the reason that during the ancient years, the island used to be protected by the god
Dionysus, (the god of wine) . Another later person of the same name, Dionysios Solomos,
was born here.He was the
national poet of Greece who wrote the Greek national anthem.
The fact that many Zakynthian called Dionyssios and their speech that has
yet some Italian idiomatic, is the reason of the creation of one of the
most popular figures of the Greek shadow theater, the figure of Sior
Zakynthos is known as the island of songs and
serenade, and indeed there are many local serenades and songs that
usually sung by groups of men at restaurants and other places as well as
in local festivals. In Zakynthos also it was founded the first music
school in Greece.
In Zakynthos is the National Marine Park, which has been built here in
1999 in order to protect the sea turtle Caretta caretta. That species of
turtle lives in Greek waters and is threatened by extinction, and that
is the reason of the creation of the Marine Park, so that the turtles
can give here their eggs undisturbed. in the park are working many
volunteers from many countries.
Zakynthos History :There are
indications that Zakynthos was inhabited from the Neolithic period,
3,000 years BC, the ancient name of the island was Yria. According to
another theory it is believed that the first settlers came in Zakynthos
in the 16th century from the Peloponnese. According to Homer, the first
king of the island was Zakynthos, son of the king of Troy Dardanos. He
created the first citadel on the island the Psofida. The Zakynthian
later gained independence from Ithaca and for more than six centuries
they had democracy on the island. During this period they created the
colony Zakantha in Spain. Hannibal invaded Zakantha in 219 B.C causing
the beginning of the second Punic war with the Romans.
The island took part with the Athenian alliance, and after the defeat of
the alliance the island was ruled by the Spartans. In the Classical
era, when Philip II of Macedonia and his son Alexander the Great
expanded the Macedonian border, Zakynthos was the vassal.
The Romans came in the 2nd century BC and later, the island became part
of the Byzantine Empire.
Zakynthos never fell under Turkish rule, but Venetian in stead. The most
prominent leaders belonged to the Orsini family, and the Venetian rule
was to last for 300 years. The Venetians divided the residents of the
island into three categories, the aristocrats, the only ones who had
political rights, the middle class and the ordinary people (popolo).
Because of the harsh treatment of the common
people and the high taxes, the people tried to revolt in 1630, with only
more oppression as a result.
The army of Napoleon conquered the island in 1797 and were accepted by
the island as liberator, Zakynthos thus gained more freedom than before.
One year after this period, followed two years of Turkish-Russian
administration. In 1800 after the peace treaty between Russia and Turkey
was created the first independent state of Greece in the Ionian Islands.
Independence though was only kept for seven years, in 1807 the French
occupy the island and later the British in 1809 until 1864 when
Zakynthos finally was united with Greece.
What to See :There is a museum
dedicated to Dionysios Solomos in the town, as well as a museum of
The church of St Dionysios (Ag Dionysios) holds the relics of Zante's
At Mt. Bochali outside Zakynthos town there is a Venetian citadel.
You can go on excursions to visit the beaches where the turtles
Caretta Caretta lay their eggs at night. If you are lucky, you might
also catch a glimpse of the
Monk Seal Monachus Monachus.
By boat from Agios Nikolaos, you can visit the famous blue caves in the
north of the island. The blue caves are among the most famous sights of
the island with an amazing beautiful color of the water, the largest of
the caves is the cyanon cave. Another popular sight is the shipwreck
(Navagio) on the beach of Smuggler's Bay. You
should also visit the white cliffs at Keri reminiscent of the white
cliffs of Dover, England.
What to Do
:Many of the beaches offer water sports. Porto Zorro is an excellent
place for snorkelling and diving from the rocks in
the edge of the beach, in Porto Zorro you will find a well organized
beach with umbrellas as well as many bars and cafes. There are also daytrips to Cephalonia, and some
travel agencies offer trips to Ancient Olympia on the mainland.
Zakynthos Beaches :In general the
beaches on the island are excellent for families with children. There is
the very famous shipwreck beach which you can visit by boat. In the busy
town Laganas there is a 9km beach. Argassi and Alikes can get extremely
busy. At the Vasilikos peninsula the beaches are well suited for
children. The only thing you have to look out for when you are out on
your own trying to find a nice beach, as to make sure it doesn't have
signs or fences there about the turtles. These places should be left
alone. Another nice beach is near Keri the lake
Keri beach just opposite the small island Marthonissos. Near to the
village Xirokastelo are the beaches of Daphne and Sekania. Not far from
Porto Zoro is the famous Banana beach very popular to many young people.
In Kalamaki the beach is from white sand and dunes, in both sides of the
beach there are white cliffs. Otehr good beaches of Zakynthos are
Gerakas, Porto Roma and Agalas.
gets extremely busy during the high season and its full of bars and
clubs , you can even found here English pubs . Argassi is a bit quieter, but has quite a few bars and clubs. In
Zakynthos town there are also a few bars, but it is generally quiet
Food in Zakynthos :From local
specialties worth trying is the skordostoumpi,a dish with aubergines and
garlic and the meat dish sartsa. Other local foodstuff products is
cheese, such as mytzithra and Ladotyri . Zakynthos has also very good
wines. There is a wide variety of both local and international
restaurants in Zakynthos. The rule "eat where the Greeks eat" applies
here as in any other Greek island. You'll find all sorts of eateries,
for small purses there is always the solution of souvlaki of fast food.
Shopping :The best shopping is in
Zakynthos town, where you can get souvenirs, clothes and icons.
you should also by local cheese and wine as well as the
local sweets like the Mandolato (sweet made of almonds) and Pastelia a
sweet made from honey and sesame.
the island has a very good road network. There are local buses that go
almost everywhere in the whole island, and also many taxis and rentals
of cars and motorbikes. Small excursion boats go to many of the beaches
of Zakynthos. In town you can go walking around the small streets and
explore the hidden sights, such as market and small shops
Zakynthos Getting There :
By Air: Zakynthos has its own airport which is
linked to good transportation, and there are daily flights to and from
Athens and flights from Corfu, Cephalonia and Thessaloniki. The island
during the summer months has many charter flights from many European
By boat. The island is connected with Patras and Kilini on the mainland, while there are also ships from Zakynthos to
By bus. There are also daily bus services KTEL from Zakynthos to Patras and Athens and from Zakynthos by bus to Nafpaktos, Larissa and Thessaloniki.
|Facts about Zakynthos*
|Size: 400 sq km
||International code: 0030
|Population: c.45 000
||Local code: 26950
||Tourist Information: 27307
|Internet cafe: Yes
||Port Police: 28117
|Tour Operators:Libra, JMC, Apollo, Ving
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.