Zakynthos (Zante) is the largest island in the Ionian Sea which is west of mainland Greece. The island, located about 15 miles off the mainland, has been ruled by many nations including the Spartans, Macedonians, Romans, and Byzantines. It was an independent democracy for 650 years and finally joined the rest of Greece in 1864. An attractive and green island, exploring the many mountain villages and monasteries rewards the many tourists attracted to this island.
In 1953 there were four devastating earthquakes that totally destroyed the island’s infrastructure. Only three buildings remained standing on the island: St. Dionysios Cathedral,The National Bank Building, and the Church of St. Nicholas. The island was very carefully rebuilt adhering to strict building codes and since then has withstood several moderate earthquakes with little damage.
The most famous tourist attraction is Navagio beach, known as Shipwreck beach. It is a cove on the southwest shore, isolated by high cliffs and accessible only by boat. The beach and sea floor are made of white pebbles, and surrounded by turquoise waters. It is named after a shipwreck (MV Panagiotis) which sunk on the shore around 1980. A small observation deck overlooks the shipwreck and the surrounding cliffs afford a great photo opportunity.
Things to do:
- Explore Zakynthos Town with its neoclassical buildings and Byzantine Museum
- Take a boat to Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach, which is the most photographed beach in Greece, and go swimming
- Go to Keri Caves by boat and swim or snorkel in the crystal clear turquoise sea
- On the southeast coast visit the National Marine Park in Laganás Bay where the endangered loggerhead turtles nest in the summer
Recommended places to stay:
- Porto Zante Villas & Spa