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Zakynthos in Greece
Zakynthos - or Zante as the island is also called - is the southernmost island in the Ionian Islands apart from Kythera and Antikythera located below Peloponesos. Ionian Islands consists of twelve inhabited islands, in the far north is Corfu and in the far south is Zakynthos, that is the Ionian island third largest island to the surface (406 km2) and the second largest in terms of number of inhabitants (40.750).
Largest city is Zakynthos Town which is home to about 9.780 people. Highest mountain called Mount Vrahionas (756 m) and is located on the western island. The main tourist resorts are Argassi, Laganas and Tsilivi.
Shipwreck beach is one of the most photographed beaches in Greece.
Just like the other Ionian Islands, Zakynthos wear a gorgeous dress of green trees. The beaches are fantastic and the water clear, clean and turquoise.
It is a typical charter island and has been that for many years. Few island hoppers find its way here. British tourists dominate, perhaps because Zakynthos for a short period was under Britain rule.
TRAVEL TO ZAKYNTHOS
You can go here by charter from many countries. Common destinations are: Argassi, Kalamaki, Laganas and Tsilivi. If you're travelling independently it is easiest to buy a spare seat through directly to Zakynthos. Another option is to go by air to Athens and travel on with domestic flight or bus.
Gerakas beach at the Vasilikos Peninsula.
GETTING AROUND IN ZAKYNTHOS
Regular bus service between Zakynthos Town and the larger tourist resorts. Car and scooter for hire can be found wherever tourists stay. There is stiff competition so it is a good idea to ask around for the best price. Excursion boats to Shipwreck beach, and other beautiful places as Keri and Blue cave, departs every day.
VILLAGES IN ZAKYNTHOS
In 1953 the area was stricken by a major earthquake and much of Zakynthos was badly damaged. Zakynthos Town was devastated and the town had to be reconstructed. Therefore Zakynthos Town is missing much of the unruly charm that reflects many other Greek towns.
The beach in Argassi.
One of the main tourist resorts are Argassi which is located about 4 kilometres southeast of Zakynthos Town. Argassi is in my opinion, the nicest package holiday resort on the island. It is not much different between Argassi and the other large tourist resorts as Laganas and Tsilivi, still I like Argassi the most.
Unfortunately, the beach in Argassi is not much to write home about. But it is close to Vasilikos Peninsula where there is a chain of fine beaches. Other villages on Zakynthos are Volimes, Kalamaki, Porto Koukla and Kiliomenos.
Zakynthos Town as seen from Bochali.
BEACHES IN ZAKYNTHOS
Zakynthos offers fantastic beaches and clear blue clean water. Most beaches are found along the east and south coasts. Laganas is the longest and by far the most popular beach on the island. During high season, Laganas is filled to the brim with sun-worshiping tourists.
Shipwreck beach is a must when you are in Zakynthos.
One of Greece's most photographed beaches is Shipwreck Beach (Navagio) on the northwest of Zakynthos. Few who have been in Greece may have avoided noticing the postcards of Shipwreck Beach. The picture is classic. The beach is framed by high mountains and at the back is an old wreck on snow-white sand surrounded by tremendous blue water.
The beaches on the Vassilikos Peninsula are not as popular and therefore suitable for those who want to be a little bit by them self. Porto Zoro, Porto Ionio (Banana), Plaka, Agios Nikolaos, Porto Roma and Gerakas are examples of fine beaches on the Vassilikos Peninsula.
The rocks at Porto Zoro beach.
SIGHTS IN ZAKYNTHOS
The endangered loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is undoubtedly the biggest tourist attraction on Zakynthos. It has its good points and bad points. Mostly bad. The best thing for the turtles would be if they had been left alone, but money is more important than wildlife environment. Unfortunately.
The turtle can measure over 2 metres and weigh more than 450 kg. One of the reasons why the species is endangered is because the nesting sites are destroyed when the beaches are exploited. This applies not only on Zakynthos. There are organized tours for those who are curious about the turtles.
Other attractions include some fine monasteries, interesting caves and the Cliffs at Cape Keri, as you see here to the right.
Mizithres at Cape Keri.
Zakynthos is, as mentioned earlier, a typical package holiday island and many hotels are booked for the entire season. Nevertheless, there is almost always possibly to find a place to stay for those who travel independently.