Sights of Zakynthos, Greece
The island of Zakynthos is one of the Ionian Islands. This archipelago is located west of mainland Greece. Zakynthos, also known by its Italian name Zante, is known as Turtle Island. The characteristic Caretta-caretta turtles can mainly be found on the islet of Marathonissi near Zakynthos. Zakynthos is a popular holiday destination among sun-seeking tourists in the summer months. Who, for example, a holiday to Zakynthoswants to book, who sees that most accommodations can be found on the southeastern side of the island. The pleasant Mediterranean climate ensures that it is almost always sunny and pleasantly warm in the summer months. Those who really travel to Zakynthos for the sights, it is better to travel in the spring. The thermometer will not rise as far as in summer and you will still be ahead of the real crowds in terms of tourists.
Top 10 Things to Do in Zakynthos
#1. Navagio Bay
According to bridgat.com, Navagio Bay is best known for its shipwreck. This picturesque bay is surrounded by limestone rocks and cliffs which gives the whole a mysterious look. The beach in combination with the azure blue sea make it a dream location. It is not for nothing that it is the most photographed bay of Zakynthos. The shipwreck is probably there from 1980. The story tells that it was a cigarette smuggling boat on its way from Turkey to Italy.
There are two ways to view Shipwreck Beach, as the beach is also called. The most popular is from the water, where you may be dropped off on the beach. The second way is from a viewpoint on the cliffs.
#2. Caretta-Caretta turtles
Zakynthos is well known for its special Caretta-Caretta turtles. Because of the size of its head, these turtles are also called ‘fat-headed turtles’. It occurs in several places in and around the Mediterranean, but especially near Zakynthos. Especially on the southern side of the island, these turtles can be found on several, mainly sheltered, beaches. The beaches of Kalamaki and Gerakas are often closely guarded because the turtles like to bury their eggs in the sand here. Sometimes the area is even forbidden to enter. Often this is carried out by personnel from the ‘National Marine Park of Zakynthos’.
#3. Blue Caves
Zakynthos has a rocky coastline in many places. Over the years, plenty of caves have been created that you can visit. Very special caves of Zakynthos are the ‘Blue Caves’. The reflection of the light on the water gives a particularly beautiful blue glow in the various rock formations. Especially early in the morning the colors are spectacular. You can find these caves at Agios Nikolaos and Skinàri Cape. At the seaside town of Xigia you can also find special caves. They contain collagen and sulphur, which has a medicinal effect on, among other things, rheumatism and joint complaints. There is a spa nearby where you can be pampered.
#4. The mountain villages
The earthquake of 1953 and tourism has ensured that not all villages on Zakynthos are as idyllic and authentic as they were before. Fortunately, there are a number of mountain villages in the heart of Zakynthos that are still unspoilt: Gyri, Loucha and Agia Marina. These three villages are close to each other and are off the usual routes of the tourist buses. That is why you can still fully enjoy the real Zakynthos here. Keep in mind that the roads to it can be steep and narrow at times.
#5. Olive trees
The approximately one million olive trees dominate the landscape of Zakynthos. Just to drive through there is a party. Especially an hour to an hour and a half after sunrise, the roads through the olive trees are beautiful to drive because of the golden light that shines through the trees. The roads between Laganas and Keri are especially beautiful. There you will also find an olive press museum where you can see old olive presses, but also the contemporary presses that make olive oil. The entrance is free and tasting too. Money is made by selling olive oil.
#6. Zakynthos City
Zakynthos is the capital of the Greek island of Zakynthos. Although this city was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1953, it still has a beautiful and cozy appearance. On the large Solomos Square you will find the museum with Post-Byzantine art. Much of this art has been rescued from churches in various places on the island of Zakynthos. Another square is the ‘San Marco’ square where the museum of Solomos and Kalvos can be found. Nearby is the large and main shopping street of Alexander Roma. There is a beautiful church on the waterfront in town. This is the Agios Dionysos church. The promenade that runs along here runs from north to south and offers a lovely walk of about 15 minutes. A little more uphill is the Lofos Strani park, which includes an amphitheater. One of the oldest buildings in the city is the Saint Nicholas Church which is located at the top of the city. From here you have a nice view over the city.
Tsilivi is a seaside resort located in the north east of Zakynthos. Actually, this place is very diverse. There is a two kilometer long beach with several food and drink options. With the clear sea and the beautiful beach with sunbeds it is wonderful to relax. You will find plenty of shopping opportunities, clubs, discos, restaurants and many old fishing boats that will take you where you want to go.
Zakynthos has many monasteries and churches. At the village of Lagopodo is the beautiful monastery of Panagia i Eleftherótria, near the church of Saint Mavra in Macherádo. The Monastery of Strofadia resembles a castle. The history of this monastery takes you back to the first half of the 13th century. More such monasteries are for example the monastery of Spiliotissa, St. Georgios – Krimon, Van Skopiotissa, St. Andreas, Anafonitria, Yperagathos – Sina and St. Ioannis Prodromos – Baptist.
#9. Kampi and Keric
For a bit of romance, head southwest to the towns of Kampi and Keri. Both places are known for their phenomenal sunsets. At the mountain village of Kampi in the west near Porto Schiza it is possible to enjoy the beautifully colored sunset against a mountain slope during dinner. Keri is located a few kilometers southwest of Zakynthos town. Because the old village of Keri is located on a mountain, it has a very nice view of the sunsets. Different shades of color reflect on the water surface, which makes for the most beautiful pictures. Do not confuse Keri with the new seaside village.
#10. Dionysios of Zakynthos
Dionysios is a patron saint of the island of Zakynthos. He was born in 1547 in Zakynthos to wealthy parents. He became archbishop and later a priest. He died around 1623. Because he was later exhumed with his body still completely intact, he was declared a saint. Now every year on December 17, a feast is celebrated in the Monastery of the Transfiguration on the Strofaden. In 1716, the relics were transferred to Zakynthos, where it is commemorated on August 24 every year. There is then a tour throughout the city with a chest containing his “remains”. His body is now in the Saint Dionysius Church of Zakynthos. This church is now considered a place of pilgrimage.