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Zakynthos: “The flower of the East”

Zakynthos


Ζάκυνθος, Επτάνησα

Zakynthos is the third largest island of the Ionian Sea, following Kefalonia and Corfu. The island lies at a distance of just 17 n.m. from the west of the coast of Peloponnese and it is also internationally known under the name Zante.

Zakynthos could be easily declared the most beautiful of the Ionian islands. Venetians named it “Il fior di Levante”, that is “The flower of the East”, for its unique natural beauty.

Offering a great number of points of interest, splendid monuments, fertile plains, thick woods, marvellous beaches, crystal clear emerald-green waters, easily accessible mountains ideal for climbing and hiking, modern tourist infrastructure, cosmopolitan life and a rich cultural life, Zakynthos is an ideal vacation destination any time of the year.

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Certain areas of the island are natural habitats for the rare sea turtle of the species caretta-caretta and the Mediterranean monk seal of the species monachus-monachus. For the protection of these species, in the island, and more specifically in the area of Laganas bay, the National Sea Park has been founded.

Today, are saved the ruins of the Venetian fortress in Zante, with its battlements, the machicolations and the gates bearing the old coats of arms.

Among the churches that survived the quake, worth visiting is the church of Agios Georgios “Filikon”, located in Bohali, the most beautiful suburb of the town, as well as the monastery devoted to the patron saint of the island, Agios Dionysios (Saint Dionysios), which boasts some rare samples of wood carving and other relics of historical importance, as well as the sacred reliquary of the saint. Also worth visiting is the three 17th century churches of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) “Molou”, Panagia (Virgin Mary) “Angelon” and “Faneromeni”, all decorated with murals.

The new town has an excellent city plan, large squares and imposing public service buildings. What connects the new town to its past is the preservation of the architectural tradition, with the decorations of the terraces, the arched arcades etc.

Among the points of interest in the town is Solomos Square, the Byzantine Museum with interesting exhibits and the Public Library and Gallery with pictures of Zakynthos before the earthquake. At the Agios Markos square are located the catholic church of the same name and the Museum dedicated to the two poets Solomos and Kalvos and eminent Zakynthians, as well as the graves of the these two important poets. You can also visit the Museum “Gregorios Xenopoulos”, in the house where the famous Zakynthian writer lived.

2 km from the town of Zakynthos is the pine-tree covered hill of Strani, which offers a great view of the plains of Zakynthos. It is said that it was this place where the national poet of Greece, Dionysios Solomos, wrote the Greek National Anthem.

In the area Aspros Vrahos (meaning white rock) are the “blue caves” which were discovered in 1897, named for the beautiful blue colour formed by the reflection and diffusion of natural light in the water in the caves. Do not omit to visit them and live their magic atmosphere.

22 n.m. south of the island of Zakynthos are the two small islands of Strofades. On the largest of them still stands the impressive and imposing monastery of Agios Dionysios, built as a fortified building in the 13th century.

The island offers a variety of beaches with natural beauty, some cosmopolitan and others remote and quiet. Some of the most popular beaches in Greece are on the island of Zakynthos, such as Navagio (Shipwreck), Laganas and Volimes.

Zakynthos with its unique natural beauties, the rich history and tradition, the great sandy beaches and the hospitable people, is a paradise on earth waiting to be discovered…

How to get there

Roadly – Coastally: To visit the island of Zakynthos you should first get to the port of Kyllini by road and then take the ferry to Zakynthos. There is frequent daily ferry service to Zakynthos. There is also a ferry connection to the port of Patras.

By Air: There are daily flights from the Eleftherios Venizelos airport of Athens to the airport of Zakynthos. The duration of the flight is about 50 minutes.

Zakynthos Photos

Zakynthos Useful Telephone Numbers (Calling code for Greece 0030)

Zakynthos Municipality
26950 22315, 23336
Zakynthos Airport
26950 28322
Zakynthos Hospital
26950 42514
Eleftherios Venizelos Airport
210 3530000
Zakynthos Police Station
26950 22100
Zakynthos Bus Station
26950 42656
Zakynthos Tourist Police
26950 27367
Athens Bus Station
210 5129432
Zakynthos Port Authority
26950 28117-8
Patras Bus Station
2610 220129
Kyllini Port Authority
26230 92211
Zakynthos Taxi
26950 48400