The Island of Zakynthos is only 16 kilometers off the west coast of the Peloponnese. The northwest coast has steep cliffs plummeting down to rocky shores with white pebble beaches and crystal clear turquoise seas, while the south is flatter with golden sand beaches. The combination of beautiful scenery and good beaches has made the island a very popular tourist destination.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
The town is the capital of the island and is located on the east coast, extending in a wide arc along the gently sloping shores of a bay. During the 1953 earthquake many of the Neoclassical buildings were destroyed, but its paved streets and squares, filled with bakeries, cafés, boutiques, and jewelry stores, are still a joy to explore on foot. Agios Dionysios is the town’s main church and houses the relics of the town's patron saint, dates from 1708 and was reconstructed in 1954.
The museum is located on the main square in Zakynthos Town, and displays religious icons, frescoes, and sculptures from the island's churches and monasteries, dating from the 12th century onwards. A scale model of the town from around 1950, giving you some idea of how it looked before the devastating 1953 earthquake.
The mansion was built in the 1660s and is one of the few buildings surviving the earthquake of 1953. The Roman family renovated the mansion and opened it to the public in 2007. Inside, you can see period furniture, paintings, and books, giving you some idea of how local aristocrats once lived.
4.SHIPWRECK BEACH – NAVAGIO BEACH
Shipwreck Beach lies in the so-called Smuggler's Cove on Zakynthos' west coast. Made up of fine white pebbles backed by cliffs, the beach takes its name from the wreck of a rusty ship that was transporting contraband cigarettes and was washed up here in 1980. You can only reach the beach by taxi-boat from the harbor at Agios Nikolaos or as part of a round-the-island one-day boat excursion. The beach does get extremely busy in peak season, but is quieter after 3pm when the day trippers leave.
The village of Keri is located on the southwest coast, just 14 kilometers from Zakynthos Town. The village is well known for its dramatic caves opening directly onto a crystal clear turquoise sea. You can swim into the caves and snorkel or dive to see the amazing lighting effects as the sun reflects through the water and onto the cave walls.
The museum is dedicated to the Greek national poet, Dionysios Solomos. The museum was created in 1966 and includes the impressing graves of Dionysios Solomos and Andreas Kalvos, another great poet who was born on the island. Also on display is portraits, manuscripts, books and objects that used to belong to Solomos and other important poets of Zakynthos.
7.ASKOS STONE PARK
Close to the village of Volimes in the north of the island you will find Askon Stone Park. It's highly recommended for children - animals here include deer, raccoons, peacocks, and tortoises, as well as a pony, a donkey, goats, and chickens. Attendants in the park can explain where the animals are from and how to feed them.
The dominant and enormous fortress protected Zakynthos from the foreign marine invaders. The fortress is located in the place of the ancient Acropolis of the island and has undergone a number a reconstructions, after consecutive destructive earthquakes. Highlights of the fortress are the Venetian prisons, the gunpowder buildings, the English military barracks and other war-related constructions, and also includes an important number of religious sites.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
There are buses that go between the most crowded areas of the island. Ask around and there will be no pain in finding the bus stops. However, bus services on the island are rather infrequent and sometimes unreliable. Other transport available is by car, motorbike, scooters or bike.
There is not a best time to visit Zakinthos as tons of sun is guaranteed year round.