Zakynthos

Amazing beaches, sight seeing, forests, history, grandeur. The serenades island has it all and all of 40.000 inhabitants are rightfully proud of their origin. Here is the birthplace of Dionyssios Solomos, our national anthem poet, Andreas Kalvos and Grigorios Xenopoulos.

 

What to see

You start off at the island's capital and port, Zakynthos, which still maintains its traditional air. Elegant squares, charming alleys, doll like houses and impressive stately mansions, open sea and the sea front avenue that never sleeps. A little further, on the hill side, the scenic Bochalis quarter with an amzing view of the town and the sea. Visit the Public Library, Solomos' Museum, Saint Markos church, the medieval castle. Get information about the job done at the National Sea Park, where the sea turtle caretta – caretta reproduces as well as other species threatened to extinct. Visit the blue coves, the second most photographed spot on the island after Navagio beach. They are at the north end and they consist of small and larger coves with bright blue waters.

 

Where to swim

It is almost a sin to visit Zakynthos and not swim at the Navagio beach, which is included in most international travel guides. The azure waters and golden sandy beach with the remains of a ship in the middle remind you that this was once a smugglers' path (cigarette smugglers in this case).You can access Navagio only by boat from Porto Vromi. Another world renowned beach is Laganas, where you will find the village – tourist resort by the same name. Anyone under 25 might enjoy themselves here with the thousands of English boys and girls around them always carrying one, or more, bottles of beer. Other postcard beaches are Galazies Spilies infront of the Agios Nikolas village, Agia Kiriaki and Amooudi at Alykes, Banana beach with lots of bars and sunbeds.

 

Where to stay

At Zakynthos: Hotel Strada Marina (+30 42761), Angela (+30 51195) and Viatzo Villas rooms (+30 51711), Mikro Chorio (+30 6971553315). At Agios Nikolaos in the northeast where you can take a boat to Kephalonia, at Vigla Village rooms (314085, 6972442474). At Alykes (northeast, 17km from Zakynthos) at the hotels Koukounaries (+30 83591), Ionian Star (+30 83416). At Argassi (southeast, 4km from Zakynthos) at the hotels Diana Palace (+30 23070), Argassi Beach (+30 48094), Kontessa (+30 45152). At Laganas (south, 5km from Zakynthos) at the hotels Anastasia (+30 51455), Megas Alexandros (+30 51580). For camping goers, Zante (61710) is on the seafron very near Tsilivi, as is Alykes (+30 83233) at Alykes.

 

Where to eat

First of all lets get you introduced to the local products and dishes. Seek out the rabbit stew and chicken cooked with lemon (lemonato) or tomato (kokkinisto) sauce. Try the mantolato and the pasteli and bring back (also nice for a gift) traditional ladotyri (local cheese) with a distinct, spicy flavour. At Kartoutso's, in the town of Zakynthos on the road to Kalamaki, you will find home made dishes and mezes. At Zisis', on Dimokratias Square order the tsikona, which is meatballs in tomate sauce filled with eggs and bacon. At Alykes you will find the famous Paradosiako tavern where you have to finish up your meal with one of their daily desserts all made with Grandma's recipes. If the road takes you to  Kampi, a traditional village 30km northwest of Zakynthos go to the Petrino Steki tou Michali, for traditional dishes at low prices across the sea.

 

Nightlife

You will find dozens of coffee bars, coffee houses, clubs and discos in the town of Zakynthos, especially on the seafront. At the coffee bar Yria you will taste delicious cocktails and have free wi-fi. At Alykes have a drink at Iris, at Tsilivi go to the Planet with karaoke nights and mostly English Djs. If by any chance you find yourself at Laganas, half the village is a club, be prepared.

 

Area Code: +30 426950

Police: +30 24480

Port Authority: +30 28117-18

Town Hall: +30 26953 61300

First Aid: +30 59100

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