Zante is the third in size of the islands of the Ionian Sea, the green island of poetry, of song and love, the native land of D. Solomos, the writer of the Greek National Anthem but also that of St. Dennis, the Patron Saint. Rich in beauty and tradition, both historical and cultural, Zante is the “ideal” of any traveler with an exploring mind.
The very warm waters that wash the coast favour a particularly long tourist season (from May till the end of October) made Zakynthos an object of international interest especially because in the southern part of the island the CARETTA-CARETTA turtles breed; they are a rare specimen protected by the Greek legislation with a new marine park.
Along the rocky, western coasts the seals Monachus Monachus breed too and they are also protected by the local administrative authorities.
In addition to the wonderful natural landscape, Zakynthos offers the possibility to visit numerous deserted small islands that surround it like Pelouzo and Marathonissi in the Lagana’s Bay, St. John in front of Porto Vromi and the Strofades.
The town is best enjoyed on foot. Explore its paved streets and squares and take your time to really explore the local arts and produce generously available from corner to corner. From bakeries to cafes, local markets, sweet shops, clothes and jewellery boutiques to picturesque neighbourhoods, museums and hidden heritage (like the English cemetery), Zakynthos Town has it all.
Approximately 25 k from Zakynthos is the small village of Anafonitria situated near Volimes and hosting a beautiful 15th century Byzantine monastery, which was built in honour of the Virgin Mary. It was in this monastery that the patron saint of Zakynhtos, Agios Dionysios, lived the last years of his life as a monk.
Two of the most well-known destinations, not only in Zakynthos but the whole of Greece, can only be accessed by the sea. The famous Navagio, which is the most photographed beach in the country, is positioned on the west coast of the island under the famous and picturesque mountainous village of Volimes. In 1983 an illegal boat carrying cigarettes was washed off the shore of the Agios Georgios bay as it was then known.
With plenty of choices, Zante offers beaches for any taste: quite and romantic places, water sports beaches and top attractions like Navagio. Laganas, Gerakas, Vasilikos, Marathonisi, the Blue Caves, all rank among the most splendid in Greece. Vying for first place, the renowned shipwreck at the eponymous beach adds drama to the ubiquitous white sand, white cliffs and turquoise green water. Come early in the morning, or drop anchor the previous evening, so you can enjoy your first dive before the rest of the world arrives.
During a holiday in Zakynthos, tasting the typical dishes of Greece and traditional of the island is something really not to relinquish.
At mid-day, and in particular, at dinner, the thousands of smells invading the streets will drive you to one of the many taverns to find out a Mediterranean cuisine where meat, fish, olive oil and vegetables are fundamental and will always surprise you for the authenticity of their tastes.
The local products such as honey, olive oil, cheese, goat yogurt and dishes of the island such as stuffed rabbit or the “spetsofai” are very important and worth of tasting at least once.
Here below you can read about some of the most popular typical dishes and to aspiring cooks we suggest two very nice recipes.
From water sports to adoption of a Caretta-Caretta and cycling along difficult but fabulous routes, Zante has everything that a sports traveller wants! If you are fun of the Greek weather and warm waters, you can always swim across the beautiful waters or scuba diving. If you are more extreme though, Shipwreck (Navagio) is one of the top places in the world for cliff free fall. How adventurous you are??
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