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Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is an excellent destination for a beach vacation. The rumour that this island has nothing to offer but sun, sea and sand is a big fable. On the Greek island you can discover the rugged coastline, authentic old villages, a beautiful interior, the caves with the beautiful azure water and of course Navagio, better known as Shipwreck beach. The fact that this beach is the second most visited place in Greece after the Parthenon has its reason. It is absolutely breathtaking.
The island of Zakynthos is one of the Ionian Islands and the third largest island of this archipelago. Only Kefalonia and Corfu are larger. It has an area of about 410 km² (158 sq miles) and can be divided into three regions; the north which is mountainous with some beautiful mountain villages, the central part which is very fertile and is characterized by the many olive trees and vineyards and finally the south which is known mainly for its spectacular beaches.
The 123 kilometres (76 miles) long coastline of Zakynthos is very impressive. The mainly rocky coast has high cliffs with beaches hidden in the depths. Most of these beaches can only be reached by boat. Especially the west coast has high rock formations. The white sandy beaches contrast sharply with the azure water.
Zakynthos is known for its great hiking and beautiful nature on the island. The Venetians called Zakynthos the Flower of the East. This name suits the island well since there are more than 7,000 species of flowers on the island. The island is mega green and fertile. There is a lot of underground water that is brought in from springs. In winter there is much rain that is stored by the soil as a reserve for the dry summer months. As a result, even in summer the appearance is green.
Laganas is the most famous vacation destination on this Ionian island and in the summer months it is crowded with many young people. Here you will find numerous bars, accommodations, restaurants and stores. Laganas is the best known and most popular resort in Zakynthos.The sandy beach of Laganas is nine kilometres (5.5 miles) long
and is also one of the longest beaches on the island of Zante. In the lively centre are many taverns, stores, cafes and bars located mainly on the long main street. Among young people it is also the most popular resort given the vibrant nightlife.
Argassi is another seaside town and is located near in the south-east of the green island. A stone's throw from Zakynthos Town. Along the main street, which divides the coastal village in two, you will find many stores, bars, taverns and restaurants. On the narrow coastal strip you can sunbathe on the 800 meters (0.49 miles) long organized sandy beach. Along here you will also find most hotels and apartments. Restaurants are also plentiful in Argassi
Agios Sostis is a beach holiday destination, near Laganas, and is about 10 kilometres drive from Zakyntos Town. Agios Sostis is a smaller resort and has good restaurants and taverns. You'll find them mostly along the small promenade and narrow sandy beach.
With a boat you can explore the area to spot sea turtles at the island Marathonisi.
Vassilikos is the name of the peninsula in the south-east of Zante. Also it is the name of a quiet village in that same peninsula. Here you will find many beautiful beaches and you can go hiking in a green environment. You will find authentic and quiet accommodations in this area. Vasillikos is a destination for people that like relaxing, enjoying local cuisine and who love taking nature walks.
Coastline of Zakynthos
Most of the sandy beaches are located in the east and south of the Greek island. However, the west coast has beautiful rocky bays with white pebble beaches, such as Porto Limnionas, Porto Vromi, Korakonisi and Shipwreck beach. Also, the sandy beaches of Dafni and Gerakas are great to visit.
The south-east has calm waters with beautiful beaches and this is why Zakynthos initially gained fame. Also the Caretta turtle is a frequent guest in these waters. Every year they come ashore in large numbers and lay their eggs in the warm sand. After some time they hatch and the parents and kids leave for the sea. Yet many of them stay in the waters around the island.
Caves and minerals
Under the influence of weather conditions, a number of remarkable caves have formed on Zakynthos, both on the island and in the sea. The soil of the island contains many minerals. In the north-east is a cave where sulphurous water comes to the surface at Xigia beach. It is a natural spa and swimming there is said to be good for many ailments. The mineral-rich water mixes with the sea water and has a therapeutic and relaxing effect.
The capital of the island is Zakynthos Town. It is a modern city where the harbour and some nice little squares are the main attraction. There is a pleasant bustle and the Greek cuisine has its own variant of dishes here. The dishes are generally a bit spicier than on the other Ionian islands.
The capital is interesting to visit and has many Venetian influences. Sights here include the Byzantine Museum, the Solomos Museum, the church Agios Dionysos and the Bóchali Venetian Castle in the Bohali district. This district rises above the capital and lies on a hill. From the terraces you have a beautiful view of Zante. In the distance you can see the peninsula of Vassilikos.
Where to stay on Zakynthos
The Greek vacation homes and apartments on Zakynthos are often full off luxury and comfort. And yet they also retain their Greek atmosphere and authenticity. We have discovered an eco-friendly gem away from mass tourism in the more quiet part of the island that we would like to share with you: Wild Fig Retreat.
The place is like an oasis in the middle of nature but nevertheless you can quickly reach everything you need: restaurants, beaches, sights. If you are a writer looking for a peaceful place to start that novel, a musician trying to finish an album, a painter or poet or person in search of a new path... or you simply want to escape, this is the place for you.