Zakynthos is an Island full of Legends. Tale has it that the Gods Artemis and Apollo chose the green isle as their garden. According to Homer, the island was named after his first settler: Zakynthos, the son of the Phrygian King Dardanos, who founded the City of Troy.
With a length of ca. 40 km and a width of ca. 20 km Zakynthos is around 401 km² and therefore it is the third largest most southerly island in the Ionian Sea. The island is only 10 miles off the west coast of the Peloponnese, and its highest mountain (Vrachionas) comes to an impressive 758 m. Even the Venetians called the island "Fiore di Levante" (Flower of the East). The mild Mediterranean Climate and the raised level of humidity help to maintain a lush green landscape. Mid-October everything is still in full bloom and vineyards, olive groves and lots of fruit trees round off the overall picture.
The countryside to the north is difficult to access. It is characterized by quiet mountain villages and steeply sloping limestone cliffs .The roads there are partially well developed. However, ascends and descends are not to be underestimated when you drive along the serpentine, which usually do not have crash barriers. At the Lighthouse of Keri you can admire the view over the rugged coastline and enjoy the spectacular sunset. Locals and Tourist alike gather daily to admire the natural spectacle.
Begin of our trip...
This "Tour" is a suggestion how to explore our beautiful island by yourself. For sure we can give you some advices and arrange trips with travel agencies on the island or rentals for cars & bikes.
We start our day early in the morning at sunrise. Especially on the beach you have a clear view of Marathonisi (an offshore isle), where the sun seems to rise slowly over the turtle like body of the island.
From here we continue on to Laganas and Kalamaki where you will find beautiful sandy beaches, but unfortunately, they are overcrowded during the season. Our next destination is toward the direction of Vassilikos, the south-eastern corner of Zakynthos. There lies Daphne Beach, a beach with bizarre rock formations and craters which remind of the moon. The WWF (World Wide Fund) has taken a big part of it under his protection to ensure the survival of the hawksbill turtles to strictly prohibit the entering of the beach in the evening and at night.
From there it continues toward the east coast of the island to the next destination Zakynthos Town. Parts of the town still remind of the huge earthquake of 1953, which destroyed a large portion of the city. However, now the tourist part of our capital appears in a new light with a large shopping mile, nice cafes and restaurant's. We take no time for shopping; after all we want to explore the island, so on we go before we leave Zakynthos Town along an admiring coastline towards the North, stopping at the famous "Bochali" to enjoy a magnificent view over Zakynthos.
...before leaving the town we stop at the famous "Bochali" with a unforgettable view all over the town.
.. from Zakynthos town is once again at the impressive coastline along the north, after Alikes precisely where the major salt basins are, from there to Agios Nikolaos, the ferry port to Cephalonia and further north.
Let’s head toward Alikes with its big salt-basins, from there to Agios Nikolaos, then the ferry terminal to Kefalonia and further north near Kap Skinari, an impressive northerly island of Kefalonia where boat trips to the famous Blue Caves can be made. Along toward Volimes and its infamous pirate wreck. It is a major tourist attraction, but the stranded wreck is not a pirate ship, but rather the remains of a Freighter which ran aground in the mid 70th along this coast. Those looking for information about Zakynthos, can not get around this famous photo. During good weather and the midday sun, the sea sparkles in turquoise colours and provides a good photo opportunity.
Then on we go to Giri, or better said, a Bat cave near there. It is not easy to find the cave, but after the directions from Hans every child will find it, and so we stand in front of a large hole in the ground with a decrepit wooden ladder which will find the bottom after ca. 4m. There is no point to arrive without torches, it is completely dark…and a little spooky for the odd visitor or two. Upon the slippery ground (what could it be?) we head deeper into the cave and come across the first Bats, which either hang lazy upside down on the walls and ceilings or fly like mad about in and out the cave. The cave is full of bats and every visitor will get their moneys worth.
But now back to the exit and on to Porto Limionas, an ideal place to take a break and simply enjoy the view of this great bay. The fantastically beautiful bay with its crystal clear water invites you for a swim.