Zakynthos Travel Guide
Zakynthos Town is the capital and main port and widely considered one of the most picturesque in the Mediterranean. Completely rebuilt in Venetian style after the 1953 earthquake it still has beautiful churches and palaces, lovingly restored to their former glory. Filled with broad streets running through arcades, stunning piazzas and elegant neo-classical buildings it is not fortunately over run by tourists like many other towns on the island. The atmosphere is more akin the that of classical Greece which makes an interesting change from the more traditional cosy feel normally associated with Greek settlements.
Situated on a hill 361ft above the town is the Kastro, one of the few buildings to have survived the earthquake in tact. This imposing Venetian citadel has superb views of the town, the bay and the coast of the mainland opposite. In the Art Museum, Platia Solomon, are numerous paintings and engravings from the 16th and 19th centuries as well as 17th and 18th century religious paintings of the Ionian School, a massive iconostasis from the church of Pantocrator and a wonderful model of Zakynthosí old theatre.
On the southeast coast is the beautiful, shetered seaside resort of Alikes with its fine sandy beaches facing Cephallonia across the sea. The pleasant town has a great variety of shops and plenty of bars restaurants and and tavernas along the main street that lines the excellent sandy beach. A few miles down the coast is the neighbouring resort of Alikanas that spreads out over a fertile plain among shady olive groves. Here too you will find a wide variety of entertainments and superb tourist amenities.
To the south of the Island in and around the Bay of Laganas youíll find the majority of the more developed holiday resorts each offering variation on the same theme and all including magnificent beaches. The most popular with young and lively visitors are Laganas, which is a famous for its wild nightlife as it is its shelving beaches and warm gentle water, and Argasi where you can drink, dance or shop till you drop then recouperate in one of its many beautiful coves. For those looking for the ultimate beach holiday Tsiliivi is the best choice; long golden sandy beaches are lapped by warm crystal clear water, which shelves gently making it ideal for children. The water sports facilities are second to none including windsurfing, waterskiing, jetskiing, paragliding banana boats and many more. The shops, bars, restaurants and tavernas are also plentiful making ensuring you are entertained both day and night.
Amazingly there is also plenty of choice for those looking for quieter holidays. Bouka and Geracas both have beautiful and relatively quiet stretches of golden sand and the latter is a favourite nesting place for the loggerhead turtle. Porto Roma is not over developed and the excellent beach at Vasilika is ideal for relaxing or bathing in the placid blue sea. Navagio is the place for those looking for something approaching seclision and can only be accessed by boat. For those looking for superb beaches and a taste of true Greek hospitality there is Porto Koulo where youíll find several friendly tavernas and cosy bars and can enjoy relaxed informal evenings.
Zakynthos may well have succumbed to the lure of commercialism and big bucks, but in many ways the capitalist attitude serves the other islands well. At least most of the young beer-swilling rowdies are more or less contained in one area. If you want a holiday thatís lively and modern it is, after all, entirely up to yourself. More and more Europeans are looking for a holiday in the sun that offers something similar to home and if the Islanders of Zakynthos want to do just that then good luck to them and to be honest, I have to say, they seem to be doing very well indeed.
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