Let’s choose at random one of the 227 inhabited islands of Greece… How about Zakynthos?
Maybe you’ve heard of the famous Navagio beach? It became the most representative image, emblem of the island, where the pirates’ bay was, where in 1980 the smuggled ship Panagiotis sank. This beach is only accessible by boat. The beach is pebble, but wonderful for the unmistakable image of the bay, which becomes an oasis of peace and romance.
What are the most popular beaches in Zakynthos?
- Marathonisi beach – This beach is another refuge for Caretta-Caretta turtles, which weigh between 70 and 160 kg and can grow up to 114 cm in length. The locals say that the island itself has the shape of a turtle. The pebble beach is near the island of Marathonisi, where turtle watching trips are made. The beach is protected and there are no terraces in the area.
- Cameo Beach– This small island, Cameo, is located in Laganas Bay and is accessible by a wooden bridge. Access to the island is with a fee of about 5 euros / person, in which you receive a drink at the bar on the island. The island is private and has 2 bars, one of which is on the small pebble beach. Private events or weddings are also held here, given that the landscape is just right. Be careful, there are many sea urchins in the water.
- Porto Zoro Beach – This very picturesque beach is also located in the Vassilikos area and has fine sand, the entrance to the sea being smooth. To get here you will cross a beautiful pine forest. The beach has a rustic terrace where you can enjoy cocktails and refreshments.
- Alykes Beach – The beach is known for water sports lovers, but is suitable for all types of tourists. It has fine sand and turquoise waters and is located about 18 km from the capital, to the northwest. Here you will find taverns and terraces where you can enjoy snacks and various soft drinks.
- Banana Beach – This is one of the most famous beaches on the island of Zakynthos. The beach has fine sand and smooth entry into the water, it is located in the Vassilikos area. Banana Beach is very popular with young people and lovers of water sports. Very close to this beach is the 5 * The Bay Hotel.
- Gerakas Beach – Caretta-Caretta turtles come to the island of Zakynthos to lay their eggs. There are several protected beaches on the island, just so that these frogs are not disturbed by the influx of tourists. One of the most famous is Gerakas beach. This fine sandy beach is protected because it is one of the main points where Caretta-Caretta frogs lay their eggs.
- Porto Vromi Beach – This beach is secluded and is located in one of the island’s ports, called Porto Vromi. This port is only open during the summer, and from here you can go to the famous Navagio Beach. There is a bar with a terrace next to the beach, but the prices are quite high. The beach is pebble and there are many sea urchins in the area. This small beach has a special charm, underlined by the raw wildness of the place.
What are the resorts on Zakynthos Island like?
Laganas – This city is the largest on Zakynthos Island and is famous for its clubs and nightlife, but also for the Gulf in which it is located, Laganas Bay. Laganas Bay is about 9 km long and includes the beach of Kalamaki resort, Agios Sostis area to Porto Kukla and Marathon.
The beach in the area is wider and has fine sand, and the entrance to the water is very smooth. The area is also famous because turtles usually come here to lay their eggs and have often been seen by tourists in the water. They are not violent at all, although their size might scare you a little.
In this resort there are quieter areas that can be recommended to families with children. There are hotels for all preferences, of which we offer you Laganas Tropicana.
Argassi – is located at a distance of 5 km from the capital Zakynthos, towards the Vassilikos peninsula. In fact, it is the closest resort to this region, more precisely about 15 km away.
The beaches in the Argassi area are not very wide, but this is not necessarily an impediment, given that the entrance to the water is extremely smooth. Most hotels are oriented towards the beach or along the main road that crosses the resort, thus being very close to the beach.
Most hotels offer breakfast or half board, and the resort is full of taverns and terraces where tourists can dine. The prices are affordable and the portions are large. Traditional food can be found everywhere and is worth a try. I recommend here the hotels Zakantha Beach 4 *, Chryssi Akti 2 * + and Paradise Beach 3 *.
Tsilivi-Planos – Personally, I liked Tsilivi-Planos the most, it is more elegant and more arranged, just like the hotels here… The resort is suitable for families and couples, there are many beautiful terraces, shops, supermarkets, but it is quieter than Laganas. In fact, the resorts of Tsilivi and Planos are united, passing from one to another, they being generically known as Tsilivi. The beach in the area is beautiful, the water has spectacular colors, and the beach is fine sand. The entrance to the water is smooth, as in the other resorts.
Tsilivi Water Park is also here. For accommodation we recommend Planos Apart Hotel and Alexis Apartments.
Vassilikos area – This peninsula is perhaps the most beautiful area of the island, with rich vegetation and the most beautiful beaches throughout the island. The region is much quieter because there are not many hotels here, as the area is protected for Caretta-Caretta frogs. We recommend The Bay hotel …
A brief history of zakynthos island
During the Fourth Crusade, Zakynthos was conquered by the Venetians and incorporated, along with Kefalonia, into the Principality of Achaia. The Venetians were followed by the French. From the end of the century. XII and until 1357 Zakynthos was in the possession of the Orsini family, and then, after a marriage, in the possession of the Tocchi family. In the sec. XV Kapoudan Pasha conquered the Ionian Islands, but in 1485 the Venetians recovered them diplomatically in exchange for paying an annual tribute of 500 ducats to the Sultan.
During the Cretan War (1645-1669) the Ionian Islands played the role of bastion in the fight against the Turks. Eventually, the Venetians ceded Crete to the Turks in exchange for canceling the tribute in Zakynthos. As a result, a wave of Cretan emigrants took refuge in Zakynthos. Another wave of refugees came in 1770 after the suppression of the nationalist-liberal movement instigated by Empress Catherine II of Russia.
The echoes of the French Revolution of 1789 reached Zakynthos, and in 1797 the flag of the French revolutionaries fluttered on the bastions of Zakynthos. However, the alliance between the Tsarist Empire and the Ottoman Gate dealt a blow to the French Liberals. In March 1800, at the initiative of Russia and Turkey, the Ionian (Heptanesian) State was formed.
Independence was formal, with the Russians having the last word on government, and the state paying an annual tribute to the Turks. In 1807 the French imperialists took over Zakynthos until September 1809, when they were followed by the English. British rule led to the construction of aqueducts, roads, the organization of schools and health services. Many harbors, churches, and public buildings were repaired. In 1814 it was decided to form the “United States of the Ionian Islands”, administered by the Resident Representative for Zakynthos.
The idea of a free and united Greece appeared with the founding of the Aether. In 1818 it moved to Zakynthos. Its members took an oath of allegiance to the fatherland at St. George’s Church in Psiloma. In the middle of the century. The pressure to withdraw the British began in the 19th century. In exchange for the enthronement in Greece of the English-backed Prince George I of Denmark, they agreed to cede the Ionian Islands to the Greek state. The Greek flag was raised in Zakynthos on May 21, 1864, and the history of the Ionian Islands was further confused with the history of Greece.
Zakynthos is part of the Ionian Islands and is the third largest in this archipelago, covering an area of 406 square km and a coastline of 123 km. From the northernmost to the southernmost point the island measures about 40 km, and its width is about 20 km.
The island is also known as the “Flower of the Levant” or Zante, as the Venetians called it, under whose occupation it was almost 400 years (1484-1797). The name Zakynthos indicates the pre-Mycenaean origins of the island, and in Greek mythology it is said that it was named after Zakynthos, the son of the legendary ruler of the Arcadians, Dardanus – son of Zeus.
The island has a population of approx. 41,400 inhabitants, with the capital in Zakynthos Town (also known as Zakynthos Town). Due to the seismic activities of the area, the city of Zakynthos was 90% destroyed in 1953. It was later rebuilt keeping the architecture with Venetian influences. An important historical point is the Bohali hill, where you can also see the ruins of the Venetian castle and where the Greek flag was raised for the first time on the island of Zakynthos.
Tourists can enjoy a beautiful panorama and enjoy a coffee on the terraces in the area. The island has its own international airport, Dionysio Solomo. During the summer there are a lot of flights that connect with the outside world. If you want to travel by car, the connection to the mainland is made from the port of Kilini.
Zakynthos is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea and is a combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage and traditional cuisine, making it ideal for a perfect holiday.
If we go on vacation we have to eat something traditional and delicious, right? The traditional food in Zakynthos is Lathotiri cheese – feta kept in olive oil for a few months and Kuneli stifado – the famous rabbit stew with cinnamon and pieces of feta.
Of course, in this beautiful island there are other specifically Greek dishes: Saganaki, Tzatziki, Bifteki, Souzoukakia, Souflaki and the list goes on. We recommend THE YARD restaurant, in Argassi resort, for the friendly staff, the delicious traditional food and the warm and welcoming atmosphere.
There would be a lot to tell about this wonderful island, but I leave you to discover it in your next vacation.