The beautiful island of Zakynthos
Sitting in the Ionian sea off the west coast of the Greek mainland is the island of Zakynthos. It is a place that has captured the hearts of thousands of tourists over the years, many of whom return year on year to enjoy a few weeks of good food, beautiful scenery and turquoise, sea-lined beaches.
|Porto Zoro Beach|
I have visited the island, and it now holds a very special place in my heart, I have some great family and friends who live there, and I love it so much that I chose to set a book there. I wanted to show others what a special place it is and why people should visit, that is a wonderful island filled with great hospitality, history and culture.
|Chrissie at Porto Limnioas|
So, recent stories that describe Zakynthos as nothing more than a party island, or as a place is that is only geared towards the 18-30 crowd it's upsetting for all those who love the island, whether they be a resident or a tourist. Anyone who really knows Zakynthos, are aware that Laganas in the south is a draw for those who like to party.
But Laganas is one resort.
Zakynthos is not a party island. Zakynthos is so much more, it is a family oriented island, it is an island where couples choose to get married, it is an island where people choose to visit so that they can relax, take in the scenery, and enjoy the many highlights it has to offer.
|View across the island towards Mt. Skopos|
Zakynthos is renowned for its varied history. As well as having an interesting mythological history it has also been ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, French and Russian-Turkish and British.
There are some interesting historical sites on the island that are definitely worth visiting including A Venetian Castle at Bochali. The Argassi Bridge that dates to around 1800, and now sits half in the sea, half on the sand. A Venetian Tower at Exo Chora and a Venetian watchtower near Tsilivi. Sarakina House, in Mouzaki which is an old ruinous English residence of neo-classical style. And the Vrysakia Aqueduct near Argassi that is thought to be part of an old water system.
There are also many memorials on the island such at the Cross at Kampi and the Jewish Cemetery, as well as commemorative monuments to famous Zakynthos poets.
|Venetian watchtower near Tsilivi|
Zakynthos has around fifteen churches and monasteries scattered throughout the island. At the top of Mount Skopos is the Virgin Skopiotissa Monastery that dates to around the 15th Century. In Zante town is the Venetian church of St. Nicholas of the Mole that was one of only three buildings to survive the 1953 earthquake. At the north of the island is St. George Krimnon monastery that was destroyed ground by pirates in 1553, it also has a tower that was used to defend the monastery from attack.
|Bells in tree, St. George Krimnon monastery|
There are seven Museums on Zakynthos, ranging from Natural History, Byzantine History and Naval history. The museums cover many aspects of the long and chequered history of the island and each one gives a unique insight into a certain period of time on the island. There is also an Exhibition Centre that highlights the excellent work undertaken on the island that helps protect and preserve the endangered loggerhead turtles.
|Zakynthian house and cart|
Beaches are plentiful in Zakynthos, in fact there are so many that I don't have room to name them all!
In the south there are fine sandy beaches and warm, clear sea. This area is also home to the endangered loggerhead turtles, so there are some restrictions at certain times.
In the west/north there are many inlets with crystal blue waters just perfect for swimming in, and Navagio (shipwreck) beach that is only accessible by boat. The boat trip out there is worth the trip though, and I would also recommend a boat trip to the many caves dotted around the coastline.
The east coast of the island is filled with spacious, picture postcard beaches at some of the most popular resorts including Tsilivi, Alykanas and Alykes, that holidaymakers love, and flock to.
|Navagio (shipwreck) beach|
Zakynthos is full of culture. Whether you are interested in Sculpture, Architecture, or Music, Theatre and Festivals, there is something for everyone. It's a great way to get involved and to immerse yourself into island life.
|View from Keri cliffs|
So, contrary to recent reports of Zakynthos being nothing more than a party island, you can see that there is so much more to this jewel of a Greek island. So please, tell everyone, show everyone, what an amazing place it is. Let's keep Zakynthos in the hearts of people everywhere, and continue to encourage people to visit this very special place.
|View across the island|