Fragrant like “Il fiori di Levante” (meaning the flower of the Orient), as it is often referred to, Zakynthos is a tourist heaven, dressed in the most intense colors, and with numerous surprises for visitors to discover.
Its sandy beaches, the picturesque underground caves, the verdant olive groves and the rare Caretta Caretta turtle species, are just some of the attractions that the fascinating Zakynthian landscape has to offer. Laganas is the most picturesque Ionian gulf, in the coast of which you can find the immaculate Zante Park Hotel & Spa, always ready to embrace you in its arms and impress you with its complete accommodation services.
Laganas is not only a beautiful beach resort area but also a hot spot of the island; thanks to its vivid nightlife, Laganas can boast about one of the most known and cosmopolitan Zakynthian beaches. With a 9 km coastline, Laganas beach is famous for its warm, deep blue waters that will allure you and provide a wonderful sea experience in quest of the well known attraction of the island, the loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta Caretta.
You can arrange diving trips to Marathonisi (Turtle Island) and the blue Keri Caves, filling your holiday memories with the most impressive images of natural beauty. If you wish to have a taste of the traditional architecture of the island, do not forget to visit the picturesque Sarakina village, and enjoy a nice walk to the scenic island of Saint Sostis, also known as Cameo, that is easily accessible by a small wooden bridge.
Laganas is located 7 km from the town and port of Zakynthos, and it is only 5 km from the airport and will definitely become your favorite location during your visit to Zakynthos Island.
Access to Zakynthos is easy, affordable and is done by various means.
The island has an international airport with direct flights from Athens, the Ionian Islands and many European cities.
Ferries are connected to the port of Killini, which is 280 km away from Athens, with many daily itineraries of approximately one hour.
During the summer months there is a daily connection with Kefalonia and a ferry connection between Zakynthos and Italy.
There is also a bus connection from Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki with frequent itineraries.
Through the centuries, Zakynthos has developed a rich culture, deeply influenced by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment period and along with the other Ionian islands managed to escape the Turkish occupation and the dark ages imposed on the remaining parts of Greece. The Venetian conquerors influenced the inhabitants of the island in all aspects of their lives, particularly in the areas of the Arts , literature, architecture and culture to the extent where Zakynthos was referred to as ‘the Venice of the South’.
In modern times, literature starts to flourish in the 15 th century and is manifested both in poetry and in prose. Several works of Zakynthian authors were published in Venice and became famous both among Greeks and Europeans. As a result of this vivid interest in education and culture, the first Academy in Greece was established in Zakynthos in the early 17 th century.
According to mythology and the writings of Homer, the island was named after Zakynthos who was grandson of Zeus and Helectra and the son of Dardanos who founded Troy. The name Zakynthos - as it ends in 'nthos' shows that it is pre-mycanean or Pelasgian in orgin. Zakynthos was born on Phrygias and he sailed to Zakynthos in 1500 BC, where he occupied the island and gave it his name. Some accounts however feel that there was an older name of the island - Iria, a position that is supported by the traditional village of Gyri probably being a corruption of this name. The earliest written works that mention Zakynthos are by Homer who describes it as an island full of forests and claims that the settlers were from the Peloponnese area of Greece, in particular from Arcadia. There is evidence to support this, as the traditions of the Arcadians and Zakynthians are similar, their past worship of Apollo for instance, as are some of the names of the places.
Another mythological account is that Artemis the goddess of hunting used to wander the island of Zakynthos, enjoying the woods as these were ideal for hunting. It is also claimed that her brother Apollo played his lira under the trees, to enchant the island and make it more beautiful.
Museums & Monuments
The Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos is in Solomos Square. You turn right after the entering, ascend to the upper floor and cross the entire length of the building before descending again to the entrance. The museum houses a rich collection of portable icons, a true panorama of ecclesiastical painting from the Byzantine years to the 19th century, with about a thousand religious paintings by post-Byzantine, Ionia and Zakynthian artists. Works are exhibited by Damaskinos, Tzanes, Kallergis, and Tsonis. Although the older exhibits in the museum are characteristic examples of Byzantine art, the works of Panagiotis Doxaras (1622-1700), who studied in Venice, are naturalistic style and belong to the Ionian Island School. Dixara;s son Nicholas continued in the Western tradition, as did Nikolaos Koutouzis (1741 – 1813), whose works can be found in the museum as well as in the church of Agios Dionisios. Templa (icons screens) from the churches of the Pantokrator and Agios Dimitrios can be found in the Museum, as well as parts of the exterior of Ayios Andreas of Volimes. In addition, Hellenistic and Byzantine sculptures and statues are also accommodated here.
While you are on holiday in Zante, make sure you enjoy the beautiful beach at Shipwreck ‘Navagio’ Bay, one of the most famous beaches in the Mediterranean.
Navagio is located on the north-west shore of Zakynthos. And is perhaps the most famous tourist site in Zakynthos. Better known as Shipwreck Bay, this isolated sandy cove is banked on all sides by towering limestone cliffs a'Smugglers Cove' and the azure-blue sea. On the sand is the wreck of the ship Panagiotis, which is believed to have been involved in some smuggling activity when it got into trouble and washed ashore in 1981. Since then, it has become the trademark of Zakynthos.
You can only reach this beach by boat, so this is a great chance to get out on the sea during your stay in Zakynthos. You can take one of the bigger round the island boats to see the Shipwreck Beach, or you can drive to one of the ports on the north and west coast where smaller boat trips leave throughout the day to this magical beach.
Zakynthian cuisine is based mainly on Mediterranean gastronomy and is characterized by the simplicity of its recipes. Local dishes are deeply rooted in time and based on ingredients that include oil, tomato, garlic, lemon and herbs.
The influence of Italian cuisine is evident as for many years the Ionian Islands were the crossroad between the Western and Eastern culture. Zakynthian recipe names are mostly in Greek but several recipe names are of Italian origin.
Zakynthian cuisine is typical of the Ionian islands. The food on the island of Zakynthos is similar to the other islands of the Ionians with small variations but definite influences from the Venetians as well as from the Cretans that immigrated here in the 17th century AD.
Zakynthos is an excellent choice to explore the islands lush natural environment, mountains, hills, sandy beaches, secluded coves and numerous traditional villages.
There are many activities suitable for families and all age groups. The more adventurous can enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, paragliding, banana, pedalo, water skiing, etc. You may also rent a boat and explore the coast line at your own pace.
For diving enthusiasts, there is the possibility of visiting the specialized diving centers and enjoy the island’s sea bottom especially on the western coast.
Trekking is also an attractive choice as there are many country roads, villages, hills and trails to explore.
You just have to make your choice! There are a lot of possibility to taste traditional dishes and local cuisine in the local taverns all around the island.
In addition to the Greek cuisine, especially in the most tourist towns, there are many restaurants offering an international cuisine at a very good level where you can eat the best Italian, Chinese, Indian, English etc… dishes.
In this section you’ll come to know the best restaurant of the island, for quality of food, for the position, for the sight or for the service.
You may enjoy your food listening to traditional zakynthian music mandates and arekies.