Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is an island paradise situated in the Ionian Sea, west of mainland Greece. With its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and rich cultural heritage, Zakynthos has become a sought-after destination for travelers from all over the world.
Natural Beauty Continued
The iconic Navagio Beach (often referred to as ‘Shipwreck Beach’) is perhaps the most photographed spot on the island. Enclosed by towering cliffs, the beach got its name from a freightliner that ran aground in the 1980s, the remnants of which can still be seen today. But beyond this famous site, there are numerous other beaches, such as the turtle-nesting Gerakas Beach and the tranquil waters of Xigia Beach, infused with natural sulfur, making it a natural spa.
Zakynthos is also home to the National Marine Park, established to protect the endangered loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta. Every year, these turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the island’s sandy beaches. The marine park not only protects the turtles but also preserves the marine biodiversity and the island’s delicate ecosystem.
Beyond its natural wonders, Zakynthos boasts a rich cultural tapestry. The island’s Venetian influence is evident in the architecture of Zakynthos Town, with its historic St. Mark’s Square and Solomos Square. The Byzantine Museum displays a collection of religious icons and paintings, offering a glimpse into the island’s religious heritage.
Additionally, Zakynthos has a vibrant music and arts scene. Traditional songs, known as “kantádes,” echo through the streets and tavernas, keeping the island’s folklore alive. Various summer festivals celebrate this musical heritage, where locals and tourists come together in harmony.
The island’s cuisine is a testament to its rich soil and maritime location. Olives, citrus fruits, local cheese (like ladotyri), and freshly caught seafood dominate the menu. Traditional dishes like “Stifado” (a beef or rabbit stew) and “Skordostoumbi” (eggplant with garlic) tantalize the taste buds of those who venture to try.
Zakynthos, with its blend of breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural roots, and delectable cuisine, offers a unique experience for every traveler. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or a dive into history and tradition, this Ionian gem awaits.
What next? The best beaches on the island of Zakynthos