Zakynthos Luxury Villas

Zakynthos, Greece


Zakynthos, which is also known as Zante in English, is the third largest and most southerly of the Ionian Islands. Triangular in shape, it covers an area of 410 sq km with a coastline of roughly 123 km in length. The island has three distinct geographical areas, all proving popular with visitors; the north west is mountainous with quaint traditional mountain villages, the central region is a fertile plain rich with olive groves and vineyards and the south east is characterised by beautiful beaches. Zakynthos is great for those who like to explore an island by hiking and trekking. You can also go horse-riding and mountain biking or simply just relax and enjoy one of the many beautiful beaches it has to offer.

The island is named after Zacynthus, son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin. The mild, Mediterranean climate and the plentiful winter rainfall provide the island with dense vegetation. Agriculture is the main source of income on the island, producing olive oil, wine and harvesting currants, grapes and citrus fruit. Homemade cheeses, honey and handmade goods such as lace, ceramics and carpets can be found on sale in the traditional villages.

Although Zante is a very popular tourist destination, there are several villages on the island untouched by tourism, see the beautiful unspoilt scenery and witness the Zakynthian way of life to gain the islands history and culture. Particularly worth a visit are the mountain villages in the north of the island such as Volimes, Kambi and Anafonitria, as well as other hamlets doted over the island like Loucha, Gyri and Exo Hora to experience some of the famous Greek Islands hospitality and friendliness.

In 1953, a terrifying earthquake shook the islands of Ionian Sea causing massive destruction to Zakynthos; only three buildings were left standing after the disaster: the St. Dionysios Cathedral, the National Bank building and the church of St. Nicholas "tou Molou". Much was rebuilt in under strict regulations in order to retain the same style and character of the old town. Today, islanders are rightly proud of their well-kept and buzzing town with stylish piazza lifestyle. Zakynthos port is busy during the day with a direct ferry link to the mainland, and throughout the evening it comes alive in the inter-connected Solomos and St Marks Square. Here, experience al-fresco dining at its best! The picturesque Bochali Hill is famous for its flowers and crafts, and the fascinating Venetian castle and Strani Hill provide for great views of the island and mainland.

Visit the towns of Argassi, Lagana and Tsivili if you are looking for lively nightclubs and bars. They also have plenty of restaurants and Tavernas with sea views for those who prefer a quieter evening. For an even more romantic setting try and find a secluded table overlooking the Ionian in Alikes or Vassilikos. You’ll find many delicious local dishes on offer, Stifado is a very popular rabbit stew while rose and fruit liqueurs and pastalis biscuits make for some tasty deserts. Look out for the strong and pungent graviera cheese which with crusty bread, salad and olives makes a great picnic.

Keri Beach is located on the West of the island and has a bustling natural harbour and fascinating caves. From here, drive a few minutes up the hills to the unspoilt village of Keri and enjoy stunning views of the cliffs from near its working lighthouse – where if atmospheric conditions are right you can actually touch the clouds! Inland and northwest from here is the charming village of Volimes where local crafts, especially textiles, are a speciality. The island’s northernmost coast, Cape Skinari and the magnificent stone arches and dazzling hues of the Galazio Spileo – the Blue Cave are also worth a visit. Some of the best walks are sure to include villages such as Lithakia or Pantokratoras.

The Southeast coast’s beaches vary between large, popular stretches of sand like Gerakas (monitored for its turtle population), the busy beaches around Agassi, to more secluded beaches such as Porto Koukla. Take a boat and a picnic to Marathonisi Island – it is quiet here even in peak season! Agios Georgiou beach, otherwise known as Navagio (ship-wreck) is a must, located on the northeast coast and reachable by boat. The Eastern peninsula offers soft sand and sea, perfect for sunbathing, swimming and a variety of watersports. Popular beaches include Vassilikos, Tsilivi and Alikes. On the west coast, the island plunges steeply into the sea with numerous caves piercing the cliffs. Here you will discover the much-photographed bay known as Smugglers' Cove, only reachable by sea. Minimise Location Map
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