Zakynthos, Zante
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The island of Zakynthos or Zante in Greece
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This is the most southern island of the Ionian islands and best known for its beach with the stranded shipwreck (Shipwreck Beach) which you can see on almost every postcard. The island measures 406 km2 and is the biggest in the islandgroup after Corfu and Lefkas. The west is mostly steep with cliffs and caves, and very pretty (and sometimes unreachable) beaches, and on the east and southcoast the coastline is more smooth. Here you will find the better known and more busy resorts of Laganas, Alikes, Agios Sostis en Argassi. Laganas is the most touristic of them all with many bars, (fastfood) restaurants and souvenirshops. If you like it quiet than you want to avoid this resort. In Laganas there are also a lot people from the UK. Tsivili and Alykes are more quiet. Here, on the northcoast, you can still find quiet beaches where life is more authentic. In the southeast you can find the capital and the cultural center of the island, Zakynthos town, with its wide streets and topped with a Venetian castle.

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A little bit more about Zakynthos

Zakynthos (Zante) including Lefkas and Lefkas (north of Zakynthos) is a part of the Ionian Islands. It is the third island in size of the islands in the Ionian Sea. Zakynthos has an area of 406 square kilometres. The length of the island is approximately 40 kilometers, 20 kilometers horizontally. The total length of the coast is about 123 kilometers. The highest point of the island is Vrachionas at 758 metres above sea level. The island of Zakynthos lies to the west of the mainland of Greece, about on par with Sicily. The capital of the island of Zakynthos carries the same name, Zankynthos town or Zante, and lies on the south-east coast. The island is a popular holiday destination for many people. Other islands are visiting with a fishing boat eg, from the port of Agios Sostis as the island of Lefkas. There is also a large Zante ferry from the city to the mainland. In Laganas you can also see the ruins of the castle Sarakíno that in the 18th century was regarded as the most beautiful building of the island, but during the earthquake of 1953 was destroyed.

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Zakynthos Town

Zakynthos (called Zante by the Venetians) is one of the most popular islands of Greece and can be very busy. Because the island lies completely in the south of the Ionian island there are not that many opportunities for the island-hoppers. The only frequent connection by ferry is with the mainland. Unfortunately, this island did not escape the earthquake in 1953. Zakynthos Town was almost 90% destroyed during the great earthquake in 1953. Many of the important buildings and churches in Zakynthos city were more or less restored to the original state by old building plans, which largely gave the her old face back. Yet not everything looks authentic. Zakynthos is thus a mixture of old, reconstructed and new buildings. The port is big and runs the entire length of the town. Here are all the facilities such as ticketshop, hotels and tavernas. Only the bus station is a street behind the port. The ferries that normally dock in the northern port of Zakynthos. Most of the life is to be found in the northern part of the town, where the beach is as well.

The city of Zakynthos is the largest town and capital of the island in the Zakynthos Ionian Sea. Zakynthos city has around 13,000 inhabitants (2006). The port of Zakynthos is home to many fishing boats. One of the main buildings is the Dionisios Church, which is a replica of the original. Above the town the hills rise up steeply. On these hills are the remnants of an old Venetian Kastro, which was also heavily damaged during the earthquake. It is no longer an important landmark but the views from the kastro are impressive. The port of Zakynthos is home to many fishing boats.

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Zakynthos information

Zakynthos has a subtropical-Mediterranean climate. In the winter months there is a relatively good amount rainfall, but due to the favorable temperatures, the island is very green. There are many olive orchards. In the summer months there are filled with chicaden, that can be heard loud and clear in their quest for a partner. Most of the olive are made into olive oil. The first (cold) pressing and best quality is called "extra virgin". There is even the occasional fruit-bearing banana tree. There are also many grapes grown for making wine. In Kalipado you can find the largest wine factory on the island, which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1953, but was reopened in 1968, 15 years later, by the son of the owner, who followed in the footsteps of his father. The current factory has a capacity of 2500 bottles per hour (2004).

Reasons to visit Zakynthos

Zakynthos is well suited for people that want to slowly ride around a Greek island on a bicycle.

Zakynthos is famous for its sea turtles. The best time to see these turtles is around May and June when they lay their eggs on the beaches. The turtles are to be found in and around the island untill the end of August. They swim mainly around the Bay of Laganas, where some stretches of beach are closed for the public, and around the uninhabited island Marathonisi - an island in the shape of a turtle.

Zakynthos Town with its museums, the Venetian Kastro and the Agios Dionysios church is worth a visit. You will also find many shops, tavernas and cafes where it's nice to stay.

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How to get to Zakynthos?

Zakynthos has an international airport, so check if there are direct flights from your country.
By ferry from Ancona to Patras (19 hours). This is by Superfast Ferries, the most modern and fastest boats in the Mediteranean sea. On arrival in Patras you need to drive by car to Kilini. This is a good road and it takes about 45 minutes to get from Patras to Kilini. From Kilini there are several ferries each day to Poros on Lefkas and to Zakynthos Town on Zakynthos island. The trip to Zakynthos takes about 55 minutes.
Costs and reservations of the Superfast Ferries. You can book the ferry from Ancona to Patras in advance - click here.
Costs and reservations of the smaller ferry from Kilini to Zakynthos Town. You cannot make reservations for this boat. You buy a ticket upon arrival and go on board. There are never long waiting times. The price for a ticket is about 6,50 per person and 29,40 per car (one way).

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Zakynthos History

Zakynthos is often referred to as Il fiori di Levante, or in other words: the flower of the east. The island is named after the son of Dardanos, the king of Troi. In Romand times Zakynthos was part of the province of Achaia. When Constantine the Great erected the Byzantine empire, Zakynthos belonged to the province of Illyrien. After that it fell into different hands for several times and it was ruled by (amongst others) the Turks, the Venetiand, the French, the Brittish and finally at the 21st of May 1864 it was reunited with Greece. The patron saint of the island is Dionisios, who was born here in 1547 and died in 1622. In 1953 Zakynthos was hit by a severe earthquacke with an total about 120 quackes, which destroyed about 70% of the island. The most important church of the island Zakynthos, the "Agios Dionisios" was fortunately spared.

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Zakynthos - Exensian Villas & Suites

Exensian Resort lies just 150 metres from the beach of Marathia. It offers amphitheatrically built villas with private pools with hydromassage. The complex offers luxurious 2-storey villas with big verandas with unique views, fully equipped electric cooker and dishwasher, living room with fireplace and bathroom with Jacuzzi and hair dryer. Modern installations include a DVD player, LCD TV with satellite channels in every room, laptop with internet access and design furniture. Guests can benefit from the resort's location and visit the nearby beaches or take boat trips to Marathonisi and the beautiful caves.

Check availability & prices and book the Exenian Villas & Suites on Zakynthos - click here.

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Zakynthos - Balcony Hotel

Lefkas This romantic boutique hotel is located on the cliff side, offering a panoramic view of the Ionian Sea and direct access to the beach. Combining traditional architecture with modern comforts, the family run hotel offers authentic hospitality and attentive service. Each room offers magnificent views of the sea from its private balcony.

All accommodations include a bath or shower and a refrigerator, air conditioning, television and a hair-dryer. A homemade breakfast is served every morning. The terrace overlooking the ocean provides the perfect dining spot.

Balcony Hotel is found 5 kilometres outside the city of Zakynthos and less than 1 kilometre from the tourist resort of Tsilivi. The town includes a variety of restaurants, bars and shops. The central bus station or KTEL as it is known in Greece is located very near for excursions.

Check availability & prices and book the Balcony Hotel on Zaktynthos - click here.

FOR MANY MORE HOTELS ON ZAKYNTHOS - CLICK HERE.


© Hans Huisman, Veerle de Smet, Exensian Villas & Suites, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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