greece travel map zakynthosMap & Synopsis: Greek Island of Zakynthos (Ionian)
Click map for the Greek island guide to Zakynthos

The central part of this island is very fertile, the south and east coast have lovely beaches and countryside, the northwest is barren and mountainous. The main resort is at Laganas, which has encroached on firmly and on loggerhead turtle nests on beaches, as well as being package tourist land to the extreme in all ways. Many festivals are held on the island, as well as theater events.

The main town and capital (called Zakynthos) has a sizeable population of about 10,000, with a lovely crescent harbor, though the old Venetian buildings were destroyed in earthquakes during the mid 20th century. The main square Platia Solomou, is rather too grand; the library on it has photos of the town taken before and after the quakes.

The large town museum has icons, 17th century paintings of the post Renaissance Ionian School. The smaller , more intimate square is Platia Ayia Markou, which has been the real town center since the 15th century. The Solomos museum is devoted to the eponymos poet and other famous native sons; Ayios Dionysos church is the church of the island's patron saint, with beautiful modern murals and gilt work inside. The well preserved Venetian Kastro is massive, sitting on a piney hill above the village of Bohali, above the harbor, with ruins of churches, dungeons, armories, and more, with great views; Bohali has some pricey tavernas.

On the south eastern peninsula of Zakynthos are the wide and sandy Porto Zoro and Banana beaches; others nearby are Ayios Nikolaos, Mavrandzi and Porto Roma, all with tavernas and some facilities.

boycott the island?All of the beaches on the other side of this peninsula are nesting sites for loggerhead turtles between June and September.

People are cautioned to stay far from the shore area between dusk and dawn, never ride bikes or cars on the beach, not stick anything into the sand or leave sunbeds or paraphernalia around, and not make noise or shine lights, all of which activities endanger survival of these creatures.

All beaches anywhere near Laganas are in hearing range of the airport. Keri village on the southwest tip of Zakynthos retains some Venetian pre-quake architecture; Limni Keriou is a coastal marsh and beach area with a low key resort with a diving center. The fertile plain north of Laganas bay is a good walking and bicycling country. Farther north is the oldest winery in Greece (from 1638), Domaine Agria, the family estate split between olive orchards and vineyards; there's a tasting room and viticulture museum. There are quite a few fine churches in the central part of the island.

Northwest from Zakynthos Town, there are quiet enough sandy beaches, backed by farmland, vineyards and orchards. Tsiliivi resort has a good campsite; Pahia Ammos and Drosia are quieter, Alykes Bay has two resorts with a lovely beach ; Xyngia has hot springs running into the sea and a nearby cave; Makris Yialos has a campsite, diving school and good taverna.

There's a great deal more to see on Zakynthos, including caves on the north tip, a good campsite at Cape Skinari, the non touristic largest island village of Katastari, the northern inland village of Volimes, known for its traditional embroidery and fine churches, the mountain village of Ano Volimes with a monastery near it, the views from above 'Shipwreck Bay', the southern inland village of Maherado, with some pre earthquake buildings, the wine village of Lagopoda, Kilomeno village, which also has pre quake houses. Read about Eco-Zakynthos