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What to see in Zante

WHAT TO VISIT IN ZANTE

Its size allows you to visit it far and wide easily. Some areas can be visited by their own means, others need a boat. The island of Zakynthos in addition to the beautiful beaches offers to all tourists also numerous churches and museums perfectly preserved.

 

WHAT TO VISIT IN ZANTE

Its size allows you to visit it far and wide easily. Some areas can be visited by their own means, others need a boat. The island of Zakynthos in addition to the beautiful beaches offers to all tourists also numerous churches and museums perfectly preserved.

 

CITY OF ZANTE

ZANTE TOWN AND BOCHALI CASTLE

Zante or Zakynthos (in Greek) is the capital and main port of the island. In 1953 it was razed to the ground following an earthquake and subsequent fire. With great effort from its inhabitants the city was rebuilt, but lost its Venetian style. The city is an amazing labyrinth of small streets and alleys. Zante town offers remarkable points of interest for the visitor, such as the famous San Dionysios church which houses the patron saint’s holy relics. Solomos Square is surrounded by some of the island’s most important buildings. You can also find San Marco Square, the Museum of Dionysios Solomos, Alessandro Roma Square and the Museum of the Roman Family. Zakynthos is over looked by an impressive Venetian castle. To get there, you must follow the signs to Bohali (Boxali) which is about a 5km uphill climb. You cannot visit Zakynthos without admiring the view from one of the island’s most beautiful balconies.

THE BEACHES OF ZANTE

SHIPWRECK BEACH

It is one of the most famous beaches in the world and a tourist trademark of Zante and Greece. The white pebbles on the beach and the sulphurous caves that lay next to it give the water an electric blue colour.

This unique setting was created in 1982 when the ship Panagiotis, carrying contraband cigarettes from Turkey, ran aground due to adverse weather conditions and engine failure. Before the shipwreck, this cove was known as the San Giorgio delle Rocco inlet. The famous beach is only accessible by boat, although you can admire the view from above on a specially built platform.

MARINE PARK OF ZANTE

parco marino zante

MARINE PARK (MARATHONISI ISLAND, TURTLES, KERI CAVES AND MARATHIAN CAVES). The Marine Park explained extensively in the “marine park” section of our site with its caves, turtles and islands is one of a kind.

The Marine Park of Zante (Greek) Εθνικό Θαλάσσιο Πάρκο Ζακύνθου) was established in December 1999 and is Greece’s first protected institutional area. It is composed of 4 marine areas (A, B, C, D), and in addition to the Caretta Caretta turtles it also houses some specimens of Monk Seals (Monachus monachus).

XIGIA E MACRI GIALOS

igia is located in the north of Zakynthos, about 10km from Alykes/Alykanas. There are two beaches a few hundred metres from each other with the same name. The water at Xigia contains sulphur and is said to have healing properties. The smell might be slightly off putting at first, but the sandy beach and crystal clear waters are bound to enchant you! The first beach you meet coming from Zante town is the less known and frequented of the two. It is only accessible by walking along a dirt path. The second Xigia (also known as Xigia Natural Spa) can be reached by parking in the bar’s car park and going down some steps. There is a rocky wall to the right that leads down to the sea and there you will find caves emitting sulphurous white water. After a swim, continue north to Makri Gialos Beach. It is a fairly small beach but has crystal clear water and impressive scenery. From here you can also find some boats that take you to Shipwreck Beach. Both these beaches offer fish-rich backdrops, where snorkelling is a pleasure. In the late afternoon it is possible to admire starfish that slowly peek out as soon as the sun starts to fade.

DAFNI

There are two roads leading to DAFNI. The first is shorter and is a few kilometres after Argasi. The road is unpaved and in recent years was rebuilt, however it is still not optimal for vehicles. Dafni belongs to the Marine Park which protects the wildlife in the vicinity. Fishing is prohibited, therefore you will find plenty of fish. On the beach there are numerous turtle nests, protected by wooden cages. There is a variety of restaurants along the beachfront where you can have lunch and relax on a deckchair in the shade of the trees. If you are visiting in August, with a bit of luck you might have the opportunity to see the first baby turtle coming out of the sand and making its way to the sea!

SAN NIKOLAS AND BANANA BEACH

San Nikolas (not to be confused with the harbour to the north of the island) has been competing with Banana Beach for many years to be the most equipped beach of the island. These two long golden beaches offer numerous water sports, such as jet skiing, parachuting, banana boats, flyboarding and waterskiing. For those who prefer to relax and enjoy a meal or drink, there are a handful of beach bars offering snacks and refreshments as well as sunbeds and umbrellas.

GERAKAS

This beach is the last beach in the south east and belongs to the Marine Park. Like all other beaches in the park, it is open from 8am to sunset. You can also find turtle nests here, and as in Dafni, there are WWF volunteers controlling the use of the park and adherence to its rules. This long sandy beach ends with a wall of clay: but do not collect it as it is forbidden! The water is crystal clear and thanks to the prohibition of fishing there are plenty of fish. You might also see newborn turtles during the month of August, if you are lucky!

BEACH OF KERI

These two beaches are only 5km apart and we recommend dedicating a whole day to this area.

The water is immaculate and while Keri beach is sandy, Marathia is a white pebble beach. After swimming on these two beaches there is nothing better than ending the day by admiring the sunset from the Faros of Keri, about 15 minutes drive from Marathia beach. Pass Keri village and you will see dozens of impatient tourists waiting for the sun to set at the end of the dirt path.

PORTO LIMNIONAS AND PORTO ROXA

Located on the western coast, 2km from each other, these are two stunning and sand free bays. Porto Roxa is less touristic than Porto Limnionas, but its swinging beds positioned with sea view definitely need a try! Access to the sea is a bit rough and wearing sandals may help to reach the sea. Porto Limnionas is noisier that its neighbour, but is certainly one of the places not to be missed. The port is considered almost like a lagoon due to the sea water’s swimming pool-like colour. This is formed where the sea water meets a fresh water source and is great for anyone who fancies a dive into the refreshing Ionian Sea

PANORAMIC POINTS OF ZAKYNTHOS

BOCHALI

Among the most characteristic places in Zakynthos, it is worth visiting the beautiful Bochali, one of the town’s prettiest suburbs named after its flower filled gardens. Situated just behind the city, you can reach it by walking uphill from Solomos Square or by car. It is an ideal point to enjoy the sunset when the sky and the sea are tinged with red and orange, giving life to a unique and exciting show. If you want to enjoy a more romantic moment, it is definitely worth visiting after dinner. Sitting in one of the many bars here and sipping a drink whilst admiring the lights of the city and the moon reflected in the sea is a definite highlight.

KERI

Faros Keri is the most well known place to watch the sunset. This village is not to be confused with Limni Keri. The village of Keri is located about 5 km from Limni Keri and you will have to follow the signs to Faros Keri. When you see the biggest Greek flag in the world (with an area of 670 square metres) you’ve arrived!

SHIPWRECK VIEWPOINT

This is where most pictures of Zante are taken-you’ll see the views from Shipwreck point all over websites, social networks and postcards. To reach this point you will need to drive until the village of Anafonitria and follow the numerous signs for “Belvedere” which is 4 Km away. It is usually crowded in the morning due to the many tourist buses that bring tourists here. During sunset you can enjoy a more chilled atmosphere.

KAMPI

Kampi is a small village perched on a promontory about 300 metres above sea level and like Keri and Shipwreck Beach, it faces the west coast. Here you will find a huge concrete cross standing on the promontory just outside the village, erected in memory of the fallen civil war of 1940.

SKOPOS

Mount Skopos is certainly the least known and visited by tourists. A few kilometres from Argasi, this panoramic view point is 492 m above sea level. It offers a spectacular view of the whole south and south-eastern part of the island. At the top of the mountain you will find the monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa dating back to the fifteenth century.

MUSEUMS OF ZANTE

THE BYZANTINE MUSEUM OF ZAKYNTHOS

The Museum of Byzantine and Post – Byzantine art is located in the capital, Zante Town, on Solomos

Square. The museum was founded after the earthquake of 1953 and it has a rich collection of ecclesiastical

works; hagiographies from the Byzantine age; wooden carvings from the 16th Century as well as frescos

and wall paintings ranging from the 12th Century through to the 18th Century. Of particular interest are the

hagiographies by Zakynthian artists Damaskinos, Doxaras, Kandounis, Koutouzis and Tzanes. The museum is

open daily, except Mondays and the opening times are from 8am to 3pm.

XENOPOULOS MUSEUM OF ZAKYNTHOS

The museum is dedicated to Grigorios Xenopoulas, a Greek novelist and play writer who lived from 1867 – 1951. The museum is near to the Church of Agios Dionysios, in the capital Zante town and houses a collection of manuscripts and personal artefacts of the Xenopoulos.

Address:

Piazza Solomos, Zakynthos Town

Opening hours: 1 July – 31 October: every day: from 08:00 to 15:00

Monday closed

Rates: Full € 4, reduced € 2

MUSEUM OF D. SOLOMOS AND A. KALVOS

The Museum Solomos and Kalvos contains the skeletons of the national poets Dionysios Solomos and

Andreas Kalvos in its mausoleum. In the basement you can find the Solomos room; the Romas room; the

Nicholas and Kolyva room containing important manuscripts of Dionysios Solomos; and also the room of

eminent Zakynthians together with a rich collection of portraits of them. There is also a well-stocked

library, period furniture, a folk and archaeological collection and a large number of photos. The museum

was rebuilt in 1957 and has been in operation since 1967. It is located at St. Markus Square.

Opening hours: From May 1 to October 31: every day: from 09:00 to 14:00

Rates: Full € 4 Reduced € 2

HELMI NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Helmi Natural History Museum is the only one of its kind in Zakynthos. The museum is located in the

village of Ayia Marina, a beautiful village at the centre of Zakynthos, with an amazing view of the town and of Laganas Bay. It houses noteworthy collections with more than 500 specimens from the natural

world, such as birds, fish, shellfish from the seven seas of the world, plants, stones, minerals and animals that have become extinct. Inaugurated in August 2000, the museum is privately funded and aims to

raise awareness of the wonders of the nature of Zakynthos. Since the first day of activity, the museum has

continued to grow. Today it is considered one of the most promising institutions of its kind in Greece and

the Balkans.

Address: Aghia Marina, Zante 29100 (15 minute drive from Zakynthos town)

Opening hours: From May 1 to October 31: every day: from 09:00 to 18:00

Rates: Adults € 6 Children € 3

NAVAL MUSEUM OF ZAKYNTHOS

The Naval Museum is located just outside of Zante Town, on Strani Hill in Bohali. It claims to have the best

collection of Byzantine vessels in the world. It covers all aspects of naval history from 1700 to the present

day and has an excellent collection of costumes from the Greek civil war, and the first and second world

war. There is also a documentary and information on the British submarine HMS Perseus sunk between

Cephalonia and Zakynthos during the Second World War.

Address: Tsilivi, Zante 29100 (10 minute drive from Zakynthos town)

Opening hours: 09: 30-14: 00 18: 30-21: 00

Rates: Full 2.60

THE HOUSE OF UGO FOSCOLO

The house of Ugo Foscolo is located in Zante town. This was the house in which the national poet of Italy

Ugo Foscolo was born. Unfortunately the building was destroyed by the bombing of the Italians on

November 6 th 1940. In 2016 Foscolo’s new house was reconstructed again and in the interior of the new

building they are planning to build a brand new local library. Outside the house there is a small plaque on

the wall, as well as a white marble monument in homage to the late Ugo Foscolo.

THE CHURCHES OF ZANTE

SAN DIONYSIOS CHURCH

St. Dionysios is the patron saint of Zakynthos. The Zakynthians honor his memory twice a year, with

a procession of his holy relics. These processions are held on the 17 th of December, the day of the assumption and on the 24 th August as a commemoration of the return of the relics from the Strofadia Islands to Zakynthos. The church of the patron saint of the island is one of the four buidings, (the 3 rd Elementary School, National Bank and the house of Sarakins) that are still standing in Zakynthos town following the earthquake of 1953. Inside the church is a special place near the temple, where the relics of St. Dionysios are kept in a silver casket.

Among the artists who contributed to the beauty of this church are the painter Doxaras and Diamandis

Bafas who has engraved the silver reliquary containing the remains of San Dionysios.

The bell tower, surrounded by lights, is illuminated during the night creating an enchanting view.

ST. NICHOLAS OF THE MOLE

This church located in Solomos Square is the only building in Venetian style that survived the earthquake in

1953 and has been restored keeping its original characteristics. Originally the church had been built on an

island connected to the mainland by a bridge, then the island joined the city. For many centuries the church

belonged to the Sailors Corporation. Dating back to the 17th Century it is the most ancient building in

Solomos Square and it was built in renaissance style with the exception of the bell tower that is more

Byzantine. Inside there are the liturgical ornaments of Saint Dionysios, the island protector, that for a

period in his life gave his services to this church.

SAN MARCO CHURCH

Tiny, this is the only catholic church of the island. Next to the Museum of Solomos and Kalvos, it looks

like a single building since it was built in the same style.

ST. NICHOLAS KILIOMENOU CHURCH

As soon as you reach Kiliomeno the majesty of the bell tower strikes the visitor. The church and the bell

tower are separated by a street and look like two different buildings due to their exteriors. The bell

tower has a squared base which has four floors. On the third floor it is possible to admire two arches and on the last, which has a hexagonal base, numerous decorations in relief.

VIRGIN KERIOTISSA CHURCH

In the small mountain village of Keri, south of the island, there is a very big church surrounded by a park. It

is easy to find from the huge bell tower as the bell chimes are heard all over the town and stress the

passing of the hours in a village where time seems to have stopped a century ago

THE CHURCH AT ST. NICHOLAS BEACH.

In this very religious island you can find churches everywhere, even at sea… Once in Agios Nikolaos beach

in the southern part of the island (pay attention-there is another town with the same name in the northern

part) on your left you’ll notice a strip of land on which lies a small white church. The church has neither a

name nor other information and it is not possible to enter.

DISCOTEQUE

BARRAGE

The biggest disco of the island, located in Argassi, organizes parties on Tuesday with the famous WHITE TUESDAY and the EARLY ELEGANT PARTY