Zakynthos or Zakinthos is normally a tender port. It is a port that is more likely to be seen than some of the windy islands like Santorini and Mykonos around the tip. As you sail from the Croatia area, past Albania towards the tip of mainland Greece, you will pass seven Ionian Islands; the Greek Islands in the Ionian. The first is Corfu, Zakynthos is a way down and is the third-largest. At the tip you either go on, or turn left and skirt the mainland now in the Aegean, and visit Athens.
The harbour city of Zakynthos is the capital and it is easy to walk around the island’s major hub. Jean takes you from the tender boat on the waterfront into central Solomos Square, the tourist focussed market and a few of the many churches.
Popular beaches are Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi. All offer swimming and water sports. Another, Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Bay, which is the site of a famed 1980 shipwreck resting in a sandy cove framed by cliffs, is accessed by boat although sometimes closed. Wine and great seafood are a focus of all these Ionian islands, although Zakynthos, being the 3rd largest Greek island is its own municipality.
Art and poetry are also often as much a feature as the ruins. Here the island was destroyed by an earthquake in 1953, so most of it is new. The ancient Greek poet Homer mentioned Zakynthos in the Iliad and the Odyssey, stating that its first inhabitants were the son of King Dardanos of Arcadia, called Zakynthos. Another poet, Dionysis Solomos wrote the poem ‘Ode to Liberty’ that became the national anthem and he has a statue in the main Solomos square where the only church to withstand the earthquake stands. At the far end of the beach is the monastery and church which have separate films. However, the Virgin Church we found was the most interesting, if you like churches and sometimes these are the only features of a Greek town.
Sights – Solomos Square with old Agios Nikolaos you Molou (Church), shopping route up to St. Marks Sq. Another church to St Nikolaos. The Church of St Mark the Virgin, a few blocks back from the front near the monastery, built in 1633 is not on many lists and is a good feature.
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