Like most of the islands of the Ionian Sea, Zakynthos was also protected by the foreign marine invaders by its dominant and enormous fortress. The Venetian Fortress of Zakynthos is located in the place of the ancient Acropolis of the island and has undergone a number a reconstructions, after consecutive destructive earthquakes. Except for the Venetian prisons, the gunpowder buildings, the English military barracks and other war-related constructions, the fortress also includes an important number of religious sites.
Even if you don’t know a single Greek word, you should definitely pay a visit to the museum (here’s a Greek word!) that is dedicated to the Greek national poet, Dionysios Solomos. The museum was created in 1966 and includes the impressing graves of Dionysios Solomos and Andreas Kalvos, another great poet who was born on the island. It also includes portraits, manuscripts, books and objects that used to belong to Solomos and other important poets of Zakynthos.
Solomos & Kalvos Museum, St. Marco Square 15, Zakynthos, Greece, +30 2695 028982
The Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos is located in Solomos square, in the square dedicated to Greece’s national poet, in the heart of the island. Here you will have the opportunity to admire a rich collection of icons dating back to the 19th century, Greek and Byzantine sculptures and statues. The collection includes works of famous Greek painters, like Doxaras, Katouzis and Damaskinos.
Byzantine Museum, Solomos Square, Zakynthos, Greece, +30 2695 042714
Roma’s family has been closely connected with the history of Zakynthos, the Ionian sea and Greece, through four centuries. The mansion is one of the few classical buildings of the island that was not completely destroyed after the large earthquake of 1953 and has been turned into a museum, in order to present samples of the Ionian society and culture that belong to a forgotten era, deep into the past.
Bochali is located on the highest point of the city of Zakynthos and just two kilometers away from it. It offers an amazing view of the city, its port and the Ionian Sea. One of the oldest neighborhoods of Zakynthos, full of palm and olive trees that offer natural shade and unique moments of relaxation
Laganas is one of the best preferred, developed, and tourist-friendly beaches in Zakynthos, located in the homonymous gulf, just 9 kilometers away from the island’s center. This is the place where the endangered loggerhead sea turtles love to leave their eggs, so water sports are not allowed. However, Laganas is always crowded and cosmopolitan, with a variety of dynamic bars, as well as many ships to rent and explore the nearby coasts.
Keri Lightouse is located in the homonymous village, in a distance of about 20 kilometers away from the city of Zakynthos. The nine-meter high lighthouse was constructed in 1925, on the edge of a steep cliff, in order to help the passing by ships. From this point you will enjoy the magical view of steep and imposing shores, endless sea, romantic sunsets, wild natural beauty.
The trademark of Zakynthos and perhaps the most famous Greek beach owes its name (‘navagio‘ means ‘shipwreck’ in Greek) to the shipwreck of the ship Panagiotis, which is believed to have been involved in smuggling activity when it got into trouble and washed ashore in 1982, because of terrible weather conditions. This internationally known beach attracts thousands of visitors every years due to its breathtaking landscape, which is composed of dominant white rocks, golden sand and deep crystal clear waters. The carcass of the old ship completes the incomparable wild beauty of Navagio. You can admire this beauty from above, near the village of Anafonitria, or from up close, taking the small boat from the nearby ports of Agios Nikolaos or Porto Vromi.
By Evangelos Tsirmpas