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Overview

Also still known by its old Italian name, Zante, Zákynthos is another of the delightful Ionian Islands, each of which has a very different character to it. As with Corfu, Zákynthos has some areas that are very developed for tourism, not appealing to those who want a quiet time and a good night’s sleep. The busiest of these areas is around Laganás Bay, on the south coast, whose glorious, long and sandy beach also attracts loggerhead turtles. This endangered species crawls ashore here to lay its eggs on particular parts of the beach, which are now protected. There are other excellent beaches around the island, the most famous being Shipwreck ...

Also still known by its old Italian name, Zante, Zákynthos is another of the delightful Ionian Islands, each of which has a very different character to it. As with Corfu, Zákynthos has some areas that are very developed for tourism, not appealing to those who want a quiet time and a good night’s sleep. The busiest of these areas is around Laganás Bay, on the south coast, whose glorious, long and sandy beach also attracts loggerhead turtles. This endangered species crawls ashore here to lay its eggs on particular parts of the beach, which are now protected. There are other excellent beaches around the island, the most famous being Shipwreck Beach (or Navagio Beach), which is much photographed due to the strange sight of a single shipwrecked boat sitting in the middle of the golden sand. Zákynthos has been popular for centuries as a destination for tourists, and the Venetians called it the Flower of the Levant. It was the Venetians who built the fortress that stands above Zákynthos Town, the capital, which is an attractive town despite suffering badly in a big earthquake in 1953. There are several museums worth visiting, along with the Church of Dionysios, the island’s patron saint.

Mike Gerrard
About the Expert

Mike Gerrard is the author of the National Geographic Traveler Guide to Greece, as well as guides to Athens, Crete, Corfu, the Greek Mainland, and the Greek islands for publishers including AA, AAA, Thomas Cook, Dorling Kindersley, Michelin, and New Holland. With his wife Donna Dailey, he also publishes the Greece Travel Secrets website.

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Mike Gerrard for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The Ionians are lush islands in the spring and early summer, and autumn can bring some rain.