The Magic of Zakynthos
The Greek islands are all great. Not all are the same, but they have a singular uniformity in regard to their Dionysian energy. Similarities do exist, but they aren’t exactly identikit semi-detached houses in Regis. And even if the white washed houses of the Aegean give you the sense that they are identical, they still retain their own uniqueness.As with the architecture, the landscape varies, too. The Aegean islands tend to be similar in that respect, but unlike the arid Cycladic micro climate, the Ionian Islands are a smorgasbord of green hues and baby blue tropical waters.Zakynthos in particular is as magical as Greek islands come. Magical enough to make you forget your name when you set your eyes on Shipwreck beach (funny side note-the ship’s original owner is now clamoring for it to be returned to him after 30 odd years of neglect.. Ah, Greece!). After the Acropolis of Athens, it may just be the most photographed place in the country.
So what makes Zakynthos so special (apart from the totally awesome Shipwreck beach)? As with the majority of Greece, the attraction here is the visceral joy of simple things, like good food, great company and an environment that inspires the drabbest of minds.
There is a considerable party scene in Laganas, although, it’s anyone’s guess what the appeal of intoxicated 18 year olds running around like satyrs is. In addition to the debauchery, you can see loggerhead turtles, explore the mountain paths and go on boat tours around the famous blue sea caves.
Just like Milos, Zakynthos has an undeniably robust set of beaches, and that’s certainly one of the main draws.
Navagio beach IS the headline act. Located in the west part of the island and secluded by a bay, it attracts TONS of people. It’s only accessible by boat, although one can catch some amazing views from a vantage point on the rocky outcrop on top. Once there one thing jumps out immediately: the water. The fluorescent blue green waters aren’t of this planet, not to mention the fine white sand. The whole thing looks like a postcard. And you’re in it. Navagio is one of those places that don’t disappoint. It will literally blow your mind.
That said, it can get extremely crowded during the high summer months, and so handily, other options are at hand.
Laganas beach is an organized beach with water sports opportunities and beach bar, as is Porto Limnionas, but for more tranquil settings, one is advised to head to Keri beach, or Kalamaki. In Kalamaki you may be able to spot turtles nestling, depending on the time of year obviously. And right across the sea is Marathonisi, or turtle island.
And then there’s Xigia. Xigia beach is definitely a bucket-list situation. It’s a Sulphur spa in essence, due to the thermal spring nearby, and can in fact be smelled before it’s seen, which is sort of handy as a kind of compass, right? It has therapeutic properties for bone, joint and skin ailments and despite the funky odor you quickly get accustomed to it.
And if you want to one up and score some brownie points with your other half, we sincerely suggest visiting Cameo islet just a stone throws away from Agios Sostis. It is pure romantic bliss, with few people about and some stunning vistas along the way.
The Venetians referred to Zakynthos as the ‘Flower of the Orient’. One look around the coastline and countryside and the reason becomes evidently apparent. Zakynthos is blessed with an almost unfair amount of natural beauty. Don’t take our word for it, though. Come and live it!