>> Zakynthos - Zante <<

Introduction

Zakynthos, or more colloquially Zante, is a small island lying in the Mediterranean in Western Greece and part of the Ionian islands. The crystal clear waters, great food, good nightlife, hot weather and docile loggerhead turtles make Zante an excellent destination for both joy seekers and families. Map of GreeceMap of Greece
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What to See


Kalamaki
Kalamaki Beach
Kalamaki is only a few miles from Zante Airport and is therefore really convenient for transfers to and from the airport. Kalamaki consists of one long main street, Laganas road, that has great restaurants, bars and souvenir shops and a number of hotels that surround it. Kalamaki is by far the quieter and more up-market resort with the bustling nightlife of Laganas only three miles away. What makes Kalamaki so special is that it's beach serves as the nesting area for the loggerhead turtles or "Carretta Carretta" who lay thousands of eggs during the months of June and July. You can sunbathe on the beach as long as you stay along the waters edge.

Laganas
Laganas has the best and liveliest nightlife in Zante. Laganas beach is bustling with plenty of sun loungers for hire and restaurants and bars along the beachfront. It is here that you will find the glass bottom boats that take you out to the loggerhead turtles. Be sure to compare prices as there is a lot of competition and some of them even offer you a "no turtle money back guarantee"! Laganas is about a forty-minute walk along the water to Kalamaki beach.

Zante Town
Zante Town on the eastern side of the island is worth a nice day trip or evening stroll to visit. The following are a list of interesting things to see or do in Zante Town.

Church of Aghios Dionysios
Probably the most visited site in Zante Town is the church of Aghios Dionysios (Saint-Denis) near the harbour. The church survived the earthquake of 1953 and has a replica of the Venetian bell tower in St Marc's Square. The interior of the church is of particular intricacy with frescos, lavish gold plating, extravagant chandeliers and plenty of marble.


Museums
There are a few museums to visit in Zante and these are the Archaeological and Neo-Byzantine Museum, the Museum of Solomos and Notable Zakynthians in pretty Solomos square and the Nautical Museum.

Solomos Square
The square is named after Dionysios Solomos who lived from 1798 to 1857. He was a local Zakynthian poet who is best known for penning the words to the Greek National Anthem. Solomos Square is a large, white stoned square which feeds off the main road along the harbour and leads amblers over to a small area where there are plenty of restaurants and bars to satisfy visitors in search of refreshments.

Navagio Beach
Navagio Beach
Navagio beach, also known as smuggler's cove, is where the story of several pirates trafficking goods ended with jail. After trying to hide from the Greek authorities in various bays around the area, the boat was stopped and the traffickers arrested. The boat was left overnight but on the authorities return, had been beached and to this day remains in this spot. The bay has beautiful blue waters, great picture opportunities and good snorkelling.


What to Do


Go to the Beach
Zakynthos is blessed with wonderful Mediterranean beaches. Laganas and connecting Kalamaki beach stretch for miles with turtle spotting, pedalos, sun bathing and snorkelling all worthwhile to enjoy your day on the beach. Other beaches in Zante include Tsivili, Argassi, Vassilikos and Smuggler's Cove where you may stop on an excursion. You'll love the crystal clear waters on all of Zante's beaches.

See the Turtles
Loggerhead Turtles in Zante
This is the highlight and main feature of Zante Island and is therefore a must see. You can go on a glass bottom boat, hire a pedalo or take the plunge and swim out yourself. The turtles are harmless and are so graceful in the water. There are approximately 1500 in the bay between Laganas and Kalamaki beach and vary in age from very young to 100 years old!

Snorkel or dive
The crystal clear waters and sea life make diving and snorkelling in Zante an ideal activity. Laganas bay is very sandy but you may find yourself breathing next to a Caretta Caretta or Loggerhead turtle who return to the sandy beaches every year for the nesting season in June and July.

Information on an excellent dive center located in Laganas town can found out www.eurodivers.nu. For more information on our diving experiences in Zakynthos, please visit our page on diving in zante.

Horse Riding
If you are a keen equestrian and would like to enjoy the Zakynthian scenery on horseback, you won't be hard-pressed to find stables to accommodate you. There are signs everywhere advertising the services of a local stable, so just keep your eye out for these and you won't search for too long. Alternatively, ask at the reception desk of your hotel and they will try to help you with your request.

Go Shopping
You'll find some of the best shopping on the island in Zante Town and the prices are often much better than in the resorts. This also applies to food and drink. You'll find clothing stores, jewelry, handicrafts and local Greek souvenirs. There are also loads of souvenir shops in Kalamaki and Laganas. Prices are competitive but are generally indicative of quality.

Greek Night
Greek nights are offered by taverns and a number of hotels. A Greek night includes Greek Cuisine and of course some traditional Greek dancing!

Chill out
At night there is no shortage of places to eat in any of the towns in Zante. Many of the restaurants offer traditional Greek food and there is no shortage of Italian and even Chinese-Indian cuisine for those of you there for a longer haul who may have had one too many souvlakis! There are many cocktail bars and pubs and in Kalamaki be sure to visit the Cave bar which is a traditional Greek place with a real Greek cave.


What to Eat


Souvlaki
Souvlaki can be made with pork, lamb or chicken and is traditionally grilled on a skewer. You can have souvlaki straight from the skewer or in a in pita bread with tomato, onion and tzaziki. Delicious.

Ouzo
Ouzo is an aniseed based drink so if black licorice is not your thing then ouzo won't be either. You can drink straight or dilute it with water, it's up to you.

Beer
Mythos, Greek beer is pretty good but unfortunately for the Greek beer industry, Amstel, Dutch beer, manages to beat it on price on most occasions.

Lamb
It does not get much better than this. The lamb is basted in garlic and slowly cooked to perfection.

Feta
Feta cheese is made from goat's milk and another Greek delight. Served with Greek Salad, on its own or grilled in the oven, feta is good for all occasions.

Olives and Olive Oil
Green and black olives are found in abundance and are found in most salads. It goes without saying that the olive oil is superb too.

Tzaziki
A greek specialty, tzaziki consist of yoghurt, cucumber and lots of garlic. Delicious with a souvlaki, fries, bread and just about anything else you can think of.

Seafood
Octopus and calamari can be found on both the starters and mains sections on the menus. Fish is fresh and is usually served as fish of the day so be sure to ask. The fish is pricier than the rest of the dishes on the menus but a treat and must have if you are a fish fan.

Greek Salad
Tomatoes, lettuce, green pepper, feta cheese, red onion and olives. Great lunchtime snack in the heat of the day or light meal in the evening.

Moussaka
Traditional Greek dish made from layers of minced lamb, aubergines and white sauce.

Wine
House wine is cheap and if you would like to try a Greek speciality wine ask for Retsina which is flavoured with pine resin.

Mixed plates
These are called Mezedes and can be eaten as starters or as a main. They consist of humus, vine leaves, aubergine and tzaziki.


Where to Sleep


Hotels
You can find excellent hotels on the Mediterranean island of Zante. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in Zante. Find Hotels.

Hostel
Search for and book a cheap accommodation in Zante.

Roseland Hotel
Roseland hotel is an excellently family-run hotel in Kalamaki. There is a buffet breakfast, snack bar, bar with happy hour in the evening, restaurant for the evening and other entertainment occasionally. The staff is very friendly, the hotel is very clean and the location is suitable for the beach and the nearby restaurants on Laganas Road.


How to Move


Airport
Zakynthos airport, about 3 kilometres from Kalamaki, is a small overburdened facility which barely manages to cope with the influx of visitors in the summer. Be prepared to wait a while for your luggage and to queue before you check in. Be sure to bring water on your return journey with you as the Greek sun is powerful.

Taxi
Taxis in Zante are quite affordable and widely available. Make sure you agree on a price for your destination with your driver before you get in and don't let yourself be taken for a ride, so to speak.

Car
There are plenty of car rental companies around Zante to choose from but if you would like to have one from a more reputable company thn book at a franchise located at the airport.

Walk
It's a nice way to get around your resort and a stroll along the beach is always nice.

Moped
Along with cars, moped, scooters and motorcycles are popular rentals. You can find all sorts of places to rent them on the island. Again, be very careful riding around.


Locals


Welcoming
As a major source of income for the island, the Greeks are extremely friendly to tourists and will make you feel welcome. A few words in Greek will put a smile on their face. Ya soo!!

Language
Greek

Currency
Euro

Time Zone
GMT +2





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