Zakynthos Holiday

Hi all,

As promised here is the update regarding our one week holiday on sunny Zakynthos, Greece between 7-14 May.

Zakynthos is the southernmost and third largest in both size and population of the Ionian Islands.
The climate is mild mediterranean with heavy rainfall during the winter and very sunny summers.  Due to this the island has a lush vegitaion and because of this the island has been nicknamed Fior de Levante (flower of the east ) by the Venetians. Next to this the island is  famous for its nesting beaches for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and its rich flora and fauna.  A great place for biologist!
Not only the nature is of interest but also the varied culture of the island. Because of its stategic location it was the crossroads for numerous nations and cultures, ranging from the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, French, England and now Greece. This resulted in very rich culture which is still visible today.

We staid in the Captains Hotel overlooking Argassi. We had an all inclusive package so we could enjoy the greek food all day long. Because we agreed to bring some things for the local travel agent we also got a room with sea view. Not bad :) I made a panorama from our view:

Panorama of view from hotel

The first day we took it easy and only visited Argassi and went for a walk along the sea. Argassi is a tourist town and mainly consists out of small supermarkets, souvenir shops and restaurants. The surrounding hills and the beach and the sea are full of life so we had big fun searching for fish, hermit crabs, anemones etc etc. And everywhere we went we were surrounded by the smell of flowers, hmmmm.
The second day we visited Zakynthos city. It is a nice little relaxed town with a small harbour and some small squares and shopping streets. People are living outside most of the time so there was a lot to be seen.

The third day we did a cruise around the island as we wanted to get a better idea about the island itself and we hoped to see some dolphins.  The weather was beautiful but very windy so we could not go around the island and could not visit all the nice caves they have. However, on the way back we were very lucky as the boat was followed by some dolphins and a few times we could see them very well.

The forth day we did a touristy bus tour as this was for us the only way to travel around the island. The island is big and especially the north east part is very mountainous so a car or scooter is necessary. We could have used the bicycle but then we would have had to camp somewhere :) During the bus tour we visited the most beautiful parts on the island. The first stop was on a hill above Zakynthos city offering a splendid view over the city and the harbour:

Panorama of Zakynthos city

Then we went up to the north. The north and north west are very mountainous and dry and here only specialised plants can survive. The only thing that can be cultivated there are olive trees. After a visit to a ship wreck, a monastry and after a small boat tour from Porto Vromi we headed south. The south and South East of the island is flat and humid with lots of farm fields, lemon trees and wine yards. And what is a visit to Greece without tasting the wine? So we also “had to” taste the local wines and we were very happy that we did not have to cycle back to the hotel :-p

The fifth day it was time to be a little more sportive so we made a bicycle tour along the south east coast of the island. The rented bikes were not that good, the weather was hot and the road more steep then we had expected so we cycled to a closer beach than planned. This proved to be  good decision as we were the only ones on the beach. We made ourselves comfortable in a small hut on the beach and had a great time walking on the beach and in the warm sea searching for all kinds of plants and fish. And when not we were relaxing and listening to the music on the Greek radio :)   

The sixth day we wanted to cycle to the sea turtle reservate at the south end of the island. Following a quiet road through the lush south part of the island we reached the Kalamaki beach without any problems. We went into the shallow sea hoping to see some sea turtles as in May and June they lay there eggs at this beach. And we were veeeery lucky as we saw on adult Loggerhead swimming closely past us :)

The seventh day we visited Zakynthos city once again for some tourist shopping and also to enjoy the greek coffee specialities like Freddoccino or Frappé, hmmmm.
We hope to be able to visit this island again one day as 7 days is to short for visiting this beautiful place. Like always, one picture says more than a thousand words so don’t forget to have a look at the pictures. You can find them here.

In two weeks we will attend a wedding in Germany i we will make many pictures for sure so stay tuned!
All the best, Magda and Marc

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