Zante the Phiroe of Levante

Today we go to Greece in the enchanting place where our National Anthem was written and I propose to you a cool dive in Limnionas and of course I insist on classic Zakynthina in the world famous shipwreck.

Discover the aroma of salami and shades of blue that you did not know there are.

Tzante, the Lebanese Fiore (Flower of the East), the home of Solomos and Calvus, had a turbulent historical course, like the rest of the Ionian Islands. It is only worth mentioning a day in 1797, when the people of Zakynthos, deeply influenced by the French Revolution, burned Libro d ‘Oro of the Nobles and planted the Freedom Tree at Platypheros.

The city of Zakynthos was finally destroyed by the earthquake of 1953 and was rebuilt carefully, largely recovering its old beauty.

At the southern end of the harbor is the impressive church of Saint Dionysios, protector of the island. The church, which houses the relic of the Saint in a silver coffin, was built in 1925, and nothing came of the earthquake.

In the Byzantine Museum there is a small scale representation of the elegant old Venetian city, as it was before the earthquake. There are also pictures and frescoes rescued from the destroyed churches, works by Damaskinos Tzane, Doxaras, Koutouzis and other eminent hagiographers.

North of the Byzantine Museum is the museum of Solomos, where the tomb of our national poet (1798-1857).

From the hill of Strani, south of the city center, the view is magnificent, while from the Venetian castle that overlooks the city, the coasts of mainland Greece are seen. Inside its walls we will find the ruins of several churches.

Exploring the island we suggest you take a round in one day. The road network is good. There are many buses that go to most beaches, but it is better to rent a car or motorbike.

Laganas, with its huge (14 km) beach, attracts a lot of people, but this tourist development has decimated the population of the Caretta turtles, who come here to give birth. Visitors can see the turtles by strolling boats with glass bottoms.

More quiet places on the island are Tsivili and Alykes, which are ideal for windsurfing.

In the northwest is the Monastery of Panagia Anaponitrias, where Saint Dionysios was here as an abbot in the last days. Tradition says that here the protector of the island once confessed a man who had committed murder. The killer departed after having received forgiveness without ever knowing that his victim was a brother of the abbot. When asked by the investigating authorities, Dionysios said he had never seen his husband ever, and that was the only lie he had said in his life.

At the northernmost end of the island are the Blue Caves formed by the erosion of the rock by the sea. The largest cave, the Cave of Cave, opens just below the lighthouse of Cape Skinari. It was discovered in 1897 and is nowadays world famous for its amazing blue and clear waters. In the caves there is a boat from Agios Nikolaos, and the boats that take the round of the island stop there.

Zakynthos is also offered for winter getaways. The visitor can enjoy unique natural beauties, stay in quality, traditional accommodation on the island, taste local delicacies, visit interesting sights and experience local traditions (such as Zakynthian Megalovodamos and Zakynthos Carnival) near people who will welcome him with intimacy and warmth.

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