Life is a collection of moments and those we lived in Zakynthos are truly magical. We came for the peace that somewhere so intimate as the triangular shaped island can bring in spring.
Blessed with orchards, centuries´ old olive groves and vineyards, rocky coves, blooming hills, pine-covered mountains, aquamarine waters and stunning white beaches, the verdant island pleasantly adorns the Ionian Sea. Homeland of Dionisios Salomos (their national poet), the inexhaustible beauty of island is hard to forget.
The Venetians, who ruled the Ionian island from 1484 until 1797, called Zakynthos “Fioro di Levante” (flower of the East) as the island is home to more than 7,000 species of flowers, including fritillaries and 50 types of orchid. Internationally known by the name of Zante, this botanical paradise is the third largest island of the Ionian Sea, after Corfu and Kefalonia.
Located in the north west of the island, Navagio beach (also known as Smugglers Cove) is one of the most photographed of the Greek Islands. The beach draws its name (“Shipwreck”) from an abandoned vessel firmly embedded in the sand.
The intriguing ship wreck called Panagiotis, ran aground in stormy seas in October 1983 and it was washed up by the waves onto the beach. The only way to reach it is by small boats which leave frequently from the harbor of Porto Vromi.
The isolated beach inevitably evokes feelings of adventure, discovery and pure romance. With intoxicating electric shades of blue, Navagio Beach definitely captivated our eyes.
With wide arcaded streets, neoclassical buildings and sweeping squares architecture, the main port was once a jewel of Venetian architecture.
Unfortunately, the majority of the town was severely destroyed after four consecutive earthquakes in August 1953 and has been tirelessly rebuilt in an original Venetian style preserving its beauty and charm.
There was nothing blissfully to do. We spent our days wandering around the town, walking along Marina Promenade, stopping for a fresh coffee in cafes overlooking the port, sampling local flavors, mingling with locals and hopping on our scooter to explore the beautiful hinterland of the island.
Zakinthos is also the island of moonlit serenades and operettas. Music flows in the veins of Zakynthian people. Indeed, the first philharmonic orchestra of Greece was established at Zakinthos in 1815. Some of the most important composers from the island include Georgios Kostis and Panayiotis Gritzanis.
One evening, we had the chance to experience a touch of this long and rich part of Greek popular history. We stopped at a family-run tavern named Varkarola on the way home where we rewarded ourselves with delicious homemade food. Accompanied by guitars and mandolins, the melodic voices of the trio of musicians truly enveloped us and awakened our emotions.
The evening reached its finale singing, dancing, laughing and toasting our return to the island with ouzo…Opa!
Lomvardou 30 & Ksenou – Zakynthos
Tel.: 26950 26999
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