The Greek Islands and Athens

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Zakynthos, often called Zante which is the old Venetian name for the island, is the the most southerly of the main Ionian islands.  The northwest of the island is mountainous, so all the main holiday resorts are located in the south and east of the island.  After suffering a major earthquake in 1953  which destroyed most of the buildings in the main town of Zakynthos, the town was rebuilt in an Italianesque style based on the old town plan. Most visitors reach the island via it's small but very busy airport. Outside of Zakynthos town itself, almost all the buildings are either shops, restaurants or apartment blocks, this island has certainly allowed the world of package holidays to take over to such an extent, that it is hard to detect any true Greek character in this undoubtedly beautiful part of Greece.

Zakynthos

The harbour with a ferry link to Kilini on the Greek mainland. many of the boats offer around the island trips, that often last most of the day. The trips usually come with a free coach transfer to and from the main resorts.

Solomos square in Zakynthos town with a statue of the poet Solomos. Unfortunately the rest of the town is not quite so grand, many of the buildings are in a state of disrepair, but if you are in need of a pharmacy, this is the place to come, I have never seen so many in one Greek town.

Not far from the islands capital is the town of Argassi. Like the larger and more livelier town of Laganas on the south coast, Argassi is a purpose built holiday resort with hardly a hint of Greek atmosphere, but the restaurants serving "international cuisine" are quite good assuming this is to your taste.

The beach at Argassi is sandy and safe for children. Crammed with Sun beds, and being small and narrow, this beach can soon become very crowded, which is why many choose to remain around their hotel swimming pool, but just a few hundred meters from the main beach area can be found quiet little spots like this one, pleasant, with plenty of natural shade.

Zakynthos 5The Blue Caves located just below the lighthouse on Cape Skinari are a popular visitor attraction. The blue effect is caused through sunlight reflecting off the white rocks below the water. These caves can only be visited by boat, and all of the "around the island" boat tours, pay a visit to the caves, these boats are far too large to get in very close, so if you wish to you can take one of the small boats from the nearby resort of Agios Nikolaos, these will actually take you right into the caves.

Zakynthos 6One of the most photographed sites in the whole of the Greek islands is the shipwreck at Aghios Georgios. The story is, that in about 1982, the ship named "Panayiotis" was smuggling cigarettes from Turkey to Italy for the Italian Mafia, but it fell victim to bad weather. The beach can only be reached by boat, but it is possible to photograph the wreck from a small platform on the top of the cliff. The wreck, now gradually being covered by sand, is a popular stopping off point on the "around the island" boat trips which visit the beach for an exploration and swim. Remember that this is a real rusting shipwreck and not a purpose built tourist attraction, so care should be taken if you choose to climb aboard.

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