ZAKYNTHOS

Zakynthos, aka Zante, aka Fioro Tou Levante (The flower of the East), a name given by the Venetians, is one of the Greek island group of Eptanisa. It is the eleventh largest island of Greece, the third largest (after Kefalonia and Corfu) and the second in terms of population of the Ionian islands region. It covers an area of 410 km2 (158 sq mi) and its population is 40,758 (2011 census). Geographically, Zakynthos lies 8,5 nmi from Kefalonia, the closest island on the north, and 17 nmi away from Kyllini, Ilias. With the port of Kyllini Zakynthos connects with daily routes Kyllini- Zakynthos throughout the year. People of Zakynthos are called Zakynthioi or Zakynthinoi. One of the ancient names of Zakynthos is “Yria”.

Zakynthos has the shape of an irregular triangle with its northern tip ending in Cape Skinari. On the southeast part, between the Cape Marathias and the Cape Gerakas, lies the bay of Laganas in which there are three little islands: Marathonisi, Pelouzo and Agios Sostis, while 37 nmi south of Laganas there are the small Strofades islands. The Bay of Laganas with its magnificent beach has been proclaimed as a National Marine Park since 1999 as it is the prime nesting area for the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta Caretta). The western coastline of Zakynthos is about 34 km long, it is mountainous and consists of steep cliffs forming many caves and small bays. The eastern coastline lying on the Peloponnese side is 37 km long and is full of beautiful sandy beaches.

The climate of Zakynthos is mild Mediterranean with many rainfalls from November to January and a great sunshine throughout the year.

The island has dense vegetation; thus a remarkable agricultural productivity, based mainly on olive oil, citrus fruits and currants, as well as floriculture.

The business activity is growing fast mainly in the tourism sector, which is supported by the local airport ‘’Dionysios Solomos” and by many hotels and rooms, leveraging the natural beauty, the culture, the history and the tradition of the island as well as the local people’s hospitality.

Villages of Zakynthos are: Agalas, Agia Marina, Agios Dimitrios, Agios Kirikos, Agios Leontas, Agios Nikolaos (Kiliomenos), Agioi Pantes, Akrotiri, Alikanas, Ampelokipoi, Anafonitria, Ano Gerakari, Argasi, Vanato, Vasiliko, Volimes, Vougiato, Gaitani, Galaro, Gyri, Exo Hora Zakynthou, Kalamaki, Kalipado, Kallithea, Katastari, Kato Gerakari, Keri, Kypseli, Lagadakia, Lagopodo, Lithakia, Louha, Maries, Maherado, Meso Gerakari, Mouzaki, Bohali, Orthonies, Pantokratoras, Pigadakia, Planos, Romiri, Sarakinado, Skoulikado, Tragaki, Tsilivi, Fioliti, Varres, Fagias, Skinari, Kampi.

Zakynthos is also an island of a great musical tradition. People of Zakynthos are especially philharmonic and tend to form singing groups with a repertoire of old traditional songs as well as the infamous ‘kantades’ with their distinctive lyrics. In Zakynthos one can also discover a very unique kind of street theater called ‘omilies’ based on improvisation. This kind of theater has a history of at least three centuries.