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Zakynthos, the southernmost island of the Ionian, owes its name to the son of Dardanus, king of Troy, who, according to legend, built the first city. Event, also mentioned in the Iliad. Everyone who came to this island fell under its spell. The Venetians named it “The Flower of the East” (Fior Di Levante). Others gave it names such as “earthly paradise”, and the “perfumed island”, while Dionysios Solomos, the father of modern Greek poetry, wrote “Zakynthos could make one forget the Ilyssian parts”.


Every visitor cannot forget the emerald green of its seas, its pine-clad mountains, its musical people and their hospitality. The first contact with the island, as soon as one gets off the boat, is the city of Zakynthos or Chora. The city, even today, retains its famous arcades along the width of its streets, combined with spacious blocks of flats and tasteful, traditional houses. The museum of post-Byzantine art in Solomos Square contains the treasures preserved from the historic churches of the island. In the port of the city, there are also the churches of Agios Dionysios, patron saint of the island, with its tall bell tower, and of Agios Nikolaos of Molos, built from the Italian Renaissance with its Byzantine bell tower from the 17th century.

A little outside the city on Bohali hill is the Venetian fortress. Only the gate and the outer walls still survive. But from it, one can enjoy magnificent views of the harbor, the island’s fertile inland plain and distant beaches as far as the eye can see. Near Bochali is another hill, Lofos tou Strani where Dionysios Solomos composed his famous poem, “Hymn to Freedom”, which later became our national anthem.

Zakynthos is almost triangular in shape, with two verdant mountain promontories that extend into the sea and form the huge bay of Laganas. In the northern part of the island there are pine-covered mountains and hills, but in the center is a fertile plain, cultivated with grape vines, olives, almonds and seasonal vegetables. Finally, the island is surrounded by a number of accessible sandy beaches that invite visitors to enjoy them.

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