Sights - Kalamaki Zante - Zakynthos Island Greece
The island of Zakynthos is well known for the Shipwreck Cove, the Blue Caves, the endangered Caretta Caretta turtle and many more beautiful sights well worth seeing. Check out the following list with some of the most important.
National Marine Park
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos (N.M.P.Z.) is the recently established marine park situated at the southern most part of the island of Zakynthos. The Presidential Decree for the establishment of the N.M.P.Z. was signed on the 1st of December 1999 by the President of the Greek Republic.
The Marine Park's objectives are to preserve the natural environment and conserve the ecological balance of the marine and coastal area of the Bay of Laganas and of the Strophadia Islands.
Within the Marine Park is the most important loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta nesting rookery in the Mediterranean, a habitat essential for protection.
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is the first of its kind in Greece comprising of a Management Body and it will be an example for other areas in Greece requiring integrated management.
The Marine Park encompasses the marine area of the Bay of Laganas, the sea turtle nesting beaches and a zone of land adjoining them, the wetland of Keri Lake and the two small islands of Strophadia, which are 25 miles south from the island of Zakynthos.
It is worth noting that Greece is the only European country where the loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta nest, with Zakynthos being the most important nesting area in Mediterranean.
Furthermore the area is characterised by a variety of habitats, of European interest including sand dunes, Posidonia oceanica beds, the critically endangered Sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum), submerged reefs, as well as hundreds of species of flora and fauna, some of which are of great importance.
It should also be noted that a resident population of the critically endangered species of monk seal Monachus monachus is present at the west coast of Zakynthos.
Within the marine area of the Park there are three zones:
*Zone A - no boat activity is allowed
* Zone B - boats are allowed with speed limit of 6 miles per hour; no anchoring is allowed
* Zone C - boats are allowed with speed limit of 6 miles per hour; anchoring is allowed
On land several restrictions protect the nesting beaches (no building, visitors are allowed on the nesting beaches from 7:00pm to 7:00am, control of the number of visitors etc). Furthermore restrictions on building and tourist development of the area are applied on the zones of land that adjoining the nesting beaches.
The end of Kalamaki beach is called Vrontonero which comes from the word animal roar in Greek because of the noise the mountain spring makes as the water pours into the sea. It is a secluded sandy beach which is not easily accessed because of the road that is covered in gravel but well worth the visit as the water is crystal clear and cold because of the fresh water that comes from the mountain.
The Shipwreck is the most renowned sight in Zante Island, also known by its Greek name "Navagio", as well as "Smugglers Cove".
Most travellers have already seen photos before they arrive on the island, as it is one of the most photographed beaches worldwide. This scenic beach became special when a boat was shipwrecked on it approximately 20 years ago, after hitting rocks in bad weather. The boat was trying to escape the Greek Navy as it had contraband cigarettes on board. None of the crew was injured in the shipwreck.
It lies in the middle of a beautiful white pebble bay, surrounded by white cliffs and water in all the shades of blue that looks like bleach has been added - the colours are extremely impressive.
The Navgio beach can be enjoyed either by taking a boat trip or by viewing it from above; there is no direct access to the beach except from the sea.
Boats depart from many parts of the island, like Skinari, Alykes, St Nikolaos port and Zante Town and ensure a memorable and fun day out. The viewing platform close to the village of Anafonitria is accessible by car. There is plenty of parking space and it is well sign posted. One thing is certain, the Shipwreck must not be missed - and whichever way you choose to see Smugglers Cove you are guaranteed not to be disappointed - it really is breathtakingly beautiful.
The Blue Caves on the north coast of Zante (Zakynthos) are one of the best known sights on the island.
These unusual caves were discovered in 1897 and the largest cave is called Blue Grotto. In order to visit them you must hire a boat on your own or take an organized boat trip.
The nearest point to the caves where you can take a boat from is the harbour of St.Nikolaos, near Volimes village but boats also depart from many other parts of the island.
The colours of the caves are spectacular and have to be seen to be believed. The area is also ideal for snorkelling.
In the mountain village of Kambi, on the cliff called Shiza, there is a huge cross built in the memory of all those lost during the Greek Civil War and World War 2. The view from here is a wonder and thus favoured by many in order to admire the sunset at one of the cafes and traditional tavernas in the area.
The Venetian Castle, on Bohali hill on the outskirts of Zante town, was built in 1480 and only shortly after, part of it was destroyed by the Turkish invasion. From 1514 and onwards it was repaired and at one time became the capital of Zakynthos island. The castle is now in ruins but certainly still worth visiting as you can enjoy exceptional views of the town below and across the Ionian Sea to the Peloponnese region of Greece.
Before the Castle was built, there once stood an acropolis on the same sight. The Venetian influence is evident on the entrance gate from the Venetian symbol 'The lion of Saint Mark'.
The Castle is situated amongst pine trees and is a beautiful place to visit, for a better understanding of Zakynthian history, splendid views and also serene atmosphere.