The Venetians named her as the "Flower Of The East" (Fior Di Levante) and the Greeks as the "Nymph of the Ionian Sea" and "Small Paris". Homer mentioned that it took its name by Zakynthos, son of Troy's king Dardanos. As in the island, since the early times, were grown and developed all the types of Art it was also named as "Florentia of the East".
The Venetian influences were absorbed with the Greek tradition and gave an individual culture with elegant tones and concinnity, accentuated great figures of the art such as the Greek national poet Dionysios Solomos, Andreas Kalvos and the unwearying novelist Grigorios Xenopoulos and at the 17th century it imported the famous Zakyntian Style in the Art of Painting. Another great love of the citizens is singing and music. The famous Zakyntian Sereneda still charms and enthuses the people.
The traditional architecture of the island springs through the numerous beautiful Churches, the public buildings the picturesque stoas and the luxurious mansions, all of them fine pieces of the folk architecture influenced by the Renaissance amd the Neoclassicism. Numerous also the pieces of silver statuary and the wood curving that comprise of items of admiration and show the affection of the citizens to the arts such as the numerous brilliant monuments of Byzantine and post-Byzantine hagiography in a diachronic tradition that springs in every alley and building in the island.
The mild, mediterranean climate with the many rainfalls, the soddenness, the green winters and the cool summers transforms the island into a rosy earthly paradise, even into its most thin terrains, while it contributes and favors the tillage. Zakynthos also has a very rich fauna and flora. The high amount of rainfalls has created a unique environment verdurous of trees and forest, with a variety of rear flowers and plants. This environment has become an international interest place as in its south coast the "Careta Careta" water turtle is reproduced. It is a rear species that is protected by the Greek low and international conventions. In its steepest, west coasts the seal "Monachus-Monachus" is also reproduced.
Intellectual, lordly and aristocrat, this island knows how to weave a golden textile of impressions and memories with the threads of its great history, the deep-blue beaches, the hidden dreamlike caves and the imposing sunsets.
The 35.000 hospitable citizens are mainly dealing with agriculture and especially with the grape and plum tillage while at the last years many of them are working on tourism.
The capital city and homonymous to the island is built on a verdurous pine-hill by the port and strikes singularly imposing when the traveler starts his wanderings. The picturesque alleys and adits, the towering remains of the Venetian castle, the historical church of Ag. Georgios, the monuments of the members of "Filiki Etairia" and of the Greek Revolution of 1821 and the Public Library with the more than 50.000 books still comprise of key spots for every sightseer while near the city there are many remarkable places like the histoc Hill of Stralis, where Dionysios Solomos, through the sounds of the canons that besieged Mesollogi, wrote the Anthem to Liberty that later was set to music by Mantzaros and became the National Anthem of Greece. There you will also find the impressive red rock who took its name by the homonymous novel of Grigorios Xenopoulos, and Skopos crown that provides a magnificent ken of the Byzantine Temple with the marvelous mosaics.
Except Zakynthos city don't forget to visit the traditional houses of the island such as Kato and Ano Voimes, famous for their weavings and fancywork and the famous Blue Grotto, the cave that is compared with the homonymous one in Kapri. Agios Nikolaos port from where all the boats begin the visits to the Blue Grotto, Machairado with the fantastic church of Agia Mavra and Orthonies with the scenic rocky houses is also a place you sjould visit.
In Arpyhia, one of the Strofades group island is the Abbey of Metamorphosis appertained to St. Dionysios, of crossthe 13th century with cross-staple architectonic type and reminds of a fortress. This islet is also a great hunting place for turtledoves and especially at spring.
One of the most beautiful scenes of Zakynthos is surely Navagio, the verdurous scene od Kerios Lake with the impressive caves, the picturesque resort of Vasilikos, the scenic beach of Tsilivi and the spas at Gerakari area.
The beaches of Zakynthos with the dreamlike sand, the imposing deep blue or green and blue waters combined with the efflorescent landscapes will tempt you in their waves for a twinkle with the sea and will give you the best possible memories. Every beach is unique and remains unchanged by the arrival of the tourist throngs every summer.
Alykes couple of beaches with the 2 km length, the wonderful sand and the shallow and limpid waters at Kalamaki are two of the swimming areas of the island that you surely have to visit and also the the calm and scenic broad bay of Laganas with the long sand, clean and perfect for swimming sea.
Before your departure don't forget to taste the local recipes and especially the traditional "ladotyri" (chesse with oil), "verdea" the wine that is coveted for its unique favor and the best nougats and "pasteli" in Greece. The island is also famous for its cologne, "Bougarini" and for the powder production that you can find in every shop just like the flower "Gradouka" planted in every backyard.
The food is unique and rich in every spot of the island at the numerous picturesque taverns and luxurious restaurants that offer the visitor the chance to choose and taste not only local but also international dishes. For music and dance there are also enough clubs, bars and discotheques with Greek and foreign music ready to satisfy every desire.