Our dear Foscolo was right to miss his "sacred shores". I have some now too, although it's only a few days since my eyes don't see those crazy colors anymore.
Well yes, what I will remember most of this island will be its colors, its changing at various hours of the day and how the sunset lights make all the colors of my soul explode.
Honestly speaking, the first day on the island did not impress me so much, I honestly expected more despite Porto Zoro and Porto Azzuro are not so bad. Very long beach, mixed of sand and stones, equipped at very respectable prices, with stacks arranged in such a way as to form natural pools bordering a mountain of clay that allows you to make natural muds. Porto Azzuro, much more upscale, with a location facing the Faraglioni, is also used for weddings and also offers a Greek salad with excellent raw materials. In the afternoon we moved a few kilometers south to go to the Banana beach area, the largest golden beach on the island, near Vassilikos. Immersed in a natural environment, it has many beaches equipped to make it perfect for families. It is easy to find DJ sets during aperitif time.
Since the travel philosophy for me and my friends is to enjoy the place as much as possible and thus enjoy the day, we went to the beach in the far south of the island. Gerakas beach is a very charming beach that woke us up from the torpor of the day. a glance on this long beach that dies close to a clay promontory that flows directly into the sea. part of the beach is not accessible because in the summer this protected area of the marine park is chosen by the caretta caretta turtles for reproduction and laying of eggs. In fact, you can see many cages to protect the eggs waiting for the hatching and the race of the little ones towards the sea. Precisely to protect this species, the beach is not accessible from sunset to sunrise and even the airport, which is nearby, respects this organization. On this beach we enjoyed the first color of the sunset mixed with the crystalline sea.
Not happy and full of charge that only enchanted landscapes can give, we took the road to Dafni beach. It too is part of the protected marine park, in fact, when you arrive at the Porto Mela tavern, another color has accompanied us. The color of the night lightened by the light of the stars. we had to eat with the natural light of the night and the reflection of a light coming from the kitchens of the tavern. A crazy sensation, the sound of the sea, the awareness that shortly after some loggerheads would have laid their eggs, a few meters from us maybe a new life would have sought its waters of origin and a smell of fresh fish on the embers that he then delighted our taste buds.
At midnight we returned to the hotel in Zakynthos tired and with the senses completely satisfied. Zakynthos had made a great recovery and we were curious at this point to discover it.
As every day following our morning begins with a hearty breakfast at the Yria hotel in Zante, a strategic position, a stone's throw from the sea and the center but out of the most chaotic streets. From the morning briefing the following 5 days were well defined in order to be able to visit as much as possible. The destination chosen for the second day is the north-east coast. Passage to Alikes and then up to Xigia enjoying the various views. This part of the coast is very beautiful, consisting of two separate sandy and pebble beaches, one more accessible with steps and the possibility of taking one of the few sunbeds available and the other more difficult to reach and for this reason. often semi deserted. The main feature is the source of sulphurous water that flows from the rock directly into the sea, cools the waters, giving the place a smell of sulfur. The colors range from intense blue which at times joins the sulfur, apparently becoming turbid, to the emerald of the beach alongside the reflection of the Myrtle plants. The sore point is that having very close to the caves there is a bustle of boats and tourist barges visiting. After having refreshed ourselves at the bar / caravan at the top of the steps (another feature of the island is the strong presence of caravans upgraded to bars), we head further north, towards Agios Nicholaos in the hope of taking a boat ride. Along the way, precisely at Makris Gialos beach, we anticipate the contraction of our berths and we get, for 20 euros, a nice 3-hour ride to the blue caves and Navagio beach. At that point we stop for a nice regenerative bath waiting for 3pm. The show that takes us to the wreck beach is not at all in our expectations. We pass Cape Skinari (extreme north of the island) we leave the deep blue color to navigate in parallel with crazy cliffs, rich in vegetation, mainly various species of sea pine. I make several videos because the photos do not make the beauty of the colors. Our captain makes us enter a small blue cave whose colors have nothing to envy to other? Colleagues? most famous. We continue the navigation and we skirt white cliffs and beautiful isolated beaches where, from time to time, some lucky ones manage to stop with their private boat to take a bath in peace. The expectation for our destination rises more and more, the turquoise intensifies and gives us reason, the Navagio bay coming from the north first presents a very white limestone cliff and a small white pebble beach and the turquoise of the sea opens to the view of a spacious beach and a wreck on the horizon. The glance is wonderful but unfortunately the excessive boats visiting with tourists do not allow us to fully enjoy the splendor of the place. At sunset we will make up for a visit to the beach from above.
After a bit of relaxation and a swim, the captain moves north to the blue caves. We arrive with the sun already low and therefore a more intense color of the waters but so transparent as to allow us the view of the seabed and the fish. The caves and its natural arches are beautiful and we swim and dive with satisfaction. We return to shore around 18,30 once again satisfied.
As mentioned before we don't like to make it easy, so we quickly change into the car and head to Shipwreck View Point, then passing from the east coast to the west, the coast of sunsets. Arrived at the monastery of San Giorgio delle Rocce, take the only available way downhill (sometimes not accessible to cars and therefore to do a long stretch on foot) up to a metal balcony that makes you protrude right above the wreck. For the more daring to the right of this balcony there is an unofficial path in the cliff, which leads to the extreme point with a wide view of the bay. The colors that have been released have been hilarious and I also have some difficulty in exposing them. I only know that a crazy energy has taken possession of me also thanks to a crazy sunset, all refreshed by a nice north wind.
Arriving at the car it was already dark and reaching the restaurant we had chosen for dinner was not so easy. The evening coast to coast I must say put me to the test. The navigator made us do many internal routes which accentuated the tiredness of the day. Fortunately, the To Pirounaki restaurant delighted us with excellent appetizers and a delicious grilled meat for only 15 euros, including drinks.
Given the tour de force of the previous two days, we preferred to choose a place close enough to allow us to relax. We chose the Laganas area. Very out of target for us, populated for the most part by children due to the large number of clubs and entertainment in the area. Our precise destination was Cameo island (Agios Sostis), a small islet connected to the mainland by a pier and accessible with the payment of 5 euros. The beach club is evocative, carved into the rock in the shape of a horseshoe that waves, between the two edges, large white sheets, in contrast with the colors of the vegetation and the crystalline sea. At the entrance a photo is taken of the visitors that will be found at the exit printed in a souvenir keyring. Director's chairs are available on the small beach. There are two main features: one is that you can bathe with turtles, very numerous in the area and the other that the location is a favorite for weddings.
Being the day of San Dionysus, Patron Saint of Zakynthos, in the evening there would have been a procession and fireworks. For this reason we decided to visit another place near Zakynthos and then go back to the hotel and prepare for dinner.
Tsilivi beach, not far from the capital, a much more refined place than the others visited. A long sandy beach with various equipped establishments and water sports. Slowly degrading crystalline turquoise water but obviously it is always a sea with sand.
After a shower we went to eat at the Akrotiri tavern, a traditional tavern, with a porch surrounded by grape plants, which wants to transmit its traditions. Large trays with appetizers of your choice to share and an excellent slow cooker suckling pig, price 18 euros. From the village of Bohali, with a breathtaking view of Zakynthos, we were able to see the fireworks and we finished the evening by returning to the city and honoring the statue of our dear Ugo Foscolo and the monument where his birthplace stood.
The last two days will feature the far south.
The fourth day we went to Keri beach on the slopes of Capo Marathia in front of the island of Marathonissi. Pebbly beach with some maritime pines and a maximum of two rows of umbrellas: two sunbeds and umbrella 10 euros. The village of Limni Keri is populated at nightfall filling the numerous taverns.
The nearby Marathia beach is also beautiful, a little less convenient to reach it but the colors of the sunset will repay you for everything. Equip yourself well because there are very few umbrellas and sunbeds and there are no refreshment points.
After a well-deserved relaxation, we get in the car towards Lighthouse tavern, from which, by booking a table or having a drink, you can exclusively admire the stacks of Zante (Myzithres). Breathtaking entrance to the tavern because you don't expect to see such a show. After moments of enchantment and having lost your eyes in 'Caribbean' waters, we move a few meters to the lighthouse, where to enter the cliff and wait for the Ibiza-style sunset, it is compulsory to consume in a checkpoint or a bar / caravan. The photos taken are beautiful but those of the sunset remain etched in our eyes. To finish the evening, dinner at Keri beach, in a typically Greek tavern, complicated to find, which is called? Finale ?, managed by a couple of lovers a little older in age ?, a very respectable grilled fish with various side dishes and with an average bill in Zakynthos (less than 15 euros per person).
If I had to give a title to the day it would be 'all the colors of nature'. Yep, after the usual morning briefing, we head to the fjords of Porto Limnionas and Porto Roxa. Two wonderful little fjords where the sea? of a unique transparency and the view sweeps over the infinite blue of the sea with small caves and natural pools. We take a bath in the small fjord between the rocks with water that goes from crystalline to emerald. The advice is to go early to grab the few sunbeds arranged in the terraces on the rock and in front of the owner tavern. Stay low on the rocks? complicated. After a swim we moved to nearby Porto Roxas, convenient for those who want to rest a day in beds, even double and rocking, to be taken for free and access to the sea with trampoline and ladders. The only constraint is to consume at the tavern behind the beach.
We go back to Keri where we took a small boat which, at 15 euros per person, took us to visit the far south. From Cameo Island, unfortunately we found ourselves in a meeting of tourist boats intent on breaking the boxes to the only turtle in the bay, to Maratonissi island for a spectacular swim in Caribbean waters. Then direct to the variegated and superlative Keri Caves.
There are no right words to describe but if I could rate 10 and praise I would give it without doubts.
The typical tavern this evening takes us to Kalamaki, Michaelo? S tavern, appetizers, grilled fish 15 euros.