The Venetians called it “The Flower of the Levant”; visitors today discover a place of rare natural beauty and rich culture: the most important Marine Park in the country, with loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus) swimming next to you. Fairytale sea caves, breathtaking beaches, olive groves and cedar woods, traditional villages among the vineyards. Sounds of mandolins and serenades in a place where music flows through people’s veins. The birthplace of poets and novelists who have left their mark on Greek letters. Small pebbles which make up the unique Zakynthian mosaic, and invite the visitor to discover them.
If you don’t feel like moving far from the house, the sea right in front of Lithalona Estate is more than enough!
You can always rent one of our canoes or our small inflatable dinghy and explore the surrounding area, with its coves and bays, and the superb waters of the National Marine Park, part of which is the Estate.
If you decide to tour the island, let us recommend our favourite beaches. Many of them are accessible only by dinghy or on one of the many boats that depart from various points round the island.
Just 2 km away from Lithalona Estate, is Limni Keriou, a picturesque fishing-boat harbour, and a departure point for many trips. Here you can rent a boat or join other visitors in boarding one of the boats, which will take you for a swim in coves of turquoise waters, and around Marathonissi, while looking for turtles.
One of the most important marine reserves of the Mediterranean Sea, diving in clear blue waters, horse riding along the sea shore, scenic hiking trails, walking while admiring idyllic sunsets. Enjoy your stay in Zakynthos, doing what you love most!
Zakynthos Marine Park
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is one of the most important breeding habitats of the loggerhead sea turtle in the Mediterranean, and a unique ecosystem. Listen to its pulse and enjoy the unique experience it offers.
This is an ideal way to enjoy the sea on the island, the islets that surround it and the fairytale caves, as well as to travel next to a loggerhead. Guided day trips on sea kayaks, depart from Limni Keriou – beginners are welcome!
Marine cave systems, huge rocks, beds of Posidonia seagrass. Gain this unique experience by scuba diving and snorkelling. At Limni Keriou, close to Lithalona Estate, you can find diving schools and guided excursions.
Go horse riding along the sea shore or inland. Gaze at the sea and discover the island on horseback. Horse riding centres in Kalamaki and Gerakari will take care of practical matters.
Bikes & Mountain Bikes
The area of Keri, the Vassilikos Peninsula, or the foot of Mount Skopos are a few of the places where you can find unique bike trails. There are offices which rent equipment and organize cycling trips. You can also rent the two bikes available at the Estate.
The area round Lithalona Estate and, in fact, most of the island, is ideal for hiking, individually or in groups. Here are some of our favourite trails.
- Sunset at Keri
Keri, at 5 km from Lithalona Estate, is a picturesque mountain village with stone alleys, restaurants and the beautiful Church of Panagia Keriotissa (Our Lady of Keri). Setting out from the village in the direction of the lighthouse of Keri you first encounter a location with amazing views of Myzithres, two huge white rocks like cheese heads emerging from the sea, and you end up on a natural balcony to watch the famous Keri sunset.
- The botanical trail
On the north side of the island a very interesting trail starts from the village of Ano Volimes and goes all the way to the Lighthouse. It is a medium-difficulty hike of 6.5 km, on which you will have the opportunity to come across most of the species of Mediterranean flora growing on the island, hence the name “botanical trail”.
- Mount Skopos
To the east of Laganas Bay, start at Argassi and go all the way up to Tourla, the peak of Mount Skopos, at a height of 492 m. (1,615 ft.), with its spectacular view of the bay. Just before you get to the top, you pass by the 15th-century monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa (Our Lady of Skopos) and the ruins of an ancient temple of Artemis.
The evenings in Zakynthos are full of life too. Music, serenades, songs of the sea, festivals, movies, theatre, all sorts of events. Feel the vibe!
Zakynthos Festival Every summer, a number of events take place at various venues: at the open-air municipal theatre, the Venetian Castle and on Lofos Strani in Zakynthos town, or at the small theatre of Dermatousa that make the evenings more fun. Be sure to ask for a calendar of events during your stay.
Open-air cinema in the town of Zakynthos
Every evening, underneath the starry sky, you can enjoy new films and worthy reruns.
If you are a jazz fan, the Zante Jazz Festival, with outstanding musicians of the international jazz scene, will keep you pleasantly occupied for three days in July at the open-air theatre of Dermatousa.
Be sure to become acquainted with the Zakynthian serenades, sung by local performers in various restaurants of the island.
“Fougaríes” is the local name for the bonfires lit on the occasion of the feast of Saint John, on 24th June, in connection with the folk custom of klidonas. As part of the festivities, the Mayday wreaths are burnt in communal bonfires, over which people will jump for good luck.
Another folk custom takes places on July 31st, at Ammos beach, when the locals will dive at midnight to bring up a moss-covered stone (called “malliari”, i.e. hairy) from the bottom of the sea. According to tradition, it will bring good luck for the rest of the year.
You can also enjoy “Varkarola”: on the night of the August full moon, if you decide to accompany on your private boat the group of professional singers who anchor their boat in the middle of Laganas Bay, everybody sings in unison in the moonlight, filling the bay with melodies.
Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy Zakynthian “speeches” or “omilies”, a kind of folk drama delivered in verses of fifteen-syllable lines, influenced by the Italian street theatre (Commedia dell’arte).
August 24th is the feast day of Saint Dionysios, patron saint of the island. Preparations go on for days and culminate in a grand procession and fireworks.
Paths of culture. Discover the true identity of the island by taking a good peek into its past.
This is the old, upper part of the town of Zakynthos, next to the Venetian Castle. It commands great views of the port and most of the island. Magnificent sunsets, bars, restaurants, and a small well-lit church.
Lofos Strani (Strani Hill)
On the outskirts of the town of Zakynthos, sitting in the shade of a tree, overlooking the besieged Missolonghi, Dionysios Solomos was inspired to write the “Hymn to Liberty”. Today his bust dominates the green hill.
On Solomos Square, this museum provides a unique glimpse of the art developed on the island. Paintings, icons, unique wall paintings and icon screens. The splendour and the urban civilization of the island unfold before your eyes.
Museum of Dionysios Solomos & Eminent Zakynthians
On the historic St. Mark’s Square. Solomos, Kalvos, manuscripts, portraits, period furniture. This is where modern Greece was born, with the winds from the liberal West inflating its sails.
Helmi’s Natural History Museum, at Agia Marina village
More than 1,500 specimens of the island’s rich fauna and flora on display.
Churches and Monasteries
Byzantine along with strong Western influences, mixed with local craftsmanship, create a universe of art and piety. Beautiful three-aisled basilicas with tall bell towers, fortress-monasteries as well as small churches on solitary promontories, basking in the island’s beauty. Be sure to visit the Church of Saint Dionysios, on the seafront of the town of Zakynthos, the Church of Faneromeni, and the Church of Our Lady of the Angels, in the town itself, the Monastery of Panagia Anafonitria in the village of Skoulikado, and the Monastery of Saint George Kremnon near the village of Anafonitria.
A cuisine rich in Venetian flavours and vocabulary, making the best of unique local products. We recommend the island’s distinctive flavours and would be happy to book a table for you.
There are two traditional restaurants in the vicinity of Lithalona Estate – one right next to the Estate entrance and another one about a five-minute walk from it. They serve traditional dishes in a peaceful setting with a great view (one of them is tripadvisor’s #2). Nearby restaurants are also to be found in the villages of Keri and Limni Keriou.
Zakynthian rabbit in tomato sauce (kokkinisto kouneli)A rabbit casserole with tomato sauce and a mix of local cheeses, ladotyri and graviera.
A Zakynthian variation of “kokkinisto” with beef or chicken, garlic, vinegar and kefalograviera cheese.
Beef fillet with tomato sauce and feta cheese.
Ladotyri (“oil cheese”) or “local”. A spicy strong-flavoured cheese that matures in local olive oil, a perfect accompaniment for spirits.
Fresh graviera cheese, soft and fruity, or more peppery with a strong aftertaste in its more mature version.Prentza. A soft creamy cheese, with a sour taste.
Sesame seed candies, with honey and almonds.
A semolina dessert, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
A traditional Venetian confection made with beaten egg whites and almonds.
A western-style sweet with toasted bread, cream, syrup and whipped cream.
The island’s “black gold”, absolutely delicious and for decades a key source of wealth for the islanders.
Besides the raisin vineyards on the island, there are also wine grape varieties. Find out about these varieties in the small wineries of the island, hidden amidst beautiful vineyards at Macherado, Kallipado and the Kydoni region. Skiadopoulo, Goustolidi, Robola, Areti among the white varieties, and Avgoustiatis, Katsakoulias and Skylopniktis among the red, are not just unpronounceable names but also unique wine-tasting experiences. Among the newer promising wines of the island are the red Avgoustiatis and the white Verdea, mainly from the Goustolidi variety.More information about Zakynthos in the alternative guide:
"Islands circumnavigation alternative"