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ZAKYNTHOS

ZAKYNTHOS

 Zakynthos, Greece
ISLAND PARADISE
#ROADTRIP

 

Ever since we headed for Greece we knew we couldn't miss an island, our only doubt was which one to choose among 6,000.  But it was just to say that we were on our way to rain messages from the best followers in the world with all the suggestions. We chose Zakynthos for pictures, something told us that this island was what we needed! And didn't we get it right?
We went on the Internet to see the values of the ferry and for the two plus Pingu was around 90 eur. It seemed an acceptable price to us, but from our experience so far, at the box office it's always cheaper.  We went to Kyllini, from where the ferries leave for Zakynthos. We went to the box office and to our surprise the total was 48 eur. What? Imagine the difference! So we bought the next boat at 9pm and the trip lasted 1h30. We left in Zakynthos (capital of the island) and as it was already late we decided to look for a Park4night right there. We settled in and started planning our days.
We had read that the most paradisiacal beaches were in the north zone, so we wanted to take advantage of the fact that it was a week to discover that zone, so it was certainly less crowded. We left towards Xigia Beach, a beach with medicinal waters, you can tell by the smell of sulphur. We were told that on the way down to the beach there is a path on the left (very bumpy between dirt, rocks, steep descents...) that takes us to a quieter and more paradisiacal beach. So we did, and as soon as we saw the beach from above, we were sure that was where we would go. (The only drawback of this beach is the amount of tourist boats that stop there for the guys to go for baths. If not, it would be perfect).

The island is "van friendly", so it is allowed to stay overnight anywhere without any problems. We consulted our App Park4night and found a super cute spot just a few miles from there. We barely knew it would be our landing for two wonderful days. We arrived at the Port of Agios Nikolaos at sunset and soon fell in love with it. What a beautiful place, it looked like it was taken from a movie. The boats seemed to levitate in the transparent water, a small quiet sand with a beautiful tree and a swing hanging. And that house? Well, that house fit there like a glove and it seemed like the perfect place for us to stay. There we made beach, dived, swam in the sea to the sailboats that beautified the port.
    
We were there so well, but the days went by and the weekend was approaching and we couldn't make the mistake of meeting the famous Navagio Beach on the weekend. You can drive to the view point, it even has a parking lot. We left early in the morning to catch the beach still empty! Wrong. We read several blogs and none of them gave us this important tip: the sun only lights up the beach at the end of the morning. Still, reaching the top and looking at the beach is an indescribable moment. You can easily understand why this beach brought fame to Zakynthos. It has a unique panorama, different from everything we have seen, besides having a shipwreck in the middle of the sand (which are actually rocks). Its fame is due to the fact that in 1980 a Scottish ship sank after being chased by the coast guard. It was said to be carrying drinks and cigarettes from Turkey towards Italy. As time went by the ship eventually ran aground on the beach and today it is an attraction. Having said that, we wanted to record this view in the best way and the view point is not the best angle for pictures. So we followed a trail on the right, with dirt and rocks, but we have to be careful because it is a bit dangerous. When we got to the bottom we found a situation that moved us a bit: the Greek flag, a stone and a flower arrangement. When we saw that scenario, it immediately crossed our minds that someone might have fallen from there, but as we approached, there is an explanation. The parents of a boy who passed away in 2016 put a stone in the shape of a bench there, where it is written that it was his favourite place in the whole world, so anyone who wanted to could sit down and enjoy the view. It is shocking and at the same time wonderful because two things can be seen from that exact place: because it was his favourite place and because Navagio Beach was considered the most beautiful beach in the world.
The beach was still in the shade, but the heat was already too much so we had to leave. The beach is inaccessible by land, so we had to see it with sun... by the sea! There are several companies with variable prices that make this kind of trips, however from what we analyzed, the best option would be a small boat that leaves Porto Vromi and costs 15 eur per person. We were very lucky, our boat only took 3 couples, which made the experience much more quiet and personal. The boat trip is beautiful, with stops in the blue cellars, but of course the highlight is the arrival at Navagio. Well, the entrance in that bay is unspeakable, the water is so blue that our eyes can't stand it. Obviously it was loaded with tourist boats, but at that moment it doesn't even look so bad. The boat left us at the beach for 45 minutes and went to make the most of it, from pictures, videos, dives, we wanted to make every minute spent on that, which for us, was the beach with the bluest water that our eyes had seen. Navagio, you have our vote for the most beautiful in the world!
With emotions still simmering we arrived at Porto Vromi full of hunger and decided to have lunch there at the bar. On this island every nook and cranny has a charm... it's incredible. The bar didn't look like the best in the world, were it not for the landscape and we would never have sat there. We ordered a Greek salad and some chicken kebabs and it tasted like a banquet because that view made that lunch a memorable moment.
 
This area west of Zakynthos is the most uninhabited and with few roads. It is characterized by large slopes and huge cliffs and a turquoise blue sea so dominant that it made us want to stop every kilometre to take pictures.
Next stop Limnionas, a bathing area, but no sandy beach. People lay their towels on the rocks or on the beds rented in the bar. Very nice, very clear water, lots of people diving, it's well worth a stop here.
We wanted to see the sunset, which is on this side of the island, so we headed towards Porto Roxa, as we saw on the map that there were some bars. We immediately fell in love with the small fishing port, with guys jumping off the board into the water, men in the boats sewing the nets, what a charming environment. It was there that we wanted to finish our day, drinking a juice and relaxing. The Giorgios Tavern seemed to us ideal with those inviting sun loungers, right on top of the harbour. The rent of each chair costs 4 eur, but we had seen in the bar next door that they were free and we asked if they would be there too, and the lady kindly answered no, but she offered us the drinks. Better impossible, a wonderful evening. We stayed there until the bar closed and then we slept in the parking lot.
We received an invitation to lunch from Nobelos Restaurant. Although we were already on the other side of the island, we thought the 50 min walk was well worth it. We had loved that area of Agios Nikolaos Port and the restaurant was next door. We went even before lunch to enjoy the beach and all that beautiful surroundings. The space is really charming, it has a hotel, restaurant, private beach, everything with very good taste, very well decorated, ambient music, super nice people, more than necessary for us to spend an incredible day there. Our lunch was delicious, we left it to the discretion of the employee, we just said we wanted to taste the typical Greek gastronomy. And so it was... from the starters to dessert, everything wonderful, good, beautiful and very well served. We felt that we spent hours at the table delighting ourselves with those delicacies ...and we really did, it was 4:30 when we returned to the beach. It was a very well spent day, we loved the way we were welcomed at Nobelos. Thank you!
We had not yet met the beaches of the South, with bigger sand, busier, frequented by families, and so we chose Keri Beach because from there the boats leave for Marathonisi Island, the island of turtles and we wanted very much to visit it.

It is known not only because of its shape seen from afar, it looks like a turtle, but also because this island is the largest turtle spawning ground in all of Greece. The parking lot is big and has some trees with umbrellas, it seemed perfect for us to camp there. In the morning we went to the boat rental hut which is by the beach and what was our surprise when we were told that boats are rented without crew, that is, we drive it ourselves and no license is required. What a spectacle! That sweated us to an incredible experience. We paid 50 euros for 2h and visited the caves and the turtle island. Sailing in that turquoise blue water, stopping and diving whenever we wanted, was undoubtedly the best we experienced on the island. But turtles couldn't even see them... but it was worth everything else!
We became such fans of Greek gastronomy that we didn't want to leave without tasting some more traditional dishes. We chose there in the keri area, the Konaki Restaurant, where we tasted the typical and delicious Moussaka.
We spent almost a week in Zakynthos and it was still difficult to decide that the time had come to leave. The 30 minutes to the ferry were done in silence, as if we were saying goodbye and remembering everything we had been there. We didn't have a return ticket so we had to go to the office of Levante Ferries, 1km from the port where we were going to board.

All set, it was time to leave behind that island that will never leave our hearts and leave to discover the Greek continent!

Zakynnthos,YOU ROCK.

Be happy,
Mochileiros
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