The history of Zakynthos is a mixed one. The Greek poet Homer mentioned the island in his works, the Odyssey and the Illiad, and over time it has been ruled by many including Byzantine, Greeks, Neopolitans, The Russians, The French and The British. The island is now Greek once more, and is very proud of its Greek heritage. Zakynthos was invaded by both the Italians and Greeks during World War Two, and it is famous for having saved its entire Jewish populous during the war by protecting and hiding them from the Germans.
The island is situated in an earthquake zone, and has been subject to a number of severe earthquakes throughout its history. In 1953 it suffered badly when four large earthquakes, the largest being 7.3 on the Richter scale, razed much of the island to the ground. Only three buildings in the main town, Zakynthos Town, remained standing; the island was eventually cleared and rebuilt. Zakynthos still gets earthquakes, but residents and businesses are very prepared for them and most, if not all buildings, are built to a strict code and are safe nowadays.
Located on the south of the island is the National Maritime Park of Zakynthos. It is home to endangered loggerhead turtles that nest on the island. They are protected and preserved by specialist teams who not only educate visitors about the protected species, but also ensure that the turtles nest safely, hatch, grow and thrive.
Some of the Places you have to Visit
Navagio (Shipwreck) beach is thought to be the most popular tourist destination on Zakynthos. Situated at the north of the island, Navagio is only accessible by boat. It can also be viewed from above at the north of the island.
The Blue Caves are large geologic arch formations, and hidden caves that are situated on the north-west coast of the island, between Skinari and Agios Nikolaos. They are very popular with visitors and can be visited by boat.
Marathonisi island is a small island in Laganas Bay, just opposite Agios Sostis. It was inhabited just before the second world war, but nowadays it is not occupied by humans. It is now one of the areas where the islands turtles breed. The island can be accessed by boat for visitors who are interested in exploring it.
Bochali Castle is situated on the hill above Zakynthos Town. Dating back to Venetian times the castle still exists today, and is generally open in summer months. Bochali village is also worth a visit, and the view of Zakynthos Town and its harbour is stunning.