The island of Zakynthos, also known as Zante, the third largest island in the Ionian sea, lies off the west coast of Greece. The name Zakynthos appears in myths and legends going back to prehistoric times. Homer was the first to refer to the island, both in the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Zakynthos, as the rest of the Ionian islands escaped the occupation of the Otthoman Turks, but came under Venetian rule for almost six hundred years until 1797. Their union to Greece was finaly granted after 75 years o French, Russian and British protection. Thus, their population had the chance to live according to a European and especially to an Italian culture and develop a pioneering cultural activity, which became apparent in painting, in music, in literature and in theater. Anglo - Venetian influence is also evident in architecture (churches, monasteries, bridges, castles and houses with delicately shaped arches, wrought ironwork and the gentle slope of red tiled rooftops.
The landscape is a rich green of olive, pine and cypress with a carpet of grass and wild flowers in Spring and Autumn.
The northern part of the island is rich in pine forests, deserted beaches, monasteries, and picturesque villages, while the southern part is less mountainous and more cultivated with many sandy beaches, in some of them the protected loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, bury their eggs in the sand.
The town of Zakynthos is a busy one. The waterfront includes a string of small coffee bars and restaurants where one can sit with a refreshment and watch the arrival and departure of visiting yachts and fishing boats. The impressive church of St. Dionysios holds the remains of the island saint. The elegant squares of Dionysios Solomos and St. Markos are popular for the summer evening strolls. Here you'll find the Zakynthos Museum containing a history of the island's church art and the Solomos Museum that displays manuscripts, portraits and mementoes of Greece's national 19th century poet, Dionysios Solomos. The remains of a Venetian castle, the walls of which now imprison a pine forest, overlook the town and the surrounding plains of olive and cypress trees.
Paliokaliva's staff is always at your disposal and willing to assist those who will to explore the island and its varied landscapes.