Under the recent administrative reform, Zakynthos comprises six demes or districts, among which are the town of Zakynthos and some 50 villages and settlements in the region.
The morphology of the terrain and the activities of the inhabitants have created conditions that foster developmental diversity from one region to another.
On the coasts, tourist resorts have sprung up with a wide variety of accommodations for tourists. These resorts include Laganas, Argasi, Yerakas, Porto Zoro, Vassilikos, Tsilivi, Alykes, Alikanas, and Lake Keri.
Specifically, Laganas, which is in the southeastern part of the island, is the busiest beach on Zakynthos, and one of the most beautiful bays on the island. The beach, 9 km long, is regarded as one of the longest in Greece and is suitable for most sea sports.
Still in the southeastern part of Zakynthos, Argasi is a lush green valley that opens out onto the sea, onto another lovely beach, while Vassilikos, with houses scattered over a large area, nestling among greenery and with abundant water, farmlands and orchards, as well as pretty beaches, constitutes yet another of the island's attractions.
From Argasi, going north and parallel to the sea is the road to Porto Zoro, a lovely little beach; beyond it is the beach of Yerakas, at the southeasternmost point on the island. It is at Yerakas that the Caretta caretta sea turtles build their nests and lay their eggs, a fact which haw made it necessary to impose strict regulations for tourist activities.
At the southernmost point on the island, Lake Keri is an inlet on which one can find picturesque little tavernas; caiques are available to transport romantic souls in less than an hour and a half to the caves, rocks and bays around Cape Marathia.
In the northern part of the island are Tsilivi, Alykes and Alykanas. The Tsilivi beach is long and safe for small children, with golden sand and crystal, shallow water. Alykes is one of the most highly frequented resort centres providing a variety of water sports. The name was derived from the saltworks (alykes) behind the beach. Near Alykes is Alikanas, where Mycenean vessels have been found, and which many believe is one of the most likely sites for the ancient town of Arcadia.
On the northern part of the island is Cape Schinari, and to the east of the cape are the Blue Caves, a series of geological formations that have created a unique seascape. Apart from the natural arches that have been carved out by erosion, these caves are famous for the colour of the water in its deepest hollows, a deep azure colour which is most striking in the morning when the light is at its brightest. Another worthwhile sight on Zakynthos, which has made the rounds of the island through postcards that represent it on every occasion, is the Navayio (Shipwreck) on its west side. Vertical rocks towering over a rusty shipwreck abandoned in the middle of the beach with the blue Ionian sea in the background stimulate the imagination and create images from times long past.
But one does not visit Zakynthos only for its beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters, a great source of enjoyment especially during the summer. The island also offers a variety of landscapes including mountains. In the interior of the island, there are many traditional settlements and towns, whose inhabitants are engaged in cultivating traditional crops (olives, vines and vegetables). To the north is Katastari, capital of the Deme (municipality or district) of Alykes and the villages of Riza. Katastari is the largest village on the island, known for its hospitality. When you cross it, you will see that one part is followed by a section of deserted road and suddenly the rest appears before you, unfolding amphitheatrically along the road. To the left of the village rises the mountain and to the right is the lovely Alykes Bay.
At the centre of the island is Vanato, capital of the Deme of Arcadia, Kalipado with graphic little tavernas, Pigadakia with its large church of Agia Varvara, Skoulikado which has a tradition in popular theatre and public speaking. Maherado is the second largest village on Zakynthos after Katastari. Its main attraction is the church of Agia Maura whose melodic bells are said to be audible all over the island.
The mountainous zone covers 40% of the surface of the island and consists of villages and settlements of a different character. To the north are the towns of Volimes, the capital of the Deme of Elation. To the west are Agios Leon and Kiliomeno and to the south Keri - all villages with many elements of traditional architecture which retain the customs and traditions of the island and are visited by people who wish to experience the authentic Zakynthian tradition for themselves. In the mountain zone are also villages such as Anafonitria, Maries, Kambi, Louha, Agalas, lushly green spots most of which have access to the magical western shores. On Zakynthos, there are many beautiful sights that unfold like your most pleasant dreams for a carefree vacation. And when the sun ceases to glint off the Ionian waters, Zakynthos haw new delights in store for us. As the daylight fades, the island reveals picturesque little ravernas, quite apots to enjoy an intimate drink, or for anyone desiring a more intense form of entertainment, the most frenetic rhythms at other points on the island.
The Town of Zakynthos
Zakynthos is the capital and port of the island, located at the foot of Bochali hill. It is a modern city, built after the old one was destroyed in the earthquake of 1953, a town that is constantly expanding toward the interior of the island owing to the great number of activities that have sprung up in recent years. Some of the sites worth visiting are: the monastery of Agios Dionysios where the holy remains of the saint are preserved; its interesting museums; the squares of Agios Markos and Dionysios Solomos; the shopping centre on Alex. Roma street and the coast road; Kon. Lombardou street or Strata Marina (as the local people call it), as well as a number of old churches that were either preserved or restored after the earthquake in 1953. Bochali, the district around the Castro, charms us with its quiet lanes and old houses, its flower-bedecked countryards and elegant tavernas in which old zakynthian music is played.
Also of interest are the two hills: Strani, where Dionysios Solomos was inspired to write the "Ode to Liberty" which after being set to music, became the Greek national anthem; and Bochali, as mentioned earlier; on top of which is the Venetian Castro, with its superb panoramic view of the modern town of Zakynthos and the Ionian sea. The briefest stroll along the streets of the town is enough to convince the visitor that the efforts to preserve the pre-seismic Zakynthian atmosphere are not directed to the buildings alone but to its entire urban fabric. In Zakynthos everything is steeped in nostalgia, with a note of romanticism. The island's picturesque squares, Dionysios Solomos Square and Agios Markos Square, the long coast road, the Strata Marina, old Rougas Square and the modern Alexandrou Roma street, are all reminiscent of times past.