Kiliomeno, also named Aghios Nikolaos, after the saint patron of the village, is mountain village of 450 inhabitants, in the south of Zakynthos, 8 kilometers southwest to Macherado and 17 kilometers from the Chora.
Though you have not to pedal on a motorbike, riding it for some time under a Greek August sun makes you hot and thirsty. We were more than happy to find this welcoming cafeneion with a well shaded terrace and huge beers ! (first photo)
The second photo shows that they had a BBQ with a very special shape. That was not time to have a meal and it was not lit, so we went further on our trip and did not check it!
This photo shows Laganas bay with Nisis Pelouzo (island of Pelouzo) on the right and Nisis Marathonissi (Marathonissi island) on the left, in the background
We did not go to the beach as we had no time to rest in the sand but wanted to visit the island!. Laganas bay beaches are the most important Loggerheads Sea-turtles nesting habitat in Europe. These turtles are considered an endangered species in Europe However, sandy beaches attract not only the Sea-turtles but also human tourists, and are therefore subjected to the trends of economic development, which is contradictory with the conservation of the turtles.
The first photo shows Zakynthos bay from the south. The Chora is in the background, at the foot of the little triangular hill.
The second photo was taken closer to Zakynthos with our group of motorbikes waiting for the photographer!
Our first ride, in the afternoon, was northwards to get to Planos. The road climbs and gives a superb landscape with the continent in the far background. The countryside, though in August is reasonably green : fields in yellow were harvested cornfields but there were many olive groves with a grey green foliage, a few eucalyptus, some pomegranate trees with almost ripe fruits and other trees growing wild. There were also tall Carob-trees (Ceratonia siliqua) and Lentiscs (Pistacia lentiscus)
In the same bay but opposite to busy Zakynthos, the water was very calm and I could not resist taking a photo of this small boat. If you look at its rigging, you will notice that it has an old rigging, with what is called a Latin sail : the boom is not horizontal and swinging from one end like in modern riggings but it is oblique and swinging from the middle. This kind of rigging is now seldom used as it does not allow to sail close to the wind.
Our party of three small sailing boats sailed to Zakynthos from Cephallonia (see my Poros page). The 25 miles sailing was about the longest distance that we could do safely. On arrival, we wanted to visit the island and we hired 7 motorbikes for our group for 6 adults and 4 children.
The Chora (the city of Zakynthos, capital of the island) has no ancient building as all that magnificent Venetian palaces were destroyed in 1953. Then, we preferred to visit the island.
This beach is situated South from Banana beach, and I liked it more than Banana. On a top of it is a rock formation with St. Nicholaos Church overlooking beaches and mountains near by.
The church is tiny, but it looks very romantic on a top of the rock and big waves undernise. It is easy to walk there from this beach or nearest beaches. Or, it is possible to drive there, the big free car park is next to the beach.
The beach itself is very nice with a lot of sport water activities, e.g. diving centre, etc. It is very popular with the young ones, there are a lot of great & cool bars with good music and some activities (e.g. nude contests) for youngsters.
This is the best boat trip I ever had in my life, and I had many.
It is a private small boat, which sails to the National Marine park from Porto Roma in Vassilikos (Zante) or from Louis hotel's beach in Vassilikos every day, but it does 2 different types of trips - the turtle one or the whole day trip around the National Marine park.
It is suitable for children too, we had a lot of children on a boat, and they enjoyed themselves a lot.
We all snorkelled around turtle island and Keri caves, it was imazing and best expirience I had during the whole holiday on Zante island. The boat takes up to 25 people, water and drinks are available to buy on a boat at very good prices. Snorkelling equipment is provided for free on a boat.
Also, we have stopped for a luch on a beach Agios Sostis, which was great. I have eaten a grilled octupus and a very nice salad. That was the best food I had on an island during a whole holiday.
The captain Marios is very helpful and friendly. We have seen huge turtles Caretta-Caretta swimming along our boat. It was fantastic! They were looking at us and posing for photos.
It was only place where I saw them, I did not see them anywhere else on an island.
Thanks you both for good replies.
I just came back from Zante & totally agree with above - a boat trip to Shipwreck is not very spectacular as it is from above, plus it was cancelled once due to storm (I am sure now that it is best to see from above, e.g. a coach/ car tour). We had not very good weather at the end of July by some reason, once it was a real storm, and I was not able to take a boat trip to Kefalonia as I'd wanted to.
But I had a very nice and pleasant boat trip on the first day to National Marine Park - Lagana's bay, Turtle's island, Keri caves. We have seen huge turtles swimming very close to our boat. It was great expirience for me.
Zante town is nice too.
We can start from the "basics", which you should not miss at all:
1)An organized guided tour of the island.
2)A daily excursion to "NAVAGIO" (the Shipwreck), the most breathtaking beach and scenery in Greece!
3)A visit to the park of Caretta-Caretta, the famous turtle, who has chosen the island of Zante as its habitat.
Enjoy your holidays!
On the coast, at Aspros Vrachos (White Rock) of Krimmos, is the famous Blue Groto - all paths lead here (if they are not leading to the wreck!).
The entrance to the cave was discovered in 1897 and consists of two interconnected chambers. The entrance is 6m wide by 3.5m tall. The water is so amazingly blue - so, so blue. Little fishing boats will take you to see the Ble Grottow - you can arrange them rom Alykes Beach.
All roads on the island lead to the wreck! It is definitely one of the top 2 sights on the island, as far as the island is concerned. Don't hold your breath expecting a beautiful gallion or anything so exciting - the reality is a rust bucket which you down on from up high.
Continue along the road from Port Agios Nikolaos and you'll come to Skinari where there is a lighthouse and some ruins. There's not a lot else here though but it's a nice little jaunt from the port where you can sit and have a drink or a bite to eat.
You can take a small ferry from Port Agios Nikolaos to Kefalonia. It is a pleasant port - small and quiet, away from most of the tourists who tend to use the main port of Zkynthos.
When we were there which was a few years ago there was just one ferry first thing in the morning. My tip is to check with the restaurant or ticket booth before you wait - we learnt the hard way - waiting and waiting and waiting and when we realised the ferry was not coming we checked with the ticket office who told us the ferry "kerput!"