The capital of Zakynthos, which has the same name as the island, is the town of Zakynthos. Apart from the official name, it is also known as Chora, meaning Town in Greek.
The town is located on the eastern coast of the island, looking out to Kilini and the Peloponnese. Daily ferry boats maintain the link between the Zante Town harbour and the mainland.
The architecture of Zante Town has been strongly influenced by the Venetians, the French and the English who have all colonised the island at some point in recent history. The strong earthquake of 1953 destroyed most of the elegant mansions and fine neoclassical buildings that used to embellish the capital. There are just a handful or original buildings left in the Town, much of which was rebuilt after the earthquake.
The Zakynthians have tried to rebuild the town as close to the original design as possible, and subsequently it retains a very sweet Greek ambience.
Alexander Roma is the main high street in Zante town – filled with glamorous shops and business offices. Around this commercial hub there are shops for everyone and everything!
There are a number of museums in Zante Town for those who enjoy a touch of the past. The Museum of Post Byzantine art is located in Solomos Square, and just up the road is the Museum of Solomos and Eminent Zakynthians. The Roma Mansion in Zante Town is also a charming museum experience.
The Orthodox Churches in Zante Town range from spectacular and grand to charming and quaint. The Church of Saint Dionisius, at the bottom of Zante Town is one of the largest churches on the island. Dedicated to the Patron Saint of the island, the art work inside is beautiful, and the bell tower is one of the iconic images on Zante Town. In the evenings the impressive bell tower is lit up and casts a stunning reflection in the harbour waters. The smaller church of Saint Nicholas, located in Solomos Square, is far quainter. It is one of the only buildings in town that survived the earthquake of 1953 and you really get a feeling for the old town.
On your way out of town, up to Bochali, you will spot the Zante Town Amphitheatre. Built on the site of the old English graveyard, this impressive amphitheatre has been built in the style of the ancient Greeks – so that someone right at the back of the theatre can hear just as clearly as someone seated at the front. This offers a real Greek Island experience and is well worth a look during your time in Zante Town.
After all the sightseeing and shopping in Zante Town, you will be ready to enjoy a delicious Greek meal here in the heart of Zakynthos. We think that the food available in Zakynthos town is among the best on the island. Check out our section on Eating in Zante Town for some good tips on where to try. And, if you are lucky enough, you may find one of those traditional taverns, where the waiters leave their work to break into local song. This is always a fantastic Greek Islands experience – truly unforgettable.