Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian islands. It lies in the eastern part of the Ionian sea, around 20 km west of the Greek (Peloponnese) mainland.
During the Middle Ages, the island was part of the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos under the Kingdom of Naples, until its last Count was defeated by the Ottomans in 1479. The island was swapped with the Turks by Venetian Giovanni Dario, negotiator of the treaty of Constantinople, against neighboring Cephalonia and an annual tribute of 500 ducats. The cultural influence of Venice was considerable, however, both the Greek language and Orthodox faith survived intact.
The most famous landmark of the island is the Navagio beach(shipwreck). It is a cove on the southwest shore, isolated by high cliffs and accessible only by boat. It is named after a shipwreck (MV Panagiotis), which sunk on the shore around 1980. Numerous "Blue Caves", are cut into cliffs around Cape Skinari, and accessible only by small boats. The largest resort is Laganas, whose beach stretches around 10 km. Small Xigia beach in the north is noted for its underwater springs rich in sulphur. Bochali hill above the Zakynthos town contains a small venetian castle, and offers panoramic views onto the town. Marathonissi (also known as "Turtle Island" because of its turtle-like shape), an islet near Limni Keriou is a small paradise, with tropical vegetation, turquoise water beaches and sea caves.