Zakynthos, also called Zante, belongs to the Ionian Islands. The Venetians had named the island Fiore di Levante, meaning the "Flower of the East", as the island has dense vegetation, its mountains are covered with pines and its plains are particularly fertile.
The rich vegetation of Zakynthos is due to the mild Mediterranean climate of the island, characterized by a high level of rainfalls in winter and a lot of sunshine in summer. Because of the many rainfalls, Zakynthos is a very prolific island and its agricultural production is important. The main products cultivated on the island are olives, vines, and citruses.
Except for agriculture, the other source of income for the inhabitants comes from tourism. Zakynthos is famous for its unspoiled natural environment, home to the endangered Caretta Caretta sea turtle, which goes there during the reproduction period. The sea turtle is protected by international agreements and Greek legislation. The Monachus Monachus monk seal also goes to Zakynthos to give birth.
Zakynthos is also renowned for its amazing golden-sand beaches. In addition to the world-famous Navagio (Shipwreck), the most visited beaches are Kalamaki, Laganas and Tsilivi. Many of the island's beaches have become lively seaside resorts proposing many hotels, restaurants, cafes, and bars but others have been declared protected areas for the reproduction of the Caretta-Caretta and have kept their natural beauty. This rare sea turtle usually goes to sandy beaches or isolated islets, like Pelouzo or Marathonisi.
Apart from its beautiful natural environment, Zakynthos also has a long and rich culture, much influenced by the Venetians. The island is known for its musical tradition and for its special architecture, which is more evident in Zakynthos Town.