Alykes and Alykanas are two resorts situated on the east coast of Zakynthos close to Katastari, around 16km north of Zakynthos Town and around 12km north of Tsilivi. Despite being two resorts they are barely 2km apart, so many people often think of them as one resort. There are regular buses between both resorts and Zakynthos Town, and the journey doesn’t take long making it a great area to base yourself, whether you want to stay in resort or explore further afield.
Alykes and Alykanas are both small villages famed for welcoming seas and long sweeping sands, with a relaxed vibe and friendly people. There are excellent amenities including hotels and apartments, restaurants and bars, as well as places to book day trips and excursions to popular island sights. There are shops, ATM’s and even a supermarket for those essential holiday items. The resorts are very family and couple oriented, and perfect for relaxing, but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there’s also the opportunity to go horse riding, paddle boarding or take part in a variety of other water sports.
Nearby sights to Alykes include St. John the Baptist Monastery, a defensive Byzantine Monastery that’s located in the mountains overlooking with an excellent view of the bay. The well known landmark of Pentokamoro Old Bridge spans the Skourtis River, it’s thought to date from the 15th Century, when the British ruled the island, and is one of only three original arched bridges on the island. There are also the salts flats – from which the village of Alykes originally derived its name – and they stretch back inland and were opened just after World War Two bringing welcome revenue to the island, sadly however they closed production of salt in the 1970’s so the area is now an environmental haven for wildlife and visitors.
Neighbouring Alykanas is an area well known for its history and archaeology. Excavations have taken place there in the past and have produced some very interesting finds that lead academics to believe that the ancient city of Arcadia was once situated there. More recently other underwater excavations were discovered off the coast, and many islanders believe it’s archaeological, possibly an ancient site/structure. Academics however, believe it is merely a geological phenomena, but many disbelieve this theory and so discussions still continue as to whether it is indeed manmade or natural. Alykes/Alykanas sit between two old Venetian watchtowers located at Mikro Nisi and the top end of Tsilivi. These watchtowers were extremely important to the island in the past to help protect Zakynthians from invaders.
For anyone who wants to venture further afield, not only are there great bus services, but there’s also the Trainaki, a land train that takes visitors on a great journey through the resorts and up in to the beautiful Zakynthian countryside. The Trainaki passes olive groves and stops at villages and even a folk museum, giving visitors the opportunity to see life in rural Zakynthos, as well as getting glimpses of past island life. It’s a great way of seeing the lovely areas surrounding both resorts.
Alykes/Alykanas is a great part of the island for visitors to base themselves, and there’s something for everyone, whether it be relaxing on the beach, participating in water sports or going off the beaten track and exploring. There’s so much to see and do, and it’s conveniently close to the north of the island too, enabling visitors to visit the mountains and villages, as well as the shipwreck and blue caves at Skinari, whilst still being close enough to get to Zakynthos Town in the south. It’s a beautiful part of the island with captivating views out across the sea to the mainland and Kefalonia, and up into the lush green mountains. But most of all, it’s a friendly place, full of vibrant and welcoming businesses and locals, who will make you feel right at home and leave you yearning to visit again.
Photos courtesy of Rab Currie.