Of all the beautiful views on the island of Zante, there is probably none more stunning than that from the ruins of the Venetian Castle, high on a hill in the Bohali area, two kilometres from Zante Town.
Not only can you see the island’s capital below but across the Ionian Sea to the Peloponnese and the mountains of mainland Greece.
Although the castle has been damaged by attack, earthquake and time, there are still formidable walls, imposing fortifications, gateways and even cannons in place.
The area can be reached by car or taxi, and a pleasant walk through pine woods leads to the site. There is a small entrance fee although there are no tourist facilities or information sources, so it is worth reading about the castle’s history before you go.
However, there are restaurants and cafes nearby for refreshment or to call a taxi for the return journey.
The site was once occupied by an ancient acropolis, and regarded as the island’s administrative capital, but the year of the castle’s original construction is not precisely known. It does pre-date 1480, when it was devastated during a Turkish invasion, with a series of earthquakes inflicting more damage.
The island’s Venetian rulers eventually led a long restoration, starting in 1515, including the installation of a large gate, and walls bearing their Lion of St Mark symbol, as well as a sewerage system, the course of which is still visible, along with mosaics and murals, and evidence of prison cells, a gunpowder room and chapels.
The main part of the fortress that’s still visible was not completed until the middle of the 17th century.
If you are planning your day out, this site can be thoroughly explored within two hours so we at Olympic Holidays think it is a great idea to take a picnic to take in the beauty of the countryside and the awe-inspiring panorama.