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Bike tour on the mountain

This route of about 50 kilometers is designed as a bicycle route which starts from the city of Zakynthos and crosses a part of the mountain Vrachion, passing by the villages Lithakia, Koilomenos and the traditional settlements of Gyri, Loucha and Galaro to end back in the city and can be done either by bike or by other means of transport. Throughout the route there are pine and fir forests that host a plethora of migratory birds such as turtledoves, eighteens, orchids and others.

The first point of interest of the route is in Lithakia, Zakynthos, where there is the Aristeon olive press-museum and numerous monumental olive groves of immense ecological, cultural and historical value. The "Ntopies" (meaning natives) as they are called in Zakynthos, the centuries-old monumental olive trees that exist here are ecosystems of high environmental value. The next stop on the route is in the village of Koiliomeno, a mountain village in central Zakynthos with approximately 350 permanent residents. The bell tower of the Church of St. Nikolaos was built in 1893 by local stone craftsmen, from which the village became famous in Zakynthos, but also because of the stone houses, a typical example of the traditional architecture of the island.

Next to the village there is the Monastery of Hyperagathos in Koiliomenos, now half deserted, which belongs to Sinai. It is built next to a beautiful forest with pines and centuries-old oaks. To reach this monastery you have to take a secondary road on the right from Koiliomenos village. The road is located within lush greenery with blooming trees and Mediterranean vegetation with the main representatives of the phrygana, such as skina, oleandered plantations, heather, lavender, oregano, sage,thyme, savories, capers, Ephedra foemina, Spartium, Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Great mullein, aspalaths and Sarcopoterium spinosum.

Continuing there are two traditional settlements, Loucha and shortly after Gyri, one of the few parts of Zakynthos that have not been altered by tourism and one of the few villages that have been left untouched by the great earthquake that flattened most of the island in August 1953. They are beautiful villages, with stone houses, well-groomed courtyards, stone fences and paved narrow streets. The traditional architecture has been preserved almost intact giving it a sense that it comes from the past of Zakynthos. Equally amazing is their location. The place of Lucha village is over a valley that reminds of a fairytale. In there, the residents of the village have vineyards and gardens. The coniferous trees and the cultivated land compose a magical landscape that relaxes the mind and gives a taste of the life in the mountainous areas of the island. Respectively, in Gyri, nature is wonderful since it is built on a hill surrounded by dense forests. Leaving the village of Gyri you will admire a unique view of a mountainous landscape stretching to the sea.

Finally, on the way back to the town of Zakynthos in the village of Agia Marina there is the unique Museum of Natural History in Zakynthos Helmi which can unveil even lesser known corners of the island. The museum houses remarkable collections with over 6000 samples from the natural world. His collections include flora and fauna sections of Zakynthian nature.