Zakinthos, Greece

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Springs run down from the mountains in the north to the lush green valleys below and the flat plains in the south feed an abundance of wildflowers which add even more colour to the landscape. There are also lovely sandy beaches tucked away in hidden coves, some only reachable by boat. Others are used by the endangered Loggerhead sea turtles as their main nesting areas. The main town and cruise port, Zakinthos, is typically Greek with blindingly white houses and bar after bar along the harbourfront. It was destroyed by an earthquake 50 years ago and, although it has a couple of good museums (including one on Greek literature), you have to travel inland to find historic sites such as the Venetian fortress thought to have been built within the walls of a long-gone acropolis. Argassi and Tsilivi, the most popular beach resorts, are each just three miles away from the port.