The Kitchens and Traditions of Zakynthos Island
(Options: Customized Itineraries, Shorter or Longer Stays)
Zakynthos, Greece - 7 nights
Available March to November
The magical Greek island of Zakynthos awaits your arrival. Zakynthos, located in the Ionian Sea, is known for its pristine crystal beaches. Picture clear turquoise waters and beautiful landscapes, meet warm people and taste simple and delectable cuisine - and you have found Zakynthos! This will be a unique and unforgettable experience as your hosts are a local family who live on the premises and they will introduce you to all that is authentic on this small island. You will mingle with the wonderful local islanders and after your stay you will become family. The itinerary provides plenty of time to swim and to be on the water - afterall, this IS the home to the famous loggerhead turtles and perhaps you will be lucky enough to swim in turquoise waters with one beside you!
During your stay you will take cooking classes from locals who will teach you authentic Greek recipes. You will visit a winery and visit the must-see sites of the island including Shipwreck Beach. Above all, you will experience the kitchens and traditions of this captivating island of Zakynthos. Your accommodation is located in the perfect spot - a short walk away from Laganas beach as well as a five minute stroll down to the lively downtown area with quaint shops, restaurants and tavernas.
Welcome to fabulous Greece!
ARRIVAL TO ZAKYNTHOS - TRADITIONAL WELCOME DINNER
On arrival at Zakynthos airport or port, your private driver will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation in Laganas. Famed for being the home of the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta, Laganas will be your base for this fabulous culinary experience.
You will have time to unpack and settle into your new surroundings. A little later, your hosts will welcome you to join them for drinks and an informal meeting. They will answer any questions you may have and tell you about all the things to do and see in this diverse, lively resort all just a few minutes’ walk from your holiday home away from home.
In the evening, we will visit Zakynthos town. Here, we will enjoy a traditional welcome dinner, with magnificent views across the harbor and out to sea. Relax while traditional singers, singing serenades set the mood. The local wines and Greek ouzo will help you along!
COOKING WITH LOCAL CHEF ATHINA & SWIMMING AT SANDY KALAMAKI BEACH
Wake up at your own pace and indulge in a traditional Greek breakfast: free-range eggs, freshly baked bread and Greek yoghurt with honey, just for starters. Today, you will be cooking with local chef, Athina. She will invite you to join her in the kitchen and cook starters and a traditional light dish, all bursting with vitamins, summer colours and great aromas! Learn to cook delicious stuffed vegetables with potatoes, and the original Greek salad. Athina welcomes questions, as she is proud to share her knowledge and expertise in Zakynthian cuisine.
While tonight’s dinner is cooking, swim and relax at Kalamaki beach, a little oasis of calm, only 500m from the apartments. In the famous sweeping bay, with its shallow, crystal clear water, you can enjoy swimming, and snorkeling, and if you are lucky, find yourself swimming alongside the large, graceful loggerhead turtles. Sun beds are plentiful if you just want to relax, and if you are adventurous enough why not go skinny dipping at the nudist beach a little further away. Additionally, the national marine park guards will be more than happy to provide you with information about the Caretta caretta turtles and the conservation efforts in place to protect these magnificent creatures.
In the evening, join your hosts for dinner with the meal you helped prepare, alongside Antonio’s chilled house wine, in the little, pretty garden of the villa.
MOUSAKA SECRETS UNREAVLED & TURTLE BOAT TRIP
After a hearty breakfast, get ready for today’s cooking activity with Chef Athina. Today, you will learn to cook the Greek famous Moussaka and Frigania dessert. With the creaminess of the moussaka and the delicate softness of the Frigania dessert, it’s a recipe you’ll want to remember!
While dinner is in the oven, begin an exclusive aquatic experience towards the west coast of the island. In the famous sweeping bay, spot and even swim alongside some of the large and extremely graceful loggerhead turtles. Continue your trip with swimming at the breathtaking Keri caves and next to the heavenly “Marathonisi Island", which, remarkably, is shaped like a turtle! With its fine powder-like sand, this tiny island captivates water- and nature-lovers alike. Natural and intriguing, with wonderful little caves to explore, it’s the perfect place snorkeling, swimming or just a paddle. Enjoy this tiny island beach experience!
In the evening, return to the apartment, enjoy your prepared meal alongside your hosts and fellow guests.
MEET LOCAL PRODUCERS OF ZAKYNTHOS - TASTE LOCAL WINES & OLIVE OIL - ENJOY BOCHALI BY NIGHT
The inspiration of the day will come from the authentic and peaceful lifestyle of Machairado village. Get an insider’s view of Zakynthos daily life and meet local people and producers, who are excited to share their trade expertise with visitors.
First, visit the nearby Aristeon Olive Press and museum to learn about the local olive trees variety, how the humble olive is transformed into liquid gold: the precious oil that gives Zakynthians their lust for life. See the display of machinery from the factory’s former days, before touring the modern equipment with your guide. At the end of your visit, don’t miss the opportunity to sample a variety of extra virgin oils on homemade bread and buy their olive oil products.
After a short drive, we will arrive to Macherado village to visit the ornate St. Mavra church and museum. Father Nicholas will guide you inside, whilst Nikos, the talented woodcarver, will show you his studio and artwork. And let’s not forget Dennis, the smiley taverna owner, who will show you step by step how to prepare your own delicious pita souvlaki and tzatziki. Picture a simple dish of succulent meat, pitta and freshly-grown vegetables, drizzled in olive oil - irresistible! Enjoy your pita souvlaki under the shade of the vine trees, with the crickets humming gently across the landscape..
Enjoy the meal you helped prepare under the shade of the vine trees, with the crickets humming gently across the landscape.
After relaxing in the afternoon, in the evening, we will visit the historic region of Bochali, located at the very top of Zakynthos town. The panoramic views over the twinkling lights of the town below, across the harbour and out to sea guarantee another amazing evening spent on Zakynthos island. Here, you can relax, enjoying the magnificent views. Toast the experience with a drink, or enjoy a light dinner in the magical atmosphere - an experience you’ll never want to end!
VISIT TO THE HISTORICAL ZAKYNTHOS TOWN & SUNSET DINNER
Your culinary experience continues with a visit to the historical Zakynthos Town after breakfast.
Here, you will discover hidden gems, and the amazing history, culture and architecture of the Old Town, living happily alongside the café culture of the modern centre. Take a blessing from the island’s patron saint at St. Dionysius church, which boasts incredible decorated interiors. Then, why not relax with a coffee at a café on the edge of the historical Solomos square?
Batteries recharged, visit the local market to savor the island’s sights, aromas and tastes of the fresh local produce. Here, you can shop for top quality local products, delicacies and souvenirs - and don’t forget to taste the special Venetian sweets of “mandolato” and “pasteli”! After the Venetian occupation of Zakynthos, the island has embraced authentic recipes from different cultures, and provides you with a gastronomic experience filled with diverse flavours, smells and sensations.
Upon returning to Laganas, you'll have the opportunity to savor a delectable homemade lunch crafted from the bounties of both the sea and the land, thoughtfully prepared by your hosts.
Arriving back at the villa, you will have enough time to relax or swim before the magical sunset dinner. With captivating views over rugged crags and the ocean, shimmering below, it is a mesmerizing experience that you’ll never forget. Zakynthos is called the jewel of the Ionian Sea for a reason, after all!
SHIPWRECK BAY - BLUE CAVES & SENSATIONAL FARM TO FORK CULINARY EXPERIENCE
After a traditional breakfast, we will set out for the picturesque north of the island. Travelling through stunning scenery, mountains and coastline, we will arrive at Agios Nicholaos port, for a once-in-a-lifetime sailing experience, towards the captivating northwest coast of Zakynthos. Sailing past the secluded coves, crystal clear water, dramatic sea caves and white sand, we’ll arrive at the mesmerizing Shipwreck Bay and the Blue caves - some of the most famous sights of the island. If the weather is too windy for the boat, we will drive north and still be able to admire the shipwreck from the viewing platform set into the cliff top. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
After the boat trip, we will continue north, driving through beautiful rural villages to arrive at Orthonies village, our lunch destination. It’s time to enjoy your “farm to fork” culinary experience at a family-run mountain taverna. Following a warm welcome, and a cool drink, go into the kitchen with Grandma Athina, who will share with you one of her secret family recipes, handed down from generation to generation: free-range stuffed chicken, in tomato sauce.
While the dinner is cooking in the old wood fire oven, Athina’s son will take you on a walk around their vegetable and herb gardens, where you will also meet the livestock. There is a strong belief here that happy animals produce healthy meat, and Athina’s taverna is definitely testament to this. Then, it’s back to the taverna, where, beneath the shadows of an ancient oak tree, we will enjoy the meal you helped to cook, alongside local wine, and homemade dessert to add that final sweet flourish.
Later, back at the villa, enjoy your evening at leisure.
FAREWELL - GREEK STYLE!
Enjoy a relaxing morning. Today, you have a choice to spend your day as you wish - swimming and relaxing at Agios Sostis bay, for example, is always popular! Discover this little oasis of calm, with sun beds on the grass, and a rustic beach bar, providing stunning views of the islands across the sea.
With a delicious beach lunch, there’s no need to even leave this slice of paradise. With the sun and the tickle of the waves against your toes, what more could you possibly ask for?
In the evening dress up for your night out at "Alexis" Taverna, in the village of Vanato. This is your chance to enjoy a typical Greek BBQ night, local wine and a variety of traditional homemade appetizers. Enjoy this festive Greek dinner, while embracing and celebrating the traditions of a rich and beautiful culture. A grand finale to a great week!
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and perhaps take a stroll for some last minute shopping or take a dip in the ocean one last time until next time! Check out by noon.
You will be driven to the airport or the port in plenty of time to catch your flight.
We hope you had an amazing stay and hope special memories were made here on Zakynthos Island! “Kallo Taxidi! (safe journey)
GENERAL INFORMATION AND ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES:
Customized Tours: We can arrange personalized tours to nearby destinations such as Olympia or Kefalonia. Alternatively, you may opt to spend a few days exploring the vibrant city of Athens.
Yoga Retreat: Immerse yourself in serenity with rejuvenating yoga sessions guided by Andriana. These sessions take place in the tranquil ambiance of Spiros Family Apartments.
Spa Treatments: Treat yourself to a touch of luxury with exquisite spa treatments and soothing massages designed to help you unwind and rejuvenate.
Adventurous Escapades: For those with an adventurous spirit, explore the depths of the Ionian Sea with scuba diving adventures or experience the thrill of horse riding through picturesque landscapes.
Historical Excursion: Don't miss the opportunity to journey back in time with a captivating half-day excursion to the legendary site of Ancient Olympia. Here, history comes to life amidst remarkable ruins.
Your stay promises a multitude of engaging experiences tailored to your preferences.
*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season
A minimum of 1 participant is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 8 participants. (Please inquire about larger groups up to 15)
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest Airport: Zakynthos Island Airport (ZTH) - (3 miles from accommodation)
Closest Port: Zakynthos Port (4 miles from accommodation)
2024 Fees Per Person
Double Room/US$2575 (excluding July/August)
*Please inquire about alternate pricing for July/August (High Season)
*NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
*Pricing excludes the Special Greek Easter Week of May 1-8, 2024 - please inquire about special itinerary and alternate pricing
*Please inquire about alternate pricing for accommodation upgrade to a private villa with pool
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a 30% non-refundable per person deposit and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due 75 days before arrival.
Available March to November - usually Saturday to Saturday but other arrival days are also possible. Winter dates may also be available with slight changes in itinerary. Please inquire.
*A Greek family onsite (your hosts) to welcome you to their island and offer you a personalized holiday experience
*Seven (7) nights' accommodation (in a luxury studio or an apartment with en-suite bathroom and kitchen)
*Meals mentioned in the program: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 6 dinners including local wine
*Four (4) hands-on cooking classes - a total of 12 hours of cooking, including making the local Frigania dessert
*Boat trip to Shipwreck Beach and the Blue caves
*Boat trip to Turtle Island
*Visit of Caretta-Caretta nesting beach
*Wine and olive oil tasting
*Tour of the historical town of Zakynthos
*A memorable Greek BBQ celebration night
Airfare, personal expenses, optional tour suggestions and city tax (.50 cents per day) are not included.
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Furnished upon request.