Zakynthos Island Adventure

Travel to the ‘Flower of the East,’ as the Venetians once called Zakynthos Island during their rule from the 15th to 18th Century. Home to the famous Caretta-Caretta (Loggerhead) sea turtle and 7,000 species of flowers, Zakynthos is also famous for growing some of the best olives, wines, grains, and fruits due to its extremely fertile soil and temperate climate. The green island also boasts producing more than 10,000 tons of extra virgin olive oil, and it offers a breathtaking landscape that varies from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs surrounded by the clearest blue sea you will ever see.

Also due to its ideal fertile soil and water sources, Zakynthos has been conquered by numerous civilizations over the centuries, such as the Arcadians, Macedonians, Romans, Venetians, French, Turks, and British — all of whom impacted the gastronomy of the island. The island finally gained its independence in 1830 and officially became apart of Greece 1864. Today, the local people are delighted to share their beautiful island and its complex history with visitors.


Trip Details

The 4 cooking lessons take place in a variety of different kitchens and are hosted by famous local chefs as well as grandmothers – but all the recipes are ones that have been passed down for generations. All cooking classes take place in beautiful, unique locales, making the already-enjoyable experience even more spectacular.
The classes include:

  • a seafood class at a family-run taverna on Dafani beach
  • an authentic farm-to-fork experience with a charming grandmother who believes ‘happy animals’ produce healthy meat
  • a class at a winery using a wood oven to create amazing Greek dishes
  • a class on the classic dessert Baklava


We Can Help Plan It All

Flights, additional nights and tours, Transportation, and Much More

We might not be able to pack for you, but there are tons of things we can help with to make your vacation that much better.

Contact us for more information, or you can indicate your interest during check out and we will follow up directly!

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Itinerary

Day One

Spanakopita on a cooking vacation in Greece

  • Arrival at the Zakynthos airport or port and private transfer to your accommodations.
  • After settling in, meet your host for a welcome drink and recommendations on things to do on this lovely island.
  • In the evening, a welcome dinner awaits you in the romantic region of Bohali with a wonderful view of the town and sea. Enjoy your first taste of local Zakynthos cuisine accompanied with local wine while local singers known as kantades set the mood.
  • Overnight.

Visiting the sea on your cooking vacation in Greece


Day Two

  • After breakfast, begin the day with some time on your own to explore the beautiful area. Perhaps go into Zakynthos time to explore its historic area, and grab a coffee and a pastry. Or head to the bay with its crystal clear waters, where you can snorkel and swim, and perhaps even see some of the famous loggerhead turtles. Water sports and scuba diving are also available.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, travel a short way to the important nesting grounds of the amazing and unfortunately endangered sea turtle Caretta-Caretta. First stop at the turtle museum, and then visit Dafni Beach, where turtle nests are scattered about the golden sands and watched over year round by volunteers passionate about the preservation of the turtles. While at the beach, you’ll have some time to unwind, swim, and perhaps even snorkel and try to spot a Caretta-Caretta. Don’t forget your camera!
  • In the evening, it’s time for your first cooking lesson with the owner of a family-run taverna on Dafni Beach. You’ll learn to cook traditional dishes that have been passed down for generations. Some potential menu items include stuffed vegetables, courgette balls, saganaki (fried cheese), and lemon pie, all served with locally-produced wine. Following this beach dinner, enjoy star gazing into the beautiful night sky.
  • Overnight.

Welcome to your Greek cooking vacation


Day Three

  • Breakfast.
  • Start your day off with a refreshing swim at Xigia Beach on the north side of the island. This is a “healing” beach, as the warm waters here have natural sulfur springs that make the waters riche with minerals and famous healing properties.
  • Continue traveling north through picturesque tiny villages.
  • Lunch on your own upon arrival at a mountain taverna.
  • Your afternoon culinary adventure is a true “farm to fork” culinary experience, starting with a welcome drink with the hosts and a short private walk through their vegetable and herb garden, and livestock farm. The grandma will then share some of her cooking secrets as she teaches you a family recipe that has been passed down for generations; this cooking class takes place in the shade of a lovely old tree. All ingredients used are based on the fresh variety of vegetables and livestock from the family’s farm.
  • The dinner menu tonight may include free-range stuffed chicken or rabbit in tomato sauce with pasta and seasonal vegetables picked from their garden. While your meal is cooking over the fire, you’ll have some time to relax, enjoy a cold drink, and perhaps a leisurely walk around the area.
  • Return to the taverna to enjoy a sensational dinner accompanied with the house wine, followed by homemade dessert.
  • Return to the villa and overnight.

Enjoying the beach in Greece


Day Four

  • Breakfast.
  • Today, choose to enjoy either a leisurely morning at the villa or have an early start and depart for a special aquatic experience. This experience includes a 15-minute walk to the picturesque port of Ag. Sostis for a turtle boat trip to the non-inhabited Marathonisi Island. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters, and have breakfast on the beach while watching the sunrise.
  • Lunch today is on your own.
  • In the afternoon, depart for the largest agricultural producing area of the island to visit with a local wine and olive oil farmer and producer. The farmer, Andonis, will take you on a tour of his olive grove and explain the techniques used to turn the olives into the beloved olive oil, or as they say, liquid gold. An olive oil tasting will follow the tour.
  • Continue to Lagopodo, a wine region blessed with 9,000 fertile acres of vineyards. Here, we’ll visit the family-run Grampsas winery that has been producing wine for three generations. The family will provide a tour of their prized vineyard and explain how they produce their wine followed by a special tasting.
  • At the winery, take part in your third cooking lesson in the vineyard’s garden using a traditional wood oven, which gives the dishes a taste like none other. Possible menu dishes include traditional bread, rabbit in tomato sauce, and tzatziki.
  • Return to the villa and overnight.

Dining al fresco in Greece


Day Five

  • Breakfast.
  • Enjoy the morning on your own to relax, go to the beach, or walk around town.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, set off for another excursion to the northern part of the island. Along the drive, stops will be made at some of our favorite food producers. Finish the tour with a delightful boat ride to the famous Shipwreck Bay (weather permitting); if you’re lucky, you may see some base jumpers and paragliders launch themselves from the towering clifftops.
  • In the evening, arrive at a lovely tavern in Kabi where the owners are delighted to share with you traditional food of Zakynthos as well as a breathtaking view of the rugged cliffs and the sun setting over the Ionian Sea.
  • Return to the villa and overnight.

The beautiful sea of Zakynthos


Day Six

  • Breakfast, followed by your last day in Zakynthos town. Spend some time on your own for some last minute shopping and a leisurely walk. Perhaps enjoy one last specialty coffee or delicious homemade ice cream, all while indulging in people watching.
  • Later in the morning, visit an award-winning and fourth-generation local confectioner who will show you how to make a classic Baklava, complete with almonds, walnuts, and spices folded into a syrupy film pastry.
  • Return to the villa around lunch time (if you’re still hungry after dessert, lunch is on your own).
  • Spend the afternoon as you’d like!
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Greek vegetables


Day Seven

  • Breakfast followed by a day at leisure.
  • Perhaps return to the unending sandy beach and crystal clear waters of the local beach.
  • If you’d like to arrange another excursion today, your hosts can do that for you as well.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the evening, take part in a special farewell dinner at one of the locals’ favorite taverns for a special Greek celebration with great traditional food, dancing, and company. You’ll enjoy an array of rustic dishes to wrap up the end of your culinary vacation in Zakynthos.
  • Overnight.

Day Eight

  • Breakfast.
  • Group transfer back to Zakynthos airport or port. Kallo Taxidi! Have a safe journey!

Trip Details

Included in the 7-Night Trip

Accommodations

7 night accommodations at Villa Spiros (During the high season, an alternative accommodation may be substituted, depending on availability).

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 6 dinners (local wines included)

Classes & Instructors

The 4 cooking lessons take place in a variety of different kitchens and are hosted by famous local chefs as well as grandmothers – but all the recipes are ones that have been passed down for generations. All cooking classes take place in beautiful, unique locales, making the already-enjoyable experience even more spectacular.
The classes include:

  • a seafood class at a family-run taverna on Dafani beach
  • an authentic farm-to-fork experience with a charming grandmother who believes ‘happy animals’ produce healthy meat
  • a class at a winery using a wood oven to create amazing Greek dishes
  • a class on the classic dessert Baklava

Excursions

  • Visit the nesting grounds of the Caretta-Caretta sea turtle
  • Swim at Xigia Beach, known as the ‘healing beach’ (weather permitting)
  • Stroll through picturesque northern villages
  • Travel to the uninhabited Marathonisi island
  • Visit wineries and olive oil producers
  • Meet other food producers and take a boat ride to Shipwreck bay (weather permitting)

Transfer Details

  • Roundtrip group transfers from/to Zakynthos airport or port

Accommodation Information

Located a short walk from the beautiful Laganas beach and town center with its lively shops and restaurants, Villa Spiros is a charming and relaxing getaway. The property features just seven rooms — three on the ground floor, and four maisonettes on the first floor (up one flight of stairs) — all designed in a rustic, modern style. Both room types include a fully-equipped kitchen, and room amenities include TV, air conditioning for the Summer months, and central heating during the low season.

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


Low Season Pricing:
March-May, October-November

(excluding Greek Easter Week April 25-May 2)

7-night Program
US$1950 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$250 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Please inquire for pricing for 1 person.

High Season Pricing:
June-September

7-night Program
US$2100 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$375 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Please inquire for pricing for 1 person.

Special Easter Week Pricing:
April 25-May 2, 2019

7-night Program
US$1690 per person based on double occupancy

    30% deposit due to confirm booking.
    Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

    Easter week pricing valid for double or single occupancy.


    Tour Dates

    Available weekly March through November for a minimum of 1 person.

    2019
    March 2-9
    March 9-16
    March 16-23
    March 23-30
    March 30-April 6
    April 6-13
    April 13-20
    April 25-May 2 – Special Easter Week, please inquire
    May 4-11
    May 11-18
    May 18-25
    May 25-June 1
    June 1-8
    June 8-15
    June 15-22
    June 22-29
    June 29-July 6
    July 6-13
    July 13-20
    July 20-27
    July 27-August 3
    August 3-10
    August 10-17
    August 17-24
    August 26-31
    August 31-September 7
    September 7-14
    September 14-21
    September 21-28
    September 28-October 5
    October 5-12
    October 12-19
    October 19-26
    October 26-November 2
    November 2-9
    November 9-16
    November 16-23
    November 23-30

    Pricing & Dates

    Class Pricing

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