Zakynthos, Greece - 7 nights
Available March to November
Active Gourmet Holidays is pleased to offer this fantastic cooking, yoga and hiking holiday in Zakynthos, Greece, located in the Ionian Islands. We bring you an authentic Greek experience, combining local gastronomy, culture, exercise, nature and the experience to interact with passionate locals who will introduce you to the best of Zakynthos island.
Stay seven nights in a beautiful villa that is tucked away in the peaceful countryside. The villa features a private pool and is located in a relaxing olive grove setting. Swim at famous Shipwreck Bay and the Blue Caves, take a boat trip to the Turtle Island, swim with turtles in turquoise waters, relax to the sounds of Greek bouzouki, dance sirtaki and be well looked after by your Greek host family.
Your experienced yoga teachers Thaleia & Andriana welcome everyone - regardless of age, health, fitness or yoga experience. Each yoga session is a different experience reflecting a variety of practices. Most classes are Hatha or Vinyasa though, Kundalini, Thai Chi and core fusion can be offered upon request.
The menus throughout your holiday are lovingly crafted to provide you with a unique local culinary experience. You will enjoy a variety of nutritionally-dense and delicious vegetarian, meat and fish meals that are original, tasty and energizing. Everything is cooked from scratch with the highest quality ingredients, many of which are homemade, like olive oil, salads, fruit, breads and wine.
This holiday is an authentic Zakynthian experience for travellers who want to embrace all they can on their holiday and who are looking for a real change from the normal mass-produced tours.
ARRIVAL TO ZAKYNTHOS - WELCOME DINNER
On arrival at Zakynthos Airport or Zakynthos Port, your private driver will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation in Romiri village, with a shopping stop before to the nearby large supermarket to buy your holiday necessities.
Arriving at the villa, your hosts will welcome you to join them for drinks and an informal meeting. They will tell you about all the things to do and see in this diverse and lively resort according to your itinerary and answer any questions you may have.
Then, have some time to unpack and settle into your new surroundings.
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 unwind!
TURTLE ISLAND BOAT TRIP & COOKING LESSON
After breakfast, your host Antonio will drive you to the nearby Laganas resort from whereyou will set off for an exclusive aquatic experience to the heavenly “Marathonisi Island", remarkably shaped similar to the native sea turtle Caretta–Caretta. In the famous sweeping bay, see and even swim alongside some of the large and extremely graceful loggerhead turtles.
Next, head out to sea for a short crossing to the breathtaking, uninhabited "Marathonisi Island", with its fine powder like sand, that captivates the water and nature lover alike. Natural and intriguing, with wonderful little caves to explore, just perfect for snorkeling, swimming or just a paddle. Enjoy this tiny island beach experience!
After the boat trip you might like to explore the surrounding area. Laganas resort offers a great combination of everything a traveler could desire. In the famous sweeping bay, with shallow, crystal clear water, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and if you are lucky, find yourself swimming alongside the large, graceful loggerhead turtles. Seaside tavernas, sun beds are plentiful if you just want to relax, enjoy a Greek salad or if you are adventurous enough why not go skinny dipping at the nudist beach a little further away?
Later, back at the villa, you will have enough time to relax and get yourselves ready before you endeavor to a 3 hour cooking course with your host and local chef Effie, at the beautiful outdoor settings of the villa. You will be cooking stuffed vegetables, a summer dish full of vitamins and aromas and you will prepare a colorful organic Greek salad. Effie welcomes questions, as she is proud to share her knowledge and experience of Zakynthian cuisine.
While tonight’s dinner is cooking in the wood fired oven, learn how to make the local “Frigania dessert”, with layers of syrupy rusks, vanilla-infused cream, cinnamon, fresh cream and walnut topping. Simple and wonderful! In the evening, enjoy the meal by the pool alongside Antonio’s chilled house wine, together with your hosts.
SUNRISE YOGA - OLIVE & WINE TASTING - FARM TO FORK CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Wake up in the morning and get your day off to a great start. Find yourself next to the sea, at Laganas bay and practice yoga while the Mediterranean sun & sea breeze softly caresses your skin and yoga nurtures your body and soul.
Later, tuck into a healthy breakfast with fresh delicacies from local farms, lovingly prepared by your hosts.
After breakfast, your host Antonio, will drive you towards the north part of the island, with culinary stops along the way. First stop is at Aristeon Olive Press & Grampsas winery. At the olive oil museum, learn how the humble olive becomes liquid gold the precious oil that gives Zakynthians their lust for life. See the display of machinery from the old days before touring the modern factory with your guide. At the end is a chance to taste a variety of extra virgin oils on village bread and buy their products.
We continue our tour visiting Grampsas winery run by the third generation of the family, widely respected by Zakynthians and international clients alike. During the summer months the yachting fraternity visits regularly to restock their boats with wines for their Greek Island Odyssey.
The winery is beautifully presented, from the neat rows of vines to the display of winemaking equipment from bygone days. Son Tassos will talk you through the whole wine making process before inviting you to sit on the shady terrace to sample white and red wines with local cheese.
Next, we arrive at our lunch destination; a family owned and run mountain tavern, in Orthonies village, where you will enjoy an authentic farm to fork culinary experience.
After a warm welcome and a cool welcome drink, Grandmother Athina will show you step by step how to prepare a family recipe handed down the generations: stuffed free range chicken in tomato sauce. While the food is cooking in a traditional wood-fired oven, son Andreas, will take you around the farm to see where the vegetables were grown and to meet the livestock. Free range, happy chickens, rabbits, and sheep living happily in the countryside.
Then back to the tavern, enjoy the meal you helped prepare, plus village bread and a variety of starters, in the shade of a spreading oak tree.It is a sensational experience.
Then back to the villa to relax after an exciting day!
MOUSAKA COOKING LESSON - AQUA YOGA - GUIDED WALK THROUGH ZAKYNTHOS
After a hearty breakfast, get ready for today’s cooking activity with Effie. Today, she is happy to offer you a choice between cooking “Giouvetsi”, orzo pasta with lamp in the oven or the Greek famous moussaka. Both dishes are a tasteful sensation!
While dinner is cooking, plunge into the pool to discover the surprising benefits of Aqua Yoga. Get a better stretch in each pose as your body is more relaxed and flexible in the water. This water exercise is also beneficial for people with difficulty balancing, arthritis, during or after pregnancy and post-surgery.
Spend a leisurely day at the villa and enjoy the delicious meal you helped prepare before exploring Zakynthos main town in the evening.
Today’s walk is 8 km (5 miles) and designed so that you experience the romantic side of Zakynthos while learning about the local history. We start our romantic walk from Bochali, the highest part of Zakynthos town and the most expensive area to live. Walk through the pine forest, under the gigantic stone walls of the Venetian castle and marvel at the spectacular far reaching views down to the harbor, Laganas bay and out to the Ionian sea. This is a great chance to capture some amazing pictures.
We continue our walk to Stranis hill, from where Dionysios Solomos, the national poet of Greece wrote the national anthem to Freedom in 1823. There we are also guided to Razis traditional perfume laboratory to smell and buy hand-made aromas with gentle scents from local flowers and herbs. We continue our walk towards Zakynthos town, walking through cobblestone, blooming streets, getting familiarized with the Ionian architecture. Make a stop at the Jewish cemetery to learn about the time the Jewish people lived on the island, visit St. Marcus Square and recharge your batteries at a café by Solomos Square.
We continue our walk by the port now towards the Church of the island’s patron saint, St. Dionysius, where the Saint’s remains are kept in a silver casket, which on some occasions is open for viewing.
Later, you will have some free time to explore the market street to taste and buy local products and delicacies. This is a great chance to try the Greek souvlaki and a delicious ice cream at locals’ favorite gelateria before returning back to the villa.
BOAT TRIP TO SHIPWRECK BAY & BLUE CAVES - DINNER WITH YOUR HOSTS
Enjoy a relaxed morning. Then your host Antonio will drive you to Agios Sostis fishing port, the starting point of a once in a lifetime boat trip experience. Sail towards the breathtaking west coast, swim at secluded coves with crystal clear water, see dramatic caves and arrive at mesmerizing Shipwreck Bay. This is what we call a natural eye delight. 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.
Back at the villa you will have enough time to relax and shower before you join your hosts for a delightful home cooked dinner by the pool focusing on “Sea, Land and the Seasons”.
MYTHICAL WALK AT AGALAS VILLAGE - LUNCH AT A MOUNTAIN TAVERN - EVENING YOGA
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with eggs and fruit from the villa’s farm.
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your local guide and drive a short distance to arrive at the picturesque village of Agalas, located to the west side of the island.Enjoy a 7km (4.5 miles) countryside guided walk with amazing landscapes, wild and tranquil surroundings and mythical sights.
You will start from the heart of the village, showcasing unique architectural characteristics, narrow streets and old stone houses neighborhoods to arrive at Damianos Cave, a two-story cave full of stalactites and stalagmites. Learn about the local myth of Andronicus dragon as you marvel at the harmony of this fantastic naturally beautiful environment.
Continue your hike through the shade of olive groves and pine trees, to arrive at the 11 wells of Andronicus. You must be hungry by now, so enjoy a light lunch at the local tavern boasting magical views.
Return back to the villa. You will have enough time to sit by the pool, enjoy a swim or simply relax before your evening yoga class by the pool begins.
FAREWELL DINNER GREEK STYLE
Enjoy a relaxing morning and day. You may like to spend a leisurely day by the pool or the beach, or treat yourself to today’s exclusive optional excursion. There are plenty of choices for activities including gardening, horse riding, photography tours, hiking, woodcarving, clay shooting, cycling, swimming, massage and spa treatments. Or let us know if we can help you arrange something specifically for you, we will be happy to.
In the evening dress up for the farewell party at “Dennis”, our favorite tavern in Lithakia village.There we will enjoy a traditional Greek celebration, with great BBQ and plenty of local wine and of course Greek live music and dancing. Enjoy the sounds of bouzouki while learning how to dance syrtaki.
A grand finale to a great week!
This morning enjoy a lovely traditional breakfast, maybe a walk to Laganas Main Street for last minute shopping, or a stroll to Laganas beach to take a last dip.
Your driver will take you to the airport or port in good time for your departure.
By now you will truly be feeling at home here, Zakynthian through and through, and definitely like a member of our family.
“Kallo Taxidi! (safe journey)
*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
Zakynthos Island Airport ZTH (7km/4.5 miles from accommodation)
Kefalonia Island airport EFL (10 min flight to Zakynthos)
Athens Airport ATH (45 min flight to Zakynthos)
Closest Port: Zakynthos Port (7km/4.5 miles from accommodation)
Double Room/US$2525 (excluding July/August)
NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
*Pricing excludes the Special Greek Easter Week of April 29-May 6, 2021 - please inquire about alternate pricing
*Please inquire about alternate pricing for July/August (High Season)
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
*Please inquire about lower pricing for accommodation in another villa
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
*Seven (7) nights' accommodation at a villa with private pool
*Welcome serenaded dinner at a traditional taverna
*Eight (8) hours of cooking
*Three (3) hours of yoga
*Two (2) hiking guided tours
*Lesson making the local "Frigania" dessert
*Seven (7) meals included (3 lunches & 4 dinners)
*Boat trip to the Shipwreck beach and the Blue caves
*Boat trip to the Turtle Island
*Cooking organic chicken in a wood fired oven
*A romantic walk in Zakynthos town
*A mythical walk in Agalas village
*Wine & Olive oil tasting
*A Greek celebration night to remember
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.