Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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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 an unforgettable experience as your hosts, a local family, 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 loggerheard 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! 

 

ITINERARY

 

DAY ONE 

 


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!  

 

DAY TWO 

 

COOKING WITH LOCAL CHEF ATHINA & SWIMMING AT SANDY LAGANAS 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, zachinni balls and tzatziki. Athina welcomes questions, as she is proud to share her knowledge and expertise in Zakynthian cuisine.

 

While tonight’s dinner is cooking, you may like to explore the surrounding area and the 7 km long Laganas beach laying only 500m, from the villa. Laganas resort offers a great combination of everything a traveler could desire. In the famous sweeping bay, with its shallow, crystal clear water, you can enjoy swimming, 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? 

 

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.

 

DAY THREE 

 

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 Villa Spiros, enjoy your prepared meal alongside your hosts and fellow guests. 

DAY FOUR 

 

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.

 

Father Nicholas will guide you inside the ornate St. Mavra church and museum, whilst Nikos, the talented woodcarver, will show you his studio and art work. And let’s not forget Dennis, the smiley taverna owner, who will welcome you inside his kitchen to cook a festive meal based on land, sea and the season. You will cook a traditional fish recipe, with a gorgeous garlic sauce, accompanied with a vegetable salad and a green pie with homemade fylo.

 

While lunch is cooking, you will visit the nearby Aristeon Olive Press and museum, as well as the Grampsas winery to taste premium local products.

 

At the olive oil museum, learn 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 buy their olive oil products and sample a variety of extra virgin oils on homemade bread.

 

Next, you will visit Grampsas family: run by the third generation of the Grampsas family and widely respected by Zakynthians and international clients alike. The winery is beautifully presented, from the neat rows of vines to the display of winemaking equipment demonstrating the complexity and skill required in the winemaking process. Giannis, the son, 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.

 

After these taste-tingling samples, you must be hungry! Back at the taverna, enjoy your meal 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!  

  

DAY FIVE 

 

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.

 

Before returning back to Laganas, treat yourself to a delicious authentic souvlaki lunch at the port grill house. Picture succulent meat, pitta and freshly-grown vegetables, drizzled in olive oil - it’s simply irresistible!        

                                                                                                                                    
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!  

 

DAY SIX 

  

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.

 

 

DAY SEVEN 

 

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 the farewell party at a nearby taverna.We will enjoy a traditional Greek celebration, with great food and company, plenty of local wine and of course Greek music and dancing.                                       

                              

A perfect ending to what we hope was an incredible and memorable week!

 

DAY EIGHT 

 

DEPARTURE DAY

 

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)

 

*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

 

 

 

GROUP SIZE

 

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 (3 miles from accommodation)
Closest Port: Zakynthos Port (4 miles from accommodation)

  

 

 

 

BOOKING INFORMATION

 

2021 Fees Per Person

 

 

Double Room/US$2675 (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)  

 

*Please inquire about alternate pricing for accommodation upgrade (villa with an outdoor pool)

 

*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation

 

Deposit

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.

2021 Dates

Available March to November - usually Saturday to Saturday but other arrival days are also possible 

 

Included

 

*Seven (7) nights' accommodation (in a studio or an apartment with en-suite bathroom and kitchen)
*Daily breakfast
*Airport transfers
*Four (4) hands on cooking classes - a total of 12 hours of cooking, including making the local Frigania dessert
*Six (6) lunches
*Six (6) dinners
*Boat trip to Shipwreck Beach and the Blue caves 
*Boat trip to Turtle Island
*Visit of Caretta-Caretta nesting beach
*Seaside dinner
*Sunset dinner
*Beach picnic
*Wine and olive oil tasting
*Tour of the town of Zakynthos 
*A memorable Greek celebration night  
*Wifi
*Parking   

 
Airfare, personal expenses, optional tour suggestions and city tax (.50 cents per day) are not included.  

 

 

For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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CANCELLATION POLICY

 

Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.

 

 

CLIENT REMARKS

 

Furnished upon request. 

 

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HOMESTYLE TUSCAN COOKING 

Hi Jo-Ann - We wanted to let you know that we had an AMAZING time at the cooking school. My mother and I could not have had a better time. Paola and Simonetta were such wonderful hosts and teachers. We were treated like family. The house and property were beautiful. The hands-on cooking classes were so much fun...we learned so many great recipes that I cannot wait to test on my friends back home. I will definitely be recommending this experience to all of my friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for all of your help in setting up this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. It is something neither one of us will ever forget!

 

Best, Erin S. and Flor V.,
New York, New York

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