Come and experience the great Greek tradition of olive picking in the Autumn, working with the locals in an olive grove. Zakynthos produces some of the finest olive oil in the country, if not the World.
Harvest the olives straight from the trees by hand in the traditional way, using just an olive wood stick, then follow them to the olive press. Dip village bread into the warm fresh oil, which just hours before was a humble olive on a tree. A priceless experience!!! Hands-on participation is optional. You may choose simply to be our guest and observe the process, enjoying the glowing green-and-gold Autumn landscape. The harvest days take place in the villages of Mouzaki and Romiri and include a country lunch in the shade of the olive trees. Simple, yet wonderful!
Airport transfer included: Dionysios Solomos Airport
Located on the beautiful island of Zakynthos and situated in Zakyntho’s liveliest and most exciting resort, Villa Spiros features a mixture of 3 self-catering ground floor rooms and 4 first floor maisonettes, furnished to a high standard in a clean modern style, incorporating everything the discerning holidaymaker or independent traveler will need for a relaxing and comfortable stay. Villa Spiros enjoys ideal, peaceful and relaxing surroundings. You will find lovely vines and well-kept flower beds. All the rooms are equipped with A/C, central heating, carpets, flannel sheets, electric blankets, feather duck quilts, tea and coffee making facilities, a fully equipped kitchen, and an on-suite shower room. Distinguished by the lure of its exceptional family run hospitality and extensive range of services, Villa Spiros excels with its warmth, hospitable ambiance, relaxing surroundings and friendly hosts who will point you to the very best this wonderful island has to offer.
Escorted groups: On arrival, you will be collected from the airport, transported to tonight’s accommodation and given time to settle and rest. Later, we will enjoy a leisurely walk through Monastiraki, Thiseio and Plaka, the ancient streets of Athens, taking in the sights, aromas and atmosphere. You will see lots of little street stalls selling handmade crafts, as well as specialty sweet shops, coffee shops and tavernas. We will enjoy our evening meal in full view of the floodlit Acropolis.
Unescorted groups: On arrival, you will be collected from the airport, transported to tonight’s accommodation and given time to settle and rest. Later, why not enjoy a leisurely walk through Monastiraki, Thiseio and Plaka, the ancient streets of Athens, taking in the sights, aromas and atmosphere. You will see lots of little street stalls selling handmade crafts, as well as speciality sweet shops, coffee shops and tavernas. Then you may enjoy your evening meal in full view of the floodlit Acropolis.
Escorted tour: You have experienced the Acropolis by night. After breakfast, we will see in daylight what is still the most impressive ancient site in all of Greece. From the vantage point of the mount, marvel at the view of the whole of Athens spread before you like a shimmering white carpet. Next, we leave for Zakynthos. Sit back and enjoy the coastal scenery. The journey takes 4 hours and there will be a one hour stop in the seaside resort of Loutraki. Enjoy lunch, take a stroll and let the sea breeze refresh you for the rest of your journey. We will board the ferry at the port of Killini, for the short crossing to Zakynthos and the 10-minute drive to your accommodation. Welcome to Zakynthos Island!
Unescorted tour: After breakfast you will be collected and taken to the central bus station, Kifissos to begin your journey to Zakynthos. The journey takes 4 hours through beautiful scenery, and there will be a 20 minute stop at Aigio for a stretch and maybe a snack. We board the coach to continue our drive to the ferry at the port of Killini, for the hour’s crossing to Zakynthos and the 10-minute drive to your accommodation. Welcome to Zakynthos Island!
Kalimera (Good morning) This morning is for relaxing! You may want to stroll to Laganas resort. The sweeping bay and unending sandy beach are quiet at this time of year. You may choose to swim or snorkel in the shallow, crystal clear water. Or just sit in the sun and read, listening to the sound of the lapping waves. Early afternoon, you are invited to take part in a shopping trip to the nearby large supermarket to buy your holiday necessities. This evening, we will hold an informal welcome meeting/ buffet in our reception area and garden. You will meet your hosts, the Vythoulkas family, and your fellow guests. Your hosts will be delighted to tell you about the traditions of the olive harvest, familiarise you with the itinerary and answer any questions you may have.
Eat a hearty breakfast to fuel those engines! You will need lots of energy for today’s 3-hour olive harvest adventure. We make our way to one of the family’s prized organic olive groves, where Andonis and a local helper will greet you. Marvel at the shape of each unique ancient tree. Olive wood is highly prized amongst artists and craftsmen throughout the World. Andonis will explain the time- honoured process of olive picking, using sticks cut from the olive tree. He will demonstrate how the olives are beaten from the branches into nets waiting below. Now it’s your turn to become an olive farmer for the day and harvest this simple but versatile fruit. Mid-day we will take our places on picnic blankets spread in the shade of the trees, sip local wine and enjoy a freshly prepared picnic. After lunch, we head back to Villa Spiros where you can shower and relax. Early evening, we set off to historic Zakynthos Town. Here, we will discover the history and culture of the old town. You can shop for top quality local products, explore the world of traditional sweet making and taste Venetian Candies. You will have time on your own to relax in one of the many speciality coffee shops and maybe try the famous souvlaki (meat on a stick), before heading back to Villa Spiros.
We start today with a scenic drive towards Agios Leon village. Here, we will visit a beekeeper, who will demonstrate his skills and explain the importance of the bee to agriculture. He will tell you about the many uses of the honey and beeswax. You will see how honey is produced and be invited to taste. Then we visit the mountain home of the Bastas family. Set in a pine forest, this lovely little estate houses one of the island’s finest cheese producers. The owner, Panagiotis, will take us on a tour of the factory, demonstrating and explaining the production process. They produce several varieties of award-winning cheeses, and of course, there will be a tasting. Our journey continues. We next meet a local mushroom expert, who will take us on a stroll through the forest, pointing out the many varieties of edible fungi. We will pick mushrooms to use tomorrow (during our winery visit we will cook them over an open fire and enjoy them with wine). Relax and enjoy the drive home to spend your evening at leisure. You are welcome to join the family for wine and conversation.
Today you may choose to join us for more olive picking or to enjoy your day as you wish. A few suggestions would be a leisurely walk to Laganas beach and the picturesque port of Agios Sostis with Cameo island sitting just off-shore. Nearby, you will find the resort of Agios Sostis with a café and a ceramics studio which remain open during the winter months. In the evening, we will visit lovely Solomos winery. This is the oldest winery on the island and respected by Zakynthians and international clients alike. During the summer months, the yachting fraternity visit regularly to restock their boats with wines for their Greek Island Odyssey. The Solomos family will take us on a tour of their traditional stone cellars, where the temperature is constant, giving their wines unique flavours. Then, we will gather around the open fireplace in the winery’s great hall, to cook and enjoy the mushrooms gathered yesterday, with some fine wines.
After a leisurely morning, join the Vythoulkas family to cook a BBQ lunch. Help with the preparation of traditional accompaniments, including tzatziki, Greek salad and oven potatoes. Watch as the meat is prepared, cooked and basted with olive oil, using a brush made from freshly picked wild rosemary….. the sizzling smells will whet your appetite for the feast.
After a hearty traditional breakfast, we head for the north of the island, with gastronomic stops, including one at the Koiliomenos Women’s Cooperative, to sample their home-made products. Arriving at the picturesque port of Porto Vromi, we will take a scenic boat ride past amazing blue caves to Shipwreck Bay. Backed by towering white cliffs, a favourite for base jumpers, it has the most turquoise crystal clear waters on the island and is a good swimming spot. (If the weather is too windy for the boat, we will still be able to admire the shipwreck from the viewing platform set into the cliff top.) Later, we move on to our lunch destination; a family owned mountain taverna in Orthotics village. Grandmother Athina will show us step by step, how to cook a family recipe handed down the generations, free-range stuffed chicken in tomato sauce with pasta, plus a variety of starters including vegetables straight from the kitchen garden.While lunch is cooking in the wood- fired oven, our hosts will take us on a short walk to their vegetable and herb gardens and you’ll meet the livestock! Later, back at the taverna, in the shade of an old oak tree, we will enjoy our lunch, with local wine. Home-made dessert will add that final sweet flourish.
After breakfast, we will go to the olive grove to spend a short time cleaning and gathering the olives into hessian sacks for the short journey to the press. Watch in amazement as the humble olive becomes liquid gold the precious oil that gives Zakynthians their lust for life. You may taste the warm freshly pressed extra virgin oil with village bread. In the evening, we will visit the romantic region of Bohali, situated at the highest point above Zakynthos town. Here you will enjoy a traditional dinner with views over the twinkling lights of the town and harbour below. The local wines and Greek ouzo will help you relax while local singers (kantades) set the mood.
After breakfast we will make herb and garlic infused olive oils, and prepare and jar olives from our own trees in vinegars and oils. These are our gifts to you to take home and enjoy with your salads a lasting reminder of your wonderful “Liquid Gold” holiday. The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy as you please.
Today brings the opportunity to visit three picturesque villages on the west of the island, and to discover hidden treasures. The road takes us through a rich, aromatic tapestry of vineyards, olive and orange groves. First stop will be at Callinikos winery, to taste some different varieties of Zakynthian wines. A short stroll across from the winery stands an unremarkable set of stone gates. Venture along a forgotten tree lined the driveway to another set of gates, revealing a magical place frozen in time. The gothic Abeloravdi mansion beckons us back into the 17th century, revealing the world of the wealthy family who built it. Close your eyes and listen to the story of the family who once lived here, and their privileged, yet tragic, life. Now we leave the melancholy behind and enter the realm of the spiritual by visiting Spiloula (small cave) church. It was entirely hand-carved from the rock by just one devoted, solitary monk, who also lived there for 60 years during the 17th century. The cave church was destroyed and buried by an earthquake. It lay forgotten for some time before being rediscovered and lovingly restored. Today, the cave plays host to a wonderful picture of the Virgin Mary, an ancient icon found buried beneath the rubble on the floor of the cave. The views from outside are enchanting; little wonder the monk chose this place to build his retreat! We continue to Kipseli village and Agios Ioannis chapel with its wonderful view of the Ionian Sea and the Venetian Vardiola, a watchtower from the time of Venetian occupation of Zakynthos. We hope you have enjoyed this peek into the island’s bygone times. Relax and enjoy the drive back to Villa Spiros where a home-cooked meal awaits you.
You have the whole day and evening to yourselves! Sometime during the evening, there will be an opportunity to go to Zakynthos town centre for a last stroll, coffee and shopping trip. You may like to visit the Church of St Dennis, patron saint of the island, whose tomb is there. The peaceful interior is beautifully painted, even the ceiling and the gilded icons are well preserved
Escorted tour: Mid-morning we will begin our journey back to Athens, arriving at your hotel mid-afternoon. Relax or wander and spend the evening dining and discussing your “Liquid Gold” experience.
Unescorted tour: In the morning, you’ll be taken to Zakynthos Central bus station for your return journey to Athens. You will be met at Athens bus station and taken to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Your driver will collect you and take you to the airport in good time for your departure. Kallo Taxidi” (safe journey)
This holiday will take place in the breathtaking Ionian island of Zakynthos, where you will find wonderful picturesque villages, green slopes all around, and the endless, blue, crystal clear, Ionian Sea. Traditional houses, old cafés, and family tavernas, compliment this beautiful setting. The agricultural activity is also very visible with hectares of cultivated land, vineyards, olive groves, and tiny family owned factories. Although most small businesses are closed in the winter months, kiosks, supermarkets, tavernas, and medical centers are still open daily and just a short drive or bus ride takes you to the main Zakynthos town where everything is open and available to you.
During this vacation, you will delight your palate with delicious meals, which will include lunches at local tavernas and a delicious barbecue lunch, where you will have traditional dishes, including freshly made tzatziki, Greek salad and oven potatoes. The highlight of this trip, is to have the opportunity to indulge and taste what the locals call their liquid gold, the famous olives. You will also experience several gastronomic specialties, including traditional products and, of course, local wines. You will also receive many recommendations of places where you can enjoy the best gastronomic offers or mouthwatering cocktails.
Arrive at Athens International Airport (ATH). Then catch a domestic flight to Zakynthos (ZTH) airport. Your hosts will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.
Alternatively, you may take the coach from Athens Kiffisos central bus station to Zakynthos, feuturing a one hour boat ride ftom Kyllini port to Zakynthos. We can help you arrange your bus & boat tickets.
Arrival by ferry boat from Venice, Ancona, or Brindisi to Patras is an alternative if you travel either by car or train. It takes about 20 hours with the superfast ferries from Venice to Patras. Then, there is a further hour drive by car or bus from Patras to Killini port, from where the ferry boat takes you to Zakynthos Town in one hour. Zakynthos can be easily reached by boat from Killini port or nearby Kephalonia Island.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.