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8 Day Culinary Vacation in Zakynthos with Exciting Sightseeing

Villa Spiros, Laganas, Zakynthos, 29092

Cooking Vacation in Greece

Discover the culture and creativity of Zakynthos’ gastronomy in a truly authentic experience. From visiting tavern kitchens, cooking on traditional wood fires and eating in family homes, you’ll have the taste adventure of a lifetime. Additionally, you’ll be welcomed into the Vythoulkas family and will experience the heart of life on Zakynthos. With excursions to the famous Shipwreck Bay, boat trips to Turtle Island the Blue Caves and local sirtaki dancing, your time on Zakynthos will be like no other!

Highlights

  • Cooking sessions with a local chef
  • Taste local wine, olive oil, and savor traditional cuisine
  • Visit the world-famous Shipwreck Bay
  • Swim to the breathtaking Keri caves
  • Boat trip to see loggerhead turtles
  • 7 nights accommodation

Styles


7 days with instruction
Airport transfer included: Zakynthos International Airport
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Accommodation

Villa Spiros

Located in Laganas resort, Villa Spiros features a mixture of self-catering ground floor studios and first-floor apartments, furnished to a high standard in a clean modern style. This little oasis of calm is 300 meters away from the lovely Laganas beach and a 2-minute stroll from Laganas main street with its parade of shops, restaurants, bars, bus stops, and medical centers. Countless excursions and sights are nearby, amenities complementing the villa’s location perfectly.

Villa Spiros has studios which can accommodate up to four guests, and apartments which can accommodate up to 6 guests.

Villa Spiros welcomes every guest traveling with friends or family. Whether you want to escape for a few days to regain your balance or you just need a quiet place to relax, we offer all the necessary and modern facilities for the ideal escape in Zante.

They will hold an informal meeting, providing you with all you need to know to make the very best of your precious holiday time and be sure to see and experience all the things most tourists miss out on.

General facilities

  • Reception​
  • Lounge room
  • Lending library​
  • Wireless Internet
  • Cleaning twice a week
  • A/C
  • TV
  • Bedding for any season of the year
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Barbecue facilities
  • Free parking
  • Children’s play area
  • Beach towels and li-los
  • Postal services – Express courier service
  • Luggage storage room
  • Late check-in or check-out

Services at an additional cost

  • Breakfast​
  • Evening meals (by arrangement) cooked fresh with organic products from the farm (when available, season permitting)
  • Airport transfers
  • Shopping trips
  • A great variety of local products for sale (wine, olive oil, honey and other sweet and savory delicacies)
  • Services of a personal driver and island guide
  • Laundry
  • Baby-sitting / child care
  • Doctor assistance
  • Excursion bookings to must-see places & attractions
  • Private boat trips to Marathonisi Island
  • Car, motorcycle, quad bike, scooter or bicycle hire

Villa Spiros is located:

  • 300 meters from sandy Laganas beach
  • 50 meters from Laganas main street
  • 5 kilometers from Zakynthos airport
  • 7 kilometers from Zakynthos town
  • 35 kilometers from St. Nicholaos port

Villa Antonio

Located in a prime location from where to explore Zakynthos Island, Villa Antonio, is set in over 2000 sq meters of private fenced olive grove and gardens, with its own outdoor heated pool. This stylish villa offers comfort & breathtaking views in a peaceful setting.

In an elevated position, Villa Antonio comprises three bedrooms and two bathrooms, an open plan kitchen, living room, and verandas. It is surrounded by fruit and olive trees and benefits from the warmth of the sun all day long.

The villa is suitable for a family with children or a group of friends or colleagues sharing. The villa can accommodate up to seven guests.

Facilities

  • A/C in all rooms
  • Wifi
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • Washing machine
  • TV set
  • Comfortable lounge / dining room
  • Private parking
  • Private heated pool
  • Sun lounges
  • Large garden with hobby farm
  • Selection of books
  • Barbeque facilities

Guest Services

  • A warm welcome from your hosts
  • Information on how to effectively organize your time on the island
  • All rooms cleaned twice weekly
  • Beds and towels changed twice weekly
  • Free Wi-Fi

Services at an additional cost

  • Collection from and to the airport or port
  • Car, motorcycle, scooter or bicycle hire can be arranged
  • Baby cots
  • Services of a private personal driver & guide
  • Services of a private boat and skipper
  • Private cheffing: Evening meals cooked fresh with organic products from the farm (when available, season permitting)
  • A large variety of craft and children’s activities
  • Full laundry service
  • Take out meal delivery service
  • Doctor assistance

Villa Antonio is located:

  • 6 kilometers from the airport
  • 1 kilometer from the nearest market
  • 5 kilometers from the nearest beach
  • 7 kilometers from Zante town
  • 30 kilometers from Agios Nicholaos port
  • 26 kilometers from Shipwreck view

Program

Day 1: Arrival and Zakynthos town welcome dinner

On arrival at Zakynthos airport or port, your private driver will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation. Famed for being the home of the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta, the Municipal Unit of Laganas will be your base for this fabulous culinary experience.

You will have time to unpack and settle into your new surroundings. Later, your hosts will welcome you to join them for drinks and an informal meeting. They will answer your questions and tell you about all the things to see and do in this diverse and lively resort.

In the evening, you will visit Zakynthos town. Here, you will enjoy a traditional welcome dinner, with magnificent views across the harbor and out to sea. Relax, with traditional singers providing tranquility and ambiance with their "kantades". This is Zakynthos’ characteristic music, accompanied by the mandolin and guitar. Local islanders have used this beautiful tradition to express joy, grief, and love for centuries.

It’s an amazing way to start your cooking and wine holiday and feel welcomed and relaxed on the beautiful island.

Day 2: Cooking with local chef Athina and 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 yogurt with honey, just for starters. Today, you will be cooking with a 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 colors, and great aromas! Learn to cook delicious stuffed vegetables with potatoes, zachinni balls, and an aubergine salad. Athina welcomes questions, as she is proud to share her knowledge and expertise in Zakynthian cuisine.

While tonight’s dinner is cooking, take the time to explore the famous sweeping bay of Laganas with its shallow water and sandy beach. As one of the most important nesting grounds of the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta, you’ll discover turtle nests, scattered across the golden sands. If you’d love to know more about these majestic creatures, just as the passionate volunteers from the National Marine Park of Zakynthos - they’re always happy to share their expertise!

The secluded uninhabited Islands of Pelouzo, Cameo, and the Turtle Island, just a little way out to sea, provide a stunning backdrop to the spectacular setting. It’s the perfect time to truly unwind and enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the sea. Why not try a spot of snorkeling, to see if you can spot some turtles? Then, enjoy a wonderful lunch surrounded by the beautiful sounds, sights, and smells of the glittering Ionian Sea.

In the evening, join your hosts, Effie and Antonio, for dinner - the meal you helped to prepare! Indulge in your own incredible creation, accompanied by Antonio’s chilled house wine.

Day 3: Moussaka secrets unrevealed and 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 tzatziki. With the sharpness of the tzatziki and the creaminess of the moussaka, 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 by 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 for 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 4: Meet local producers of Zakynthos, taste local wines and olive oil, enjoy Bochali by night

The inspiration for 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 artwork.

And let’s not forget Dennis, the smiley taverna owner, who will welcome you inside his kitchen to cook a festive meal based on the land, sea, and the season. You will cook a traditional fish soup, 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’ll 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 winemaking 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, you 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 harbor 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 5: Visit the historical Zakynthos Town and 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 center.

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 flavors, 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 6: Shipwreck Bay, Blue Caves, and a sensational farm-to-fork culinary experience

Wake up to another fun and exciting day. After a traditional breakfast, you will set out for the picturesque north of the island. Traveling through stunning scenery, mountains, and coastline, you 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, you’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, you will drive north and still be able to admire the shipwreck from the viewing platform set into the clifftop. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

After the boat trip, you will continue north, driving through beautiful rural villages to arrive at Orthonies village, your 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 a 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 7: A farewell Greek celebration to remember

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 sunbeds 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 a night out at “Dennis”, Villa Spiros team's favorite tavern in Lithakia village. This is your chance to enjoy a traditional Greek celebration, with a great BBQ, local wine and - of course -Greek live music and dancing. Enjoy the sounds of bouzouki while learning how to dance syrtaki, embracing, and celebrating the traditions of a rich and beautiful culture.

A grand finale to a great week!

Day 8: Departure day

This morning, enjoy your breakfast and make the most of your final moments. You can use the time to do a little last-minute shopping on Laganas Main Street, or head to Laganas beach, to feel the softness of the water, one final time. Your driver will take you to the airport or port in plenty of time for your departure.

After an incredible week stuffed with rich, local and authentic experiences and cuisine, you’ll feel Zakynthian through and through - and definitely a member of Villa Spiros family! They'll miss you, as you go!

Then, as people say in Greece, “Kallo Taxidi!” Have a safe journey home, and remember your experience for years to come.

The Vythoulkas Family

Location

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.

Features

Activities

  • Art classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Diving nearby
  • Horse riding / rental nearby
  • Sailing nearby
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping nearby
  • Skiing nearby
  • Snorkeling
  • Wine tasting / tour

General

  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Balcony
  • Bar nearby
  • Barbecue facilities
  • Beach nearby
  • Café nearby
  • Concierge desk
  • Dining area
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • In-room safe
  • Kitchen
  • Lake nearby
  • Lounge
  • Luggage room / storage
  • Special menu request

Services

  • Baby sitting
  • Bicycle rental
  • Board rental nearby
  • Car rental
  • Convenience / grocery store
  • Free parking
  • Ironing / ironing board
  • Laundry
  • Library
  • Local market
  • Medical assistance
  • Room cleaning
  • Scooter / motorcycle rental nearby
  • Tour assistance
  • Wireless internet

Food

During this holiday, you will indulge in traditional fare. All breakfasts, and most lunches and dinners are included in the price. In every trip, guests will have the chance to explore and discover local cuisine on their own. Of course, guides are on hand to provide suggestions and offer their favorite restaurants in the area. You will find that Greece’s diverse cuisine has something for everyone.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Fitoura tasting
  • Greek coffee tasting
  • Horse riding
  • Olive picking experience available in November
  • Photography workshop
  • Pottery workshop
  • Scuba diving
  • Self-defense classes
  • Tour to Kallipado, Tragaki, and Kipseli
  • Tour to Koiliomenos, Iperagathos Monastery, and Kabi
  • Tour to Louha, Giri, and Agia Marina
  • Tour to Volimes, Xigia, Katastari
  • Vasilikos royal tour
  • Visit to Agalas Village
  • Visit to Dafni Beach
  • Visit to the castle
  • Visit to the Museum of Dionysios Solomos
  • Visit to the Post-Byzantine Museum
  • Watersports
  • Wine tour at Trygos available in September
  • Zakynthos town delight walk

What's included

  • 2 cooking sessions with Athina
  • Meet local producers of Zakynthos, taste local wines and olive oil
  • Culinary experience at Zakynthos Town
  • “Farm-to-fork” culinary experience at a local taverna
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Bicycles
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Guided excursions as described in the itinerary

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Additional meals
  • Doctor assistance
  • Excursions not included
  • Laundry service
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Arrive at Zakynthos International Airport (ZTH). Villa Spiros will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

As an alternative to flying, guests that arrive at Athens International Airport (ATH) can use a shuttle bus or taxi from the airport to Kiffisos bus station. The national coach service KTEL has direct connections to Zakynthos. It is approximately a 4-hour journey and an hour journey on the Zakynthos - Kyllini ferry. The total commute takes approximately 5 hours. By car, this journey is reduced to approximately 3 hours.

Arrival by ferry

Ferry boat from Venice, Ancona, or Brindisi in Italy 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, from where the ferry boat takes you to Zakynthos town in one hour. Zakynthos can be easily reached by boat from Killini port or Kephalonia Island.

Airport: Zakynthos International Airport Airport transfer included: Zakynthos International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.

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