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8 Day Greek Cookery, Painting, and Culture Holiday in Zakynthos, Ionian Islands

Villa Spiros, Laganas, Zakynthos, Greece

Painting and Culinary Vacation in Greece

Travel to Zakynthos island for seven days to master Greek cooking techniques with local chef Effie and paint with artist Mika Simvoulidou. Stay at a near the beach villa with host Vythoulkas family onsite, who will ensure you experience not only a memorable cooking and painting holiday but also a cultural one. Be inspired by nature, local culture, tradition and be fueled by excellent local food. Taste local village bread, olive oil, a variety of local cheeses, the legendary moussaka, seasonal fresh fruit, and seafood. Stunning countryside, green mountains, little fishing ports, rural villages, local architecture, mesmerizing beaches and sea caves, provide an abundance of subjects to paint or sketch under the invigorating Ionian light.

Meet the instructors

Mika
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Highlights

  • 9 hours of painting
  • Wine and cheese tasting
  • Painting materials and equipment included
  • Prepare colorful organic Greek salad and stuffed vegetables
  • Visit the traditional women’s cooperative of local products
  • Swim at Shipwreck Beach and the Blue Cave
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Optional yoga classes
  • Airport transfers

Styles


7 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 8 participants
Airport transfer included: Zakynthos International Airport
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Kitchen
  • Smoke-free property
  • Terrace
  • Free Wi-Fi

Villa Spiros in Laganas Resort (self-catering studios and apartments)

Join your welcoming hosts for your holiday on this gorgeous Greek isle, away from the workload and rush of the rest of the world. Stay at Villa Spiros, located on the Ionian Island of Zakynthos, with access to lovely cafes, seaside tavernas, a great spa and beauty salon and just 300 meters from Laganas sandy beach.

Distinguished by the lure of its family-run and owned hospitality and extensive range of services, your villa excels with its warmth, hospitable ambiance, relaxing surroundings and friendly hosts who guarantee a pleasant, authentic Greek stay and will point you to the very best this wonderful island has to offer.

The villa offers studio rooms with ensuite bathrooms, fully functional kitchens, and spacious verandahs. You also have the option to upgrade into a self-catering apartment that accommodates 1-6 people.

The area pulses with the new and the old, and can be as lively or as calming as you would like it to be! In addition to the tuition, excursions and things you will see, there will be some free time to simply relax and enjoy your surroundings.

Aside from your chosen activity for the week, you will have a holiday full of amazing and memorable activities, from finding the sea turtles famed in the region to swimming in natural springs and at shipwreck bay, dancing and listening to music in traditional tavernas, and discovering the history and culture of Zakynthos.

Features

  • 4 km from Zakynthos Island airport and ferry
  • On the ocean and in walking distance to the lively town of Laganas
  • Surrounded by wine regions, as well as bays and beaches, shipwreck cove, and the picturesque, magical region of Bohali
  • Free transfers to and from Zakynthos Island airport and ferry terminal
  • Large verandahs off of your room to relax on
  • Free WiFi
  • Free parking
  • Greek and English speaking hosts with a wealth of knowledge about the area
  • Delicious local food and wine
  • Each room is spacious and has a private bathroom with a hairdryer
  • AC, safe deposit box, television, hairdryer, and fully functional kitchens in each studio
  • BBQ and bar on the grounds
  • Beach towels provided

Upgrade to Villa Antonio in Romiri village (private villa with pool)

Perfect for those who seek privacy, Villa Antonio is tucked away in the peaceful and picturesque village of Romiri, set over 2000 square meters of private fenced olive grove land, with its own outdoor swimming pool and breathtaking views to the countryside.

This traditional style Greek villa comprises of three bedrooms and two bathrooms, an open plan kitchen, a living room, and verandas. It is surrounded by flower gardens, fruit and olive trees, and benefits from the warmth of the sun all day long.

The villa is suitable for couples, a family with children or a group of friends or colleagues sharing. It accommodates from 1 to 7 people.

Features

  • 6 km from Zakynthos Island Airport and ferry
  • Free transfers to and from Zakynthos Island airport and ferry terminal
  • Free shopping trips upon request
  • 2 km from nearest bakery, supermarket, butchers and groceries store (they all deliver to the villa)
  • AC and safe deposit boxes in all rooms
  • TV set
  • 2 hairdryers
  • Comfortable lounge / dining room
  • Sun lounges and beach towels provided
  • Large garden with hobby farm
  • Selection of books
  • BBQ facilities

Program

Your instructor, Mika, is a highly qualified and experienced artist, with numerous exhibitions to her name and she will provide you with all necessary equipment, materials, inspiration, guidance and will encourage you to also paint on your own.

You may choose to paint with watercolors, oils, acrylics or use mixed media. As you are practicing in a small group of no more than eight people, tuition will be adapted to each participant’s specific needs, whether it is learning the fundamentals or taking your existing skills to the next level.

Itinerary

Please note, the following itinerary is for guidance only and subject to change depending on the season and group’s needs and wishes, but all the following activities will take place sometime during the week.

Day 1: Arrival and welcome Traditional Zakynthian dinner with your hosts

On arrival, you will be transferred to your accommodation, Villa Spiros in Laganas. Famed as the home of the sea turtle Caretta caretta, Laganas will be your base for this exciting painting holiday. You will have time to unpack and settle in your new surroundings.

A little while later your hosts will invite you to join them and fellow guests for an informal welcome meeting and homecooked meal over which you can discuss the week’s proposed itinerary and familiarize yourself with the many things there are to do and see in this diverse, lively resort.

In the evening, you may like to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the unending Laganas beach. Let the sound of the sea and the gentle breeze melt away the stresses of your journey. There are plenty of seaside tavernas if you would like to enjoy dinner, with magnificent views over Laganas Bay.

Day 2: Cooking and painting in the countryside

Enjoy a healthy and revitalizing breakfast with organic fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, and eggs from the host family’s farm, before you join your host, Effie in her kitchen to cook a traditional light dish full of vitamins, summer colors, and great aromas!

Today, you will learn to cook her favorite recipe “Gemista”. Stuffed vegetables full of vitamins, summer colors and great aromas filled with herbs and rice. You will also prepare a colorful organic Greek salad. Effie welcomes questions, as she is proud to share her knowledge and experience of Zakynthian cuisine with you.

While lunch is cooking, your host Antonio will drive you to Koiliomenos village, set 7 km away from Laganas resort to meet your wonderful local artist Mika. First, Mika would like to introduce you to the village’s longstanding architectural tradition, the impressive bell tower and church, the stunning countryside and the local history, to source all the inspiration you need to be creative on the canvas later.

Then, arrive at Abelostrates estate, hosting Mika’s residence, art studio and her husband’s Antonio rustic taverna. There, you will endeavor to a three-hour plain air workshop, under the shade of the walnut trees, followed by a rustic country lunch prepared by husband Antonio.

Later, back to Villa Spiros, to freshen up and enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

You may like to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the lovely Laganas resort, swimming or reading your favorite book by the sea. If you want to be more active, take a stroll along the 7 km long sandy beach, or swim and snorkel to find yourself swimming alongside the loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta. They swim freely in the bay from the beginning of May until the end of October.

You must be hungry by now. Back at the villa to freshen up and enjoy the lunch you helped prepare together with your hosts, alongside Antonio’s homemade wine.

Day 3: Boat tour to the west coast, the Shipwreck Bay and the Blue Caves, explore Zakynthos town in the evening

Wake up to another fun and exciting day. Today, discover the west coast of Zakynthos on a four-hour boat trip, where you can also take your sketchbook and draw on board.

From Agios Sostis fishing port, board “Poseidon” boat, for a once in a lifetime boat trip experience towards the Turtle Island, the breathtaking west coast of Zakynthos with the secluded coves, crystal clear water, dramatic blue caves to arrive at mesmerizing Shipwreck Bay.

Marvel at this magical landscape and swim at the crystal clear blue waters of one of the most famous beaches on earth. This is what we call a natural eye delight. 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.

In the evening, explore Zakynthos main town. The first stop is at the Church of the island’s patron saint, St. Dionysius. The huge inside is richly decorated with gold and icons. The Saint’s remains are here in a silver casket, which on some occasions is open for viewing.

Continue with a gentle walk in town and get familiarized with the Ionian architecture and the market street to taste and buy local products and delicacies.

Later, you will have dinner in a harbourside taverna. Traditional Greek dishes are served by the owner and his sons, who later in the evening sing Greek folksongs, accompanying themselves on the guitar and mandolin. You will feel you have discovered real Greek life.

Day 4: Painting and revealing the Mousaka secrets

Today after breakfast, you will continue your painting and artwork at Mika’s estate for another three wonderful hours of painting with half an hour lunch break.

Return to Villa Spiros, where you will have the opportunity to explore the local cooking techniques and aromas of Zakynthos local herbs. Put your apron on and let your host Effie reveal to you the secrets of the healthy, local cuisine.

Today, Effie is happy to offer you a choice between cooking “Giouvetsi”, orzo pasta with lamp in the oven or the Greek legendary moussaka. The choice is yours. Both dishes are a tasteful sensation!

While tonight’s dinner is cooking, you may like to simply relax at the Villa or spend a leisurely day down the beach. Sunbeds 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. Alternatively, choose to continue with your artwork at the villa or by the beach.

In the evening, join your hosts for dinner with the meal you helped prepare, followed by scrumptious “Frigania”, local dessert.

Day 5: Paint on your own and optional yoga class in the evening

Today, you will have the opportunity to paint on your own by the seaside. The owners of Blue Sea tavern, right on Laganas Beach, will welcome you and make you feel comfortable at their family-run tavern. You may stay there and paint for as long as you like.

Just a little way out to Laganas Bay, the secluded uninhabited Islands of Pelouzo, Cameo and the Turtle Island, provide a stunning backdrop to a spectacular setting for today’s painting inspiration. The time now to truly unwind and enjoy a relaxing morning painting, among the relaxing sounds and aromas of the Ionian Sea. Simple, yet wonderful!

Later, you may like to enjoy a relaxing swim and a light lunch at the tavern. It is all there lying on your feet. In the evening, you are very welcome to join your host and yoga teacher Andriana for a relaxing sunset yoga class on the beach. Alternatively, your hosts will be happy to drive you at someplace you saw and want to go back and draw.

Day 6: Culinary secrets to a longer life & painting, olive oil, and fruity liquors tasting

Today, learn about some culinary secrets that will help you feel healthier and live a longer life. Villa Spiros will invite a local chef and farmer to show you step by step how to prepare an easy healthy breakfast, that will make you feel energized for the rest of the day. Complement your meal with blood-purifying seasonal fruit juice and get the day off to a great start.

Later, start cooking today’s meal, focusing on “Land, Sea, and the Seasons”, including a four-course meal and lots of tips that will enhance the length and quality of your life. Enjoy the lovely meal you helped prepare for lunch with your hosts and fellow guests.

Later in the evening, back at Koiliomenos village to put the final touches to your works of art, each as individual as the person who created them. You may also enjoy Mika’s husband homemade wine.

After this evening’s class you will have the opportunity to visit the local women's’ cooperative and meet the ladies who lovingly produce and sell their own homemade, natural products such as wine, honey, bread, cheese, vinegar, soap, candles, local sweets, jams, liquors, embroideries and much more. Back at Villa Spiros to relax and have a light dinner with your hosts.

Day 7: Wine tasting and farewell Greek celebration night to remember in the evening

Today after breakfast, together with Antonio, drive to Lagopodo village and visit Grampsas winery, 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 winemaking process before inviting you to sit on the shady terrace to sample white and red wines with local cheese.

Continue your day with swimming at Laganas beach and prepare your drawings to take back home. Your hosts will provide you with materials to wrap them up to travel home safely.

In the evening, dress up for a farewell party at “Dennis”, Villa Spiros' favorite tavern in Lithakia village. There, you 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.

Phew! A grand finale to a great week!

Day 8: Departure day

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 Villa Spiros' family.

Kallo Taxidi! (safe journey)

Instructors

Mika Symvoulidou

Location

This painting and culinary holiday takes place in the beautiful Greek island of Zakynthos.

Distances

  • Zakynthos Island airport ZTH, 4 kilometers away
  • Kefalonia Island airport EFL - 10 minutes' flight to Zakynthos
  • Athens airport ATH - 45 minutes' flight to Zakynthos

Food

Included in the package are daily breakfast, four lunches, and five dinners. You will also enjoy wine and olive oil tasting, and dine in style in a seaside taverna.

Sample menu is as follows:

  • "Gemista" stuffed vegetables
  • Organic chicken in tomato sauce
  • "Giouvetsi" orzo pasta with lamb or beef
  • Mousaka
  • BBQ (mixed grill)
  • "Grandma's" pasta with garlic, mushrooms and beaf
  • "Frigania" local dessert
  • Fava beans
  • Lentil soup
  • Bakaliaros with garlic sauce
  • Souvlaki
  • Tzatziki
  • Village bread
  • Greek salad

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)

Extra activities

  • Group yoga / Pilates session
  • Private yoga / Pilates session
  • Transports to extra sights and activities
  • Private tours
  • Massage therapy
  • Handmade creations workshop
  • Cooking lessons including meal

The following activities are priced seasonally, but your hosts will get you the best prices while you’re there:

  • Horse riding through a pine forest and Kalamaki sand dunes
  • Sailing
  • Kitesurfing
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • SUP
  • Diving

What's included

  • 7 nights accommodation at Villa Spiros with breakfast
  • Airport transfers
  • Painting materials and equipment
  • 9 hours of painting tuition
  • 9 hours of Greek cookery
  • 9 meals (4 lunches and 5 dinners)
  • Swimming at Turtle Island, Shipwreck Beach, and the Blue Caves
  • Tour to Zakynthos town and serenaded dinner
  • Tour to the traditional Koiliomenos village
  • Visit at the traditional women’s cooperative of local products
  • Wine and cheese tasting
  • Optional yoga class
  • Greek live music and dancing

What's not included

  • Airfare

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Zakynthos International Airport (ZTH). All transfers are included from Zakynthos airport or from the Zakynthos ferry terminal to the villa. Full, detailed directions will be shown on your booking confirmation voucher.

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 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Availability
  • Low season: October, November
  • Mid season: May, June, September
  • High season: July, August

 

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