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8 Day Learn to Dive, Yoga, and Cooking Holiday in Zakynthos, Ionian Islands

Villa Spiros, Laganas, Zakynthos, Greece

Diving, Yoga, and Cooking Vacation in Greece

Indulge into the shades of Ionian Blue, learn to dive at some of the world’s safest dive sites and become certified to dive anywhere in the world with widely recognized four-day PADI® Open Water Diver course. Learn to cook Greek home-cooked food, nurture your body and mind with yoga, swim with turtles, connect to the awe-inspiring and beautiful nature of the Greek isle of Zakynthos, get a taste of the local cuisine and culture. This is what this holiday is all about.

Highlights

  • 4 cooking lessons
  • Olive oil tasting and olives press visit
  • 4-day diving PADI course and 4 open water experiences
  • Swim at the Shipwreck Beach and the Turtle Island
  • Take part in two yoga sessions
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

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

Diving

To enroll in a PADI Open Water Diver course you must be 10 years old or older. You need adequate swimming skills and to be in good physical health. No prior experience with scuba diving is required. Diving sites are chosen based on weather and current conditions together with the skill level of divers participating.

The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:

  • 2 pool dives to learn basic principles of scuba diving
  • 4 open water dives to use your skills and explore
  • a written exam

Yoga

Your experienced yoga teachers Thaleia and 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.

Cooking

The menu is lovingly crafted to provide you with a unique local culinary experience. You will enjoy a variety of nutritionally-dense, cleansing 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, bread, and wine.

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 diving and yoga 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: Your diving experience begins, learn to cook “stuffed vegetables”

After breakfast, walk a short distance of 500 meters towards Laganas Beach to arrive at the diving school. There, you will meet your PADI certified diving instructors, who will welcome you and give you a short briefing of the course. Each diving course will last for four hours.

First, you start with some theory, during which you will watch videos and learn about the basics of scuba diving. Then, you continue with practicing in the pool and then off to the boat for your first open water diving experience to the heavenly uninhabited “Marathonisi Island", lying peacefully in the sweeping Laganas bay and remarkably shaped similar to our native sea turtle Caretta caretta.

Descend 5 meters to discover a magnificent limestone reef, covered with sponges, soft corals, and rich sea life. Swim among octopus, moray eels, cuttlefish, flying fish, grouper, bream, wrasse, and parrotfish. If you are lucky enough you might also be encountered with a loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta.

You must be hungry by now, back at Villa Spiros, to enjoy a refreshing Greek salad before you start with your cooking lesson. Today, your host Effie will teach you the techniques of how to cook “Gemista”, stuffed vegetables, a traditional light dish full of vitamins, summer colors, and great aromas.

While dinner is cooking, you may like to rest or explore the surrounding area and the 7 kilometers long Laganas Beach lying only 500 meters 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. 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.

In the evening enjoy the meal you helped prepare with your hosts alongside Antonio’s chilled wine at the little pretty garden of Villa Spiros.

Day 3: Sunrise yoga and diving, revealing the Mousaka secrets and making Frigania dessert

Wake up in the morning and get your day off to a great start. Walk a short distance to one of the most important nesting grounds of the sea turtle Caretta caretta, where turtle nests are scattered all along the golden sands protected by little cages and watched over by passionate volunteers from the National Marine Park of Zakynthos.

Just a little way out to sea the secluded uninhabited Islands of Pelouzo, Cameo and the Turtle Island, provide a stunning backdrop to a spectacular setting. The time now to truly unwinds as yoga nurtures your body and soul and the Mediterranean sun and sea breeze softly caress your skin.

Later, back at Villa Spiros, tuck into a healthy breakfast with fresh delicacies from local farms, before you continue with your diving course. Some more theory and practicing in the pool and then sail to Keri Peninsula for your second open water diving experience.

Today, it will be a little more challenging as you head down at 8 meters in the Octopus reef to explore the marine life and some beautiful shallow caves between 2 meters and 5 meters deep and swim through the impressive network of tunnels with stalagmites and stalactites lining some of the sea chambers.

After your diving course, you will have enough time to have lunch and relax before your second cooking lesson starts.

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, 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 you helped prepare in the company of your hosts.

Day 4: Diving, aqua yoga and Souvlaki making activity

After a hearty breakfast, continue your PADI course with a little more theory today and more open water diving. Today, you sail again to Keri Peninsula to dive into “Marathia”, one of the most magnificent natural sites of Zakynthos Island. Explore this underwater paradise at 12 meters. Continue with some more magnificent sailing to the crystalline waters and blue caves around Keri and Laganas Bay.

After your diving course, enjoy sometime at leisure, before you plunge yourself into the sea 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.

In the evening, join your hosts for a fun making activity and learn how to make the original pita souvlaki with either pork or chicken skewer and homemade tzatziki and Greek salad. Simple, yet wonderful!

Day 5: Shipwreck Bay, Blue Caves, and Zakynthos town by night

Wake up to another fun and exciting day. Today, from Agios Sostis fishing port set off for a once in a lifetime boat trip experience towards the breathtaking west coast of Zakynthos with the secluded coves, crystal clear water, dramatic caves to arrive at mesmerizing Shipwreck Bay.

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 the fascinating Zakynthos main town, where the majority of the local people live and work. 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.

Later, enjoy a gentle walk and get familiarized with the Ionian architecture and local history before you enter the “The yard of taste”, the most organic, and sensational dining experience on Zakynthos island.

Day 6: Diving exam, first certified dive and the “fearless phyllo” experience

Following breakfast, at diving school complete your one-hour written exam and then set off for your first certified dive at Barracuda Reef in Keri Peninsula. An underwater paradise reef dive to put in practice everything you have learned during this exciting diving experience. Discover a kaleidoscope of reefs, shoals, coral cays teeming with local marine life.

With your certificate in hand, return to Villa Spiros. Time to relax and have something light to eat before you continue with your cooking workshops.

Effie will invite you to her kitchen to cook, a traditional recipe featuring tomato lentil soup with fresh tomato juice and “fearless phyllo” cheese pie made from scratch. The taste is magical. Enjoy this delicious meal in the evening for dinner with a surprise celebration party for your PADI achievement.

Day 7: Olive oil and wine tasting, and a farewell Greek celebration night to remember

After breakfast, together with Antonio, visit 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. In the end, is a chance to taste a variety of extra virgin oils on village bread and buy their products.

You continue the 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 winemaking process before inviting you to sit on the shady terrace to sample white and red wines with local cheese.

Enjoy a relaxing morning. You may like to explore the little shops alongside Laganas main road, or swim and sunbathe at the golden sands of Laganas Bay.

In the evening dress up for the farewell party at “Dennis”, Villa Spiros team's 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

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)

Location

This diving 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

Daily breakfast, nine meals (three lunches and six dinners) are included. You will also enjoy four cooking lessons, olive oil tasting, and an olive press visit.

Sample menu is as follows:

  • "Gemista" stuffed vegetables
  • Organic chicken in tomato sauce
  • "Giouvetsi" orzo pasta with lamp 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
  • 4-day diving PADI course and enrolment fee
  • 4 open water diving experiences
  • CD with GoPro underwater photographs
  • 2 yoga sessions
  • 4 cooking lessons
  • 9 meals included (3 lunches and 6 dinners)
  • Boat tour to the west coast of the island
  • Swim at the Shipwreck Beach and the Turtle Island
  • Tour to Zakynthos town
  • Olive oil tasting and olives press visit
  • Traditional homemade meals
  • A Greek celebration night to remember

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: March, April, October, November
  • Mid season: May, June, September
  • High season: July, August

 

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