Cultural and gastronomic experiences throughout Holy Week.
Easter (Pascha in Greek) is a major family festival in Greece and a significant celebration in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is celebrated in every corner of Zakynthos.
Encompassing traditional customs, our Easter programme includes cultural and gastronomic experiences throughout Holy Week, leading up to Easter. There will be hands-on cooking of Zakynthian delicacies, olive oil and wine tastings, trips to the countryside and seaside, plus traditional evenings out.
Activities include dyeing hard boiled Easter eggs and making Easter decorations you will be proud to take home.
You will attend the Resurrection parade, the midnight church ceremony on Holy Saturday, enjoy a traditional Mageiritsa dinner and eat spit-roast lamb on Easter Sunday.
The week is full, but allows plenty of time to take siestas. This will be more than a holiday; it will be a memory to cherish, particularly impressive for first-time visitors to the island.Book this holiday package »
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 some time during the week.
You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your accommodation, then given time to settle into your new surroundings. You will be invited on a shopping trip to the nearby supermarket to stock up on holiday necessities.
Later, we will hold a welcome meeting and buffet in the reception area. Your hosts, Effie & Antonio, Denia & Adriana, will be delighted to tell you about the traditions of Holy Week, outline the proposed itinerary and answer any questions.
Today, enjoy the traditions and special aromas of preparations for our Easter feast. Mid-morning we start making Tsoureki, a sweet Easter brioche type of bread. You will see the special flour and spices used (one spice produced only on the island of Chios). We’ll be grating the zest of oranges taken from the tree that morning. After an hour or so, the dough will be wrapped & left to prove until late afternoon, when we roll the dough & make plaited loaves, to be sprinkled with almonds and baked after a second proving.
By 7pm we will take you to the village of Macherado, for dinner with local wine at Dennis’ traditional taverna. By the time we have eaten, worshippers will have started to arrive at St Mavra’s Church, opposite the taverna, for the Good Friday service. We will join them, noticing that they kiss the icons as they arrive (do the same if you wish). The focal point is a wooden reproduction of Christ in the tomb. Ornately carved and richly painted, the village women cover it with flowers for today. Traditionally, people return to their home village for this service, so the Church is full. The service takes about 2 hours, with the congregation just listening to the Church singers, sometimes standing, often going outside for a break and returning. In the last half hour the priest wafts incense over the tomb, sprinkles it with holy water and flower petals from baskets held by village maidens in traditional costume. He then moves through the large congregation wafting and sprinkling us, before we follow the decorated tomb out through the Church doors. Then led by a uniformed band, the icon is carried through the village streets, the congregation following with lighted tapers, on a circular route back to the Church. A little more music and this unforgettable evening is drawn to a close.
Holy Saturday, with the Resurrection celebrated in the midnight service, is the most important day in the Greek calendar, and an amazing communal experience.
Mid-morning, meet at reception to decorate hessian wrapped candles using flowers from the garden, ribbons and twine. These are for us to carry at tonight’s celebration.
After lunch, we help Effie in her kitchen as she starts cooking tonight’s dinner. “Mageiritsa” (lightly cooked lamb offal, with rice and an egg and lemon sauce), and “Stifado” (beef in tomato sauce), “Frigania” dessert and we dye some red eggs to use in egg battles tonight.
Late evening, we go into Zakynthos town, which by 11pm is filling up with people. From reserved balcony seats we have a great view of the thousands who have gathered, all holding candles to be lit at midnight. Now comes the silver band, leading a procession making its way to the podium dignitaries and priests, carrying icons and their own elaborately decorated candles. There is chanting and singing then a surge of sound as midnight passes and it’s Easter Day. All candles are lit (quite a sight to look down on) as the crowd wish each other Happy Easter.
Then we make our way through the streets to the Vylthoukas’ family home, to share the first meat meal after Lent. There will be the traditional Mageiritsa Dessert and wine of course!
We won’t be home before 2am but the sights, sounds and tastes are unforgettable.
Easter Sunday is a day of joy and celebration, getting together with family and friends for eating, drinking, music and dancing. We make an early start preparing our Easter Sunday feast, by putting the lamb on the spit to roast slowly, preparing delicious Easter appetizers and decorating the table. This day is also called Lambri (Brightness), celebrating the day of the resurrection of Christ. After our Greek Easter meal, you are welcome to join us to go to the picturesque port of Agios Sostis. There is a ceramic studio, small tavernas, coffee shops and a sea side cocktail bar, where you can enjoy a coffee or your favourite tipple to relax you while the sun goes down on another spectacular day.
After breakfast, we set off for a monastery (strictly a convent, housing 13 nuns) just outside Macherado village. It was built by a local priest, who decorated it by hand with mosaic icons inside and out. The ceilings and interior walls also display huge murals painted by the nuns.
Then a short drive takes us to a vineyard and winery run by the third generation of the Grampsas family. It 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 wine making process before inviting you to sit on the shady terrace to sample white and red wines with local cheese.
That evening, we’ll take a stroll through Bohali, at the top of Zakynthos town. The view from this exclusive residential area is breathtaking, over the whole town and harbour and out to sea. Then we’ll have dinner in a harbourside taverna. Traditional Greek dished 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.
Mid-morning, go with Effie to her favourite confectioner’s shop in Zakynthos town. The fourth generation confectioner and shop owner will put on his apron to show you step by step how to make classic Baklava (almonds, walnuts and spices folded into buttery filo pastry).
Effie will then take you on a gentle walk round her home town. 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. Then walk along the harbor and sample a local custard-type pastry from a street stall before walking through Solomos Square and hearing about the poet. Effie then takes you to St Mark’s Square to sit and watch the world go by outside her favourite coffee shop. Batteries recharged, you are ready to hit the shops before a final stop for lunch at a traditional taverna. There’s a wide choice of food, but this is a good chance to try the famous souvlaki or gyros.
Spend the day at leisure as at noon, we set off for the north. First stop is at an olive oil factory. See the display of machinery from the old days before touring the modern factory with your guide. At the end is a chance to taste a variety of oils on village bread. Then it’s on to Ag. Nikolaos to take an amazing boat trip past caves and rock formations to the famous Shipwreck Bay for a swim.
Returning to port, we drive on to a welcoming traditional taverna with a World-class view over white rocks to the bluest of blue seas. The food here is produced on the owners’ farm and is a favourite with the locals.
Maybe a last stroll to town or the beach.
Your driver will take you to the airport in good time.
“Kallo Taxidi (safe journey)!
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 metres from Laganas sandy beach.
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 sq meters of private fenced olive grove land, with its own outdoor swimming pool & breathtaking views to the countryside.
Please note that prices for the holidays do not include flights. We recommend using skyscanner.net to check flights.
Holiday start days
You may arrive on any day of the week but the program dates are as follows:
7 nights/ 8 days
- It is possible to add extra nights accommodation to this holiday. Please contact us for more information »
- It is possible to stay min 3 nights.
Just pay a deposit now to secure your place
Our booking system allows you to keep your money with you for longer. This is how it works: there's no need to pay for the entire holiday course up front – all you do is pay a 20% deposit and then pay the remainder upon arrival.
We accept: Credit / Debit Card (Mastercard / Visa) or bank transfer to a GR bank account
Full details of how and when to pay the balance will be given during the booking process and will be printed on your confirmation voucher.
The following activities are priced seasonally, but your hosts will get you the best prices while you’re there:
Non activity participating guests are welcome to join. Prices will be discounted accordingly. Please contact us for more information »