Looking for a different, more pristine part of Greece? Then perhaps look beyond Santorini's signature blue domes and Crete's sunny beaches. How about combining Zakynthos, with its paradisiacal coasts, and the Western Peloponnese, with surprising cities and historical sites? You will discover fantastic cuisine, warm-hearted people and exceptional hotels. You will inevitably fall in love with this unique part of Greece.
DAY 1: Departure to Zakynthos
The journey begins at Zakynthos airport, where you will collect your rental car and kick off your discovery of this beautiful island. You will stay on this island for three nights at one of our Caractère hotels.
DAY 2: The unspoilt west
Whoever thinks of Zakynthos naturally thinks of the sea; after all, the island is known for its breathtaking coastline and pristine natural beauty. Hop in your car and drive to the southwest, here you will discover some hidden beaches, quiet bays and underwater caves. For example, Plakaki where crystal clear waters and endless vistas await you. Don't forget your snorkel, as the inviting, calm waters are a great place to discover marine life. From the viewpoint at the top, you'll enjoy stunning views of the horizon. But beware: it's quite a steep climb to the top, so make sure you're in tip-top shape!
DAY 3: Marathonisi
Your trip to Zakynthos is not complete without a visit to the famous Marathonisi, better known as the 'Turtle Island'. This tiny, pristine islet off the coast of Zakynthos is a piece of nature paradise. More than that, it is a marine protected area, famous for the Caretta sea turtle that lays its eggs there. The only way to get to Marathonisi is by water, but not to worry: there are options aplenty. Join an organised excursion, book a private boat or train your arm muscles and kayak to the island. Back on shore and still some time to spare? Then pay another visit to Cameo Island with its famous wooden bridge in the sea. The ideal spot for Instagram-worthy holiday photos!
DAY 4: Zakynthos Town and the Peloponnese
Today you set sail towards the mainland for the next leg of your journey. Before taking the ferry, however, you'll have time to explore Zakynthos' cosy, eponymous capital. In Zakynthos, or Zante as its Italian name suggests, everyone will get their fill: trendy coffee bars, countless restaurants and local shops. Stroll around the narrow streets around the beautiful Solomon Square for a while before heading towards the port and saying goodbye to this unforgettable island. Once you arrive in the Peloponnese, continue your Greek adventure to one of our Caractère hotels where you will stay for four nights.
Day 5: Olympia
After enjoying a delicious breakfast, head inland towards Olympia to visit one of the world's most famous archaeological sites. The atmosphere that prevails at the site where the very first Olympic Games once took place is, no wonder, mythical. Enjoy the peace and serenity exuded by this almost magical place and witness some well-preserved monuments of antiquity. Relax in the cosy botanical garden and be sure to visit the stadium that once hosted legendary matches. Still craving culture? Then continue your visit at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. Hungry, but in a different way? Enjoy an excellent Greek salad on the cosy terrace of the Greek taverna just next to the exit.
DAY 6: Patras
Today it's time for a city tour. Have you ever heard of Patras, Greece's third largest city? Chances are you haven't, because unlike big names like Athens and Thessaloniki, this bustling port city has remained relatively unheard of among tourists. Unjustly so, as there is a lot to experience. Make sure to visit the city's castle and Agios Andreas Church: the largest church in the entire Balkans and a fine example of Byzantine architecture. Make time for the Archaeological Museum too, as here you will discover yet another impressive collection from classical antiquity. Don't feel like going back to your hotel yet? Then get lost in the labyrinth of shopping streets and squares or dive into the night, because as in all other Greek metropolises, you will find a vibrant nightlife in Patras.
Day 7: Winery and/or olive oil tasting
The Peloponnese not only has quite a lot to offer in terms of history. It is also one of Greece's most famous and renowned wine regions. So be sure to plan a visit to one of the region's many wineries and estates. Not such a wine lover, but rather a fan of olive oil? You will also find the 'liquid gold', as Greek poet Homer described it, in abundance here. Greece is therefore not just any of the world's biggest olive oil producers. Take part in a workshop and find out more about how they make the oil and how they cultivate the olive trees. And of course you'll have plenty of time afterwards to taste it over a snack and a drink.
DAY 8: Going home
Enjoy a full breakfast one last time overlooking the Ionian Sea. Then, sadly, it's time to return to the airport. This wonderful trip is sadly over, but you will undoubtedly return to Greece!
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