The charming villas boast holistic names – Agapi (love), Sympan (Universe), Fos (light) and Zoi (life) – in line with the peaceful and almost spiritual philosophy of this nature retreat, which is still just minutes away from the beach and town.
Built in the traditional Zakynthian style and embellished with a touch of local décor, the comfortable villas fit four to six people and are just a step away from the main Therianos household, where Mama Toula serves one of the best breakfasts and meals on the island. While the villas each have their own kitchen, the family goes to great lengths to make sure your stay is a comfortable one, giving you great tips on what to discover in Zakynthos. After all, the villas’ owner and manager, Dimitris Therianos, is the founder of the EcoZakynthos network and loves to share the island’s best secrets with his guests.
In the meantime, if you have children they’ll just love the garden with an assortment of animals (chickens, dogs, cats, peacocks and birds) and a little play area, all surrounded by vineyards, just steps away from the lovely little village centre of Kallithea. If you stay here, you must walk up to the old bakery of the village, the church nearby and a small convenience store hidden away in house just steps above the church (there isn’t much there, but just buy some biscuits or something small to support the local economy). If you hike up a little further, you will see remains of old stone houses that mostly crumbled during the 1953 earthquake. Hiking enthusiasts will adore walking on the paths along the olive groves, and the more energetic can go on a shortcut two-hour hike on a dirt road to the villages of Louha and Yiri over the hill. On the way, the rarely seen Hayoti cave is said to be so large it crosses under two villages and emerges in the village of Katastari.
Take a short bike ride or leisurely walk to the nearby village of Pigadakia to visit the Kaki Rahi restaurant (named after a nearby mountain) right next to the Vertzagio Museum. Let the amazing must-see private collection of historic and folkloric items take you back in time. Both the restaurant and the museum are run by Mr. Spiros, so if it’s closed just pop into the restaurant two minutes away and he’ll gladly open it for you. Across the restaurant there is the mysterious church of Agios Pantelimonas with healing waters that have a sulfurous odor.
Also within easy biking distance from the Therianos villas is the attractive Alykes beach, complete with seaside coffee shops and some windsurfing, as well as a touristic neighborhood that has it all, from supermarkets to pubs and restaurants. But for a real authentic treat your best bet is to let Mama Toula and her daughter Dionysia prepare a traditional meal for you. They usually use organic produce from their very own garden, such as olives, olive oil, squash, tomatoes and potatoes. On the sweeter side, the little estate also produces enough figs, peaches, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, raisins and homemade jams to guarantee a healthy local dose of nutrients. For a real treat, ask Dimitris for his own no-sugar homemade honey-sesame bars, known as Pasteli. Don’t hesitate to ask for cooking lessons!
Beyond the Therianos kitchen, do visit some of the restaurants on the EcoZakynthos list, all handpicked because they serve amazing mouthwatering traditional food. Dimitris’ tips and the family’s genuine welcome, topped with some good wine from the family vineyards, will ensure an unforgettable vacation in Zakynthos.