Let the art guide you in lovely Crete and Santorini!

This is a 10 day (18 - 28 May 2016) creative journey inspired by magnificent landscapes and domestically renowned artists.

You will be painting, sketching and sculpting in Crete and Santorini amidst luxurious accommodation and unique culinary experiences. Guided at all times by an artist/art therapist you will paint stunning views and have fun exploring your inner creativity by focusing on the uniqueness of your own expression and way of seeing.

Bleverde Villas and owner Penelope Orfanoudaki offer art retreats which are designed to accommodate beginners and all levels of painting skills. For beginners no previous knowledge of painting is required.

Penelope Orfanoudaki is Greek born, living and working abroad in Asia and Europe for over 15 years. Backed with corporate and hospitality experience she is a trained art therapist currently leading adult art groups at Folkuniversitetet in Stockholm. Penelope is also the founder of better-than-chocolate a company organising art trips and art workshops in Europe and Asia. At the art retreats Penelope collaborates with other art therapists and renowned artists. Local artists give classes and make their studios and private art collections available for visits and viewing.

If you feel happy with the idea of exploring creativity, painting and discovering yourself through art then this is what you are looking for.


You will begin your artistic journey at Santorini, a circular archipelago of volcanic origin classically known as ‘Thira’. The island offers a most magnificent feast of colours and shapes that the eye can behold and possibly the best sunset in the world. A dear friend aptly described it as “an overload of visual stimulation”.

In Santorini you will stay in a “cave/house” unique to the village of Oia and visit ancient villages as yet undiscovered by the average tourist. You will sketch and paint your way through the island journalling places, events, sensations and emotions.

After Santorini you will travel to Crete, the island of wide open olive groves and fabulous beaches not to mention authentic greek yoghurt and thyme honey, unrivalled moussaka, gyros, dolmades, the list goes on… You will stay and paint in a luxury estate in Gavalochori. Gavalochori is a small traditional protected village close to Chania  at Gavalochori Village (staying at Bleverde Villas) overlooking the village valley and the Aegean sea at the far end. The valley of Gavalochori is often referred as the Tuscany of Crete enjoying all year round silver-green olive groves. In the greater area of Chania you will discover hidden gems: quaint villages, the famous Venetion Port and discreet artist studios. Penelope’s family roots are in Gavalochori. She also runs Bleverde Villas.

Plug & Play

Massage : A massage therapist with great experience in therapeutic and sports massage can be made available in Bleverde for private sessions . The sessions will be payable directly to the therapist and not included in the rate.

Yoga : We will be collaborating with an experienced yoga teacher who will conduct yoga sessions at Bleverde around the pool. The therapist can be made available for group or private sessions. You will have access to the yoga mats available at the villas in Bleverde. The session will be payable directly to the yoga trainer.

Wine tasting : Manousakis winery is a family owned winery with very small exclusive production nearby Chania. Wine tasting paired with local dishes and guided tour to the factory and the winery’s cellars will be organised at en extra cost for those interested.

Cretan cooking : In case you get addicted to local food there will be opportunity to learn how to cook Greek delicacies back home. We will be collaborating with a local chef who will demonstrate how to cook traditional Greek dishes. We will also invite Penelope’s mother, Niki. She is the self taught master chef of the family to talk to us about Cretan ingredients and home cooking secrets.


Day 1 - May 18 -
Santorini - Arrival day In the morning all participants will be greeted at the airport and transferred to their houses/caves in Oia. Afternoon will entail introductions, preliminary information session and a warm up painting exercise. In the evening you will walk around the village, browse through an interesting variety of shops and galleries and enjoy a group dinner.m

Day 2 - May 19 -
Santorini Morning will consist of a guided walk around the village, sketching , painting and dropping in to view art work of local artists such as Kyrkos paintings and John’s icons art studio. In the afternoon we have planned a visit to villages other than Oia with your portable art making materials at hand. Dinner will be at a local taverna in Oia.

Day 3 May 20 
Santorini You will visit the ancient city of Thira with a guided tour and opportunity to sketch. Later in the afternoon you will have a swim at the beach together with sketching and painting. We are confident that you will enjoy dinner at a small taverna by the sea in Amoudi, the fishing port of Oia. The fit and and adventurous amongst you will have the choice to go up and down some 250 steps to the restaurant, or have access to the free pick up and drop off.

Day 4 May 21
Travel to Crete In the morning you will make a small exhibition of the artwork you produced in Santorini and we will have a group discussion about it. We will transfer you to the airport or port in Santorini and then pick you up in Crete and head to Gavalochori (18km from Chania) where a group welcome dinner will be awaiting.

Day 5 May 22
Crete You will enjoy a morning guided walk through Gavalochori accompanied by sketching/painting in the village. You will prepare a light lunch with fresh greens and vegetables at Bleverde and chill-out at the various terraces. You may choose to have a massage followed by a dip in the salt water pool at Bleverde before dinner.

Day 6 May 23
Crete You will be spending your day in Chania where you will visit the heritage protected Venetian Harbour ideal for sketching and drawing. Lunch will be at the harbour followed by an afternoon guided walk through the charming streets of the old city. You will enjoy a delicious dinner in Chania and transfer to Bleverde.

Day 7 May 24
Crete Today you will get some fun directions to help you discover your own creativity. Inspired by the surroundings and by your own views you will make art and play like children do. Afternoon will be spent in a wrap up session and discussions. A private chef will prepare delicious local dishes in the house.

Day 8 May 25
Crete On this day we have a special treat for you. You will be visiting the studio and private collection of one of the most famous clay artists in Greece, Manousos Chalkiadakis. You will have the opportunity to get guided by Manousos and try your own skills in pottery making. A true culinary experience will follow with home made food (no menu - only whatever is cooked that day) at a local taverna. Afternoon at home with painting inspired from clay creations.

Day 9 May 26
Crete On your last day before you leave us we recommend a ‘Chill Out’ at Bleverde. Our art therapist will expand on playing with creativity with new artistic directions. Later you will have the opportunity to share self reflections about your artwork with the group. Y ou will prepare your lunch at home and afternoon may be spent at your leisure making art or lounging around the pool.

Day 10 May 27
Crete Today you will make an exhibition of artwork you created in Crete and Santorini and admire each other’s artistic journey. Our artist and art therapist will also be available for Individual wrap-up sessions in the afternoon.

Day 11 May 28
You will be leaving us and Crete. Yia sas!


These art retreats are for people who have an interest in traveling while exploring the culture of a country. You do not need to have prior skills in painting or sketching. You have however an interest in exploring your creativity through art making. You will visit and taste Santorini and Crete the way the locals do. You will have time to self reflect and rejuvenate. You will also be part of a group and you will have fun connecting with people from different cultures. Participants on the retreat hail from many countries and often different continents enriching the cultural diversity of groups and making them more fun and interesting.

Prices - Policies

10 nights in Greece (3 Nights Santorini + 7 nights Crete) per person

€ 3,200 (sharing a house in Santorini / single occupancy spacious room - sharing bathroom in Santorini / private large ensuite bedroom in Crete).
€ 2,700 (sharing room and en-suite bathroom with views in Santorini and Crete)
€ 2,400 (sharing a smaller double room - lateral views - sharing bathroom in Santorini and Crete).
+ tickets from Santorini to Crete.

Payment Policy :  
30% downpayment at reservation.
Balance payment 90 days before trip (Feb 10)
Credit card payments (visa and mastercard) and bank transfers accepted

Cancellation policy : 
All cancellations will be handled with good will, however here is the course’s cancellation policy: 
Cancellations are free of charges if done before February 10th. 
Cancellations received after February 10th and prior to March 10th, 30% cancellation fee. 
Cancellations received after March 10th, 75% cancellation fee. 
For Non-Show, 100% cancellation fee.

Included in price :
10 nights accommodation
Breakfast and lunch ( self-prepared, ingredients to make your own breakfast salad sandwiches etc are available in the kitchen)
All dinners (some will be with a private chef and some at local tavernas).
10 days active art making with instruction about 5 hrs a day.
Transportation to and from the airports. Guided walks in Santorini and Crete.
All excursions and entrances to museums and ateliers.
Access to swimming pools and private gardens in Crete.
Free wifi at all accommodations.

Materials available:
In Santorini pencils and watercolours. In Crete acrylic paints , brushes, palette knives and palette ( the only material you need to bring yourself is paper / canvas to paint on. )

Not included in price:
All travel arrangements not mentioned in itinerary.
Flight tickets and boat tickets
Visas and travel insurance
Breakfasts outside house
Lunches other than proposed snacks at house 


Book now! Send us an e-mail, to check for availability, along with any other questions you may have.  All e-mails are answered promptly, usually within 24 hours.

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