Cultural Retreat

The Multifaceted Female in Ancient Greece with Natalie Haynes, Doniert Evely and Ioanna Kalypso Glypti

Oct 10-15, 2022|6 Days |Crete

About This Event

We are going to explore women’s position in society.
How and why does Ariadne become the Northern light? Throughout interactive lectures, we will discuss what Minoa is & what it’s not.
Natalie Haynes, author of Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myth, will have the chance to read and discuss with us her book about women in Greek myths and their remarkable role at the heart of these ancient tales. Ioanna Kalypso Glypti will showcase these facts & stories through our visits to the extraordinary Knossos Palace, the Heraklion Museum and other archeological sites. We will enjoy and realize how extraordinary Crete can become. All senses will be enhanced during our everyday food experiences.
We will cook and learn from local women and experience how cooking is an art handed down centuries amongst women.


A message from Fenia, Operations Executive at Travelgems:
“I am so excited to guide you through this cultural retreat in spectacular Crete! I will be here to walk you through every step of the way, so please contact me at for any assistance you may need!” 

2380€/per person

About the retreat leaders

Natalie Haynes is a writer and broadcaster and – according to the Washington Post – a rock star mythologist. Her first novel, The Amber Fury, was published to great acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, as was The Ancient Guide to Modern Life, her previous book. Her second novel, The Children of Jocasta, was published in 2017. Her retelling of the Trojan War, A Thousand Ships, was published in 2019. It was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2020. It has been translated into multiple languages. Her most recent non-fiction book, Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myth was published in Oct 2020, and Margaret Atwood liked it.
She has spoken on the modern relevance of the classical world on three continents, from Cambridge to Chicago to Auckland. She writes for the Guardian. She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4: reviewing for Front Row and Saturday Review, appearing as a team captain on three seasons of Wordaholics, and banging on about Juvenal whenever she gets the chance. Six series of her show, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, have been broadcast on Radio 4: all series are available now on BBC Sounds.

Doniert Evely is now the Previous Curator of the British School of Archaeology of Knossos. He has ties to the BSA, and works freelance with a number of archaeologists.  As the President of Minoan Steps, Doniert Evely writes about his experiences about Crete, the Minoan civilisation and the new cultural organization Minoan Steps. “Like with everyone, it was the exuberant (if luxurious) items that first captured my attention, but then I began to realize that the Minoans were quite different from every other advanced culture of this area – in how they represented themselves: they are still an enigma, even after a century of hard work by so many people.
For me, the most amazing excavation experience was revealing the tomb of a man of outstanding importance for what went on to become Greece, who lived at the beginning of the Iron Age, at Lefkandi on Euboea. We are all lucky in Crete (especially when compared with the chaos in England)! Cretans have a reputation of being both rapidly hospitable to good-intentioned visitors, but very careful in forming their real long-term friendships. Both are – to me – virtues. And so I have found the Cretans broadly to be. Both men and women are full of character. But, it has to be said, that I deliberately steer clear of politics: matters can get swiftly convoluted here. I am not a political animal. Right now, though technically retired, I choose to spend much of my time here, partly to pursue my interests, and partly to share the life of my nonos-extended family with whom I worked when Curator at Knossos for BSA. They – and others like them – are simply worth it!“

Ionna Kalypso Glypti is an affiliate of Doniert Evely: “My introduction to Greece, as an Alexandrian Greek, took place when I was a child, but one of many tongues and continents. The Greek islands were my summers, bathed by the phosphorescent blazing light on a white wall, the austere rocks, the dramatic mountains and the incandescence of the blue sky pouring into the sea. Under that light and the songs of Leonard Cohen, nostalgia took hold of me, as like the ship of Ulysses Nostos I began to learn how to word my emotions in this ancient tongue. This was a voyage into the light as I managed to escape my personal darkness and the various Labyrinths of my subconscious mind. In fact, I was finding a way to freedom through words.
Freedom, or Eleutheria, in my tongue means she who walks freely towards what she or he loves and brings love to his or her soul, because the chains are many and not always tangible, and so able to be escaped from.
In this moment I realized that my tongue embodied my spiritual essence. It is not surprising that everything here in Greece speaks now just as it has for centuries making everything clear -without being known. It is this clarity that I return to within me to understand what is unknown as we go through these difficult times. As I write the word clarity, everything becomes translucent like the morning dawn as the ancient God Apollo with his chariot announces the arrival of light.“

About the hotel

Minos Beach art hotel is mastering with ethos the art of hospitality, synched to nature and art. At the edge of the water, engulfed in Cretan greenery, Minos Beach art hotel constitutes a hidden gem for world explorers. Its design brings harmony into the senses, combining elements of art and nature. Walking into the gradniose Lounge area, you can sense authenticity and luxury, blended into art. Its unconventional design resembles the entrance to a Modern Art museum. The hotel’s bungalows and villas with private pools, stretched across a 2.5km coastline, offer a glimpse into the architectural style of Eastern Crete’s fishing villages, while blending naturally into their surroundings. Their chic, low-rise construction create a sense of privacy, serenity and close connection to Mother Earth. Walking across the hotel’s gardens, you can smell the fragrance of nature, while the meditating sound of the sea provides peace and tranquility.

Huddled in the hotel’s fragrant gardens, Minos Beach art hotel’s bungalows offer a private, serene escape to a naturally luxurious destination. With bright, open spaces, impeccable views at the sea and a design that connects all senses together, the bungalows are purposed to immerse you in nature.

Dig Deeper into your roots

Emphasis: Mind

Arrival at Minos Beach art hotel

7:30pm: Dinner & Start of the Retreat

7:30am - 8:30am: Breakfast

09:00am: Pick-Up from Hotel for Knossos Archaeological Site and Museum Guided Tour

10:00am-1:00pm: Interactive lecture with ex-curator for the BSA at Knossos:

- Visit of the Museum home to the Masterpieces of Knossos and Bronze Age Crete.
- A day dedicated to the earliest civilization of Europe the Minoans.
- Who where these alluring inspiring People?
- The labyrinth and Minotaur?
- What position in society did the feminine hold?
- Why did heroes such as Hercules and Theseus teach Crete in their quest?
- How and why did Ariadne become the Northern light?
- A visit of Knossos Palace
- Unveiling and realizing the facts, stories, questions binding the building that stands before us.

1:30pm-3:00pm: Guided Tour in Museum of Knossos

3:00pm-6:00pm: Free Time in Heraklion Town

7:00pm: Return to Hotel

7:30pm: Dinner

7:30am - 10:00am: Breakfast

10:00am - 12:30pm: Interactive lecture with Natalie

12:30pm - 7:00pm: Free time

7:30pm: Dinner

7:15am - 8:15am: Breakfast

8:30am - 10:00am: Interactive lecture with Natalie

10:15 am: Pick up from Hotel for Spinalonga Tour:Spinaloga, The Island of the Tears: 

Resilience and hope strive to withstand the feeling of being imprisoned and isolated.
A beautiful bay with crystal waters Elounda with its Venetian Fort that became the inferno of Dante.
Today a tourist attraction is a UNESCO monument but is it also a chance to admire the strength and resilience of all those condemned to live in isolation turn away from their previous self and life

2:00pm: Arrival at Hotel

5pm - 7:00pm:Interactive lecture with Natalie

7:30pm: Dinner

7:15am - 8:15am: Breakfast

10:15am: Pick-Up from Hotel for Kritsa Village

11:00am - 1:00pm: Cooking Lesson with local ladies and Lunch

1:15pm-2:15pm: Archaeological Site of Kritsa:

In Crete the ordinary becomes extraordinary in regards to food!

- All senses will be enhanced in one of the most beautiful villages of Crete called Kritsa
- Cook and learn from the local women and discover how cooking is an art handed down in centuries amongst women.
- In Greece love finds it's way through the stomach to one's heart.
- Visit the 13 century Byzantine Church of Kritsa with it's a stunning example of wall paintings of the Cretan school of iconography, for runners of the Renaissance!

3:00pm: Arrival at hotel

5:00pm - 7:00pm: Interactive lecture with Natalie

7:30pm: Dinner

7:30am - 10am: Farewell Breakfast

10:30am: Checkout


Disclaimer: This is an indicative schedule and is subject to change as we move closer to the retreat date. 

Start your

Event Highlights

5-night accommodation in Seafront Bungalow

5 breakfast meals

5 dinner meals

All sessions with Natalie, Doniert and Ioanna

Guided Tour to Knossos Archaeological site & Museum of Knossos

Guided Tour to Spinaloga Island

Cooking lesson with locals

Guided Tour to Archaeological site of Kritsa


2380€/per person

in Double Occ. room


3100€/per person

in Single Occ. room

what’s included

  • 5-night accommodation in Seafront Bungalow
  • 5 breakfast meals
  • 5 dinner meals
  • All sessions with Natalie, Doniert and Ioanna
  • Guided Tour to Knossos Archaeological site & Museum of Knossos
  • Guided Tour to Spinaloga Island
  • Cooking lesson with locals
  • Guided Tour to Archaeological site of Kritsa

what’s not included

  • Airfare to/from Greece, and Crete island
  • Arrival and departure land transfers
  • Accommodation tax per person per overnight stay
  • Water, tea, soft drinks and beverages
  • Whatever is not mentioned clearly in the inclusions

more info

Language: English

Airport Transfer: Available upon request

Cancellation Policy: Deposit is non-refundable | Should you wish to cancel your participation one month or less before the start of the retreat, 100% of cancellation fees are applied.

Important Info: In case there are Covid-19 restrictions or restrictions related to any other pandemic that prevent guests from traveling the total amount paid will be refunded.

Dietary Needs: Should you have any special dietary need/allergy, kindly let us know in advance in order to be able to better accommodate you in the best possible way.


Transport: For this Cultural retreat in Crete, you can fly into Heraklion International Airport (HER).

From there, you can book a transfer to the hotel (duration: 50min)