Walking & Painting Holiday



ACTIVE CRETE's Walking & Painting Holiday offers you the opportunity to relax in one of the most beautiful places of the Mediterranean, by walking & painting, but also having enough time for other activities you choose yourself (swimming in the sea, reading a book by the hotel pool etc).

The area of Kissamos where our holiday takes place is part of the European Programme NATURA 2000 which aims to protect its rich natural heritage and to promote eco-tourism. Our walks leave only a  green footprint as there is no need for transport. Also they are rich in archaeological, historical, botanical and artistic features.

The accommodation of our guests is in several hotels (depending on the holiday dates), top rated by world famous hotel booking sites. They all have a swimming pool and a garden & they are very near or by the beach.

There are several tavernas near the hotels, top rated by international holiday rating sites, offering excellent local food at prices of 10-15 Euros per person including local wine. There are shops in the nearby Kissamos town.

This holiday week contains :

  1. Five mornings of leisurely paced walks of light to medium difficulty lasting from 2.5 to 4 hours. These will take place along the beaches, in the hills, the valleys, the town of Kissamos and the surrounding area, as well as going through traditional villages and little-known Ancient sites. They are particularly beautiful in the Spring and Autumn with an abundance of flowers and plants. Each expedition starts at 9:00 am at the hotel. Each walk has regular rest stops.
  2. Four afternoons of painting workshops for beginners and more advanced artists, sketching with either the medium we provide (pencils, pastels and acrylics) or the medium you have brought with you (e.g. pastels, oils or watercolour). The painting sessions will take place either indoors or out in the landscape relative to the walk of the day; on the last day before departure in the late afternoon we exhibit our paintings and have a party. Artist Camille Marquand (camillemarquand.com) will be leading the painting sessions.

Painting materials: Basic materials are available, including a board, pencils, pastels, a wetbox with acrylic colours, and brushes. Lightweight collapsible stools are also available. Also, you are encouraged to bring some of your own supplies, e.g. sketch pad, watercolours, or watercolour pencils etc. 

Painting philosophy: To offer opportunities to enjoy painting and sketching a variety of subjects, among like-minded people. This is not a course with a diploma at the end but a chance to paint outdoors, compose your own paintings, share insights, see things afresh, and above all to have a wonderful and relaxing holiday.

There is the freedom to opt out from either the walks (one/more/all), the painting workshops or the communal meals.

Dates, Prices and Accommodation

FromToAccommodationPrice DPrice SBook
Tue 17 Sep 2024Tue 24 Sep 2024Cormoranos Apartments1090€1260€BOOK NOW
Tue 08 Oct 2024Tue 15 Oct 2024Sunny Bay Hotel1050€1200€BOOK NOW
Tue 06 May 2025Tue 13 May 2025Sunny Bay Hotel1050€1200€BOOK NOW
Tue 03 Jun 2025Tue 10 Jun 2025Cormoranos Apartments1100€1260€BOOK NOW
Tue 16 Sep 2025Tue 23 Sep 2025Cormoranos Apartments1120€1290€BOOK NOW
Tue 07 Oct 2025Tue 14 Oct 2025Cormoranos Apartments1120€1290€BOOK NOW

For details about the accommodation please click on its name

Price D : Price per person for two occupants in the twin bedded apartment/room
Price S : Price for a single occupant in the twin bedded apartment/room

25% of the price is payable on booking and the remaining 75% is due 30 days before the holiday.

Payment may also be made in GBP.

Prices include:

  • Transfer from/to Chania airport (transfer from/to Heraklion airport can be arranged on request at an additional cost).
  • 7 nights, shower/WC, hot water, fridge, electric cooker, balcony/terrace, wifi access
  • 7 x Breakfast
  • Dinner on the evening of arrival
  • Walks with walking leaders
  • Painting workshops with painting leaders
  • 1 painting exhibition and party

Prices do not include:

Flights, Meals (except dinner on the evening of arrival), tickets to sites or museums, bus tickets, travel insurance, air conditioning which can be used at an extra cost of 10 Euros/day (although usually not necessary in the months of the programme).

Special rates and tailor made holiday dates for group bookings above six people !

Walking & Painting Holiday Programme

Day 1

Arrival day. Transfer from Chania airport. Welcome dinner.

You will be met by our local taxi driver and taken to your family run hotel. To get to our destination on the following days, we usually walk or take the public bus, to keep our carbon footprint low and to enjoy being part of the reliable local transport system. On the first evening we offer you the chance to get to know everybody at the Welcome dinner.

Day 2
  • 7:30-9:00 : Breakfast.
  • 9:00-13:30 : Walk : ’Platanaki – Korfalonas - Kissamos’.  From our hotel we walk to the sea and then along the beach to the Platanaki  and Korfalonas areas. We cross the little river of Korfalonas and continue further until we cross the little river of Kissamos and reach Kissamos town, where we can visit the local archaeological museum, the old fishing port and local traditional shops selling honey, wine, tsikoudia, herbs etc. We return by the regular bus service.
    Walking part of the expedition: about 2.5 hours. Difficulty: light.
  • Return at 14:00 to the hotel.
  • 14:00-17:00 : Free time for lunch, relaxing, enjoying the beach and/or swimming.
  • 17:00-19:00 : First painting workshop. Meet at the hotel to go outdoors (weather permitting) for the First Painting session/Introduction to materials if a beginner; sketching eg: still lives/views of the sea/painting from sketches or photographs taken on the first walk.
  • 19:00-... : Free time for further painting and enjoying the evening in the nearby tavernas.
Day 3
  • 7:30-9:00 : Breakfast.
  • 9:00-13:00 : Walk : ’Ancient Mythimna – Agios Georgios – Village of Drapanias’. We walk to ancient Mythimna’s archaeological site. We continue our walk through the olive groves in order to reach the medieval church of Agios Georgios which was built on the ruins of an ancient Roman temple, which can still be seen today. We walk further across the eastern end of the village of Drapanias on soil tracks to the ruins of the 16th century Venetian communication tower. After a short break in the center of Drapanias village we visit the cave church of Michael Archangel and then optionally Villa Trevizan which was home to the feudal lord of the area during the Venetian occupation of Crete.
    Walking part of the expedition: about 2.5 hours. Difficulty: light.
  • 13:00-14:00 : Lunch break.
  • 14:00-16:00 : Second painting workshop. We will be painting in the olive grove next to Agios Georgios, seen in the morning. For beginners this second workshop is the chance to try painting in colour, using shading to add depth.
  • 16:00-... : Return to the hotel. Free time for further painting or swimming and/or relaxing and enjoying the evening in the nearby tavernas.
Day 4
  • 7:30-9:00 : Breakfast.
  • 9:00-14:00 : Walk : ’Kolymbari – Astratigos – Afrata’. We go by public bus to Kolymbari; we walk uphill to the west on the Rodopos peninsula in order to find the picturesque village of Astratigos: a very small village at an altitude of 210 metres without any shops but with beautiful views to Chania bay. We walk further to the north of the peninsula and arrive in Afrata, another small village with a tavern and a traditional Café. Time for a coffee break. From here on, during our whole way to the Gonia Monastery the views to the Chania bay are spectacular. The city of Chania and the island of Ag. Theodoroi are visible. Our next stop is at the famous Gonia Monastery which was built between 1618 and 1634 in its present location, with Venetian influences in its architectural design and adornment. The distinctive fountain in front of the monastery's entrance was built in 1708 and the belfry in 1849. The monastery was heavily damaged by Ottoman bombardments on many occasions throughout its history and finally in 1867 during the Great Cretan Revolution (1866–1869) against the Ottoman Empire, evidence of which can be seen today in the remaining cannonball lodged in the monastery wall. The monastery contains numerous Byzantine artifacts from the 15th and 17th century including Cretan icons by painters of the famous Cretan school of icon painting (which shaped El Greco). It also has numerous relics and other rare religious treasures from the Byzantine period and ancient inscriptions on the walls.
    Walking part of the expedition: about 3.5 hours. Difficulty: medium.
  • Return at 14:00 to the hotel.
  • 14:00-17:00 : Free time for lunch, relaxing, enjoying the beach and/or swimming.
  • 17:00-19:00 : Third painting workshop. Indoors we will look at reproductions of ancient and modern icon painting and discuss features and ethos. Remembering that this flourishing tradition is believed to be a kind of prayer that is properly executed by artist-priests, we will approach the subject respectfully as novices, copying the Masters. Anybody willing to try to copy or reinvent an old topic will be given an introduction to tempera paint (egg yolk mixed with pigment) which can be used on top of dry acrylic. You may go home with your own icon (on paper) as a souvenir of Crete, which was home for centuries to a renowned school of icon painters, of which El Greco is the most famous.
  • 19:00-... : Free time for further painting and enjoying the evening in the nearby tavernas.
Day 5

A free day to rest or do further walking or sightseeing on your own. You could enjoy the many attractions of Chania, or visit the famous Balos beach by a short boat trip or hire a car to explore further a-field...

Day 6
  • 7:30-9:00 : Breakfast.
  • 9:00-14:00 : Walk : ’Kaloudiana-Potamida-Chairethiana-Drapanias’. We go by bus to the village of Kaloudiana where we start our walk towards the village of Potamida in order to visit the mill museum and the famous natural clay marls which tower above the fields. Going uphill we find an old track leading through the olive groves to the little chapel above us built into a cave; Michael the Archangel. We continue on this track over a small hill until we come to a magnificent mulberry tree. At the sides of the path is a rare kind of mint and a lot of caper flowers amongst many other plants. Now coming uphill we reach the traditional village of Chairethiana with its beautiful gardens. We will have a break at the local cafe. From here we take the road down to Drapanias, olive groves to the side and spectacular views to the sea.
    Walking part of the expedition: about 4 hours. Difficulty: medium.
  • 14:00-15:00 : Lunch break.
  • 15:00-17:00 : Fourth painting workshop. On location in the village: street scenes/café scenes or the church of Agios Nikolaos.
  • 17:00-... : Return to the hotel for further painting and enjoying the evening in the nearby tavernas.
Day 7
  • 7:30-9:00 : Breakfast.
  • 9:00-13:30 : Walk : ’Nopigia – Panagia Myrtidiotisa – Agios Vasilios’. Starting in Nopigia we will walk past the open air theater to the little chapel  of  Panagia Myrtidiotisa and then along a rough path over stones and rocks towards the little medieval chapel of Agios Vasilios on the Spatha peninsula. The blue sea is always beside us. We will encounter only a few sheep and goats and enjoy great views towards the  Gramvousa peninsula  across  Kissamos bay, with the Spatha mountain on our right. We walk along Nopigia beach back to our hotel.
    Walking part of the expedition: about 3 hours. Difficulty: medium.
  • Return at 13:30 to the hotel.
  • 13:30-17:30 : Free time for lunch, relaxing, enjoying the beach and/or swimming.
  • 17:30- 19:00 : ‘Painting Exhibition’ of your work and party to review, discuss and appreciate the week’s work and developments in a relaxed way.
  • 19:00-…: Free evening to relax, have a swim, have dinner in the nearby tavernas etc.
Day 8

Departure day. Transfer to Chania airport.

What to bring with you

Swimming costume, sun glasses, sun hat, sun cream, strong walking shoes, small rucksack. 

Additional Information

There are a number of bikes at Cormoranos Apartments for hiring and exploring the surrounding area. They are road and mountain bikes made by IDEAL (www.idealbikes.net) and their rental cost is 5 Euros per day. We can provide instructions for self guided rides upon request at the time.


Painting by the sea