Nurture and Nourish Retreat
13 – 19 September 2020 Ikaria, Greece
7 days/6 nights
$3650 per person early-bird twin share (Book by 30 April 2020)
Single supplement $300
Are you ready for transformation?
Join Mary Valle and Lisa Allwell on an adventure to the magical island of Ikaria. Known as ‘the island where people forget to die’ this Greek Island is the perfect backdrop for you to nurture, transform and reconnect with yourself.
Immerse yourself in seven glorious days and six nights of traditional Greek village life and culture with collaborative workshops on food, wellness and yoga.
Located in the eastern Aegean, Ikaria is blessed with a unique natural environment with waterfalls, beautiful streams and idyllic beaches: it is a nature lover’s paradise.
With one of the world’s highest concentration of centenarians, this Island is one of the world’s five ‘Blue Zones. What is the secret to their longevity, joy and peacefulness? Find out as we forage for wild food, visit local villages, dance at a local festival and join a family for a meal to appreciate the lifestyle and understand the people of Ikaria.
Together we will explore the Ikarian philosophy of life and living – family values, happiness, the importance of food and wine, spirituality, and our attitudes towards ageing – not to mention the powerful impact that being so close to nature brings. Ikaria provides the perfect backdrop in which to make these personal discoveries.
If you love food, travel, yoga and wellness or if you just want to spend some time on a beautiful Greek island with like-minded souls, then this retreat is for you!
Sunday 13th September 2019
Settle in to your room and catch a glimpse of the archipelago or walk 100m to a beautiful sandy beach for a dip.
We’ll have a welcome circle, where you will connect and mingle with your new friends, followed by drinks, meze and sunset watching.
Aperitifs and shared long table welcome dinner in the village of Armenistis.
Monday 14th September 2019
We visit the quaint village of Christos Raches. Explore the picturesque square, and admire the architecture of the church with its marble belltower, the pretty old and new houses, and interesting shops.
In the afternoon we will visit Afianes, a traditional vineyard and learn about natural winemaking with local indigenous grape varieties. Ikarians regularly enjoy red wine, perhaps is this one of their longevity secrets? You will sample some organics wines accompanied by a meze platter.
Dinner in Nas.
Tuesday 15th September 2019
See how Ikarian food gets from soil to plate by visiting Thea and her husband Ilias’s family farm in Nas. Ilias, who has lived on Ikaria all his life, will take us on a farm hike. Along the way we will forage for and harvest wild food for our cooking class. We will then enjoy the fruits of our labour for lunch as we enjoy the views of the Aegean Sea. You will learn about the Greek Mediterranean diet, and the recipes and stories that inspired Mary to document traditional recipes and write her cookbooks.
After lunch we will visit a beekeeper and learn the history of Ikarian honey and just what makes it so special!
Wednesday 16th September 2019
We will visit the picturesque port of Evdilos. Walk through the picturesque small port, admiring old mansions and modern houses covered in plants and flowers. Wander through gorgeous laneways, discover hidden gems and take far too many photographs.
Visit the hot mineral springs in Therma, for some serious Greek Island rejuvenation. The history of curative springs dates back more than 2,500 years, spearheaded by Hippocrates, the founder of medical science and the father of hydrotherapy. The infusion of gold, silver, sulphur and other mineral elements from the spring will leave you relaxed, cleansed, and delighted to be alive!
Dinner at Armenistis.
Thursday 17th September 2019
Join us in the kitchen with our very own Mary. Mary will show you how to create delicious plant-based Ikarian meals, using recipes you’ll be able to take home.
Put on your dancing shoes! We’re off to Kambos to attend the panayiri of Agia Sophia: a local festival where we feast on goat broth, bread, tzatziki, wine,and Greek salad. And, most importantly, dance the night away with the locals. This is a late night kids!
Friday 18th September 2019
Rest day with time for walking, swimming and yoga.
Farewell dinner in Agios Polikarpos.
Saturday 19th September 2019
Morning yoga and meditation. Closing circle and farewells.
Each day begins with the option of an energising and uplifting yoga and meditation session with Lisa. These beginner friendly sessions are suitable for all levels of yoga experience (including none!) and are designed to put a spring in your step.
One of the secrets we will lean about from the people of Ikaria, is that they understand the importance of finding time to relax and be still. We will blend this philosophy with yogic principals so that you can create a daily ritual to take home to help you stay calm and connected.
There will be time for a shower or swim, before your sumptuous and nutritious buffet breakfast.
We will show you all the best parts of Ikaria, but this will be paced to allow you to relax and unwind. The retreat schedule allows plenty of free time for you to rest and reflect.
You will want to swim and walk every day during your stay on the island. Ikaria’s unique mountainous terrain makes for spectacular hikes with breathtaking views, while the beaches are some of the best the Aegean has to offer.
Price $3,650pp twin share (Early-bird book by 30 April) then $3850 from 1 May
Single supplement add $300pp
- 6 nights accommodation
- 6 breakfasts – buffet style
- 5 lunches including locally grown organic wine
- 6 dinners at beautiful local taverns and inns; including locally grown organic wine
- Welcome mezze and drinks
- Welcome gift – it’s a surprise!
- Winery Tour including tastings and mezze
- Bee keeping Tour including honey tastings
- Foraging and farm visit.
- Practical and creative workshops to inspire and delight
- Blue Zone talk from local
- 2 cooking classes with Mary Valle (priceless, obviously)
- Joyful daily yoga and meditation with Lisa Allwell (also priceless)
- Plenty of free time to relax by the pool, read, shop, retreat or snooze
- Transport to all local attractions
- Transfers to and from Ikaria Airport
If you buy no souvenirs, it’s possible that you won’t spend a cent during this retreat.
- Travel insurance
- A non-refundable deposit of $950 is required at time of booking
- Further payment and cancellation conditions apply, refer to booking conditions provided at time of booking
- Payment plan available
- Participants will be required to sign an indemnity form prior to commencement of this retreat
- Booking terms and conditions apply
- For international bookings made outside of Australia a US $15 bank service fee apply per transaction.
How do I get to Ikaria?
We suggest flying to Athens and then boarding the 55 minute flight from Athens to Ikaria. We have partnered with Divinity Travel who can help with international flights, transfer flights to Ikaria, accommodation in Athens and any other side trips you may be planning.
We will arrange your transfer from Ikaria Airport to our accommodation.
Tell me about the Accommodation
Expect traditional Greek hotel accommodation. The rooms and studios are bright and spacious, set up with comfortable furnishings, modern bathrooms and large balconies or terraces with beautiful sea or garden views. The two pools offer moments of relaxation, walking distance to the local village and just 100m from the beach.
Tell me about the Yoga and Meditation
This retreat is suitable for all levels of yoga experience from absolute beginners through to those with an established yoga practice are welcome. The morning yoga classes will be more energising and uplifting, designed to put a spring in your step. The sunset yoga sessions will be restorative and gentle. We’ll explore guided relaxation and yoga breathing techniques called pranayama.
Together we’ll discover mindfulness meditation techniques; learning to tune in to your breath, to your body and to your surroundings. We’ll learn how a regular yoga and meditation practice can hold you steady in times of turmoil and how creative solutions appear naturally when you trust in the flow of life.
You will leave Ikaria more in tune with your body and mind, better equipped to manage the stressors of daily life and maintain optimal wellbeing long after the retreat is over.
(Please do not worry about being “good” enough. Or flexible or thin enough. Or whatever enough. You are perfect just as you are.)
Can I bring a friend or partner?
Absolutely! We hope that you will bring a friend or family member. If you are intending to share a room with a friend, please indicate this in your enquiry or at the time of booking.
Do I have to attend all the activities?
No, this is YOUR retreat. It’s a time for you to relax and renew. You are free to do as little or as much as you like.
Who is leading this retreat?
The retreat will be hosted by experienced retreat facilitators Mary Valle and Lisa Allwell. Mary has led four previous retreats to Ikaria. Lisa has facilitated sold out retreats in Australia, Bali and India. See more information below about us.
Will there be time to explore?
The retreat schedule allows for a balance of free time and structured activities. There is so much to do (or not do) in Ikaria. Included in the retreat package are day trips to quaint villages, hot springs, cooking and wellness classes and more.
What about the food?
We believe that healthy cuisine can and should be both delicious and nutritious. Your retreat menu, which includes many meals at local restaurants and taverns are based on the principals of the Ikarian Mediterranean diet. All meals and local wine are included in your stay.
Born to Greek parents, Mary grew up surrounded by tradition and a love of food. Mary’s love of travel, a rich Greek heritage and great skill in the kitchen has seen the Melbourne-based cook become one of Australia’s most-respected authorities on Mediterranean cuisine. Mary often spends time in her family’s home in Greece and nearby Mediterranean countries where she learns new techniques and recipes to add to her kitchen. She teaches Mediterranean style cooking in Melbourne, sharing her passion and love for food with others. She is the author of the best-selling cookery books My Greek Kitchen, My Mediterranean Kitchen, Everyday Mediterranean and Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking and contributes to magazines regularly.
Mary has led four retreats to Ikaria and in 2020, her latest cookbook Ikaria will be published by Hardie Grant.
Lisa is a yoga and meditation teacher. Her classes focus on cultivating well-being and mindfulness. She has developed a strong following of students who are drawn to her creative, nurturing teaching style. She has lead retreats in Australia, India and Bali and is the co-founder of Seed Yoga + Wellness, a thriving yoga studio in Blackburn, Victoria.
On this retreat you will participate in a light-hearted contemporary yoga practice to balance mind, body and spirit. Life is often serious and perplexing, so Lisa’s aim is to encourage you forget about your ‘to do’ list, your issues and challenges for the duration of each yoga session.
Her favourite yoga asana is the smile, and she aims to encourage her students to strive for lightness, vitality and balance, both on and off the yoga mat. Lisa sincerely try to meet each student at where they are at in their yoga, helping them to get the most from each pose, each practice, each breath.
It’s Lisa’s clear intention that you leave this retreat feeling energised, peaceful and fabulous.
For more information contact Mary
mobile: 0412 324 846
For travel bookings and payment contact Jodie
mobile: 0410 302 105
“Nestled in amongst the Greek islands near the shores of Turkey sits the rugged Ikaria, a place of legends and enjoys a fascinating history. Arriving there is easy with a short shuttle flight from Athens airport then a transfer to the hotel in Nas enjoying spectacular views along the way. Forget your busy scheduled life once you arrive on the island! People don’t live forever if they are stressed by schedules! Relax and enjoy a full realm of activities that may not follow the itinerary, but it all gets done when the weather or day is right. Don’t worry, there is lots to do such as a fantastic personal winery tour where you can taste fabulous Ikarian wines and maybe buy a bottle or two to take back home, or you may enjoy the bee farm and honey tasting. Ikarian honey is amazingly delicious and healthy. (Make sure you bring an empty suitcase for the kilos of honey you must bring back with you!) There is a monastery visit, thermal springs, time on the farm picking your own fresh produce to cook later and plenty of free time to enjoy the local Nas beach, or simply read a book with the most stunning views from the Inn.
Learning to cook the Greek way, is fun and easy and the best part is you will get to eat it later. We had the most beautiful food for the entire stay, and the Greek coffee is the best way to start your day.
There are over 100 festivals on the island and you are sure to go to one. The food, atmosphere dancing and especially the music under the stars will hypnotise you into wanting to buy a house and move to Ikaria permanently.
I highly recommend Mary’s Ikarian Retreat for a taste of everything, particularly some of the most delicious food you will ever eat.”
– Sue Naether
I had the pleasure of sharing the simple joys of the Ikarian lifestyle with Mary Valle. The Food for the Soul Tour was an amazing experience and time to reflect on the importance of the simple things in life. I loved the group we travelled with and great friendships were formed with others who had a passion for wellness. The Mary’s kitchen cooking experiences were hands on and diverse and I am already cooking some of my Ikarian favourites for the family back home. Ikaria is a unique place so different to the more commercial islands but with a heart and soul that invites you to visit again and again. Without wanting to give too much away expect sunshine, a relaxed pace and the warmth and hospitality of the community. Thank you Mary for a wonderful experience.
It was such a pleasure to be part of your trip Mary. You made the adventure so much fun and I will definitely make positive changes in my life (already have) as a direct result of Ikaria. I absolutely loved the farm visit/cooking demo, winery visit, and the paniyiri was an unforgettable experience. They were experiences I could only have had through a local. I also loved hearing first hand from Thea about Ikarian life and concepts. I hope these talks will stay with me and bring positive change. It is such a special place where the simplicity of life is the key message. I absolutely loved the Ikarian holiday!
The workshop includes:
- Return transfers to and from Ikaria airport
- Welcome drinks and meze on arrival
- Daily breakfast
- Lunches and dinners
- Transfers to excursions on the island
- Cooking and photography workshops
- Presenters available during the entire retreat
- Ikarian knowledge about longevity and the Blue Zones
- Taking part in the local panayiri (festival) – get ready for some dancing!
- Winery tour
- Farm visit
- Hike and foraging
- International flights to and from Ikaria Greece
- Travel insurance
For more information contact Mary
mobile: 0412 324 846
For travel bookings and payment contact Jodie
mobile: 0410 302 105