From Ancient Myths to Modern Storytellers Retreat

Join award-winning author and poet Kate Forsyth on a 10-day literary odyssey through the ancient and fabled land of Greece.

My fascination with Greece began with its myths. They sowed in me a longing to travel to Greece, and a love for its ancient stories. One thing that struck me, however, was that all the Greek heroes were young men – any female I did find often had a terrible fate: transformed into trees, given snakes for hair, or chained up for a sea-serpent.

When I began to develop the idea of a literary tour of Greece, I decided to focus on modern women writers as a counterbalance to the thousands of years of male-dominated histories and his-stories. Our carefully curated itinerary was inspired by the texts I chose – all of them written by women, all of them giving a bold fresh insight into the beautiful land of Greece

From Ancient Myths to Modern Storytellers:
A Literary Tour of Greece

About the Tour

Located on the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Greece is a land of sun-bleached ruins, mountainous interiors, spectacular island beaches and endless Aegean coastline. Its culture, food, wine, music and myths are legendary, with historic sites and stories that span over four thousand years.

On this literary tour, Kate will share some of the most fascinating stories from Greek myth and history as we visit the sites where these legends were born - and experience the best of the culture they left behind. We'll also walk in the footsteps of modern writers who have lived in Greece and been inspired by its land and people.

Throughout the tour, Kate will lead a series of 'Literary Salon' sessions based on a selection of works written by women, inspired by Greece. These range from new tellings of old tales, memoir, poetry, essay, fiction and non-fiction - all designed to deepen and enrich your knowledge of the country considered to be the cradle of western civilisation

Tour Itinerary and Highlights

We start our tour in Athens, the city dedicated to Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom. Here we'll learn about the foundational myths of the Greek pantheon and their enduring appeal to storytellers today. We'll explore the streets of Athens like a local, discovering the ancient city's stories and secrets while sampling the best of local produce.

Then we head to the charming island of Hydra, once home to a famous bohemian community of artists and writers including musician Leonard Cohen and Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston. Hydra has since become an important literary pilgrimage for many Australians, and continues to inspire artists and writers today. 

Next, we fly to Crete, the largest of the Greek islands and the heartland of ancient Minoan civilisation. Crete has a deep and multilayered literary and mythological history: not only was it the birthplace of Zeus, but also Ariadne and the Minotaur, who inspired Kate's recent novel, The Crimson Thread. Crete has been home to many Greek literary giants such as Nikos Kazantzakis and Pandelis Prevelakis, but its landscape, culture and stories have inspired countless other writers who travelled to its fabled shores. Crete is also a significant site for many Australians due to the experiences of the ANZACs stationed there during WWII - also a connection close to Kate's heart, and a story woven into her novel.

Our expedition through Crete begins in the port-city of Chania, known for its 14th-century Venetian harbour, Egyptian and Ottoman influences, and vibrant waterfront life. Chania is our gateway to Western Crete and the legendary Lefka Ori (White Mountains) where we will learn about the myths, history and customs of the Cretan land and its people - both of which remain a major source of literary inspiration.

Next we travel east to the magical coastal towns of Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, which combine the local feel of a fishing village with the electric atmosphere of a cosmopolitan port. Here we'll discover some unusual stories about the region's dark history (and some romantic, frivolous ones too!)

We end our tour in Heraklion, famous for its multicultural Old Town along with its ancient cultural and archaeological sites. The most important of these is Knossos, a palace dating back to the 7th millennium BC, which served as the ceremonial, political, religious, cultural and economic center of the Minoan civilization. The palace is also famous for its association with the myth of Ariadne, Perseus and the Minotaur, along with the labyrinth, which many believe Daedalus built under Knossos.

Please note: this tour is designed for adventurous travellers keen to discover the secrets of Greece off the beaten track. A moderate level of fitness is required as we will be on the move most days and there will be a lot of walking, sometimes in hilly terrain. We will also be undertaking a short hike through Imbros Gorge in Crete.


Price is $9,985 for single accommodation.

To secure your booking, a deposit of 30% is required within 7 days of receiving your booking form.


What is included in the cost?

  • Tour Leader (Australian) - expert in Greek myths and literature
  • Tour Coordinator (Australian) - expert in European literary culture and history
  • Seven 'literary salon' sessions with Tour Leader, along with curated reading guide and lectures
  • 24/7 Concierge Service and Emergency Assistance
  • English speaking local guides
  • Single occupancy accommodations (4 or 5 star) with daily breakfast
  • All inland transport and transfers (as listed in itinerary)
  • Ferry transfers (as listed in itinerary)
  • Meals and drinks (as listed in itinerary)
  • Services, entrance fees and tips (as listed in itinerary)
  • Domestic flight as per itinerary (Economy Class)

What is not included in the cost?

  • Transport/flights to Greece
  • Any visas you may require
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Incidentals and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Services, meals, drinks and tips not mentioned in itinerary
  • Covid-19 testing or medical-related expenses

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