Island Art Escapes – Creative Retreats Accessible by Greek Ferries

Escape into an island idyll accessible by Greek ferries. Spend nine hours on the ferry to Astypalea, where neoclassical villages and pebbly beaches rival Santorini.

Art and nature retreat in a minimal stone villa overlooking the mediterranean sea. Embrace the spirit of island life through daily meditation, yoga and sketching classes!


Skyros is a peaceful island with an unspoiled landscape and serene beaches. Its residents are engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and crafts. The most distinctive Scyrian craft is embroidery, which decorates household clothing and the local costumes. The art of woodcarving is also well-known on the island and the idiosyncratic furniture produced here can be seen in living rooms around Athens.

A heavily indented coastline is peppered with sandy and pebble beaches as well as secluded coves, rocky inlets and sea caves. The beach at Magazia is especially picturesque, offering a wide range of water sports and the opportunity to swim in crystal clear waters.

The main town, Chora, offers narrow cobbled streets and a medieval castle with a magnificent view. The village is home to the first folk art museum in Greece, Manos and Anastasia Faltaits Museum, exhibiting various objects of daily life from previous times as well as traditional clothes, embroideries and ceramics.

Among the most serene activities is hiking around the island. The island has a variety of trails, ranging from short walks to longer hikes with beautiful panoramic views. The most famous trail is the one to the highest peak on the island, Mt. Athos, which offers a breathtaking panorama. The island is also popular for diving, sailing and windsurfing. It is possible to see a variety of marine species and the impressive underwater scenery.


Embraced by style-savvy Athenians but unspoiled by mass tourism, the enticing island of Serifos is a trove of cultural antiquity. Its paradisiacal beaches and hilltop tavernas beckon you to unwind in solitude, while its sweeping mountainscapes and wildflower-scented scrubland teem with wildlife.

This serene retreat’s bijou private beach overlooks azure waters that glimmer in the moonlight. Beneath dancing eucalyptus trees, you’ll find a serene outdoor lounge that sets the tone for easygoing brunch gatherings and free-spirited cocktail parties. The organic kitchen garden brims with tomatoes, aubergines, and native edible species like thyme and oregano.

Block722 designer Georgia Nikolopoulou’s reimagining of the ancient miners’ homes in Mega Livadi is purposefully spartan, with clutter-free calm designed to combat modern-day stress. The cool colour scheme of grey, white, and natural wood celebrates local craft and timeless elegance. Sleep aficionados will appreciate the COCO-MAT Eco Residences’ organic mattresses and homeware made from materials like coconut fibers and eucalyptus.

Located on the island of Sifnos, this creative getaway offers guests the chance to learn new skills and create lasting memories with friends or family. Whether it’s throwing pottery on the wheel or painting on canvas, there’s something for everyone at this DIY art studio. The onsite spa focuses on mind and body renewal, with challenging daily workouts balanced by calming/relaxing yoga sessions.


The snug harbor and rugged landscape of Hydra have long been a draw for writers and artists. Leonard Cohen made this island home in the 1960s, and a steady stream of bohemian expats have left behind a legacy of creative inspiration that still attracts visitors today. Catch a glimpse of this heritage at the port-side Hydra History Museum, the hillside Lazaros Koundouriotis Historical Mansion, and the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art (entry also includes entrance to the artist Panagiotis Tetsis’ delightful home and studio).

The whitewashed tangle of streets in Hydra town seems carved into the mountainside. Every turn reveals a photo-worthy vignette—a grand building draped with bougainvillea, a pretty courtyard, or a quirky corner with a coterie of cats. Hydra was a 19th-century naval power, and the architecture of its central town reflects its grandeur.

Take a breather on the island’s tranquil beaches, or wander to the top of Mount Akrogi where a monastery looms over the port. There you can enjoy a mystical sunrise, followed by an energizing morning yoga and meditation class led by the wonderful Yogi Skyrah Archer and a lesson in watercolor and sketching with the exceptional international painter Angelika Lialios. This all-inclusive retreat offers lodging in a historic Greek captain’s palace, wholesome meals, and the chance to learn to relax, recharge, and create lovely holiday sketches.


The beauty of island getaways can soothe anyone battered by daily life. But add an artsy twist and the endorphin rush is even greater. Across the country, these retreats offer a plethora of opportunities to explore art in its many forms, from paints and fabrics to sculptures, woodwork, ceramics and performance art.

Escape artists can be found in all corners of the Northwest, but few are as spectacular as those on the islands off of Puget Sound. Here, world-class chefs opt out of the rat race to serve meals full of ingredients they grew themselves and painters and sculptors create dazzling works that reflect both their individual talents and their community’s rich artistic history.

These creative island escapes are accessible by a multitude of ferry options, including Seajets and Hellenic Seaways. To make island hopping as seamless as possible, look for a high-speed ferry to keep travel times under two hours. Then, enjoy your trip to the stunning islands and return to the mainland with ease.

Start your island hopping adventure in Athens, where you can spend a couple of nights immersed in Greek culture and history. Stroll through the streets lined with Byzantine churches and explore the lively flea markets of Monastiraki before relaxing in a traditional taverna. Then, set sail to cosmopolitan Mykonos, where iconic white-washed buildings and blue domes abound.