Experience Greece Like Never Before with “Olive & Love Retreats”

Enjoy a soulful stay on the Cycladic island of Andros, immersed in delicious local cuisine, seasonal activities, and guided cultural tours.

Friends for more than three decades, with roots extending from Greece to America, the founders Despina, Melia, and Natalia, decided to weave their Greek heritage and shared love for the island of Andros into the creation of Olive & Love Retreats.

Their collective creativity, collaboration, and dedication guided them to refine their vision and offer unique retreats that showcase the charm of Andros and the singular essence of everyday life on this fertile, agriculturally rich, and densely inhabited Cycladic island, with its long and significant shipping heritage.

The integration of the local community into Olive & Love Retreats’ experiential activities is what sets them apart. Pursuing authenticity and connectivity with the island’s pace, guests organically engage with the locals. They experience life in the Greek countryside, interact and participate in events alongside the island’s inhabitants. This interaction presents a wonderful opportunity to discover the island’s cultural richness, relish its local gastronomy, explore its remarkable natural landscape, antiquities, and hiking trails, and gain insights into the island’s lesser-known aspects.

The words of a previous guest on their experience pretty much sum it all up: “On the 3rd day of our retreat we started with a short hike to the beautiful Pythara waterfall at Apikia village. It was a warm day  so we actually swam under the waterfall which was absolutely magical!  After that all refreshed we went to the Kourtessis winery where Eleni, the owner, welcomed us with a wine tasting of the local wines they produce paired with local dishes all cooked with olive oil. In the afternoon she taught us a class on how to make olive oil based soaps. It was overall an educational and fun fantastic day!”

In October, guests have the unique opportunity to gather olives, become part of the olive oil production process, and learn how to create delicious, oil-based local recipes. Here’s what a guest had to say about their experience: “We begin each  day in the morning with a meditation and breathing amidst the olive and lemon groves followed by a relaxed breakfast. During the olive harvesting day we sorted through the sticks and the leaves, raking the olives and packing the precious fruit into burlap bags all the while singing our favorite songs. After an alfresco lunch we loaded  up the truck and off we go to the local olive press which is pristine and filled with modern machinery. The olives go through the washing, sorting and crushing process then miraculously, mysteriously… it’s turned into liquid gold, an elixir of good health and nutrition. We returned in the afternoon each of us with  our own bottle of olive oil which we used for the dinner we all cooked together in the evening.”

In contrast, April’s retreats focus on lemons, allowing guests to participate in picking lemons and understanding their versatile usage across the island, from pastry making to liqueurs, lemonades, essences, and soaps. This hands-on, experiential participation fosters a strong bond with the local community and culture, and instills an appreciation of slow living and the nutritious benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which are integral to island life and wellbeing.

Guests at Olive & Love Retreats also enjoy the luxury and comfort of two distinct island homes. Villa Perivoli is a lush 12-acre estate, home to 150 olive trees, fragrant lemon and orange trees, nestled in the spectacular natural landscape of Andros. Here, guests can unwind in ultra-luxurious modern rooms, enjoy the beautiful courtyards and swimming pool, and pick their own organic produce from the orchard.

Touchstone House, recognized by Condé Nast Traveler for best village stay, is a refurbished 18th-century farmhouse applauded for its unique Meta-Cycladic style and architectural vision. Here, guests can immerse in village life, take in sweeping views over the valley from its numerous terraces and patios, enjoy the pool, and marvel at the abundance of flowers in its gardens.

Through the combined experience of the island’s breathtaking natural beauty, cultural richness, and premium accommodations, guests of Olive & Love Retreats can expect an unforgettable stay in a truly unique destination. “In the morning we went up to the Panahrantou Monastery perched on top of the mountain near Chora,” writes another guest. “The monks opened the church for us, showed us around and gave us coffee and sweets. They told us about the history of the Monastery and its importance in the history of Andros. I felt a calmness and peace in a truly mystical place. Leaving we went down the path walking to the village of Menites and we reached the springs where we ate in the cool waters of the river.”

The upcoming retreats are organized from October 20-25, 2023 with a focus on olive picking, and in April 2024, highlighting lemons.

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