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Painting Holidays in Halki with Margaret Wiles

  • July 3, 2017
  • Halki

Creative holidays are becoming increasingly popular. And with good reason. There are few things more restful than combining a creative journey with a relaxing break in a beautiful destination. An artistic holiday compels you to consider your surroundings with fresh eyes. It helps you engage with your location, rather than simply pass through.

That’s why our painting holidays in Halki are in demand year after year. Held in the first two weeks of May, they offer the opportunity to explore the magical ‘Island of Peace and Friendship’, while learning a new skill or improving your painting technique in the company of a friendly group of people with shared interests and a mutual love of Halki and Greece.

Painting Holidays in Greece

With a unique, rich history of art dating back to Aegean times, Greece has been an artist’s muse for literally thousands of years. This is largely thanks to her inspiring variety of subject matter, rich, vibrant colours, and her stunning quality of light, so vitally important for artists.

A painting holiday in Greece offers the perfect learning environment for budding artists, whether you’re a complete beginner or amateur enthusiast. The mixed range of abilities in painting groups results in an epic atmosphere, where painting newbies overcome their insecurities by working alongside others who share their desire to learn or improve their skills.

It’s also fascinating to see how different people react to the same subject matter. Painting is a deeply personal experience, so how you compose an image and choose your colours says a lot about your personality and your view of the world.

Be Inspired by Halki

We might be a tiny bit biased, but we think there are few better places to explore your creative side and indulge in your love of Greece than on a painting holiday in the photogenic island of Halki.

Halki is a small, quirky Greek island that’s bursting with charm. Set in the sparkling Aegean Sea close to the island of Rhodes in the Dodecanese archipelago, your first glimpse of the island will be from a boat – there’s no airport here; indeed there’s only a handful of vehicles on the island’s single road.

As you pull into the harbour, you can’t fail to be impressed by the colourful neoclassical mansions that rise around the bay like an amphitheatre at Emborio, Halki’s only town. Brightly painted wooden fishing boats bob gently in the water beneath the bell tower of St Nicholas’s church, and the craggy interior of the island rises behind the town, with three windmills on rocky ridges and the crumbling remains of a crusader castle peering down from the highest peak.

Back on dry land, the enchantment continues. Fishermen sit in the shade of trees sorting their day’s catch and diligently shelling prawns, elderly Greek men shelter from the heat of the day while playing Tavli (a Greek version of backgammon) in the square, and an Orthodox priest cuts a dignified figure as he ambles down a cobbled street. All provide wonderful inspiration for our eager painters.

Margaret Wiles

The success of painting holidays owes a lot to the artist leading the group, so we’re delighted to work with Margaret Wiles. Our special painting holidays go all the way back to our Laskarina days, and both us and our regular painters were thrilled to carry on the tradition with Margaret when Nissia Holidays took over as the specialist holiday company for Halki at the end of 2006. We’re honoured by our continued association with Margaret and look forward to the future.

Margaret’s impressive credentials include a diploma in fine art and lithography from the West Hartlepool College of Art and a teacher-training course at the Brighton College of Art. A member of the Society for All Artists (SAA), Margaret has a long, distinguished career teaching art, painting, and writing and illustrating children’s educational workbooks. Her love of watercolours and infectious enthusiasm are inspirational, and her ability to encourage and embolden beginners and those lacking confidence are renowned.

Margaret’s painting holidays are suitable for all levels of artists, from beginner to advanced. The programme is a mixture of tuition, demonstrations and appraisals, and all artists are able to paint at the pace they feel most comfortable with.

There’s plenty of fun and relaxation included in the programme too. The group, usually between 15 and 20 people, has plenty of time for socialising and taking fun trips together. This usually includes a visit to the deserted island of Alimia, the remote, atmospheric Monastery of St John, and the Monastery of Panormitis with spectacular views, a modern church and the remains of a tiny church dating back to the 10thcentury. Along the way, the starkness of Halki’s interior, broken by glimpses of whitewashed chapels, herds of goats, and beehives, provides yet more inspiration.

Halki Painting Exhibition

On the last Monday of the two-week painting holiday, our painters have the opportunity to exhibit their hard work at Costas Bar. This widely anticipated event is the talk of Halki every year and is always popular with locals and tourists alike. While the entire programme is laidback, relaxed and lots of fun, this day is always special for our proud painters, who can enjoy the fruits of their labour and toast their painting successes.

Most of the paintings are sold on the day, and any leftover are available for purchase throughout the season. All proceeds from the sale goes to the Nissia Holidays School Fund.

Nissia Holidays School Fund

In addition to the proceeds from the exhibition, we run an annual raffle throughout the season with over ten different prizes up for grabs. Top prize, and always a much desired item, is a painting produced by Margaret herself during her Halki painting holiday. Each year, we sell up to €2,000 worth of raffle tickets to people eager to get their hands on a Margaret original.

The proceeds from the exhibition and Nissia raffle all amount to an impressive and much appreciated contribution to the Nissia Holidays School Fund each year. This money goes to the local school in Halki. Over the years, it’s paid for items for the playground, shutters for the building, painting inside and outside, air-conditioning units, an espresso machine for the hardworking teachers, and Greek dancing costumes, which can cost as much as €250 to €350 each!

Painting Holidays in Halki

All our budding painters stay in their choice of Halki accommodation throughout the two-week programme, and our local representatives are on hand to arrange for your transfers between Rhodes and Halki. Meni is also on the island throughout your stay, should you need any advice or assistance.

To find out more about our painting holidays in Halki, contact Nissia Holidays on 01455 289421 or email us: info@nissiaholidays.com.

You can also visit our painting holidays page where you can find all the current painting holidays on offer!


Jo worked on Tilos in 2006, as the last Island Manager for Laskarina. She now runs a travel writing business and travel blog, The Wandering Wordsmith, and spends much of her year travelling. But Greece, especially Tilos, will always hold a special place in her heart.

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