Claudia von Kielich, luxury tour advisor US One Travel and Goddess Go To Greece. Photo by Westside People
Claudia Kielich first started bringing women to Greece on personalized luxury tours in 2009 not long after she went through a divorce. She had taken a trip to Greece where her sister lived for more than 20 years, and just like in the movies it changed her life.
“My sister put me to work studying the Goddesses, and in order to really get through my transition I sought out the temples and their behavior,” Kielich said. “Through doing this I was not only able to heal myself but empower myself. And so I came to this conclusion that there must be other women out there like me.”
Kielich launched Goddesses Go to Greece where she takes one to 10 women on a 10-day companion luxury tour. Trips include travel between Greek islands on a 41-foot yacht, healing day spas, cooking classes and a stay in the esteemed King George Palace in Athens. Itineraries are especially geared toward women in transition, such as widows, divorcees or the recently single, but sometimes men come along too.
“A lot of women have Greece on their bucket list,” Kielich said. “I think it’s just in our DNA.”
Kielich said it was partly the film Shirley Valentine in 1989 that romantically portrayed a woman’s renewal in Greece that attracted her to the country at first. Maybe it was the healing waters. On Amorgos, she takes guests to bathe in hot springs where Alexander the Great once took his army. In Crete, she leads a tour of olive oil producers where guests learn to cook the Mediterranean diet. In Poros, they learn to make unique wedding desserts from local villages, all the while visiting temples of the Greek Godesses.
“Greece is a place where we can go and get back to our inner source,” Kielich said. “By the end of the trip each woman looks at themselves and finds they are a Goddess.”
Kielich earned her foray into the travel business as director of special events for the Radio City Rockettes. “That really helped give me the experience of what women want and expect from a luxury tour,” she said.