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20 wellness retreats travelers can’t stop talking about

When the mind feels weary, the body is weak and spirits are low – a wellness retreat is just what some of us need to get back on track again. But if you’re just looking for a holiday with the added perk of making you feel great, then these trips are for you, too. We’ve used global trend data from Google and travel insight from our team, to bring you the hottest wellness breaks right now (that travelers can’t seem to stop talking about!)

What is a wellness break?

Feeling ‘well’ can mean different things to different people. So, what’s a wellness break?

A wellness break usually centres on holistic health, which means centring the soul and body. Exercises can include fitness workshops, yoga, and even spiritual guidance rooted in tradition such as Shamanic or Ayurvedic traditions.

To me, any getaway that prides itself on wellness needs to be ultra-relaxing… set in a beautiful environment… and offer loads of workshops, hikes and dancing opportunities! (The dancing is never optional!) Check out the top-20 wellness retreats around the world, from luxe and lavish stays to cheaper breaks in Europe, Asia, South America and more.

1. Ayurvedic Wellness Retreat, Sri Lanka

Ayurveda is an ancient wellness practice that originated in India. It’s made up of a series of mental, physical, and spiritual techniques that help to harness inner strength in life. While the tradition has been going on for thousands of years, Ayurvedic wellness has been trending hugely across the world in the past few years. 

The location:

As part of Contiki’s Detour trips, you can head to the dreamy coastal town of Anghulla in Sri Lanka to learn the ancient Ayurvedic practice. 

The things you’ll do:

You’ll learn all about Ayurveda, enjoy healing treatments and therapies over the course of the retreat, and further relax with yoga, massage and meditation each day. You’ll even get the chance to witness baby turtles being released back into the wild! 

2. Brahmi, India

Brahmi Wellness Retreat and Spa has been one of the biggest trending retreats in the past 12 months! Think: 12 acres of lush nature, swimming pools, and luxury villas.

Location: The grassy and flower-filled Brahmi retreat is based in the south of India, against a backdrop of the wispy Nandi Hills.

What you’ll do: Brahmi also integrates Ayurvedic techniques into their wellness centre. There’s an on-site doctor, yoga & fitness classes, spa and sauna, plus loads more.

3. Niramaya, India

Niramaya has been around for a while, with resorts across India, focusing on helping their guests to ‘relax, rejuvenate  & rejoice’ through yoga and Ayurvedic techniques.

Location: Niramaya has resorts across India, from the Blue Mountain to the cascading Athirappilly waterfalls.

What you’ll do: Expect swimming pools and sunbeams, combined with spiritual guidance and a ‘symphony of wellbeing’ at any of the Niramaya resorts.

4. The Lodge at Woodloch, USA

It’s easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of life, so The Lodge at Woodloch gives guests ‘the opportunity to shift from their everyday routine and re-focus on themselves’.

Location: The Lodge is set in the forests of North East Pennsylvania (and one of the most deluxe stays in the area) with open-plan wood lodges and secluded swimming pools.

What you’ll do there: The Lodge offers over 35 classes & stress-busting activities daily. They’re particular famed for a plethora of unusual spa treatments – including the new Snow Room and a Tyrolean bucket shower i.e the most luxurious way to do the Ice Bucket challenge!

5. Surf and Yoga in Devon

For some, a wellness retreat is all about the balance between peaceful moments and adrenaline-pumping thrills! If that sounds like you, Surf and Yoga in Devon with Contiki is definitely for you!

Location: This 4-day retreat is set in the lush valleys and coastal hotspots of Devon, living and learning with Elly, our amazing local guide.

What you’ll do: Yoga in the orchards, surfing lessons in Croyde Bay, and vegan feasts at Elly’s home (prepared by Veganwise). With chill vibes all the way, this wellness break will show you the serene, Devon way of life.

6. CIVANA, USA

CIVANA gives their guests ‘access to world renowned wellness guides and healers’, encouraging social interaction, conversions, meditation… and sweat!

Location: CIVANA wellness resort and spais nestled amongst the succulents and Mesquite trees of the Sonora Desert.

What you’ll do: There are loads of cool activities to try at CIVANA, from fitness, to chakra-centring workshops, archery, and even necklace-making classes! Oh, and don’t forget the spa and sauna. I’m sure you’ll want somewhere to relax after all that!

7. Blue Osa Yoga Retreat, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been trending this year for wellness retreats, which is a surprise to no-one, seeing how beautiful the country is. Blue Osa is all about learning to do yoga and meditation across many settings – but they admit themselves that beachfront yoga is where it’s at! That’s why many of their yoga sessions are set on the shores, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The location: Blue Osa’s various retreats are set on the same beach-side site, etween Corcovado National Park and the refreshing waters of Gulfo Dulce. It’s the one of the best places to see rare rainforest plants and animals in the country.

What you’ll do: Blue Osa is all about disconnecting from stress and reconnecting with the feeling of sand between your toes! From beach-front yoga daily, to exciting farm-to-table experiences where you’ll try local Costa Rican cuisine.

8. Pura Vida, Mexico

Mexico is another country trending big for wellness breaks this year, partly because of all the great work Pura Vida is doing. This non-profit, spiritual (but non-denominational) wellness centre is focused on promoting good mental health and helping guests find ‘lasting change in their life’.

Location: Pura Vida is set in Yelapa, a small beach town AKA tropical paradise in Mexico.

What you’ll do: At Pura Vida, the accommodation and spa are right by the ocean, helping guests to reconnect with sounds and feelings of nature. They offer relaxing meditation, movement, and mindfulness  treatments, as well as 1-2-1 and group sessions for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD.

9. The Retreat Darjeeling, India

This wellness break in the Himalayas is perfect for insta-worthy views, from Tiger Hill sunsets to the vibrant Mall Road.

Location: A trip to the Eastern Himalayas is always a gorgeous (if slightly exhausting) experience, and sometimes on a wellness retreat, that’s exactly what you need! That’s why The Retreat Darjeeling is set in the ‘Queen of the Hills’, surrounded by green tea fields and mountain peaks.

What you’ll do: The itinerary at Darjeeling is very chilled. You can just enjoy the mountainside accommodation and set off on your own adventures, or ask staff for sightseeing and services.

 

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10. Hiking and Wild Swimming in the Cairngorms

This Detour experience by Contiki takes you on a mountainous mission, mountain biking, hiking and swimming in the Cairngorms. That’s the UK’s largest national park to me and you. And to Sam, our amazing host Sam, it’s home.

The location: The Cairngorm Mountain defines the rugged landscape and stunning views on this trip. You’ll stay at Ballintean Mountain Lodge, a charming complex in the heart of Scotland’s Cairngorm National Park

What you’ll do: This one is for the active holiday lovers. Sam will take you on thrilling mountain bike rides in the Cairgorms to (secret) waterfall hikes and and even a trip to the see the wild reindeer of Scotland!

11. Aro Hā, New Zealand

If you’re looking for luxe and low emissions in New Zealand, this wellness centre definitely for you! Aro Hā is powered by solar and hydro energy, only allowing 32 guests max at a time, to give you quiet space to breathe and take in the beautiful natural scenery.

Location: With a tantalising view of the Southern Alps, Aro Ha is the perfect place to do yoga. This gleaming resort has beautiful interiors made of neutral wood, stone and glass – take a step outside and you’re just a stone’s throw away from Lake Wakatipu.

What you’ll do: From fresh-tasting veggie meals (raw, paleo, vegan, you name it), to yoga and fitness classes, Aro Hā’s week-long retreats take health and wellness to new heights.

12. Six Senses, Portugal

Location: Six Senses is a huge 19th century manor, nestled among the vineyards and wildflowers of Douro Valley. Oh and the centre has just had a fresh makeover, so it’s the ideal time to visit.

What you’ll do: Choose from 4 different wellness retreats, focusing on mind, body, and soul. The sessions are personalised to you, after an initial wellness screening with one of the team. Oh, and when it comes to fresh food and local wine, Six Senses’s nutrient-filled menu gives more than you bargained for!  gives you way more than you bargained for! Which other wellness place fuels you with nutrient-rich foods and lets you indulge in a glass of local wine without feeling guilty?

13. SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain

Location: We are living for wellness retreats with a view, and SHA is no exception, overlooking the ultra-blue Med Sea. Parked up in the Spain’s Sierra Helada mountains, you’ll have plenty of space to roam around and feel free at these top-class facilities which span over 6,000 sq meters.

What you’ll do: SHA is all about personalisation. There are literally tons of programs tailored to specific needs, from detox and dental to dermatology! This centre is therefore more medical-based than most, with longer retreats (around 7 days) and more face-time with professionals.

 

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14. Kamalaya, Thailand

Location: Tucked away on the tropical Koh Samui coastline, Kamalaya hosts a range of mental and physical health retreats, with a private beach! The accommodation ranges from poolside villas to Hill View rooms with yoga mats and fresh fruit delivered daily. Well, golly!

What you’ll do: Kamalaya offers a huge variety of wellness breaks, with local exploration and mindful meditation at front of mind. Do your stretches in the morning, enjoy nutritious local foods and swim in the cerulean Gulf of Thailand. From 5 to 21+ day retreats, there really is something for everyone at Kamalaya. It’s one of Thailand’s most luxurious wellness getaways.

If island-hopping is more your thing, check out Contiki’s Thai group trips! There are tons of departures leaving this summer, hitting up the best of Thailand’s 1430 islands.

15. Croatia Sail with Cycling and Yoga

Wash those worries out of your hair and take in the Croatian countryside on Contiki’s active sailing trip. This 8-day adventure will take you cycling, sailing and doing yoga through the most gorgeous green areas of the Croatian archipelago.

Location: Over the trip, you’ll island hop from Krk to Cres to Losinj. There’ll be daily morning yoga on our sailing boat and plenty of bike rides when we arrive on solid ground!

What you’ll do: There’ll be loads of opportunity to swim, cycle and do whatever you feel like, to be honest! You’ll travel with a group of awesome 18-35 year olds (like all Contiki trips) and sleep in cosy cabins on the sailing boat. Believe me, this trip has all you need to refresh the mind and replenish the soul. Plus you’ll probably come out of it with a bunch of new friends!

16. COMO Shambhala Estate, Indonesia

Location: If you were looking for an excuse to visit the mountains and temples of Bali, this is it! COMO Shambhala Estate is near Ubud, offering holistic wellness exercises and stunning poolside accommodation. Waking up to the tropical birds singing in the morning from your balcony never felt so good.

What you’ll do: Think massage therapies, body care & Ayurveda to a T, honey! Breaking out a sweat in the great outdoors is also encouraged. COMO also offers activities like hiking and climbing (what better way to experience the unique location?)

 

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17. Active Alps

If you love fresh mountain air and keeping active, this wellness getaway in the Austrian Alps is for you.

Location: Travelers will stay in Contiki’s famous Gastof chalet in Tyrol, one of Austria’s most beautiful regions for skiing and adventures. It’s called a Special Stay for a reason! Hit the link to see some ultra-glowing reviews. 

What you’ll do: Hike, bike and picnic across the Austrian Alps, with swim stops, delicious Austrian grub and a tour of Sound of Music filming locations!

18. Ananda in the Himalayas, India

Location: More marvellous mountain retreats coming up, with Ananada in the Himalayas getting a lot of positive press in the last few months. You’ll stay in a real-life temple, once home to maharajahs, learning ancient Indian healing practices in the lush Himalayan foothills.

What you’ll do: The Ananda team pride themselves on leaving guests with a long-lasting feeling of inspiration and balance. From ‘therapeutic massage to toxic elimination’ – you’ll get insight from experienced Bihar School yoga teachers, who will help create your tailored yoga and meditation program.

19. The Mandrake’s ‘Soul Revival', London

Location: The Mandrake is a boutique stay in the heart of Fitzrovia, one of London’s fanciest areas. Think plush king-size beds, majestic garden and social spaces, and incredible service. Interestingly, their Jurema Terrace has been voted among the best in the world, filled with hanging gardens and fragrant flowers. .

What you’ll do: You can take part in as many or as few wellness activities as you like at the Mandrake, with a focus the superb accommodation. That being said, workshops are run by internationally-respected practitioners such as Urmi Sound (sound healers), Andréa Araré (shamanic healing) and Maria Lodetoft (Sound healer). We’re sure you won’t want to miss out!

 

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20. Hiking and Bushcraft in the Lake District, UK

Location: There’s a reason why famed nature poet, William Wordsworth, chose to live most of his life in the Lake District. Chirping bird calls, flower meadows, hillside havens and of course, the stunning Lake Windermere – does it get better?

What you’ll do: Alongside Anna, our incredible local guide, you’ll hike over hills, try axe-throwing and make a splash on Lake Windermere with a range of water sports. Trust me – the Contiki team will make sure your time in the Lake District is unforgettable! Check out this limited-edition Detour trip today. 

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