The Health Retreats Directory (right) lists retreats based around health, beauty and fitness. This will include retreats focused on yoga, pilates, meditation, weight loss and healing.Those listed identify themselves as 'retreats' but we suggest you also look at our Health & Wellbeing 'holiday' pages here, as there is often little difference between them.
What is a retreat? A retreat may be described as an escape away from everyday distractions, a withdrawal from society to a tranquil setting to allow for a period of reflection or to focus entirely on a particular activity.
For some it might be about taking time to simply relax, for others its a time for personal reflection. On a spiritual or religious retreat it might be time to practice spiritual beliefs. Or it can be about uninterrupted time to study or pursue creative activity.
To help you select, our retreat holiday sections have now been split up into three general categories, namely:
SPAIN: Luxury retreat hotel in Andalucia To be found in wild and beautiful countryside in the mountains above Malaga, Fountainhead Retreat Hotel offers a unique luxury rural retreat.
Offering redefined luxury, peace, total privacy and simplicity, this is a place to escape the outside world for a while. There are no TVs, no computers, no newspapers and no staff to disturb you (unless you want them of course!). The Bath House spa offers private relaxation sessions with Dead Sea salt spa bath, massages, facials and body wraps – using thier own spa products, handmade in house using untreated natural ingredients.
What makes it a 'retreat' rather than a 'holiday'? This distinction is often not clear cut and this is why we suggest also looking at our related holiday categories (see links in each section).
Compared to a 'holiday' an activity related retreat might be more focused, with fewer other distractions. It may offer seclusion, time and space to allow for independent study or creative thought.
Sometimes the location plays a big part, with retreats often taking place in secluded settings or remote locations away from the hustle and bustle associated with a holiday – frequently beautiful settings within the natural environment. Often these places will be dedicated 'Retreat Centres'.
On a contemplative retreat the distinction is clearer as the aim is simply for quiet, undisturbed time in a suitable location, sometimes with guidance, but often without.
UNUSUAL RETREAT IDEAS
BALI: Surf & yoga retreat for women Combine surfing with a pamper retreat on the beautiful tropical island of Bali in the Indonesian archipelago.
Surf Goddess Retreats have created a special women-only holiday that's great for learner surfers and offers a positive, supportive and fun space to learn. It also offers transformative yoga, decadent spa treatments and a wellbeing and health programme designed to leave guests feeling renewed and refreshed.
Offering yoga retreats and holidays in the UK and overseas, AdventureYogi specialises in holidays that combine yoga with adventure activities like surfing, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, snowboarding and skiing; or in retreats to simply relax and restore. Stay somewhere special, feel energised by yoga, relaxed by massage and invigorated by delicious vitality foods.
Rejuvenating, yoga inspired wellbeing holidays and health retreats near the sea in sunny Spain. Featured in the 'Top 10 Yoga Retreats of the World 2012'. The holidays offer inspiring yoga, pilates, fitness, delicious ayurvedic inspired vegetarian meals, hikes, meditation, biking, educational health workshops and holistic therapies. Carefully selected small, beautiful hotels in special locations.
Practice yoga by the beach on the stunning East coast of Majorca, in luxury 4-star accommodation. Arrive any day you like for a short break, week or longer stay. Dynamic hatha classes. Beginners welcome. Lots of other activities available, relaxed social vibe.
| yoga | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | multi activity | spa | massage | Spain |
based: Mlini, nr Dubrovnik, Croatia website:croatiayoga.com
Practice yoga by the beach on the fascinating coast of Croatia near Dubrovnik, in luxury 4-star accommodation. Arrive any day you like for a short break, week or longer stay. Dynamic hatha classes. Beginners welcome. Lots of other activities available, relaxed social vibe.
| yoga | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | multi activity | spa | massage | Croatia |
Fire & Rain offers Soul Spa breaks in stunning locations in Scotland for people who have lost their life partner. With nature and feel-good surroundings acting as therapists, these re-treat holidays remind you that you deserve only the best. And that life is worth living to the full, even after a great loss.
| for the bereaved | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | Scotland | UK |
Yoga retreat holidays in two locations; in the Indian Himalayas and on the Isle of Losinj in Croatia. Offering intensive practice of yoga and meditation in beautiful locations, a vegetarian diet and a wide range of activities: twice daily yoga classes, meditation, chanting, hiking, swimming, nutritional advice and life-coaching.
| vegetarian/vegan | India | Croatia |
La Ferriere Relaxation et Retraite based: Dordogne, France website:laferriererelaxationetretraite.weebly.com
Exclusive tai chi and chi kung retreats with tailored coaching. Feel the joy of relaxation at La Ferriere in the Dordogne. Helder and Patricia Machado invite you to enjoy the quiet, drink local wine, eat food from the village market and just let the rest of the world float away. | tai chi | chi kung | retreats | France |
Holistic healing holidays at a lakeside cottage with traditional sauna set in the natural environment of the Finnish forest. Personal sessions with an experienced healer, workshops, meditation and reiki, or just peace and serenity. Guests gather tools to enhance their daily life on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Ladies fitness and weight loss bootcamp retreats across the UK and Europe. Perfect for those looking for fitness, weight loss, or just wanting an active holiday. These ladies bootcamps include, accommodation, nutritious meals, fun days with varied exercise sessions, exercise and nutrition workshops, dedicated trainers, after care support and optional massage.
| bootcamps | fitness | retreats | nutrition | weight loss | women | singles | stag/hen | UK | Portugal | Spain |
Offering juice detox retreats in England (in West Sussex and Lincolnshire) with yoga and healing. Weight loss and fitness, fertility, stop smoking and emotional healing retreats with 50+ holistic treatments. "One of the Best Retreats in the World" – Telegraph.
| yoga | retreats | detoxification | weight loss | fitness | stag/hen | self development | NLP | meditation | England |
Practice yoga by the beach on the beautiful north east coast of Sardinia, in luxury 4-star accommodation. Arrive any day you like for a short break, week or longer stay. Choose from vinyasa flow or gentle hatha classes. Beginners welcome. Lots of other activities available, relaxed social vibe.
based: Casperia & Sperlonga, Italy | Costa Rica website:sunflowerretreats.com
Yoga holidays and yoga and wellness retreats, with daily yoga classes, meditation, Ayurvedic and holistic treatments, and a wide range of daily optional activities to choose from, in stunningly unspoiled and beautiful locations – in Italy, in the hilltop village of Casperia or beachside Sperlonga – and in Costa Rica.
Surya Lanka Ayurveda Beach Resort based: Talalla, Sri Lanka website:suryalanka.com/en
Surya Lanka is an Ayurveda Resort in Sri Lanka, which specialises in Sri Lankan Ayurveda, Yoga retreats and Ayurveda retreats. The 44 room Ayurveda hotel conducts regular Ayurveda retreats, combining Ayurveda with yoga, meditation and a personalised diet to attain wellbeing.
| ayurveda | retreats | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | yoga | meditation | massage | weight loss | Sri Lanka |
Yoga and surf retreats at La Barrosa beach, Cádiz, southern Spain, for all levels. Retreats also include thematic excursions to other beautiful places; activities like hiking, horse riding and sailing are also available. Year-round week or weekend packages include accommodation and organic breakfast and can be booked for small groups or individuals.
| retreats | yoga | surfing | Spain |
Tai Chi & Nutrition for Health & Wellness based: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK website:taichiandnutrition.com
Tai Chi and Qigong relaxation holidays and retreats. Includes a 7-day therapeutic and energising Qigong holiday on the magical island of La Gomera; a fantastic opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, meet like-minded people and explore this beautiful island. Suitable for absolute beginners as well as the more experienced. | retreats | tai chi | qigong | chi kung | holistic/wellness/wellbeing | meditation | Canary Islands |
Luxury all-inclusive health retreats for weight loss, fitness, detox, wellbeing and anti-ageing, set in a beautiful award winning venue and spa. Join their exceptional and professional retreat team which includes a doctor, nutritionist, yoga and pilates teachers, personal trainers and holistic therapists; who will offer inspirational and individual care and support.
Relax and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul at this rural retreat close to the Black Sea. Offering a personalised service for individuals and small groups, running twice daily poolside yoga and tai chi/qigong classes, life coaching and holistic treatments. Delicious vegetarian food with non-veggie options. All ages and abilities welcome.
Retreats: creative retreats for writers, artists, crafts ...
The Creative & Art Retreats Directory (right) lists retreats focused on art, painting, crafts, music and writing. Those listed identify themselves as 'retreats' but we suggest you also look at our Arts & Crafts and Writing 'holiday' pages.
FEATURED CREATIVE RETREATS
FRANCE: Writers & artists retreat La Muse offers retreat accommodation in Southern France to creative people, including screenwriters, artists, composers, writers, musicians and academics for 3-week retreats. These include the use of the library, art studios, Wi-Fi, shared kitchen, dining room and terrace. There are three double bedrooms and two suites with adjoining study.
An interdisciplinary retreat for scientists and artists. Retreats include writing weeks for PhD students offering help finishing a thesis, group and individual retreats for scientists, grant writing weeks and an artists retreat program.
| Greece |
Heart and Art Andalucia based: Granada, Spain website:heartandartandalucia.com
Week-long fully inclusive art and craft residential courses with professional, experienced artist teachers. Learn, create, relax in the beautiful Spanish mountains of Andalucia in a mountainside house with inspirational views of the National Park. Price also includes countryside picnics, day excursion and airport transfers in Spain. All art materials provided.
| jewellery | sculpture/carving | paper crafts | scrapbooking | embroidery | decoupage | painting/drawing | mixed media | soft toy making | retreats | self development | Spain |
Inspired Mosaics Studio – at The Art House Hove B&B
Mosaic summer schools, courses and retreats in Hove, East Sussex. Learn to create mosaics of any size, on your own or with friends. Courses are led by experienced mosaic artist Elizabeth de Ath in her garden studio – all materials provided. Accommodation is available at the adjoining Art House B&B.
| mosaic | retreats | summer schools | England |
Quilt Retreat (The) based: East Sussex, UK website: quiltretreatuk.co.uk
The Quilt Retreat is a luxurious barn conversion in a beautiful rural setting close to the sea. It offers a quilters workshop for up to ten and sleeps the same number in seven (en-suite) bedrooms. Quilters can enjoy tranquil residential retreats, either doing their own thing or by taking a course with award winning experts.
| patchwork/quilting | retreats | UK |
Creative holidays in SW France, surrounded by beautiful countryside. A range of textiles courses for all interests and abilities, taught by a qualified, experienced tutor who's passionate about textiles. Learn a new skill on a structured (but relaxing) holiday retreat or bring your own project and work independently in the light, spacious well-equipped studio.
| dressmaking/tailoring | embroidery | patchwork/quilting | soft furnishing | fashion | lacemaking | retreats | singles | tailor made | women | France |
The Religious and Spiritual Retreats Directory (right) lists retreats for all religions as well multi-faith/interfaith retreats and secular non-religious spiritual retreats.
FEATURED SPIRITUAL RETREATS
SCOTLAND: Island Retreats Two small islands off Scotland's West Coast provide retreat accommodation to all, regardless of faith and regardless of whether they seek quiet time for restoring the spirit, or an active holiday.
The College of the Holy Spirit is on the island of Cumbrae and is a combination of 3-star guest house and Christian Retreat. It's located next to The Cathedral of The Isles, Britain's smallest cathedral.
The Bishop's House is on Iona and takes groups and individuals, with space for up to 23 people.
A programme of guided retreats is also on offer, for example 'Lent Retreat', various music retreats and 'Spirituality & Poetry' as well as open retreats.
The Abbey in Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, is a retreat and conference centre housed in a beautiful medieval building in peaceful grounds. This inter-faith community offers 3-day 'Rest and Renewal Retreats' and personal retreats.
An interfaith centre set up by a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, the island is open to both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. A retreat programme is ongoing and guests are also welcome for personal retreats or holiday breaks all year round.
DEFINITIONS FOR TOUR OPERATORS WISHING TO BE LISTED:
Travel-Quest's Retreats section lists businesses and organisations offering retreats, these should be residential, multi-day retreats offered as holidays, short breaks or weekends and designed to offer an escape from the world and to provide time and space to study, follow a creative or health-giving activity, pursue a spiritual belief or to simply relax with contemplative 'me-time'. To be listed on this page companies need to be positively identified as a retreat centre or the activities need to be clearly called 'retreats'. We can either list a business as a whole and/or list individual retreats.