It’s time to book this year’s summer break to rejuvenate your mind and body. You’ve decided on short haul, but where are some of the best retreats in Europe?
According to ABTA’s annual report, the hot European spots this year include Croatia, with its idyllic islands and Sardinia for its captivating beaches and wild interior. While off some people’s radar, away from the larger cities, coastal Turkey continues to offer dazzling beaches, scenery, and cuisine (see the latest FCO advice and note that Thomas Cook has seen a rise in the popularity of Turkish resorts including Dalaman and Antalya).
Now, what type of retreat? Do you want to stay in a villa for a home-from-own feel or a hotel with the service that brings? Do you want to practice daily yoga or mindfulness – or both!? Read on for our selection of the best retreats in Europe:
ITALY family fitness, cooking and yoga
Think you can’t take a cookery or yoga break with children in tow? Think again. The stunning surroundings in Arezzo, Tuscany are the setting for Mum and Baby Experience’s breaks at this restored stone farmhouse with lake and mountain views. Inside all is well-equipped for babies and children, from highchairs and cots to trained babysitters. Choose twice-daily yoga classes and a cookery lesson or thrice-daily yoga, Zumba, and circuits or a walk. A massage or facial and trips to the medieval town of Anghiari are included.
SARDINIA mindfulness and yoga
Yoga in Sardinia involves a relaxing mix of gentle hatha yoga, mindfulness, pranayama and yoga nidra. Boutique Galanias Hotel in Bari Sardo offers coastal views and panoramic pools set in leafy grounds. Excursions include trips to the local beach, vineyards, diving and kayaking with bike hire available from the hotel.
Turkey’s longest established and best-known yoga retreat, Huzur Vadisi in rural Göcek, near Dalaman, offers a variety of styles. Stay in yurts in a peaceful valley setting surrounded by olive and fig groves. Cool off in the natural stone swimming pool, indulge in a massage or take a siesta in the traditional Turkish ‘treehouse.’ Excursions include boat trips. So popular is the classic, wholesome Turkish food on offer here, they created their own cookbook.
Just think, once your summer retreat is booked you can start planning your winter retreat! Sorry to say but places for New Year are always limited and tend to get booked up well in advance.
Jo Fernandez is a leading UK travel journalist, with much of her career spent working for the London Evening Standard where she was Travel Editor until 2015.
Now a freelance travel journalist and copywriter, she lives in Essex and has one daughter. As a travel expert, she still enjoys jetting off to write travel pieces, with favourite destinations including Mexico, Croatia and, of course, Essex.