Contrary to popular opinions, you don’t have to go all the way to Asia to find the best places. If you live in Europe, there are great meditation retreats that you will love. At these retreats, you can finally get to quiet your mind, open your heart, and listen deeply.
So, whether you just want to keep your trip within Europe or just not interested in traveling too far from home, you’ll surely find the experience worth it at any of these 9 best meditation retreats in Europe.
Solo Summer Retreat, Lefkada, Greece
This retreat is specifically targeted at solo travelers and it is held on the Ionian island of Lefkada. The retreat provides visitors with an amazing holiday on the beach and alongside meditation; visitors can also visit the village.
Each visitor is given a self-catering apartment right on the sea. There are guided meditations each day and also mindful walks through olive groves and mindful movement sessions included – all of which are led by a down-to-earth meditation teacher.
There are also wellbeing courses in areas like the art of self-compassion, but these are optional and donation-based. Visitors are also offered on-site treatments.
Prices start from £509 per week with accommodation, instruction, and meals. You can visit Serenityretreat.co.uk for more information.
Glenview Hotel and Leisure Club, Ireland – Mindfulness-based stress reduction
The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was first created by John Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s at the University Of Massachusetts Medical School for patients and staff to help manage the physical and psychological impacts of stress, sickness, and pain.
The approach at the school strips talks about dharma and karma and straight-up offers meditation techniques to participants.
Today, their Centre for Mindfulness organizes yearly conferences for scientists. These conferences focus on how meditation can influence health care and vice versa. And as expected, the conferences have aided in the understanding of how meditation affects our brains and immune system.
One of such conferences is the Mindfulness Tool for Living the Full Catastrophe, a five-day residential version of the MBSR, which is taught globally. They are held in Ireland in summer and ideal for anyone looking for a location with the regular amenities for travelers.
Popular for combining meditation with healthy local meals and hiking trails, this region boasts stunning and diverse landscape and they range from sandy beaches to Wale’s highest peak, Mount Snowdon.
It houses several lakes, beautiful views, and sometimes mist blankets. In this park, you’re provided a magical window into the natural world.
Most retreats in the region take advantage of the fertile soil and grow their own food.
One such is the Dru Mountain Lodge, the retreat open to year-round to guests focuses on movement and breathing techniques.
Ayurveda Parkschloesschen, Germany
The wellness approach at Parkschloesschen is based on the ancient principles of the holistic art of Ayurvedic healing ranging from food, treatments, exercises, meditations, and yoga.
If you’re looking to feel energized and revitalized after a stressful week, the 7-day yoga and Ayurveda program is your best bet. The program will leave you emotionally, physically, and spiritually lighter.
Yoga routines are combined with a healthy diet, and both are believed to be the best way to enjoy a feeling of health and overall wellbeing.
Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof, Austria
This Austrian resort specializes and offers great yoga and Ayurveda sessions to guests. There are no specific programs dedicated to yoga so expect to find that yoga features prominently on your programs; acting as a great accompaniment to the Ayurvedic treatments.
At the retreat, you can enhance the results you derive from your Ayurveda treatments and also improve your practice with programs such as the Royal Ayurveda retreat comprising a weekly yoga and meditation practice.
Gorges du Loup, France
If you’re looking to integrate mindfulness into a group or family holiday or just holidaying alone, the Gorges du Loup is one you should consider.
The stunning River Loup flows up to 30 miles through the foothills of Gourdon, in the Alpes-Maritimes region of Southern France, and then empties right into the Mediterranean Sea.
If you enjoy hiking, the area has attractive hiking trails, wild swimming spots, and gorges hidden in the crevices of the rugged landscape. The scenic lookout points and hidden waterfalls of the Gorges du Loup are great for family, group, or individual meditation sessions.
The Zest Life, Anglesey
At the Zest Life, you’re provided yoga and wellbeing weekends. This takes place at the retreat’s venues in Lake District and Wales. Besides the yoga and meditation sessions, there are training sessions, guided country walks, and Pilates.
The food is as hearty as it is delicious and you’re offered a variety of treatments including Reiki and reflexology though at extra cost. Others include standup paddleboarding, foraging, hiking, and wild swimming.
Assisi is highly recommended for those looking to mix meditation with historical sightseeing and captivating natural walks. Located in Assisi Italy, the birthplace of St Francis, one of Italy’s patron saints, the town is situated in the hills and forests in the Umbria region of Central Italy, also referred to as the country’s “green heart”.
It attracts many Christian pilgrims every year and has grown to become a known meeting place for tourists of various faiths from different parts of the world.
The Simple Peace Retreats at Assisi offers an all-in-one package and included in it is the heart-centered meditation, meditative movement classes, guided pilgrimage walks, and massage therapy.
Yoga and Adventure
This magical yoga center is located on an old olive farm in Sierra de Grazalema, Andalucia, Survalila and contains three yoga shalas (yoga spaces)– including the Om Dome, a cathedral-like geo tent.
The different visiting teachers run weeks all year round and if you enjoy having a range of activities almost at the same time, the week-long Adventure and Yoga Retreats run thrice yearly. The retreat combines twice-daily classes with fun activities that range from kayaking and canoeing to flamenco dancing.
The retreat offers a wide range of accommodation, including glamping to dorms or luxurious rooms.
Today, wellness seekers everywhere are increasingly making meditation retreats popular. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is growing at twice the rate of the overall tourism industry.
Most of these wellness trips can be as short as a day and others may last longer than a week. Like the venues mentioned above, many of these retreats are held at nature-focused meditation centers and participants are made to engage in life-changing mindfulness activities. Some even take it a step further; their activities are carried out in complete silence to help you maximize the retreat.
According to Ted Meissner, the online program and community development manager for the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, observing “periods of extended meditation practice gives you a chance to focus without the usual distractions or responsibilities of daily life”.
Now, this does not in any way mean that your days will be spent sitting monk style on a meditation cushion, not at all.
Like you already saw on our list above on the retreats, there are many fun activities you can enjoy such as mindful walking, hiking, eating, yoga, and even spa services. The best part? Every single activity at these retreats is done mindfully.
Also, on these retreats, you’ll finally get the “opportunity” to put away gadgets like your PC, tabs, and smartphones. All kinds of distractions are discouraged at meditation retreats to encourage greater self-awareness. At the close of your retreat, the outcomes you can expect are a better state of calm, noticeably reduced stressed, and a lower heart rate.
Overall, you’ll be more prepared to live life more mindfully after shedding the stress, anxiety and the effect of your experience will be felt for a long time. Your relationships at home will be better for it, your work relationships will enjoy a significant boost and you’ll be a generally more conscious and better person.
Ever been on a retreat or any on our list? We’d like you to share your experience. Considering planning a retreat to one of the venues on our list alone or with a group? Way to go! Most of the retreats on our list are open year-round so it’s never too late to make your bookings.