Photo: ParadisPlage/Facebook

Forget Bali and Tulum. These Are the Next Big Beach Destinations for Wellness.

Wellness Insider Guides Beaches and Islands
by Rebecca Hughes Jul 29, 2019

Recent holiday trends have shown that wellness tourism is definitely on the rise, and beach destinations are proving the ideal settings. Traditional formulas of coastal spa resorts with beach activities like yoga and meditation remain popular, while other wellbeing holidays are focusing on a more active contact with nature, taking advantage of the sea, sand, and fresh air of beachside locations. From surfing in Portugal to hiking in the Caribbean, here are some beach destinations and recommended resorts and activities for your next revitalizing holiday.

1. Algarve, Portugal

Photo: Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock

With both dramatic cliffs and stunning beaches, the coastline of the Algarve in Portugal offers variety when it comes to wellness holidays. For complete seclusion and escape from modern daily stresses, Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa provides 11 hectares of verdant botanical gardens and deserted sandy beach. The retreat offers a cornucopia of wellness options, including a high-impact spa, Thalassa, detox, weight loss, anti-aging, and fitness programs. Evening dinner can be savored at one of the two terrace restaurants beside the clifftop pool with lofty views over the Atlantic Ocean, and the suites and apartments are equipped with private terraces overlooking lush gardens, pools, or the sea. Prices start from $3,292 per person for seven nights, depending on the program.

Soul-searchers with a love of surfing, on the other hand, might enjoy Ed and Sofie Templeton’s newly opened Portuguese branch of their Soul & Surf holidays on this stretch of coastline, which is well known for its ideal surfing conditions. Their dreamy vision of a community of surfers, yogis, and voyagers has realized itself in an idyllic retreat based in a rustic farmhouse in the rugged coastal hills. When not surfing the waves, there are yoga and meditation sessions; intimate music gigs in the garden; and leisurely, communal meals with nourishing, wholesome food. Prices start from $457 per person for a Weekday Escape Package.

2. Ibiza, Spain

Photo: lunamarina/Shutterstock

The White Isle is certainly not the first place that springs to mind for a wellness break, but it seems Ibiza’s partying clientele have matured, and now visitors are heading to the island for health-boosting holidays rather than all-night clubbing. At Atzaro Spa and Hotel, for example, fresh, white-washed buildings, palm-shaded gardens, and delicate Moorish architecture form the ideal backdrop for the vast range of spa facilities and treatments. Facilities include saunas, a pool, and a yoga pavilion, while treatments range from deep tissue and hot stone massages to lifting facials and manicures. A spa day pass starts from $89.

Even legendary party hotel Pikes has hopped on the wellness bandwagon and introduced a Rockovery service, advertised as both a hangover cure and a place for guests looking to keep up their fitness and wellness routines. They offer everything from tennis coaching, to healing therapies, to detoxification systems with AcuDetox.

3. Losinj, Croatia

Photo: Susy Baels/Shutterstock

When it comes to finding something new, sometimes the solution is to take something traditional and give it a rebirth. The island of Losinj, in Croatia, was declared a climatic health resort by the Ministry of Health of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy in 1892. The remarkable pure air, a result of the salty sea spray; forests of Aleppo pines; and unique microclimate is still attracting visitors looking to treat respiratory diseases or allergies. But now it’s being recognized by those wanting an affordable wellness holiday, too, where the main treatment is completely free.

Many choose to rent mobile homes or camp, but some five-star hotels are popping up on the island too, like Hotel Bellevue, which offers a spa with color therapy and steam rooms. You won’t want to spend too much time cooped up in the hotel, though, as on the doorstep are forests rich with the scent of the herbs underfoot and quiet coves blessed with a gentle, salty breeze. All the therapy you need.

4. The Caribbean off the beaten path

Photo: Larwin/Shutterstock

As wellness tourism trends are moving away from shutting yourself up in a secluded spa to immersing yourself fully in nature, the Caribbean’s lush islands are proving a popular choice. With fragrant vegetation and sea air, therapy comes free here.

Hike Caribbean is one company offering hiking itineraries on the islands of Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, and St. Lucia, where fresh air, verdant scenery, and a healthy bit of heart-pumping exercise is the favored medicine. Tours are focused on one island or take you to several, so you can scale multiple mountain peaks. Some itineraries include other activities like birdwatching, yoga, or historical tours to learn about the islands’ colonial past. And whichever island you are on, you can rest your weary legs in the evening while watching a sunset from a paradisiacal beach. Prices start from $1,674 per person for a seven-night itinerary.

5. Agadir, Morocco

Photo: ParadisPlage/Facebook

Sun worshippers can perform sun salutations aplenty on a visit to the Agadir region, an area located on the southwest coastline of Morocco and famed for its average of 340 days of sunshine a year. The area provides an affordable wellness alternative to its Asian spa counterparts.

Near the surfing village of Taghazout, soul-seekers can check into the Paradis Plage eco-resort, offering surfing tuition, yoga classes, and a fully equipped spa. Programs at Paradis Plage strive for revitalization and balance with a three-step approach. An initial tough cardio session such as a beach run or a personalized boot camp ticks the “be active” box while a follow-up yoga practice and then sensorial massage cover “be mindful” and “be balanced,” respectively. Guests should return home with a refreshed sense of equilibrium. Prices start from $940 per person for seven nights.

6. Bodrum, Turkey

Photo: Sianji Wellbeing Resort/Facebook

The historical coastline of Bodrum, Turkey, is rich with antiquities like the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World dating from the fourth century BC. It also offers a magnificent stretch of uninterrupted coastline that’s ideal for a holiday focused on recharging and re-energizing.

For those feeling sluggish and lethargic, Sianji Wellbeing Resort is a family-run hotel particularly that’s known for its powerful detox programs. It guides its guests through diet revamps, which include juicing — raw, vegan, and alkalizing options — and detox specialists make sure you leave with a solid plan for continuing the program at home. Taking full advantage of its location on the Bodrum shoreline, the resort offers a seawater outdoor pool and a yoga pavilion by the beach, as well as Turkish baths, saunas, and three indoor pools. Prices start from $1,319 per person for five nights.

7. Marbella, Spain

Photo: 38DegreesNorth/Facebook

Located in the southern Andalusia region of Spain, this beachfront destination prompts visions of sunset cocktails and beach parties, flashy yachts, and luxury boutiques. However, the sunny seaside location also lends itself to year-round wellbeing and fitness breaks.

38 Degrees North is one company that is favoring the active approach over passive spa and sauna afternoons. They are offering a kind of beach bootcamp called “Body: Reset” where brave clients can expect high-intensity metabolic training instead of sunbathing. Motivational experts Claire and James support their customers through the footballer-style training sessions with kettlebells and plenty of jumping, boxing classes, and spin sessions. It may sound exhausting, but the formula seems to work, leaving you energized and with a strange addiction to their fitness programs. Plus, there’s no guilt when tucking into their three-course meals. From $3,980 for two people sharing.

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