9 European recommendations for meditation and mindfulness

Image of two people stretching or doing yoga in the woods in Biarritz, France.
Image of Katie Fiddaman
by Katie Fiddaman
16 May 2023

Craving a getaway to soothe the body and soul? Recent research from Booking.com shows that it’s one of the top reasons to get away this year. And when you book a trip to soothe the mind, body and soul with Virgin Red, you’ll earn eight Virgin Points per £1 you spend with Booking.com. Genius members can also get access to Genius benefits to enjoy more discounts and travel rewards. More holidays = more perks. What’s not to love?

According to the research by Booking.com, travel is set to take ‘mind, body and soul’ wellness to the next level this year. The popularity of these less conventional ways to feel bliss is growing, with 44% of global travellers seeking to recentre the mind with meditation and mindfulness getaways. Two in five are aiming to find peace at a silent retreat and more than two fifths (42%) are keen to go on a health hiatus that focuses on mental health, transformative health, or that helps with life milestones.

In collaboration with Virgin Red, Booking.com has made nine European location recommendations to maximise your wellness as part of your next getaway.

South Tyrol, Italy

South Tyrol is hidden amid the peaks and valleys of the Italian Alps and is sure to inspire many “wow” moments for visitors. The marvel is packed with lakes, castles and vineyards, nestled beneath the Dolomites. The spellbinding scenery bathing in 300 days of sunshine per year and has boundless adventure with a wide variety of trails and pathways to explore to elevate your wellbeing.

Image of the Italian countryside with mountains in the distance.

However, that’s not all. South Tyrol is teeming with wellness resorts, authentic hideaways and eco-retreats amidst the summits. Whether it’s floating in a saltwater infinity pool, lying in a steam sauna, or partaking in ancient treatments like lumberjack therapy, there are so many wellness rituals to enjoy.

Lake District, UK

If you’re planning to stay on British soil, the Lake District is home to plenty of activities to soothe the soul and restore the spirit. For some, an amble by a lake or a walk on the fells is restorative enough, but there are loads of activities to help the mind and body: forest bathing, yoga, meditation, wild swimming and massages to name a few.  

Visitors can indulge in the restorative practice of forest bathing, which embraces the therapeutic energy of trees by breathing in the calming scent of nature while walking through the woods. Or why not treat yourself to a massage during your visit at a luxury spa? Yoga doesn’t have to be in a studio – you could pursue it at the top of a mountain! And for those who don’t feel the cold, wild swimming in rivers, lakes and waterfalls is at its best in the Lake District.  

And, when you’re thinking about getting there, soak up the British countryside by travelling by train. On top of the eight Virgin Points for every £1 you spend with Booking.com, you’ll earn three points per £1 you spend on train travel with Virgin Trains Ticketing. And there are loads of ways to spend Virgin Points – from a morning coffee, case of wine, or cinema ticket to a flight abroad, the possibilities are endless to redeem Virgin Points with Virgin Red.

Valle Della Luna, Sardinia, Italy

Valle Della Luna, or "Valley of the Moon", is a 500-metre-long valley in the western part of Sardinia. From trekking along the coast and taking in the views of the granite rocks, juniper trees, Mediterranean foliage, and incredible panoramas over Supramonte mountain range. Or, if the sea is more your calling, take a boat trip and visit some of Sardinia's most picturesque coastal landscapes. For those wanting to hike in a more traditional way, ride the Sardinian donkeys, taking some famous Cannoau wine and visit the vineyards. Together with the winemaker you can taste Cannonau, the famous millennial wine of the area and secret of Sardinians longevity. An authentic holiday, ideal for both adults and children.

Image of blue water surrounded by some rocks.

Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza is well known for the lively nightlife in Ibiza Town and San Antonio, where major European nightclubs have summer outposts. However, it’s also home to quiet villages, yoga retreats and beaches, as well as quiet sandy coves backed by pine-clad hills along the coast. 

Image of a couple in a villa with a swimming pool in Ibiza.

The White Island welcomes thousands of mindfulness seekers every year to its yoga retreats, where you can enjoy mindfulness workshops, breathwork and pranayama, yoga lessons, guided meditations and healthy delicious food. This is all to nourish the mind and soul and bring you into a state of deep relaxation. And if partying soothes your mind, Ibiza has that too! 

Biarritz, France

Biarritz is an elegant seaside town on the southwestern Basque coast of France. It’s a major surfing destination, with long sandy beaches and surf schools. It’s also the perfect location for those seeking relaxation, culture and creativity. Visitors can revitalise body and spirit in the whirlpools of water of thalassotherapy and spa centres of Biarritz. For those looking to take in the nature, two lakes just outside the city, Lac Mouriscot and Lac Marion, are perfect for walking, jogging and cycling. So, for families travelling with dogs, couples after a romantic stroll, or solo travellers seeking fresh air, Biarritz is a perfect destination.

Image of two people stretching or doing yoga in the woods in Biarritz, France.

Cornwall, UK

Cornwall is an excellent UK destination to practice mindfulness and meditation. Whether you want to go solo and soak up the views and fresh air with private meditation and walks, or open water swims for mindfulness, Cornwall has it all. From traditional spa breaks and twilight sensory experiences to family accessible spa breaks or personal care retreats, there really is something for everyone.

Image of the hills in Cornwall on a blue skies summer day.

And don’t forget to book your train travel to Cornwall with Virgin Trains Ticketing and earn three Virgin Points per £1 you spend. That, plus the eight Virgin Points per £1 earned on your Booking.com stay, will have you smiling at your points balance.

Praia As Catedrais, Ribadeo, Spain

Praia As Catedrais is a sandy stretch in north-western Spain with rock towers, arches and chambers chiselled by nature. You can visit the beach when the tide is low and soak up the great weather and stunning scenery. For those with daily steps goals, there is an abundance of walking route recommendations to explore the area. It’s also a haven for those who enjoy outdoor sports: ecotourism, boat rides, canoeing, sailing, diving, paragliding to name a few.

Image of the naturally formed archways on the beach in Praia As Catedrais.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre is a string of five seaside villages along the Italian Riviera coastline overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. For hikers, you can walk the entire route in around six hours; or spread it over a few days and appreciate the views along the way. For those seeking relaxation and bliss, the region is brimming with spa and wellness centres, with outdoor pools, hot tubs, hydromassage pools, and terraces with stunning views.

Barcelona, Spain

From sandy white beaches to culture and tapas, Barcelona has everything. Lucky for you, Barcelona is also home to plenty of great spas where you can truly kick back, relax, and enjoy yourself. From hydrotherapy and massages to facial and body treatments, to saunas, jacuzzis and steam rooms, the spas in Barcelona offer loads of ways to mend the body.  

For those looking for a more intensified experience, Barcelona offers week-long meditation and yoga holidays designed to release stress and tension. You’ll reconnect with yourself and nature, eating healthy food and focusing on the power of silence. Shh...

Image of a family sat around a table enjoying a meal and drinks at a house in Barcelona, Spain.

So, whether it’s spas, yoga retreats, hiking, outdoor activities, or a bit of it all, Europe has so many options when seeking a mindfulness and meditation holiday. So, get to it and book with Booking.com via Virgin Red and earn eight Virgin Points per £1 you spend. You deserve it.