Five of the best meditation retreats in Europe

We round up the best spots in Europe for meditation and mindfulness retreats, from Assisi in Italy to Snowdonia in Wales.

By Evelyn Cools
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:57 BST, Updated 7 Jul 2021, 13:45 BST
As well attracting legions of Christian pilgrims, Assisi in Italy has become a popular meeting place ...

As well attracting legions of Christian pilgrims, Assisi in Italy has become a popular meeting place for people of various faiths from around the world.

Photograph by Getty Images

1. Holy Isle, Scotland

Best for: meditation courses in a stunning natural setting.

Situated in the Firth of Clyde off the west coast of central Scotland, Holy Isle has a spiritual history that dates back to the sixth century. Rooted in Buddhist traditions and beliefs, the Holy Isle Project aims to promote world peace and health. It welcomes visitors during the summer season (April to October) to take part in personal or group meditation, discover the island's protected wildlife (including native Eriskay ponies), walk along the coastline trail, and develop and experience inner peace.

2. Assisi, Italy

Best for: mixing meditation with historical sightseeing and scenic nature walks.

The birthplace of St Francis, one of Italy's patron saints, the medieval town of Assisi is nestled amid hills and forests in the Umbria region of Central Italy, known as the country's ‘green heart'. As well attracting legions of Christian pilgrims, Assisi has become a popular meeting place for people of various faiths from around the world.

3. Lefkada, Greece

Best for: solo travellers with a focus on personal growth and self-development.

Surrounded by turquoise waters and clear blue skies, the island of Lefkada, off the west coast of Greece, is a hidden gem for travellers wishing to engage in meditation and mindfulness. Despite being connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway, the island remains largely untouched by mass tourism. Lefkada's white sandy beaches, olive groves, and expansive views over forested mountains and the Ionian Sea make it a tropical paradise for meditators seeking complete serenity.

4. Snowdonia, Wales

Best for: combining meditation with healthy local foods and stunning hiking trails.

Concentrated around the glaciers and mountains of Snowdonia National Park, this region boasts a diverse landscape, ranging from sandy beaches to Wales's highest peak, Mount Snowdon. With its abundance of lakes, gorgeous views, and occasional mist blankets, the park presents a magical window onto the natural world. Many retreats and B&Bs grown their own produce, taking advantage of the region's fertile soil.

5. Gorges du Loup, France

Best for: integrating mindfulness into small-group or family holidays.

The picturesque River Loup flows for 30 miles through the foothills of Gourdon, in the Alpes-Maritimes region of Southern France, before emptying out into the Mediterranean Sea. The area is riddled with stunning hiking trails, wild swimming spots, and gorges tucked away amid the rugged landscape. Gorges du Loup also has scenic lookout points and hidden waterfalls, which are ideal for individual or group meditation sessions.

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