The global spread of the coronavirus is disrupting travel. Stay up to date on the science behind the outbreak>>

Do it now: Silent retreats

In a world where therapy usually involves talking through problems, a new trend for silence has emerged — with plenty of opportunities to leave you speechless

By Sam Lewis
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:58 BST, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 12:45 BST
Shakti Leti

Shakti Leti

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Spending time at a silent retreat isn't the only way to find inner peace. Don't tell a soul, but this year sees the launch of a number of walking holidays with a guru — often without speaking ­— to replenish mind and body.

Shakti's new 'Head in the Cloud' itineraries offers the option to add on silent village walks through the little known Kumaon and Leti region in the Himalayas, with a personal yoga and meditation teacher, who will help guests recalibrate and reach a state of calm.

Guests walk with their guru between remote villages, accompanied by porters, guides and a private chef. Accommodation is in houses filled with pashmina blankets and cosy fireplaces.

Along the route, pause at strategically chosen spots to meditate or soak in the views of snow-capped peaks. Eight nights from a whopping £4,702 per person, excluding flights, plus £260 per night for a private yoga teacher.

Peace and quiet

India: Shreyas Silent Retreat offers meditation, yoga and spa treatments — but not words. Seven nights from £2,220 per person includes accommodation, full board, flights and transfers.

France: In the Pyrenees foothills, Yobaba Lounge is known for its vegan food and digital detox retreats, which include periods of silence each day. Afternoons are free for excursions or treatments.

Pipe down

Walk in silence: Ramblers Walking Holidays has introduced a new 'mindfulness in the mountains' holiday, which includes some walking in silence. Based at the remote Hassness House Hotel in the Lake District, guests enjoy treks with gentle yoga and short meditation sessions. Four nights from £299 per person including meals, local transport, meditation and yoga sessions.

Eat in silence: Research shows that people who eat in silence eat less than those surrounded by noise. The Mayr clinic requests that guests don't talk at mealtimes, while silent breakfasts are the norm at Quebec's The Monastere Des Augusteney. Japanese chain ICHIRAN opened its first US outlet in New York last year with 'flavour concentration' booths, encouraging zero distraction for solo diners.

Shh! // Scotland is one of the quietest destinations in Europe according to a European Environment Agency report

Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Read More

You might also like

Top five wellness experiences in the Himalayas
How to spend a day in Budapest
How South African communities are giving safari luxe an eco overhaul
Green and serene: how electric vehicles are transforming Africa's safari experience
Explore Celtic heritage on a one-week road trip from Wales to Ireland

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved