Wherever you visit in the world, there is sure to be a spa experience nearby - so get things off to the right start with some all-important pampering and give yourself a health boost.
Here are some of the world’s best spa and wellness destinations, should you want to make this a central part of your break. Go on you deserve it!
Meditation in India
Health and wellness has become seriously big business in India over the last decade, with luxurious award-winning destination and resort spas spread throughout the country. You’ll now find many different kinds of treatments in the spa centres here, including reflexology, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and meditation.
India is renowned as a centre for healing, with plenty of yoga and Ayurvedic treatment centres to inspire your inner healing.
If you plan on making meditation a major part of your India itinerary, Rishikesh is a good find. It is believed that the monsoon season is the best time to travel here for Ayurvedic treatments, as the air is clear and humid which are the optimum conditions for detoxing the body.
Resting on the Ganges River, the city is surrounded by hills on three sides, creating the perfect backdrop to your me-time trip.
The river is considered holy, and so a number of spiritual temples and ashrams have opened up along the eastern bank, turning Rishikesh into the yoga and meditation capital of the world.
Parmarth Niketan is the largest yoga ashram in the area, which offers an extensive yoga programme alongside vedic heritage and spirituality. While the centre offers stays of up to 15 days, it also welcomes day visitors to join the classes, you just need to give a donation.
The Ganga Aarti takes place here at dusk every evening in the three holy cities of Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Varanasi to provide participants with an uplifting spiritual ritual.
Shoes must be removed before entry, and it’s recommended you arrive early to get a good spot ready for the ceremony which starts at 6pm.
The ceremony commences with devotional songs, prayers, and a purifying and sacred ritual that takes place around a fire, with candles and flowers left to float down the river. Added to this are musical performances and the sweet aromas of incense which create a sense of divine bliss.
All in all, it’s a beautiful and bewitching ceremony which honours the River Goddess Ganga, and something you should experience at least once in your lifetime.
Elsewhere in Rishikesh, you have plenty of options to detox and unwind. Start your day off with an early breakfast to include freshly prepared watermelon juice and bowls of fruit. Then head to one of the secret beaches which are dotted along the Ganges River, accessed via small pathways, for your own slice of seclusion for a few hours.
After a day of adventure, grab a chai tea and head to the riverbank to watch the sun go down, or book a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the river, to witness one of nature’s most incredible visual displays.
Beer baths in Budapest
When you think of spas in Budapest, Széchenyi Thermal Bath is probably going to spring to the top of your list but there are a number of other great spa experiences you shouldn’t overlook in your spa planning.
Plan a day or two in Budapest to explore the city, and treat yourself to a spa treatment before heading to your RCI-affiliated resort.
A thermal beer spa may appear an odd choice but it does have a number of healing properties for the skin too. As you lie back in a tub, you also have the opportunity to enjoy some beer on tap at the same time - so if you love nothing more than relaxing with a good beer, this gives you the opportunity to enjoy both at the same time.
The Thermal Beer Spa is actually located inside The Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and is one of the spa’s lesser publicised gems. To book, either purchase a ticket with the main spa, and book the beer bath as an add on if you would like to enjoy both experiences. You can also book a single ticket for the beer bath if you don’t fancy trying out both areas.
There are six tubs available, and you can choose if you want to soak solo or join your partner or friends for a boozy dip.
After a few days in the city, it will be high time to get out and explore the great outdoors. Hévíz is just under a two-hour drive from Budapest, and rests on the western edge of Lake Balaton.
If you don’t want to drive, you can also travel by train and bus, and although it takes double the journey time, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the views of the lakes and countryside. And besides, you’re on a spa holiday, so where’s the sense in rushing things?
Lake Hévíz is the largest thermal lake in the world and the perfect place to have a soak after your road trip adventure. Lie back and enjoy the curative powers of the waters which are believed to solve a number of ailments. The spa town itself is surrounded by undulating hills, and the unique Mediterranean-like climate will afford you some gorgeously sunny days to explore the great outdoors.
Book a treatment and then spend the afternoon in Egregy, starting with a meander around the Mansion in the Roman Ruins Garden, taking in all the views and fresh air. Then after resting the body and mind, it’s time to soothe the soul with a visit to the Roman Catholic Church which was built in the 13th century, so you can experience a little bit of solitude, quiet and calm.
Turning up the heat in Finland
It’s believed saunas, also known as bath houses, began life in Finland over 2,000 years ago, with the first description written in 1112. Today they are central to the Finnish way of life, with as many as two million saunas across the country.
The traditional way to use saunas in Finland is to shower before entering the room completely au naturel, using just a small towel to sit on. The room is heated to 80 to 100 degrees celsius, and the humidity is increased by pouring water over stones stacked in the room - which apart from the lack of clothes all sounds about standard for a sauna experience.
But in rural areas you'll find it’s customary to run outside and take a dip in the lake or, in winter, roll in the snow, as part of a hot and cold circuit to refresh yourself. Or you can simply take a cold shower, but where’s the fun and authenticity in that?
Alternatively, if you don’t quite like the idea of stripping bare, Cirque de Saimaa Spa at Holiday Club Saimaa offers a fun and atmospheric spa experience for the whole family.
Built on a circus and carnival theme, the central spa area features fountains and light installations with a music and light performance as part of a water disco. There are also water slides and pier dive points which keep the teens amused for a few hours, while you enjoy the sunny rooftop deck, complete with an outdoor pool, hot tub and sauna.
Then there’s Sauna World which includes a traditional cottage sauna experience, salt sauna and even an igloo sauna for the little ones, featuring heated seats and televisions to cure any boredom which might set in.
If you are in real need of a refreshing treatment, you’ll need to head over to Harmony Spa which offers a fantastic array of treatments, including a variety of massages, manicures and pedicures, with a hairdresser and a barber, plus a relaxation room to really up the chill out factor and whisk you away from normality.
On a trip to Finland you cannot forget the simple pleasures of getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. Make the most of it with a woodland walk or a lakeside wander, and don’t forget the picnic. Immerse yourself in the beauty around you while dining on Finnish delicacies, including Ruisleipä - a rye bread - made from sour dough and accompanied by fresh herring, followed by cinnamon buns for a sweet finish. Now that’s a way to feed the mind, soul and stomach!
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If you can't make your mind up as to what kind of holiday you want, or where to take it, then you should click on the Holiday Ideas button below to read about some of our favourite destinations and great things to experience around the world.