These Barcelona retreats blend outdoor pursuits, fitness classes, locally grown food, wine tasting and healing therapies, helping wellness seekers take advantage of the city’s cultural heritage and its proximity to nature.
Situated on a quiet street tucked behind La Boqueria food market in El Raval, Yoga Weeks combines the serenity and structure of a retreat with doorstep access to Barcelona’s cultural attractions such as MACBA, Güell Palace and the Gothic Quarter. The centre is housed inside a historic Modernist building with lofty ceilings, decorative tiled floors, a private patio adorned with hammocks and aerial yoga slings and a rooftop shala for sunset vinyasa sessions. Yoga Weeks hosts year-round urban retreats that include veggie food and optional healthy activities like cycling tours and stand-up paddleboard lessons. For those in need of a major change, there’s a twice-yearly ‘reset detox retreat’, which combines detox yoga (think lots of twisting poses, which reputedly help digestion) with naturopath-led food education sessions.
In the 1970s, Zen master Seung Sahn established a series of schools in America and Europe that aimed to teach the principles of Korean Zen Buddhism to curious Westerners. One of these schools, Bori Sa, is a retreat centre situated about two and a half hours from Barcelona, in the forested, arid foothills of Alta Garrotxa Natural Park. Immerse yourself in a silent retreat where you’ll practise sitting and walking meditation and work on your posture, as well as learning traditional songs and enjoying formal mealtimes together. Korean Zen Buddhism offers a clear, no-frills approach to Buddhist philosophy that emphasises the practice of sustained attention in a bid to clear the mind. If a more spacious mind sounds appealing but you can’t commit to a full retreat, visit the Bori Centre Zen in Barcelona proper, where €3 (£2.71) will buy you a taste of Zen in the form of drop-in meditation classes.
Cal Pau Cruset is an old Catalan farmhouse comprising several common buildings, including a retreat centre known as Alaya, the Sanskrit word for ‘base’ or ‘home’. Given its location, neighbouring the vineyards of Alt Penedès, it should come as little surprise that many of Cal Pau Cruset’s retreats feature wine tasting. When it comes to restoring balance, this place has perfected the formula: you’ll eat and drink very well (and very locally) while participating in healthy pursuits including daily yoga, swimming in the outdoor pool, hiking among the grapevines and creative writing. The owners can even organise reiki and other forms of energy healing for guests wishing to take their wellness getaway to the next level.
The Barcelona-based experts at Bienestar Wellness specialise in creating tailor-made breaks for visitors hoping to ditch their bad lifestyle habits and establish new healthy ones. By enlisting their network of local experts, Bienestar can book everything from activities and excursions to accommodation, all in alignment with your goals. Alternatively, you can buy one of the company’s retreat packages and join a like-minded group of fellow wellness seekers on a countryside trip incorporating science-based therapies like neurolinguistic programming as well as more esoteric procedures. Think crystal healing, reiki and angel-card readings – a tool in which an intuitive reader helps you decipher messages from your chosen cards.
Can Mussol: Anima Mundi Retreat Center
The staff at Can Mussol encourage guests to use their sojourn at the retreat centre as a self-imposed digital detox, disconnecting from technology and embracing the beauty of nearby Montserrat instead. The centre, a converted farmhouse built in the 11th century, is conveniently close to Barcelona (just over an hour by car) with a countryside setting that lends itself to outdoor adventures. If deep relaxation is your goal, Can Mussol can offer you yoga classes, energy healing and bodywork. Try the ‘massage of Tibetan bowls’, which uses the resonant vibrations of the instruments to take you into a meditative state, allowing your muscles to release fully.