5 of the best…Luxury wellness holidays

From educational eco-forest walks in Bali, to dining on nutritious organic cuisine grown in New Zealand, Paul Joseph, co-founder of wellness holiday specialists Health and Fitness Travel, picks five healthy eco-friendly holidays to make you feel more connected to yourself and nature…

These luxurious wellness retreats boast superb eco-design and green-friendly awards, meaning you can travel abroad happy in the knowledge that these retreats actively support sustainable tourism.

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Italy: Lefay

Situated on the shores of magical Lake Garda, this eco-friendly holiday destination values the connection between personal and environmental wellness. From the heat insulation and local natural materials used in the eco-designed architecture, to the use of renewable alternative energies, Lefay actively promotes eco-sustainability. Begin your holiday boosting your health and fitness by personalising your stay with activities from personal training to Pilates and Tai Qi. Ideal for a singles holiday, make the most of complimentary group fitness classes from yoga to circuit training, before unwinding with a relaxing spa massage.

New Zealand: Aro Ha

Encircled by New Zealand’s stunning Southern Alps, luxury wellness retreat Aro Ha fuses eco-friendly accommodation with self-sufficient cuisine, using locally produced organic ingredients from their on-site garden. Enhance the connection between yourself and the environment around you with sub-alpine hiking and kayaking across the lake to the natural bird sanctuary of Pigeon Island. Complement TRX, yoga and meditation sessions with daily therapeutic spa massages and unlimited use of the water therapy suites, to ensure you return home in optimal wellness from this breath-taking eco-friendly holiday destination.

Bali: Zen

Escape to this luxury holistic and eco-friendly wellness holiday destination in Bali, surrounded by pristine tropical gardens. This green retreat offers a range of healthy cuisine, using only the freshest ingredients, with fish caught in the nearby sea and fresh fruit and vegetables grown at the on-site farm. Get closer to nature with a sunrise dolphin sail, rice field trekking and educational eco-forest walks to learn more about local wildlife, flora and fauna. Escape the stress of everyday life with sunrise yoga, sunset mediation and holistic spa treatments.

South Africa: Karkloof Safari Spa

Working with environmental and wildlife professionals to restore the region to its natural splendour, the surrounding eco-system of the eco-friendly Karkloof Safari Spa in South Africa, is happily once again home to a diverse range of indigenous fauna, flora, wildlife and birdlife. The perfect destination for a luxury spa holiday, enjoy indulging with unlimited spa treatments using natural ingredients, from a Maldivian black pepper scrub to a coconut body polish. Explore your natural surroundings by hiking, fishing, mountain biking and spotting local wildlife with private guided safaris.

Greece: Porto Carras

Make a healthy getaway to the white sandy beaches of northern Greece where this eco-friendly holiday destination boasts Blue Flag beaches and respected awards such as the Green Key Eco Label. Using natural ingredients for relaxing therapies, such as mud and clay treatments, pamper yourself at a choice of two luxury spa centres. Ideal for a fun-filled activity holiday, relish in the variety of sports and activities you can enjoy from tennis to windsurfing and meditation. Take advantage of complimentary group fitness classes, including yoga and aerobics, to improve your fitness levels and leave you feeling renewed and revitalised.

For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0203 397 8891

About the author: Paul Joseph is co-founder (with Adam Heathcote) of Health and Fitness Travel, the leading experts in tailormade healthy holidays worldwide. He searches for the rare and hidden gems around the world and puts together exclusive and trend-setting holidays for those who would like to improve or maintain their health and fitness whilst on holiday. As well as a love of all things travel, Paul’s other love is exercise, cycling and yoga. Paul also contributes to the travel pages of various high-profile newspapers and magazines where he offers his expert advice on wellness holidays.

New Greek sea turtle project launched

Volunteering NGO Frontier has added a new conservation project to its volunteering trip roster. The Greece Sea Turtle Conservation project gives volunteers hands-on opportunities to help monitor and relocate endangered loggerhead turtle hachlings.

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Frontier works with a local Greek partner organisation that has been conducting vital research in the Kalamata area of Greece since 1983. The Peloponnese coastline here is an important breeding area for the loggerhead sea turtle in the Mediterranean and the projects aims to protect them through monitoring and research, developing and implementing management plans, habitat restoration, raising public awareness and rehabilitating sick and injured turtles. Protecting loggerhead sea turtle nests against predation by mammals, and inundation by incoming tides ensures that as many hatchlings as possible are added to the global population each year. Alongside this, public awareness activities and environmental education days help educate the local people to adopt friendlier attitudes towards the natural environment and gain a deeper understanding into the importance of conserving loggerhead turtles.

Activity: Work will vary depending on the current needs of the project but you could expect to be involved in turtle egg collection, nest excavation, scientific monitoring and tagging of hatchlings and turtles, and educating visitors about the project. You could also get the opportunity to learn about marine flora. During the first two weeks volunteers prepare for the oncoming nesting season and carry out beach clean ups. During peak nesting season (mid May-mid August) tasks may include morning surveys to look for adult turtle tracks and locate nests, ‘caging’ or relocating threatened nests and night surveys to observe and tag nesting females. During hatching season (mid July- late October) volunteers look for baby turtle tracks, monitor hatching nests and tag adult female turtles during nesting.

When not at work, everyone has a chance to relax on the beach, or explore the surrounding area to get a flavour of Greekhatchling emerges from the nest culture.

Accommodation: All volunteers stay in beautifully scenic surroundings on a campsite right on the beach. You need to bring your own tent, camping equipment, bedding etc, but cooking facilities, showers and toilets are provided – the campsite also has a small restaurant, telephone and internet facilities. There’s a strong communal atmosphere with everyone pitching in with cooking and cleaning.

For further details, including dates and prices, visit Greece Sea Turtle Conservation – Frontier

Recommended for… People who love wildlife (and the sea) and want to help protect an endangered species

Be aware that… Life on the project is communal (except for your own private tent) with a shared food kitty, cooking and cleaning duties. It may not suit you if you’d rather spend time on your own or in very small groups.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Helping to protect an endangered species
  • Aiding an established conservation organisation that has been operating in the area since 1983
  • Low-impact living on site


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