7 Off-The-Beaten-Path Retreat Destinations The Masses Haven’t Discovered (But You Should)

October 7, 2021
Jen Corley
5 min read

When planning a retreat, destinations like Bali, Costa Rica, or Thailand might spring to mind. And for good reason; they have breathtaking scenery, friendly people, unique culture, and so much more going for them. 

But, if you’re looking to refresh your offering with new retreat destinations, we’ve made a list of some of the best-kept secrets that the masses haven’t yet discovered. 

After all, a wellness retreat is about healing and health, but it’s also about discovery and soaking up new experiences. 

Here are seven amazing spots to host an unforgettable retreat. These destinations make the perfect base for all kinds of transformative experiences while avoiding the crowds.

Seven Off-The-Beaten-Path Retreat Destinations

1. Morocco: Color and Culture

Chefchaouen Morocco

Certain areas of Morocco, like bustling Marrakesh and many coastal towns, are well-known tourist hotspots. Look a bit further inland, though, and you’ll find smaller towns that offer a tranquil escape from the regular route. 

Between the desert oases, stunning beaches, iconic architecture, and delectable cuisine, your group will be set up for one awe-inspiring discovery after the next.  

As far as retreat destinations go, Morocco has some unique accommodation options. Tented desert camps and beautifully traditional riads often work well for retreat groups, and they’re sure to give your attendees a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

To find out more about travel to Morocco, visit: https://www.visitmorocco.com/en

2. Sri Lanka: A Country Of Soul Food

Sri Lanka

Move out of Sri Lanka’s busy southwestern coast, and you can discover a destination that offers world-class accommodation, hospitality, and contemporary culture. With its native Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim traditions, the country promises terrific food, cultural experiences, and stunning temple complexes to feed the soul. 

There is no shortage of activity options for your retreat-goers either. You can explore ancient ruins, relax on glorious beaches, hike through tea country, and spot elephants in untouched national parks. Plus, a wonderful tropical climate means you have the ideal combination for a retreat destination that avoids the crowds.

To find out more about travel to Sri Lanka, visit https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/

3. Portugal: Add A Touch Of Magic 

Sintra Portugal

Nearly every person who visits Portugal falls in love with the country; it’s hard not to. It has so much to offer and has become a popular travel destination. While the masses tend to head to places like Lisbon, Porto, or The Algarve, there are thousands of off-the-beaten-path retreat destinations to turn your attention to instead.  

A few destinations to look into include Terceira Island, Comporta,  Alentejo, and Alto Duoro. In those, there is a mix of volcanoes, UNESCO Heritage sites, beach destinations, 17th-century walls, and established vineyards, to name a few. 

No matter the type of retreat you host, there is something for everyone. You can get close to nature, enjoy delicious cuisine, explore beautiful towns, and have as much peace and quiet as you need.

To find out more about travel to Portugal, visit: https://www.visitportugal.com/en

4. Molokai: Real Immersion In Local Communities

Molokai Hawaii

Molokai is Hawaii’s fifth-largest island, although it is the least developed and least influenced by tourism. It’s one of the more rural retreat destinations where you won’t find any traffic lights, high-rise buildings, or signs of mass tourism. The locals have resisted the island’s commercialization over the years, and visitors can expect their experience to be as authentic as they come. 

Visiting the island with its breathtaking natural beauty, deserted beaches, and rain forests does come with a word of advice: don’t expect to find glitz and glamour. Instead, be ready to really immerse yourself and your group in the local community. 

In fact, the Molokai tourism board talks about the idea of travelers and local communities engaging in a mutually beneficial experience. Your attendees will have opportunities to participate in local life and island initiatives, rather than just observing or consuming them. 

For accommodation, there are several hotels, cottages, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals available. 

To find out more about travel to Molokai, visit: https://www.gohawaii.com/islands/molokai

5. Iceland: Nature At Its Best

Iceland

Iceland is a bucket-list destination for many travelers, and it’s quite understandable why. The country has some of the most magnificent and contrasting natural landscapes in the world. Think glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and unspoiled highlands. 

Go in the colder season (September to April), and there are the Northern Lights to see. For every other month, your retreat goers can enjoy the famous geothermal pools, meet Iceland’s incredible half-wild horses, and visit the charming city of Reykjavik. 

In between your retreat practices, you can also hike, go whale watching, or cold water diving. And as you can imagine, the country is every photographer’s dream come true. 

To find out more about travel to Iceland, visit: https://www.visiticeland.com/

6. South Africa: Adventure In Every Corner

Blyde River Canyon South Africa

South Africa is a country of diverse landscapes, great food and wine, and endless adventure. From forest immersions to beach getaways, bush safaris or mountain retreats, there is something for everyone. 

The good news is that even the more popular travel destinations, like Cape Town, are relatively quiet in terms of visitor numbers compared to Europe, for example. You can also visit in the shoulder or off-season if you really want the place to yourself. South Africa has a great climate, and in most areas, you can expect to see the sun during the week, even in the winter. 

Some of the prime spots to look into for retreat accommodation include the Cape Winelands, West Coast, Midlands Meander, Hogsback, and Greater Kruger area, which is home to the Big-5. Your retreat goers will be delighted by the homegrown cuisine and friendly people who make their stay a memorable one. 

To find out more about travel to South Africa, visit: https://www.southafrica.net/za/en/

7. Ikaria: A Taste Of Greek Longevity

Ikaria Greece

Ikaria is an island in Greece. Known as the ‘island of longevity,’ it is one of the world’s five Blue Zones, where locals have a significantly higher-than-average life expectancy. Naturally, this makes it an ideal retreat destination for your attendees to spend some time recuperating from stressful city life. 

The Ikarian lifestyle is a laid-back one. The locals eat a fresh and healthy farm-to-table diet, and they drink plenty of antioxidant-rich wine and tea. They also enjoy regular naps each day and love live music and dancing. The island moves at a slow pace, and it’s the perfect place to unwind and reset away from crowds of tourists. 

When visiting this alternative, Eastern Aegean island, your retreat participants can enjoy the wonderful warm climate, fun summer feast celebrations, and stunning natural scenery alongside your program. 

To find out more about travel to Ikaria, visit: https://travel.gov.gr/#/

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to offer retreat participants a unique cultural or food experience, get them immersed in local communities, or set up for a detox, the retreat destinations on this last can tick off so many boxes. Best of all, you can step away from the masses and everyday norms to give a truly transformative retreat experience.

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