Traveling for well-being is increasingly becoming the raison d’être for heading out on a holiday— but where are the wellness destinations of the world, and what does wellness travel even mean? I’m unpacking all of that and outlining the top wellness destinations in the world right now.
What is Wellness Travel?
Wellness travel was coined by The Global Institute of Wellness, they define wellness travel as, “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing.”
Meaning that any traveling that you do that has the purpose of aiding your mental or physical wellbeing is wellness travel.
That’s a pretty broad definition, but that’s because the world of wellness is broad. There are many ways that you can increase your well-being.
Traveling for well-being for some means going for a wellness retreat or it could simply mean going into the forest with the sole aim of disconnecting for a bit.
In whichever way you decide to engage in this type of travel there are wellness destinations that serve as beautiful places to explore both your outer and inner worlds.
What is a Wellness Destination?
When you’re a conscious traveler, every type of travel has the opportunity to become wellness travel. While there are certain areas in the world that have been deemed “wellness destinations” you don’t have to head across the world to find well-being on your holiday.
That being said, there are places all over the world that have been embracing the idea of enhancing well-being as their main draw for years. These destinations are great if you’re needing that extra push— if you want to be fully immersed in the world of wellness.
The Top Wellness Destinations Around the World
Norway — The Fjords
Norway (and all of Scandinavia) is a haven for wellness travel. It’s a place that you can find well being tied into every aspect of the culture, thanks to their close relationship with nature. The Norwegian Fjords are a particularly great wellness destination.
With the rugged mountains cut by deep blue rivers and the prospect of waterfalls around every bend, the stress of your day-to-day will naturally melt away as you embrace the wonders of the natural world.
If you want to head to the Fjords you should check out this blog post on The Best 5 Fjords to Visit in Norway by True Scandinavia.
With lush tropical rainforests, world-renown surfing, and a deep connection to the natural world— Costa Rica has long been deemed one of the top wellness destinations in the world. It’s a place where you kind find the ultimate balance of mind, body, and spirit through physical activities, healthy eating, and reconnecting to your inner self.
You’ll find yourself quickly embracing the local tradition of ‘Pura Vida’ (the good life) while you’re trekking through the jungle and enjoying the bounty of tropical fruits and other fresh food. The last thing on your mind will be checking your e-mail or social media feeds.
There are endless opportunities for wellness travel in Costa Rica, from the adventure of white-water rafting on the rivers or sea kayaking. Catching a wave before sunrise with the local surfers or going foraging with a botanist. Yoga retreats and classes are plentiful, with cocoa ceremonies and sound baths regulars on the rosters.
If you’re not sure where to start or where to go check out bookretreats.com’s offering for Retreats in Costa Rica.
A place that normally doesn’t make the list of wellness destinations is Turkey— however, this country is bursting with wellness travel opportunities. From the Ottoman era Turkish Baths to hiking the Lycian Way, or taking a dip at one of the numerous white sand beaches on Turkey’s 5,000 miles of coastline.
Aside from the natural wonders that Turkey offers, they have some world-class wellness retreats and spas. One of the most impressive is Pamukkale Mineral Spa, Pamukkale is the carbonate mineral left by the flowing of thermal spring water that the area is famous for, and is said to have numerous wellness benefits.
The iconic red-rock formations, pine forests, and expansive deserts make Sedona Arizona an ideal wellness destination. The southwestern town has deep roots in spirituality, making healing and self-development, and inner connection the main draw to Sedona’s wellness culture.
It’s a place that people go to detach and detox from their everyday lives. Two hours from metropolitan Phoenix the drive into Sedona already start the wellness experience as you watch the landscape change and the deep burnt orange start to appear.
Sedona has some of the world’s most famous (and luxurious) wellness spas, but you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the healing benefits of the area. There are plenty of state and national parks you can explore on your own, incredible Airbnbs, and yoga classes you can join without the resort prices.
Bali has been a wellness destination long before it became popularised by the likes of Eat, Pray, Love, and travel influencers flooding our feeds with fresh smoothies and flower-filled baths. The Indonesian culture is deeply rooted in holistic healing. Paired with its lush natural landscape, it’s the perfect place to focus on your well-being.
One of the biggest draws to Indonesia’s wellness culture is seeking the guidance of a spiritual healer, known as Balians. They use energy, natural herbal remedies, massage, and movement in order to help aid in your mental and physical well-being.
There are different healers for different areas and facets of your body and life. A visit to a healer is the ultimate wellness activity to do while you’re in Indonesia.
To ensure that you’re traveling consciously, check out other places in Indonesia besides Bali that are just as deeply rooted in ancient healing practices and traditions. Some cities to consider are Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung.