Fitness retreats explored: Travel the world for the best fitness vacations

[Updated November 2019] Escape daily life and get active with these stunning retreats
The world's best fitness retreats

If you're more of a “hit the pool for a few laps then run to the beach” holidaymaker than a “snooze by the pool and run to the bar” one, then a fitness retreat is exactly what you need this year. Active travel is bigger than ever at the moment, with resorts across the world offering luxe fitness breaks for every taste.

Whether you're a die-hard athlete wanting to get whipped into shape for your race season, you want to learn a brand new skill or you just want to lose yourself in exploring a stunning location, we've got the perfect retreats for you.

Water sports lovers can make the most of sparkling seas with surfing in St Lucia or an island-to-island swim in the Caribbean, while those who like to set their hearts racing can try a sports resort in Lanzarote. If you're seeking a more chilled trip that still ticks fitness boxes, we have a fitness retreat in Bali or a 'Mindful Triathlon' break in Spain.

Whatever you're into, there's bound to be an option for you here. So, read on, choose your favourite and get stocked up on sunscreen – finish 2019 with some impressive gainz (or a bit of yoga and a cocktail, each to their own).

BodyHoliday, St Lucia

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Credit: BodyHoliday

Based at the northern-most tip of St Lucia, BodyHoliday is a multi-award-winning all-inclusive spa resort with a focus on wellness in all its forms. Their tagline calls for you to “Give us your body for a week and we'll give you back your mind”, and with their vast selection of fitness classes, spa treatments and adventure activities you'll be sure to find they do that no matter what you're into.

BodyHoliday offers different programmes throughout the year, such as yoga in October and a family focus in July and August, but their core activities remain the same. Relax with a yoga class, set your heart racing with beach sports like volleyball and cricket, or head out to their mile-long Fitness Trail to work out in the glorious Caribbean sun. The Fitness Trail can be walked, hiked or jogged and will challenge you with obstacles like parallel bars, a rope bridge and a tyre run along the route. You can also try out water sports like kayaking and water skiing, or head out for an on- or off-road mountain biking experience along the stunning north coast.

If that sounds exhausting, never fear – every guest receives one complimentary treatment a day, so you can treat your muscles to a full body massage, infrared therapy or lime and ginger body scrub to kick-start your recovery. When it's time to refuel, head to one of the resort's six restaurants and enjoy fresh dishes such as grilled fish, stone-baked pizza and salads, maybe with a relaxing trip to their Wine Salon afterwards.

Price: From £387/$500 per person per night

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Club La Santa, Lanzarote

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Credit: Club La Santa

Triathletes, runners and cyclists flock to Club La Santa every year for its unrivalled training facilities and surrounding volcanic landscape. This Lanzarote resort boasts three 50-metre swimming pools where you can work on your stroke and drills, as well as a lagoon option for when you want outdoor training but don’t want to head to the sea.

Cyclists can head out into the hills to explore one of the club's recommended routes, or you can join one of their free bike tours. These range in length and difficulty, so total beginners and experienced cyclists alike will find their perfect ride. If you're nervous about taking your bike overseas, Club La Santa has an extensive collection of bikes for hire which you can book online before flying out – all you need to do is bring your own shoes and pedals to get set up.

Runners can sign up to morning runs led by the club, or head to the 400m track for a speed session. If you're relatively new to running, maybe book in with a personal instructor to find out more about your technique and economy.

Fancy something a little different to break up your training? No problem: there are tons of alternative sports and activities offered at Club La Santa, such as tennis, beach volleyball and Pilates – ideal for a well-rounded training holiday.

Price: From £784/$1,015 for a “comfort” one bedroom apartment for seven nights (sleeps up to three adults and a child under 15)

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Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas

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Credit: Lake Austin Spa Resort

This gorgeous lakeside resort is a hidden gem, just a 30-minute water taxi ride from Austin, Texas. Set amongst rolling hills, Lake Austin Spa Resort offers an array of outdoors activities in the surrounding countryside. Enjoy floating yoga on a stand-up paddleboard, explore the area with canyon hikes or centre yourself with a meditation session.

Within the hotel, the LakeHouse spa offers water-centric treatments to wash your tensions away. Try the Float Away warm water massage, a floating meditation session or an AquaStretch myofascial release session in the pool. When you're back on dry land, head to the resort's lakefront dining room for their French-inspired cuisine cooked with ingredients from their own organic gardens.

Price: From £588/$759 per person per night

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Marbella Club Mindful Triathlon, Spain

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Credit: Marbella Club

Sitting on Spain's south coast near the Sierra Blanca Mountains, Marbella Club has an idyllic location not far from the UK. They offer a Mindful Triathlon programme which, don't worry, is nowhere near as taxing as an actual triathlon (unless you want it to be). Including seven nights' accommodation and breakfast, the programme gives you access to one activity, lesson or treatment per day from three categories to make up the ideal active holiday: Be Active, Be Mindful and Be Balanced.

Active options are ideal to get your heart rate going, with HIIT, TRX and boxing classes available as well as beach runs and personal training sessions. Their Mindful activities are more gentle – think guided meditation and mindful walks. Be Balanced is all about yoga, with dynamic vinyasa and kundalini flows, soothing yin and nidra yoga or classic hatha, depending what your mood is.

Alternatively, opt for a Kabat stretching session or a Tibetan singing bowl vibrational massage. Whatever you go for, you can be as active or as chilled as you like, and with unlimited spa access you'll be more than able to relax in your spare time.

Price: From £1,130/$1,456 per person for seven nights' accommodation, breakfast and private transfers

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Sun Fun You Voyage, Greece

If you don't fancy being tied to one spot for your trip, venture out with a luxury island-hopping voyage in the Aegean sea. Sun Fun You have a number of nine-day tours running in 2020 with locations such as Kos and Rhodes on the map.

You'll stay on a traditional gulet (a wooden Turkish yacht), with your travels interspersed with plenty of outdoor adventures. Take on hikes in the Mediterranean mountains, get refreshed with open water sea swims and enjoy daily fitness and yoga sessions with the on-board instructors. All the meals on board are freshly prepared with local ingredients and ideal to refuel you after a day of adventuring - think Greek classics such as dolmas, kofte and moussaka.

Exact itineraries vary from tour to tour, so take a look here to see what each entails. Every tour is accompanied by a licensed guide who knows everything there is to know about the islands, plus you'll get to experience local wine tasting or raki tasting all included in the price. Dreamy.

Price: £2334/$3000 per person per tour based on two people sharing a cabin

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Four Seasons, Nevis

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Credit: Four Seasons

The island of Nevis may not be the most famous Caribbean island, but it's the absolute best for active travel. Hike to the top of Nevis Peak volcano – a vertigo-inducing 3231 feet – and take in views of capital city Charlestown, plus if the weather is on your side, the islands of St Kitts, Montserrat and Antigua too. If you're happier at sea level and a keen swimmer, the Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel swim is ideal. Taking place in March each year, this 2.5 mile (4km) swim between the two islands is a unique open water event that's truly memorable. If that all sounds rather tiring, a stay at the Four Seasons will sort you right out – with three infinity pools for you to relax in and assorted yoga classes including vinyasa and power yoga, you'll be feeling brand new again. Once you've recovered, make the most of the hotel's 18-hole golf course and 10 tennis courts for a leisurely workout.

Price: From £363/$468 per person per night

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Fusion Fitness Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort, Thailand

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Credit: Fusion Fitness

This fitness-focused resort is the dream if you're working towards a particular goal or looking to improve your general health. Over your seven-night stay, you'll get a 30-minute medical consultation and be able to try an activity or treatment each day. Functional training, TRX and kettlebell classes are all on offer, but their Muay Thai sessions seriously caught our eye. For something more on the relaxing side, opt for an assisted stretching session for a deep muscular release, or an Indian head massage to soothe your senses. In between activities, take a dip in the hotel pools and refuel on Thanyapura's traditional Thai and raw vegan meals.

Price: From £840/$1,082 per person for seven nights' accommodation, breakfast and private transfers

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Luxe Retreats, Vilamoura

Set in Vilamoura on the Portuguese south coast, Luxe Retreats provide a six-night escape to soothe your mind and work your body. Staying in a private villa, there'll be a chef on-site to provide you with three fresh, healthy meals each day – much needed to fuel your training. Each morning starts with a sunrise yoga or meditation session, plus you'll take part in one or two classes throughout the day such as HIIT, strength training or core and abs. In between classes, you'll be able to take a dip in the pool, enjoy a personal training session or massage (you'll get one each of these included in the cost) or simply take the time to relax. Each day ends with a yoga class too, for the ultimate evening unwind.

Price: From £700 per person for a six-night stay

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Komune Resort and Beach Club, Bali

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Credit: Komune Resort and Beach Club

There are few more sought-after wellness getaway locations than Bali, and this beachfront resort shows exactly why that is. Komune Resort's fitness retreat will see you welcomed with fresh coconut water on arrival, before you dive into your programme. You'll have a goal coaching workshop and a private fitness training session to help you pin down your goals, plus unlimited access to their group classes including dynamic boxing, power spinning and yoga.

Take in your stunning surroundings with activities like stand-up paddleboarding, volcano hiking and snorkelling, then wind down in the Health Hub back at the resort. You'll have three spa treatments included in your stay, so chill out with a traditional Balinese massage, aromatherapy or reflexology before refuelling with one of the delicious fusion dishes from the resort's beach club restaurant.

Price: From £1,245 per person for six nights' accommodation, breakfast, a fitness programme and private transfers

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Hotel Preidlhof, South Tyrol

Fitness retreats explored: Travel the world for the best fitness vacations
Credit: Hotel Preidlhof

Tucked away in the Dolomites mountain range, Preidlhof is a stunning Italian resort which fuses fitness and spa experiences for a truly invigorating break. With nearly 400 miles of hiking trails on its doorstep, you can venture past vineyards, pastures and glaciers as you explore the local area in glorious Mediterranean sunshine.

Of course, it's rare to find a mountain province without cyclists, and South Tyrol is no exception. Road cyclists can take on the challenging inclines, mountain bikers can explore trails and those who prefer something a little more laid back can have a leisurely ride on the valley's cycle paths.

Back at the hotel, relax in one of their many pools - try the rooftop infinity pool to take in the views, or the relaxation pool complete with underwater music. Alternatively, indulge yourself with a treatment at the spa - try one of their signature acupressure massages to thoroughly relax and release any tension from your mountain adventures.

Price: From £154 per night for a double room, including breakfast, lunch buffet and dinner

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Soul and Surf, Ahangama

Soul and Surf mixes yoga and surfing - maybe not an expected pairing, but one that provides an invigorating break for your body and mind. The standard package at their Ahangama resort, on the south coast of Sri Lanka, will see you stay for seven nights in their hotel with traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner included each day.

You'll also be able to take five two-hour morning surf sessions, five sunset surf sessions, five vinyasa flow yoga classes and two soothing yoga classes - the perfect blend of yin and yang.

Surfboard hire is included too, which saves you from any luggage nightmares. If you're feeling a little stiff from honing your new-found surf skills, splash out on one of the resort's therapeutic or deep release massages to get yourself feeling as good as new again.

Price: From £820/ $1,062 per person per week

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