Spain is a perennial favorite among yoga retreat participants and holidaymakers for a multitude of reasons, each contributing to its enduring popularity as a top travel destination.

And here is why:

Stunning Landscapes:

Spain's landscapes and natural beauty are as diverse as they are breathtaking, offering a wide array of experiences for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. From pristine beaches along the Mediterranean coast to rugged mountains and lush forests, Spain's scenery is nothing short of spectacular.


Spain is famous for its stunning coastline, which stretches for thousands of kilometers along the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Bay of Biscay. From the vibrant beaches of the Costa del Sol to the secluded coves of the Balearic Islands, Spain offers something for everyone. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun, swim in crystal-clear waters, or enjoy water sports such as surfing and snorkeling, Spain's beaches are the perfect destination.


Spain is famous for its stunning coastline, which stretches for thousands of kilometers along the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Bay of Biscay. From the vibrant beaches of the Costa del Sol to the secluded coves of the Balearic Islands, Spain offers something for everyone. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun, swim in crystal-clear waters, or enjoy water sports such as surfing and snorkeling, Spain's beaches are the perfect destination.

National Parks:

Spain is home to several stunning national parks and protected areas that showcase the country's diverse flora and fauna. The Picos de Europa National Park in northern Spain is known for its dramatic limestone peaks, deep gorges, and lush forests, while the Doñana National Park in Andalucia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its wetlands and birdwatching opportunities. Other notable parks include the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, the Tablas de Daimiel National Park, and the Caldera de Taburiente National Park in the Canary Islands.

Nature Reserves:

Beyond its national parks, Spain is dotted with nature reserves and protected areas that preserve its natural beauty and biodiversity. The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park in Andalucia is one such example, boasting rugged coastal cliffs, hidden beaches, and volcanic rock formations. The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in the Pyrenees is another gem, offering pristine wilderness, alpine meadows, and stunning waterfalls.


With its Mediterranean climate, Spain enjoys mild winters and long, sunny summers, making it an ideal destination for sun-seekers year-round. Whether you're lounging on the beaches of the Balearic Islands or exploring the historic streets of Barcelona, you're sure to enjoy the pleasant weather that Spain has to offer.

Hiking The Thrilling Caminito del Ray

One of the highlights of our retreat was the opportunity to explore the rugged beauty of the Caminito Del Ray trail. Led by experienced guides, we embarked on a journey of discovery, navigating cliffs and winding pathways with awe and reverence.

Nestled amidst the rugged landscapes of Andalucia, Spain, lies one of the world's most exhilarating hiking trails: the Caminito del Rey. This awe-inspiring pathway winds its way through the breathtaking El Chorro Gorge, offering intrepid adventurers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the raw beauty of nature from dizzying heights.

Originally built in the early 20th century to provide maintenance access for workers at nearby hydroelectric plants, the Caminito del Rey gained notoriety for its perilous conditions and hair-raising reputation. For decades, the trail fell into disrepair, earning it the nickname "the world's most dangerous walkway" and attracting thrill-seekers from around the globe eager to test their mettle.

In recent years, efforts have been made to restore and renovate the Caminito del Rey, transforming it from a perilous pathway into a safe and accessible hiking trail. Today, visitors can embark on a guided journey along the trail, marveling at the stunning vistas and vertigo-inducing views that have made the Caminito del Rey a bucket-list destination for adventurers everywhere.

The journey along the Caminito del Rey begins with a scenic walkway suspended high above the rushing waters of the Guadalhorce River. As hikers traverse the narrow pathway carved into the sheer cliffs of the gorge, they are treated to panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, with glimpses of soaring eagles and cascading waterfalls adding to the sense of wonder and excitement.

The Caminito del Rey offers an unforgettable adventure that will be remembered for a lifetime. Whether you're a seasoned hiker seeking a new challenge or a nature enthusiast eager to experience the wonders of Andalucia's rugged landscapes, the Caminito del Rey is sure to leave you breathless in more ways than one.

Yoga Retreat Center

Our Yoga retreat center is located 3 km from the charming village of El Gastor.

The accommodations are rooms in villas with views of the mountain, air conditioners, and heaters and there is wifi inside all the buildings. Villas have a bedroom with a double bed, a living room with a fold-out sofa, an open kitchen, a bathroom, a balcony, and a pool. The 19 rooms can be single, double, triple, or quadruple occupancy and have air conditioning, heaters, and free wifi.

We have at our disposal a comfortable yoga studio with all the necessary equipment such as yoga mats, blocks, blankets, and bolsters.

Enjoying Nourishing Vegetarian Delights

At our yoga retreat, we believe that nourishing the body with wholesome, vegetarian food is an essential part of the holistic experience. Inspired by the bounty of Andalucia's fertile lands and the rich tradition of Mediterranean cuisine, our meals are crafted with care using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that each bite is a celebration of flavor, freshness, and vitality.

Drawing upon the abundance of local produce, our menu showcases the vibrant flavors and vibrant colors of Andalucia's culinary heritage. From the rich, golden hues of locally produced olive oil to the earthy sweetness of ripe tomatoes and peppers, each ingredient is carefully selected to create dishes that delight the senses and nourish the soul.

Our meals are designed to provide a balance of nutrients and flavors, offering a variety of plant-based proteins, whole grains, and fresh vegetables to fuel your body and support your practice. Whether you're indulging in a hearty bowl of lentil soup, savoring a colorful salad bursting with seasonal vegetables, or enjoying a comforting plate of vegetable paella, our menu is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Our vegetarian menu is not only delicious—it's also designed to inspire and empower you to make healthier choices long after you leave our retreat. By showcasing the incredible diversity and versatility of plant-based ingredients, we hope to ignite a passion for cooking and eating well that will continue to nourish your body, mind, and spirit for years to come.

Improve and deepen your yoga practice!

With multiple sessions each day, you have the opportunity to practice yoga more extensively than you might in your routine. This extended practice can help you refine your poses, build strength and flexibility, and deepen your understanding of yoga techniques. The expertise of an experienced yoga teacher can help you refine your alignment, explore advanced practices, and overcome any challenges you may encounter.

Retreats often incorporate workshops or discussions on yoga philosophy, history, and spirituality. This exploration can deepen your understanding of the philosophical principles underlying yoga and inspire you to integrate these teachings into your practice and daily life.

You can try and practice different styles of yoga.

Practicing and learning different styles of yoga can greatly benefit you in finding the right practice for different days or stages of life in the future in several ways:

  • Understanding Your Preferences: Trying out various yoga styles allows you to understand what resonates most with you. You might find that you prefer the dynamic flow of Vinyasa one day, while on another day, you crave the grounding stillness of Yin yoga. This understanding helps you choose the most suitable practice for your current needs.
  • Adaptability: Life is dynamic, and your needs and energy levels can vary from day to day. Learning different styles of yoga equips you with a range of techniques and practices that you can adapt to suit your mood, energy level, or specific circumstances. For example, if you're feeling stressed, you might opt for a calming practice like Restorative yoga, whereas if you need an energy boost, you might choose a vigorous Ashtanga practice.
  • Targeted Benefits: Each yoga style offers unique benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. By exploring different styles, you can identify which practices address specific needs or goals. For instance, if you're recovering from an injury, you might focus on gentle, therapeutic styles like Iyengar yoga. If you're seeking spiritual growth, you might gravitate towards practices that incorporate meditation and breathwork, such as Kundalini yoga.
  • Holistic Approach: Combining different yoga styles allows for a more holistic approach to your practice. You can integrate elements of strength-building, flexibility, mindfulness, relaxation, and breathwork into your routine, ensuring that you address all aspects of your well-being.
  • Preventing Plateaus: Practicing the same style of yoga exclusively can sometimes lead to plateaus in your practice or personal growth. Exploring different styles challenges your body and mind in new ways, preventing stagnation and facilitating continuous growth and evolution.
  • Life Transitions: As you navigate different life stages or transitions, your yoga needs may evolve. For example, during periods of high stress, you might prioritize practices that promote relaxation and stress relief, while during times of change or uncertainty, you might seek grounding and stability through your yoga practice. Having familiarity with various styles allows you to adapt your practice to support you through different life circumstances.

Pilates helps Yogis engage their core!

Yoga and Pilates don’t have to be two separate practices. They can work together hand by hand, to help strengthen your core, lengthen your side body, avoid injury, and improve your alignment. Pilates’s focus on building and engaging a strong core can propel one's yoga practice into new realms.

Pilates is a comprehensive form of exercise that can help you become stronger by targeting core muscles, improving muscle endurance, enhancing flexibility, promoting good posture, and supporting overall functional strength and mobility.

Pilates is known as a "workout," and yoga as a "practice"; however, the irony here is that, to improve at anything, we have to practice, and when we practice well both Pilates and yoga can be exceptional workouts.

Our retreat Pilates teacher is Kaia Heinleht from Estonia.

More information about her in the Estonian language is here. 

Kaia is one of the backbones, and foundations of Estonian Pilates, having been introduced, practiced, and taught Pilates for over twenty years. During all these years, she has consistently developed her skills at various international training under-recognized Pilates master teachers such as Kelly McKinnon, Debora Lessen, and Amy Taylor Alpers. The last training was the Kathy Corey Postgraduate Mentor Program in Germany in 2018.

In addition to Pilates, in recent years Kaia has been improving herself in the field of osteopathy, and in 2015 she started studying kinesiology TFH (Touch For Health). Relying on her acquired knowledge and practice of thousands of hours in the fields listed above, Kaia has developed her physical education training course. Physiotherapists and rehabilitation specialists working in the Estonian medical system have improved their knowledge under his guidance.

Our retreat Yoga teacher and hiking guide is Pille Mitt.

Read more about Pille here.

You can book your next yoga & hiking retreat in Spain here.

Life is a journey marked by various stages, each presenting its own set of challenges, joys, and opportunities for growth. Just as our bodies and minds evolve over time, so too should our approach to self-care and well-being. Yoga, an ancient practice that harmonizes the body, mind, and spirit, offers a versatile toolkit that can adapt to the changing needs of individuals at different stages of life. From the exuberance of youth to the wisdom of old age, here's how yoga practices can be tailored to match the unique demands of each stage.

Youth: Embracing Energy and Exploration

In the vibrant phase of youth, energy flows abundantly, and the spirit of exploration is at its peak. This is a time of discovering one's identity, pursuing passions, and laying the foundation for the future. Yoga can serve as a valuable companion in this journey, providing a holistic approach to physical health, mental clarity, and emotional balance.

Incorporating Yoga into Daily Life

For young adults navigating the fast-paced demands of modern life, integrating yoga into daily routines can offer grounding amidst the chaos. Simple practices such as Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) or energizing flows like Vinyasa yoga can invigorate the body and sharpen focus. Additionally, pranayama techniques, such as Kapalabhati (skull-shining breath) or Bhastrika (bellows breath), can enhance vitality and mental clarity, allowing young individuals to approach challenges with vigor and resilience.

Yoga Retreats for Self-Discovery

Yoga retreats tailored for young adults provide an immersive experience that combines physical activity, mindfulness, and community building. These retreats often feature dynamic yoga sessions, workshops on stress management and goal setting, and opportunities for outdoor adventures. By stepping away from the distractions of daily life, participants can delve deeper into self-discovery, gaining clarity of purpose and direction for the future.

yoga practice

Adulthood: Balancing Responsibilities and Wellness

As adulthood brings forth a myriad of responsibilities – career, relationships, and family – finding balance becomes paramount. Yoga offers a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, promoting physical well-being, mental resilience, and emotional equilibrium.

Mindful Movement for Stress Relief

In the midst of hectic schedules, incorporating gentle yoga practices can alleviate stress and tension accumulated throughout the day. Restorative yoga poses, such as Child's Pose (Balasana) or Legs-Up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani), encourage deep relaxation and release muscular tension. Moreover, mindfulness-based practices, such as Yoga Nidra or guided meditation, foster mental clarity and emotional stability, enabling individuals to navigate challenges with grace and composure.

Yoga for Connection and Community

In the whirlwind of adult life, cultivating meaningful connections and nurturing relationships is essential for holistic well-being. Yoga communities provide a supportive environment where individuals can come together to practice, share experiences, and foster a sense of belonging. Whether through attending group classes, workshops, or yoga retreats focused on personal growth and connection, adults can find solace in the company of like-minded individuals, strengthening bonds and deepening connections with oneself and others.

Middle Age: Cultivating Strength and Resilience

Middle age heralds a period of transition, marked by shifts in priorities, roles, and perspectives. As individuals navigate the ebb and flow of life's currents, yoga serves as a steadfast anchor, fostering physical vitality, mental fortitude, and emotional resilience.

Strength-Building Yoga Practices

As the body undergoes subtle changes with age, maintaining strength and flexibility becomes increasingly important. Yoga practices that focus on strength-building, such as Ashtanga or Power Yoga, help to tone muscles, improve balance, and enhance overall physical resilience. Additionally, incorporating props such as blocks, straps, or bolsters can provide support and accessibility, allowing individuals to adapt their practice to suit their evolving needs.

Yoga Retreats for Renewal and Reflection

Yoga retreats tailored for individuals in middle age offer a sanctuary for renewal and reflection amidst life's transitions. These retreats often feature a blend of dynamic and restorative yoga practices, mindfulness exercises, and contemplative activities aimed at fostering self-awareness and inner growth. By stepping away from familiar routines and immersing oneself in a supportive environment, participants can gain clarity, renew their sense of purpose, and emerge with a renewed sense of vitality and purpose.

yoga practice

Old Age: Nurturing Mind, Body, and Spirit

In the golden years of old age, prioritizing holistic well-being becomes paramount. Yoga offers a gentle yet powerful means of nurturing the mind, body, and spirit, promoting vitality, serenity, and spiritual fulfillment.

Gentle Yoga Practice for Mobility and Comfort

As the body naturally slows down with age, gentle yoga practices provide a safe and effective way to maintain mobility, flexibility, and overall well-being. Chair yoga, gentle Hatha yoga, and Yin yoga are particularly well-suited for older adults, offering modified poses and ample support to accommodate varying levels of mobility and comfort. These practices help to alleviate stiffness, improve circulation, and promote relaxation, allowing individuals to age gracefully and with dignity.

Yoga Retreats for Wellness and Wisdom

Yoga retreats catered to older adults offer a nurturing space for wellness and wisdom, celebrating the richness of life's journey and the wisdom accrued over the years. These retreats often feature gentle yoga practices, guided meditation, and opportunities for reflection and storytelling. By embracing the present moment with gratitude and acceptance, participants can cultivate a deep sense of inner peace, contentment, and spiritual fulfillment, embracing the fullness of life's experiences with grace and equanimity.

In conclusion, yoga is a timeless companion that adapts and evolves alongside individuals at every stage of life. Whether in the exuberance of youth, the responsibilities of adulthood, the transitions of middle age, or the serenity of old age, yoga offers a holistic pathway to well-being, resilience, and self-discovery. By embracing the transformative power of yoga practices tailored to match the unique needs of each stage, individuals can navigate life's journey with vitality, grace, and inner harmony.

This article provides insights into how yoga practices can be adapted to meet the needs of individuals at different stages of life, from youth to old age. Through mindful movement, connection, and self-reflection, yoga offers a holistic approach to well-being that supports physical health, mental clarity, and emotional resilience at every stage of life.

This yoga retreat is an all-inclusive laid back island relaxation in Thailand, the country of smiles.

March 17-24, 2024

Koh Lanta

is a delightfully exotic island, thanks to its remote location, pristine beaches, and pleasant weather. It’s known for coral-fringed beaches, mangroves, limestone outcrops, and rainforests. The extended area is an archipelago in the southern region of Thailand's Krabi Province, of which Koh Lanta Yai, where you’ll be, is known as the chill island. Kind locals and unspoiled nature are the main attractions. Misty mountains abound in some areas, especially down south, in the natural park which has caves and wildlife.

Enjoy daily vinyasa yoga classes in the open-air lofted yoga shala to the soothing songs of happy tropical birds. At dusk, stroll down to the beach for sunset yoga overlooking the ocean. With all details arranged, take a boat trip and snorkel through the clear blue waters, get creative in a Thai cooking class, and visit the jungle National Park. Bungalow accommodations are located around the swimming pool and within the garden. Take a mental pause or relax by reading a book in one of the hammocks on the meditation deck in the middle of the garden, with the yogic atmosphere of the resort.

Get ready to feel great in your skin this week! Savor sweet flavors of tropical fruits like mangos and tiny aromatic bananas. Feel vitality in your body as you eat clean Thai-inspired California cuisine, let the humidity of the tropics soak into your muscles for ease of movement during your yoga practice, and take long walks down the beach with the warm water splashing over your feet. Hang out socializing with a smoothie or glass of champagne, lounging outside on pillows, and inside in the air-conditioned cocktail bar.

If you're looking to be in the warmth, on the beach, and chill for a fun yoga vacation, this is the place for you!

What is included in the yoga retreat price: 

  • 7 nights at the beautiful Thailand Retreat Center
  • 4 yoga classes per day for all levels, energizing and gentle by different teachers
  • Yoga workshops to deepen your practice
  • Bungalow accommodation with air conditioners, fans, and en-suite bathrooms
  • Yoga equipment: yoga mats, blocks, straps, and meditation pillows.
  • 3 healthy vegetarian Thai-inspired Californian meals per day made by on-site chefs*
  • Tea, proper French press coffee, and milk options are available all-day
  • WIFI throughout the resort
  • Swimming pool, lounge areas, hammocks
  • Krabi Airport Transfer: Group transportation on arrival and departure day from/to Krabi
  • Thai Cooking Class tour and transportation
  • Snorkeling and speed boat island excursion
  • Explore Natural Park guided tour and transportation

Yoga retreat arrival and departure information:

Included in your retreat package is group shuttle transportation to/from the Krabi International Airport and the retreat center resort located on Koh Lanta Island. Krabi International airport is a 2-hour drive from Koh Lanta Island. The shuttles access the island by crossing over the water on a ferry boat. Take this moment to step off the shuttle and feel the ocean breeze!

Arrive by 11 am on March 17, 2024, at Krabi International Airport to take the included shuttle transport with the group. When arranging your flights, first book your international flight into one of Bangkok's airports, then, book a domestic flight from Bangkok to Krabi International Airport. The retreat ends at 11 am on March 24, 2024. You can book your departure flight to leave from Krabi International Airport after 4 pm on departure day.

It's very safe to travel through Thailand! Thai people are helpful and speak English.

Yoga Retreat price and booking information:

EARLY BIRD (booking 6 months in advance):
Shared room 1690 EUR
Single room 1940 EUR

LAST MINUTE (booking less than 2 months in advance)
Shared room 2090 EUR
Single room 2340 EUR

This yoga retreat is held in collaboration with Lucia Yoga.

You can pay a deposit of 500 EUR and read more information by clicking here.

Book your spot here, places are limited and fill up quickly!

This was more than just a yoga retreat, it was an active adventure with volcano hiking, baby sea turtles, and ancient Mayan culture.

With all the stresses of daily life adding up, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to stay at a yoga retreat on their travels. Yoga retreats are not just about improving fitness and strength, but about calming your mind and connecting you to your spiritual self.

Guatemala is known as the Land of Eternal Spring, for its active volcanoes, rainforests, ancient Mayan sites, Spanish colonial towns, and the iconic Lake Atitlan surrounded by gorgeous nature spots. With all this nature, you’ll be nestled in a landscape that exhales calmness and tranquility.

Imagine a deep, cobalt lake surrounded by dozens of tiny villages and looming volcanoes. That is Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Its shores have been attracting hippies and hedonistic travelers for decades.

It is no secret that Guatemala grows some of the best coffee in the world. If you know a little about coffee, then you know that the best coffee grows at higher elevations.

Antigua Guatemala is known as the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Central America. Stroll the cobblestone streets, lounge with the locals in Central Park on sunny afternoons, or hike up one of the volcanoes overlooking the city for amazing views. Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala until a damaging earthquake caused a switch to Guatemala City. As harrowing as the earthquake must have been at that time, some of the remains of Antigua’s stunning colonial buildings still stand today.

In November 2023, I had the pleasure of organizing and leading a yoga retreat in Guatemala, accompanied by an eclectic group of eleven individuals hailing from Norway, Estonia, Canada, Austria, the UK, the USA, and Hungary. Our adventure began with some of us arriving in Guatemala City before the retreat officially commenced. Despite a minor setback with one member missing her initial flight from Amsterdam, we eventually all convened, eager to start our journey.

Exploring Flores Island and the ancient Mayan ruins in Tikal

Our first stop was Flores, a charming town serving as a gateway to the ancient Maya ruins of Tikal. Tikal, nestled within a dense rainforest, welcomed us with towering pyramids, intricately carved stone structures, and sprawling plazas.

Tikal is the ruin of the ancient city, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archeological region of the Peten, Tikal National Park, and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We stayed in Flores for 3 nights and took 2 trips to Tikal. Flores Island in Guatemala is located in Peten, one hour south of Tikal. It is surrounded by the third biggest lake in Guatemala, Lake Peten Itza.

The picturesque town of Flores Guatemala offers you the chance to enjoy stunning landscapes and cultural activities, plus, it is the gateway to most of the archaeological Mayan parks around the area. This quiet Island is one of the 25 most colorful places in the world. It hosts a big concentration of restaurants, cafés, and pubs to keep you busy during your stay. Flores is the perfect place to relax for a couple of days, combining it with awesome things to do like exciting excursions to the Crib of the Mayas, one of the biggest civilizations in the history of the world.

We embarked on a local flight back to Guatemala City to meet the group.

Immersing Ourselves in Antigua's Culture and History

Our next destination was Antigua, a city renowned for its colonial architecture and vibrant culture. Arriving during the Flowers Festival, we were greeted by streets adorned with colorful blooms. We spent the afternoon visiting the local artisan market and strolling through cobblestone streets, savoring the rich history of this charming city. Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala until a damaging earthquake caused a switch to Guatemala City. As harrowing as the earthquake must have been at that time, some of the remains of Antigua’s stunning colonial buildings still stand today.

Challenging Ourselves with the Acatenango Vulcano overnight hike

The highlight of our journey, however, awaited us atop the Acatenango Volcano. Setting out early from Antigua, we embarked on a challenging overnight hike through diverse ecosystems, each offering its unique charm. From verdant forests teeming with wildlife to barren volcanic terrain, the ascent tested our physical endurance and mental fortitude. But reaching the campsite at 3600 meters was a moment of triumph, rewarded with sweeping views of the Antigua Valley and the fiery eruptions of nearby Volcan Fuego.

At dawn, we stood in awe atop Acatenango, witnessing a sunrise that painted the sky in hues of gold and pink. The panoramic views of Volcan Fuego, the Antigua Valley, and the distant Guatemalan highlands left us breathless, a testament to the raw beauty of nature. Descending back to Antigua, we savored a well-deserved rest, shower, and delicious dinner, reflecting on the challenges overcome and the bonds forged.

Rejuvenating with Yoga and Retreat Activities at Lake Atitlan

Our journey was far from over as we made our way to Eagles Nest by the shores of Lake Atitlan, a tranquil sanctuary nestled amidst verdant hills and azure waters. Here, we surrendered to the rhythm of yoga, ecstatic dance, and nourishing vegetarian cuisine, finding solace in the embrace of nature and community. Lake Atitlán sits at an altitude of just over 1550 meters above sea level. The surrounding Lake Atitlan is world-renowned for its Cacao and Coffee plantations.

Arriving at Eagles Nest by Lake Atitlan was like coming to paradise. Eagle's Nest is an awe-inspiring ecological resort and world-class event venue for transformational growth and adventure travelers, artists, and digital nomads. There we indulged in yoga, ecstatic dance, and nourishing vegetarian cuisine. Each day began with yoga classes overlooking the tranquil waters of Lake Atitlan, where we were blessed to witness majestic flights of eagles soaring gracefully overhead, adding to the serenity of our practice. Afterward, we savored delicious meals, all while enjoying the breathtaking views that surrounded us, enhancing our moments of relaxation and introspection.

Mayan Cacao Ceremony

One of the most profound experiences during our retreat in Guatemala was the Sacred Mayan Cacao Ceremony, a spiritual ritual deeply rooted in ancient traditions. Guided by a local shaman, we gathered in a sacred circle around a fire, surrounded by the intoxicating aroma of freshly brewed cacao.

As the ceremony drew to a close, we emerged renewed and rejuvenated, our hearts overflowing with gratitude and love. The Sacred Mayan Cacao Ceremony touched us in ways we never imagined, leaving an indelible imprint on our souls and deepening our connection to ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Waking to Tzununa and Waterfall Hike

Our exploration extended to the Tzununa permaculture farm, where we learned about fermentation at Love Probiotics. Sampling tangy sauerkrauts and fizzy kombuchas, we embraced the health benefits of probiotic foods and beverages.

Love Probiotics produce healthy, live, locally sourced, fermented probiotic foods and beverages (various types of raw sauerkrauts, raw vinegar, organic black, green, and white tea kombuchas, ginger beer, sparkling water kefirs, jun tea, organic kefir yogurt, Lacto-fermented hot sauce, super-food bliss balls, sourdough bread and more!), and they also offer a variety of hands-on fermentation workshops. After a long day of walking to Tzununa and hiking to the local waterfall, we took a boat back to San Marcos La Laguna, enjoying a relaxing 15-minute ride with picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes.

Witnessing the Spectacular Sunrise from Indian Nose

As our journey in Guatemala continued, we eagerly anticipated the sunrise hike to Indian Nose, also known as Mayan Nose or Face, a towering mountain perched on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan. Setting out before dawn, our group embarked on the ascent of Indian Nose, guided by the local guide and the faint glow of the early morning sky. The path wound its way upwards, snaking through dense foliage and rocky outcrops, each step bringing us closer to the summit and the promise of an unforgettable sunrise.

After a brisk climb lasting approximately 30 to 45 minutes, we reached the summit of Indian Nose, greeted by panoramic views that stretched as far as the eye could see. Before us, a chain of volcanoes stood sentinel, their silhouettes etched against the canvas of the dawn sky. Below, the pristine waters of Lake Atitlan shimmered in the first light of day, casting a spellbinding glow upon the landscape.

Soaring Above Panajachel: Paragliding Adventure

Panajachel, affectionately known as Pana, served as the backdrop for one of the most exhilarating experiences of our journey – paragliding. Nestled on the shores of Lake Atitlan and surrounded by towering volcanoes, this vibrant town captivated us with its eclectic mix of culture, cuisine, and natural beauty.

With experienced instructors guiding us every step of the way, we soared high above Panajachel, the wind rushing past us as we marveled at the panoramic views below. From our vantage point in the sky, we were treated to a bird's-eye view of the San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán volcanoes, their majestic peaks rising in the distance. Below, the shimmering waters of Lake Atitlan stretched out before us, framed by lush greenery and the bustling town of Panajachel.

For those with paragliding on their bucket list, Panajachel offered the perfect opportunity to fulfill their dreams, with experienced instructors providing a safe and thrilling experience. As we glided through the air, suspended between earth and sky, we felt a sense of freedom and exhilaration, unlike anything we had ever experienced before.

Pacific Coast - our yoga retreat's final destination

After bidding farewell to Lake Atitlan, we ventured to the Pacific coast, where we witnessed the release of baby sea turtles into the ocean. Amidst black sand beaches and crashing waves, we marveled at the wonders of nature, grateful for the opportunity to witness such a spectacle. Nestled in the laid-back village of El Paredon, with its spectacular black sand beach and crashing ocean waves, we savored our dinner together.

With hearts full and spirits uplifted, we bid farewell to the Pacific Coast, our souls enriched by the beauty of the natural world and the bonds of friendship that had blossomed during our time together.

Continuing the Adventure Beyond the Yoga Retreat: Hiking to Semuc Champey

Some of us chose to extend our stay to explore Semuc Champey, a natural wonder nestled in the Maya town of Languín. Despite the challenges of travel, the turquoise pools offered a serene sanctuary amidst the rugged terrain, a fitting end to our journey of exploration.

If you google Guatemala, Semuc Champey seems to be one of the most important places to visit and stay for several days. But the problem is how to get there. Whatever way you choose, it means at least 7-10 hrs of traveling in a bus along bumpy roads. That's why Semuc Champey gives me mixed feelings. We traveled there from Antigua, 9 hrs. It was one day on a bus.

Arriving at our destination, we found ourselves faced with the daunting task of traversing the final stretch of our journey. Determined to embrace the adventure, we opted to embark on a 12-kilometer walk from our hostel near Languín to Semuc Champey, immersing ourselves in the natural beauty of the Guatemalan countryside.

As we trekked through rolling hills and verdant valleys, we were greeted by the warm smiles of locals, their hospitality a testament to the enduring spirit of the region. Despite the cloud-covered sky, the cool breeze provided respite from the sweltering heat, allowing us to enjoy the journey without succumbing to exhaustion.

However, our romanticized vision of the trek was soon challenged by the harsh reality of roadworks and muddy terrain. With each step, the once picturesque path devolved into a treacherous mud hole, testing our resolve and leaving us longing for the tranquility of Semuc Champey's crystalline waters.

Upon reaching our destination, we were greeted by the mesmerizing sight of the turquoise pools, their beauty a stark contrast to the rugged landscape that had led us there. After a refreshing swim and a leisurely lunch, we reluctantly began our journey back, eager to escape the confines of the muddy trails and return to civilization.

As we made our way back to Guatemala City, we were reminded once again of the unpredictable nature of travel. Yet, amidst the chaos and confusion, we found moments of laughter and camaraderie, forging bonds that would endure long after our journey had come to an end. And so, as we bid farewell to Semuc Champey, we carried with us not only memories of its unparalleled beauty but also the lessons learned from our journey – a testament to the transformative power of travel and the resilience of the human spirit.

As we said our farewells to Guatemala, we carried with us memories of adventure, camaraderie, and self-discovery. Our journey had been a testament to the transformative power of travel, weaving together moments of exploration, connection, and reflection into a tapestry of unforgettable experiences.

Join our next Guatemala adventure here.

Here is the blog post about Guatemalan cuisine.

This awesome yoga and hiking retreat between the fjords of Norway is a real adventure and mental detox, that will nourish your body, soul, and spirit.

The yoga retreat days will start with walking or driving to the local yoga studio for morning yoga and pranayama. The walk is around 7 minutes from Thon Hotel or 10-20 minutes from your accommodation. If your accommodation is not so close, you will be together with other people and have a car to drive to the yoga studio. Don't worry if you don't drive, you will be accommodated together with someone who does. We use rental cars that have insurance included. The rental car fee is included in the price.

Molde is a city and municipality in Møre and Romsdal county, Norway. It is a small town by the Moldefjord with a population of 26822. Molde is a very calm and relaxing city, famous for its amazing views. It is surrounded by fjords and is close to several remarkable hiking trails and viewpoints. Book your flight to Molde, Årø airport.

We will pick you up from the Molde airport on the day of arrival, but it is best to arrive on the 16.45 or 17.00 flight from Oslo.  It is not a problem when you arrive earlier on that day or by bus. Transfer from the airport or bus station is included in the price only on that day. On the first day, we have a welcome dinner all together at 18.00.

Our yoga classes will be suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. We will practice vinyasa flow yoga in the morning to energize our body and mind, and yin yoga in the evening to relax and restore our muscles. We will also incorporate meditation and breathwork to enhance our awareness and connection with nature.

Our hiking trails will vary from easy to moderate, depending on your preference and fitness level. We will hike for about 3-6 hours a day, exploring different landscapes and viewpoints. We will see waterfalls, meadows, villages, and wildlife along the way.

You can choose your 7 days retreat date and make your booking by clicking here.

5 days retreat by clicking here.

Weekend retreat here.

Yoga retreat program: 

Day 1, Friday

Arrival day. Pick up from the airport, settle into accommodation, introduce the program, meet other guests, dinner.

Day 2 

Energizing morning yoga session, breakfast, pack lunch.

Hiking Tusenårsvarden 523 m.a.s.l. or Varden viewpoint 407 m.a.s.l. 6-10 km.

After the hike, we return to the yoga studio for an afternoon yin yoga session and dinner.

Day 3 

Strengthening morning yoga session, followed by breakfast, packed lunch, and snacks.

Troll Church 484 m.a.s.l., consists of three exciting limestone and marble grottos with underground streams and a beautiful waterfall. On the surface, to the west of the uppermost cave, there is a lake with white marble "jetties". Braver hikers can swim in the mountain lake.

The mountain behind the Trolls' church is very distinctive, with jagged points and spires. Sometimes we hike only to the caves and lake, 8 km, but with real adventurers, we will hike further over the mountain ridge (832 m.a.s.l.) and make a loop back to the cave. Guests can choose how long of a hike they want this day. After the hike, we return for a restorative yoga session and a delicious meal.

Day 4 

Morning yoga, followed by breakfast and pack lunch.

Jendemsfjellet 633 m.a.s.l. is a mountain near Molde with a breathtaking 360-degree view over the fjords and mountains. We can choose between the shorter or longer trail, 4-6 km. Afternoon yoga session followed by a delicious meal in the accommodation.

Day 5 

Morning yoga, breakfast, and packed lunch followed by a ferry trip and driving to Trollstiegen.

Trollstiegen or the Troll ladder/road is a famous mountain road with narrow curves and sharp hairpin bends. The road has 11 hairpin curves and an elevation of 850 m. Every bend has its name. The road is narrow with a gradient of 9 % but passing pockets have been incorporated and traffic normally flows without a problem. An impressive bridge of natural stone carries it across the Stigfossen waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Norway. Stigfossen is an unregulated and powerful waterfall with a total height of 240 m, from which 180 m is almost a single drop.

Guests can choose if they want to drive up or hike. Kløvstien hike - the path is preserved as a cultural heritage, and a lot of effort has been put into maintaining the path. Stone steps and chains are making challenging parts more accessible and safer.

Day 6 

After morning yoga, breakfast, and packed lunch, we take off on a road trip to the Atlantic Road.

The Atlantic Road has National Tourist Route status, and the entire stretch between Bud and Kristiansund is one continuous experience packed with coastal scenery, culture, and history. The road that crosses this “infamous stretch of the ocean” was hailed as the world’s best road trip by the British newspaper The Guardian. In 2006. The 8.3 km (5 miles) road, with 8 bridges of a total length of 891 meters, is built on several small islands and skerries and is spanned by eight bridges and several landfills.

Sjurvarden, 667 m.a.s.l. is the mountain that stretches out to the sea, giving a powerful view of Hustadvika, the Atlantic Ocean, and the coastal landscape from Sunnmøre in the west and Smøla on Nordmøre in the north.

Day 7 

We will enjoy a final morning yoga session and breakfast before guests depart.

All good things must come to an end but only till next time! We transfer you to the airport and say goodbye!

Depending on participants' comfort level and the weather, this itinerary is subject to change.

Other options for hiking are:





Yoga retreat accommodation: 

You can choose between a hotel room or a single or double bedroom in an apartment together with other retreat participants. The hotel is located in the city center and the comfortable but simple rooms include a private bathroom, shower, toiletries, and free wireless internet. You can choose between a single or a double room. The hotel's name is Thon Hotel Moldefjord, address is Storgata 40, Molde. If you want more privacy and time alone we strongly recommend you choose to stay at the hotel. If you prefer a more luxurious room, please let us know.

Accommodation in an apartment is a local home. You will share the bathroom with 2-4 other participants. Those accommodations are located in different parts of the city.

What is included: 

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 2 meals a day, water, tea, coffee (vegan, gluten-free options)
  • 5 guided hikes
  • Yoga and meditation classes
  • Yoga mats and props
  • Transport
  • Pick up and drop off at Molde airport or ferry terminal during the arriving and leaving day
  • Personal attention, motivation, care, and enthusiasm

What is not included: 

  • Airfare
  • Dinners (dinners for an extra cost 900 NOK made by our chef)
  • Insurance
  • Transport from and to the airport if you arrive before the start of the retreat or wish to stay longer

Additional Information: 

If you are looking for an eventful holiday with lots of yoga, fun, and mountain air, Norway is the place for you. Expect relaxed group dynamics and the opportunity to integrate more balance and health into your life.

A Youtube video about yoga and hiking Trolltindene is here.

Guided tours take you into the heart of world-renowned wilderness destinations like countless number of waterfalls, Troll Church, Atlantic Road, Romsdalseggen, or some smaller mountaintops with amazing views over the fjords.  Sometimes we will have yoga, pranayama, and meditation outdoors, on the top of the mountain.

What to bring/wear:

  • Backpack 25-35 L
  • Waterbottle
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Warm cardigan
  • Comfortable outdoor shoes or boots
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Hiking pants
  • Gloves and hat

If you are ready to reconnect with nature and yourself on this amazing yoga and hiking retreat in Norway, don’t hesitate to book your spot now! Spaces are limited and filling up fast. For any questions or inquiries, please email us at

You can also follow us on Instagram @yogaandhikingwithpillemitt to see more photos and stories from our past retreats.”

Yoga, Hiking, and Adventure: My First Retreat in South Africa

In February 2023, I embarked on an extraordinary journey to South Africa, leading my first hiking and yoga retreat in that exciting country. South Africa is a truly fascinating and magnificent country packed with incredible wildlife, the most breathtaking landscapes, and complex history. Known for its beaches, mountains, and savannas, it's a trendy place for tourists. South Africa has been called “A world in one country”. It offers cosmopolitan cities, a rainbow nation of richly diverse cultures, spectacular scenery, and of course the Big Five safari experience. It is the only country in the world to contain an entire floral kingdom. It is home to more kinds of mammals than North and South America combined; or Europe and Asia together. South African grasslands have approximately 30 species per square kilometer, greater than the biodiversity of rainforests.

Organizing this retreat was a dream come true for me, and I couldn't wait to share the beauty of South Africa's landscapes with a group of ten women from various corners of the world – Norway, the USA, Switzerland, the UK, Estonia, and Lebanon. With the assistance of a local travel company, Amatungulu Tours, we set out on an unforgettable adventure filled with yoga, hiking, relaxation, and exploration. Our tour guide, Jakes, possesses an unparalleled depth of knowledge about South African nature, history, and every aspect of the region, enriching our journey with his expertise and passion.

Our yoga retreat started at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa. Some of us arrived in Cape Town a few days before the retreat began, and we decided to embark on a memorable hike up Lion's Head Mountain. As the sun dipped below the horizon on one side, we were treated to the mesmerizing sight of the full moon rising on the other, casting a magical glow over the landscape.

In my opinion, the Lion’s Head hike is one of the top things to do in Cape Town, offering unparalleled views of the city and its surroundings. Situated within the Table Mountain National Park, Lion’s Head reaches a peak of 669 meters above sea level. It was a special experience for me as my daughter Maria and some of her friends were also in South Africa at the same time, allowing us to share quality time on this hike. Additionally, Cape Town offers incredible opportunities for paragliding, and we couldn't resist seizing the chance to take to the skies and soak in the breathtaking vistas from above.

Exploring Cape Town and Hiking Table Mountain

Cape Town is one of three capital cities in South Africa. This seaside city is beautiful and picturesque with a great backdrop of the famous Table Mountain National Park. South Africa’s top tourist destination has many beautiful coastlines and beaches nearby, many whale-watching tours, amazing scenery, and a walkable waterfront area with tons of great restaurants, shopping, and more.

Cape Town, the “Mother City”, or the world’s most fabulous city, is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years.

Our journey started with an awe-inspiring hike up Table Mountain, one of South Africa's most iconic landmarks. As we ascended, the beauty of the surrounding landscape took our breath away. The iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world, at 260 million years old. Not only that, it is one of the world’s 7 New Natural Wonders and is also one of the planet’s 12 main energy centers, radiating magnetic, electric, and spiritual energy.

Hiking up to Table Mountain was an invigorating experience, though the moderate trail presented its challenges, particularly exacerbated by the scorching heat. Despite the demanding conditions, our determination fueled our ascent, and reaching the summit filled us with a profound sense of accomplishment. Pausing to catch our breath and capture breathtaking photos of the panoramic vistas, we marveled at the majestic beauty that surrounded us. It was sunny, so we decided to ride the gondola back down to cool off, and we still saw the scenery from above.

After descending, we visited Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a UNESCO-listed site dedicated to preserving the country's unique flora. At Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, we enjoyed a lovely stroll surrounded by stunning plant life. Jakes shared fascinating information about the different plants and the importance of preserving nature. It was a peaceful and educational experience, connecting us even more deeply with the natural world around us. The day concluded with a delightful wine-tasting experience at Groot Constantia Wine Farm, where we indulged in exquisite wines and savored a delicious dinner with sweeping views of Muizenberg.

Penguins, Relaxing, and Diaz Beach Yoga

On our second day, we ventured along the False Bay coastline to Boulders Beach, home to a charming colony of African Penguins. Witnessing these delightful creatures in their natural habitat was a truly unforgettable experience. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and rejuvenating, indulging in beach yoga sessions and savoring delicious cuisine at one of the local restaurants.

Wine Tasting, Cape Point, Spa, and Yoga

Our journey continued with a visit to Cape Point, where we immersed ourselves in the breathtaking beauty of the Table Mountain National Park. After a refreshing yoga and meditation session on Dias Beach, we indulged in wine and chocolate tasting at Spier Wine Farm.

The highlight of the day was our stay at The Caledon Hotel and Spa, where we immersed ourselves in relaxation and pampering, enjoying mineral-rich hot springs and a range of spa treatments. The spa hotel is situated around an hour’s drive away from Cape Town and offers guests mineral-rich hot springs and a spa with three restaurants, a gym, and children’s activities offered to all guests. The wellness center is equipped with comfortable seating, natural hot springs, a lap pool, a steam room, a sauna, a frigidarium (the distinctive brown color of the water is due to the rich mineral content known as chalybeate), a Swiss shower, elegant Victorian Bath House (erected 1897), and outdoor Jacuzzi, as well as a great Zen Garden. A full range of spa treatments including massages, body wraps, facials, and beauty therapies are on offer as an option

Exploring the Garden Route and Cango Caves

We embarked on a scenic drive to Knysna via the Cango Caves, marveling at the natural beauty of the Garden Route along the way. The Garden Route is a stretch of the southeastern coast of South Africa that extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast. After exploring the caves, we enjoyed a rejuvenating beach walk at Buffalo Bay before settling in at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge and Vegan Retreat, where we immersed ourselves in nature, yoga, and meditation.

Adventure in Knysna

Our fifth day was brimming with excitement as we explored Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. While some of us chose the exhilarating Dolphin Encounters boat ride, others embarked on a thrilling zip line adventure with the Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey or a Canopy Tour.

Return to Cape Town

After enjoying morning yoga and a delicious vegan breakfast at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge, we embarked on our journey back to Cape Town, stopping at charming farm stalls.

Safari Experience at Aquila Private Game Reserve

One of the highlights of our retreat was undoubtedly our visit to the Aquila Private Game Reserve, where we embarked on a thrilling game drive in search of Africa's most iconic wildlife – the Big Five. Witnessing these majestic animals in their natural habitat was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that left us in awe of the beauty and diversity of South Africa's wildlife.

The “Big Five” is a term that is used to refer to the 5 African animals that early big game hunters considered the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot in Africa. These animals include the African elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.

 Farwell and Departure: Returning Home After an Unforgettable Yoga Retreat

As we reminisced about our journey, we couldn't overlook the delectable culinary delights that South Africa had to offer. From savoring traditional dishes bursting with flavor to indulging in gourmet meals prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, our taste buds were treated to a symphony of tastes and textures that tantalized the senses. Whether it was sampling hearty barbecues under the African sky or sipping on rich, velvety wines from the renowned vineyards of Stellenbosch, each meal was a celebration of South Africa's rich culinary heritage. The diverse influences of African, Dutch, Indian, and Malay cuisines created a vibrant tapestry of flavors that delighted our palates and left us craving for more.

As the sun set on our final day in South Africa, we reflected on the incredible journey we had embarked upon together, from the breathtaking vistas atop Table Mountain to the serene moments of yoga amidst nature's beauty. Each experience had left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds, filling our time together with laughter, adventure, and profound connections, forging bonds that would last a lifetime.

As we bid farewell to the vibrant landscapes and warm hospitality of South Africa, we carried with us memories that would continue to inspire and uplift us long after our journey had come to an end. Though our paths may diverge, the spirit of our yoga retreat will forever unite us in a shared sense of gratitude, wonder, and the enduring power of exploration.

Discover more yoga retreats here.

Yoga retreats are temporary breaks from the daily routine that typically last from the weekend to a week or more. The purpose of a retreat is to allow yogis to deepen their practice without the distractions of life. A yoga retreat is an amazing opportunity to meet others who are passionate about yoga.

Yoga and hiking retreat is a combination of yoga and physical activity outdoors. A retreat starts and ends on a certain date, which means that you will be with the same group of people every day. You go to the same classes, have meals together, and spend a day outdoors hiking together. This gives you the opportunity to actually get to know them and develop a friendship. Yoga and hiking retreat is not just another vacation, it is a powerful experience.

A yoga retreat will help you:

  • disconnect and reflect,
  • deepen your yoga practice and knowledge,
  • step outside of your comfort zone,
  • improve your health.

If you are a beginner or not so passionate about yoga, a yoga and hiking retreat will offer you the opportunity to start with regular practice and find out how yoga can help you find balance in your everyday life.

Why yoga and hiking retreat?

"Going back to nature is going back to the origin of life, to the origins of ourselves." This is what the philosopher Henry David Thoreau said about connecting to your inner self. There is plenty of time for self-reflection during the long hours of walking. We will encounter quite some obstacles, being far away from home and out of our comfort zone. But we might also realize what truly matters to us in our lives and what the purpose of our lives may be.

The question "Who am I?" is the ultimate question in yoga philosophy. This is exactly why connecting with nature and practicing yoga simultaneously form a perfect combination. Both will help you learn about your true self. The yoga and hiking retreat is a simple way to reconnect with your inner self and understand yourself better.

Read more about our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway.

Hiking versus walking the Camino de Santiago

Walking the Camino de Santiago has been and still is on a bucket list for many people. Yoga and hiking retreat is like walking the Camino but it is a softer version of the Camino way. You know where you are going to sleep every night and you always have wi-fi when you need it. You will also prepare your body for a long day outdoors with morning yoga sessions, stretch and relax your tired muscles every evening and eat healthy and nutritious food during the journey.

However, yoga and hiking will give you many of the Camino walk benefits. Additionally, spending days in the fresh air will prevent you from becoming infected with viruses and will strengthen your immune system.

Top 3 reasons why people walk the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago, known in English as the way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Spain.

Spiritual reasons

Many pilgrims walk to connect and discover the deeper meaning of life, to spiritually connect with nature or themselves, or walk to find answers to deep questions.

Disconnect to reconnect

In a world of busyness with too many obligations and long workdays, many of us have become disconnected and disillusioned. We all say we would like to disconnect a bit but typical vacations are anything but answering e-mails at the pool and watching or reading the news after dinner, we seem never to have the opportunity to truly "get away from it all". At first, it may seem strange to not constantly think about what is going on in your country or not check your phone every 15 minutes but soon you find peace and silence in the journey. It takes a few days to adjust but the reward is clarity and a feeling of peace.

Exercise and well-being

The majority of people have little to no experience in walking long distances over many days. A popular saying is "your Camino begins when you sign up". You begin to research what shoes to bring, how to train and prepare your body, and what you should pack. Many people start training, to become healthier and more fit for the trip.

Hiking in Estonia -visiting mysterious bogs

Estonian bogs have gone through a large-scale transformation from being seen as a horrific place to becoming one of the most loved landscapes. Our bogs are the top-of-the-list attraction for every tourist willing to discover the Estonian countryside and wildlife.

What is bog?

The bog is the oldest organic landscape in Estonia, reaching in some cases up to 10 000 years of age. The first bogs started to emerge here right after the last ice age. As the 1km, the thick glacier ice sheet was melting towards the North pole, the meltwater as a leftover was collected in depressions previously created by the glacier ice.

Over the next thousands of years, plants grew and died within those shallow and oxygen-deprived meltwater lakes. As a result, the dead plant material didn’t become decomposed but rather created ever-lasting peat/turf and turned the water acidic. Every year, one layer of partially decomposed organic material is accumulated underneath the mossy surface of the bog and this effect has taken place since the very beginning!

In Estonian bogs, the pace at which the peat accumulates is roughly 1mm annually. In most Estonian bogs, the peat layer is 5-7 meters on average, which equals about 5000-7000 years of age. Over the course of thousands of years, this landscape goes through a series of transformations. At the very beginning, this peat accumulation landscape does not have a significant effect on plants – the peat layer is just too thin and flora is able to reach the nutrient-rich groundwater. After millennia or two, the peat layer becomes thicker and filters out more demanding plants. The visual of the landscape is about to change. Birch trees will give up and pines will slowly start to take over. This middle stage is called transitional mire.

Later the peat layer gets just so thick that only the toughest plants will survive. The third stage is called bog or raised bog. Here you can see a lot of bog pools or lakes inside this huge organic sponge. The landscape is entirely independent, meaning that the plants don’t have access to nutrient-rich groundwater and all they have is rainwater stored in the ground. Bogs can be seen as huge sponges that can store huge amounts of water. Mainly because the sphagnum moss, also known as the “bog builder plant” is able to absorb almost 20x its body mass. So in some ways, bogs are also giant water reservoirs.

Bog operates as a carbon sink and therefore mitigates the effects of climate change. And as we know today, it’s a perfect place for aesthetic experiences.

Bog as a place to restore yourself mentally and physically

Since the Estonian bogs were “rebranded” decades ago, their popularity has skyrocketed. The State Forestry Agency has built a lot of boardwalks and forest trails to provide easier access to all the people interested in enjoying the silence and minimalistic landscapes.

Suddenly, bogs have become the symbols of our country. 100 years ago it was unheard of to say, think or write anything pleasant about our swamps or bogs. Today, people still have some sort of unconscious “itch” inside them when they get off the trails and feel this spongy ground. But walking on boardwalks has become so popular, that on the weekends you could encounter more people in bog than in a shopping mall. So if interested in peace and silence, you have to choose your destinations carefully.

The best time to visit the bog in Estonia

As you may guess, every season has its pros and cons. Although I see some benefits in visiting bogs in particular time periods, I still think everything depends on your goals. Is it to see wildlife? To swim in a bog lake? To pick berries? To skate on the frozen lakes?

Spring (March-May) is probably the best period to encounter birds and animals. For example, male black grouses are having battles in the bogs at the sunrise. Of course, it’s something that needs preparation and setting up a hide to witness those rare moments. The cranes are arriving from Africa and many birds are stopping by to continue their journey to polar regions. Many plants, including mystical labrador tea, bloom in May-June. I love spring because at that time we don’t have mosquitoes here.

 I don’t suggest going to the bog on the hot summer days (nights are ok) – because of the dark ground, it gets really hot and there is nowhere to hide from the direct sunlight +  you potentially have to deal with horseflies. In the summer, the best time to go to the bog is right before sunset or sunrise. You will then have the least problems with insects + the view is magical. Especially when the sky is clear. and you can enjoy the water that feels especially warm when the air temperature starts to drop.

August-September-October is perfect! Starry skies, misty mornings. Berries – blueberries, lingonberries, bilberries, cranberries, and cloudberries. Mushrooms! Chanterelles! In the autumn, the mosses covering the ground turn into colorful “carpet” + you’ll see the yellow-red colored trees on the horizon. Perfect time for camping and staying overnight as well.

With winter it can go both ways – you either have snow in Estonia or you don’t. When you do, you can go skating on bog lakes, hike with snowshoes over the frozen lakes, make a fire, camp either in a hammock or in a glamping tent. Catch fish on the ice. Fullmoon hike on glowing white snow? No mosquitoes, no crowded camping sites. Silence!

Sunrise in Kõnnu Suursoo

Read more about our Estonian retreat here.

Will you be fully vaccinated soon? Or have you taken your COVID-19 vaccination and are looking to travel sometime in the near future?

As vaccines are being rolled out across the world, it brings the promise of a return to our pre-pandemic life, or, at the very least, something close to it.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while these shots do come with some protection against the virus, some regulations, such as lifting the mandated use of masks, may not be happening as soon as we’d hoped.

Should you choose to travel sometimes in the near future, it’s highly advisable to continue to take health & safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and maintaining the practice of physical distancing.

While it’s not mandatory, you should also consider getting tested 3 to 5 days after arrival and self-isolate for 7 days, even though you are fully vaccinated. We are still unsure as to how much protection the vaccines offer against the new variants of the virus (and the strains continue to emerge), so, it’s always better to be safe.

In short, being fully vaccinated does give you more ‘freedom’ and peace of mind when it comes to travel but it’s in you & your fellow travelers’ best interest to maintain precautions when traveling.

Not only is it crucial for us to ‘adhere’ to local rules but also to keep personal consideration and precaution for the sake of your and others’ health and safety.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, these days, the type of travel you choose to take matters more than ever.

Domestic travel has been returning slowly but steadily starting last summer. With the rollout of vaccines, countries that are likely to reach herd immunity faster, maybe a ‘safer’ choice for locals and non-locals alike.

Many travelers are now choosing destinations that are off-the-beaten paths, those that are away from condensed cities, and often, these places are immersed in nature.

A yoga retreat in nature is a great choice for any traveler. Some retreats are easy-going while others go above and beyond to offer a wealth of activities. But no matter where you choose to go, it is easy to combine other outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, cycling, or running with your yoga sessions.

To get to your travel destination, road trips are recommended as non-public transportation is safer than using public transportation. In fact, according to the CDC, fully vaccinated travelers who go on a road trip and are moderately careful at the destination, would have a relatively ‘safe trip’.   

Another way to lower risk is to choose to visit a country that is waiving restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. At the time this article was written, only a handful of countries have gone this route, but, as summer approaches and the vaccine passports are likely to become a reality, more and more countries would consider this option to open for travel.

Lastly, should you choose to travel internationally, it’s better to focus on visiting one country, rather than opting for a multi-country itinerary. Now is the perfect time to focus on slowing down, taking longer to explore a country, immerse in its culture and traditions, and discover local gems.

It’s also important to keep in mind that while the entry requirements into a certain country might not include showing a negative test, the airline might require one to board the plane. Do your due diligence and check the requirements ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly.

Nothing supports our mind and soul to open up like a natural setting. The usual distractions are far away, and your attention and focus are directed towards what’s in front of you, quieting the mind and simplifying your thoughts.

Being in nature awakens your senses – touch, scent, sight – and you cannot help but become more aware of what’s around you and start to appreciate the little things you might usually take for granted.

The smell of morning dew and flowers, a simple bird song, a gentle breeze in your hair, touching the grass or sand, provide stimulation and make you more present. You become more in tune with yourself and the world around you.

On most retreats held in nature, you’ll have the opportunity to do some forest bathing. Also known as Shinrin-yoku, this is the practice of making contact with and taking in the forest atmosphere to receive mental and physical healing.

Read more about our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway, Alaska, and Estonia.

Estonia should be your next yoga retreat destination. Here's why

Estonia is a hidden gem packed with opportunities to try something new and have experiences you would not have in most other countries.

Estonia has a long history of different settlers from Vikings to the medieval merchants of German, Swedish, Danish and Russian descent. Today’s Estonia is an exciting mix of old and new. The capital Tallinn is the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe and its Old Town is listed as a UNESCO cultural heritage sight. At the same time, it is a bubbling and innovative city filled with trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops. Driving out of the city for only an hour and you will find yourself in wild nature.

If you want to combine a relaxing yoga holiday in nature but also experience some of the rich cultural life in a historical setting – Estonia is the perfect holiday destination for you. Estonia is a very compact country so you can cover a lot in just a week.

A Yoga Retreat in Estonia will offer you:

  • A relaxing week staying in a spa in a small seaside village near the capital Tallinn. It is a perfect location for a getaway to recharge your batteries, enjoy massages, saunas or other wellness and beauty treatments, sunbathe and swim in the sandy beaches.
  • A chance to discover the spectacular nature of Estonia. The country is famous for its untouched wild nature and especially its beautiful bogs. You can have a once in a lifetime experience by visiting a bog on sunrise – the unique landscape with sun rays slowly emerging through the morning mist is something that you will never forget. At the end of the trail you can enjoy the view from a watchtower or take a refreshing dip in the lake.
  • An acquaintance with the culture and history of Tallinn. The retreat will take place near the capital Tallinn, so there will be several options to discover its rich cultural scene. Tallinn offers a versatile experience to anyone interested in architecture, history, design and handicrafts as well as to foodies who are looking for great culinary experiences.
  • New friends among like-minded people (solo travelers are welcome!), time for yourself to relax and rewind, lots of yoga and physical activity outdoors, healthy and tasty food. What else could you want from a holiday?

You will be accompanied by a local guide Pille, who was born and raised in Estonia. She will guide you through the yoga lessons, take you to the local’s favorite places that you won’t find in a travel guide and help you with everything you might need for a comfortable stay.

Read more about our Estonian yoga retreat by clicking here.

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