Europe is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places in the world – where else do you get so many different countries, and so much diversity of history, culture and landscapes, so close together!?
There’s no shortage of iconic places to visit in Europe. Whether you’re spending the summer backpacking or interrailing around Europe, or just planning a few weekend city breaks, choosing among the many incredible European cities is a challenging task.
The good thing about this is that whatever you are into, you will find it in Europe, from charming historical towns to vibrant modern cities to nature-rich coastal villages. But, if you’re unfamiliar with the best places to visit in Europe, choosing the right holiday destination can be tricky.
In this guide, we reveal the 12 best places to visit in Europe along with their top tourist attractions. So whether you’re after ancient ruins and historical sites, picturesque squares, bustling markets or exciting nightlife, read on to learn where YOU should visit in Europe next.
Top 12 European Destinations For Your Europe Bucket List
Here are ten of the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe, all with distinct characters and a wide range of unique attractions.
The UK’s capital city is often high on many people’s Europe bucket lists. Here you will find some of Europe’s top attractions, such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and The Tower of London.
Because of the city’s rich history and world-class museums, London is a top choice for history buffs. It’s also a must for anyone who wants to experience the iconic British culture, like afternoon tea, landscaped gardens, and cozy pubs.
Many tourists only visit London which is a shame because there’s so many more interesting places to visit in the UK from quaint old villages to lovely countryside, imposing castles and plenty more historically important towns.
If you want to explore more of the UK there are many day trips from London. Whether you want to visit ancient Stonehenge, the hip seaside city of Brighton, the picturesque Cotswolds, or the famous Canterbury Cathedral, London makes a great base from which to explore England.
Dubbed one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris is romantic, charming, artsy and one of the most visited cities in Europe, if not the world.
Aside from going up the iconic Eiffel Tower and visit the stunning Palais of Versailles you can also visit the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and spend hours wandering around Île de la Cité, the historic neighborhood of the French capital.
Spend at least 4 days in Paris to visit the famous attractions, take a cruise along the River Seine and to allow enough time to eat endless croissants and baguettes in the many sidewalk cafes, browse the designer boutiques and soak up the chic vibes.
If you tire of the city, take a day trip from Paris and relax in the vineyards and chateaus and rolling countryside of the Loire Valley.
Another trendy European city is Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands. While it is famed for its controversial red light district and “coffeeshops,” it is also one of the best European destinations for nightlife; if you’re looking for wild nights out, that is!
During the day, check out some of the city’s famous museums like the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum. Or take a day trip to one of the nearby quaint villages like Zaanse Schans to experience some authentic Dutch culture and see windmills and tulips.
With so much history, charm and amazing food, Italy is without a doubt one of the best countries to visit in Europe. And no trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to Rome, Italy’s hub of historical architecture.
Rome is also known as ‘the Eternal City’, as ancient Romans believed that no matter what happened in the world, Rome would never die. Dating back to 28 centuries, there’s so much to see in Rome so it’s no surprise that its is one of the most visited cities in Europe and the world. If you plan your trip carefully you can escape the crowds by knowing where to stay in Rome.
Rome is home to some of the most famous tourist attractions worldwide, including the Colosseum and Vatican City. Yet the food is just as good as the landmarks, making it a must-visit for any foodie.
Venice is a dream destination for all romantics and anyone who likes unique cities. Venice consists of over 118 tiny islands with canals running between them all. An unmissable experience here is taking a gondola through the city’s canals, like Grand Canal.
While Venice is a very beautiful city with a charming town center full of Renaissance and Gothic palaces, including the famous St Marks Square, however I would avoid visiting in peak season in July and August as it becomes too crowded.
At other times of the year you can easily lose the crowds and get lost wandering the unique old lanes and canals, especially if you research where to stay in Venice and find beautiful and romantic hotels off the main canal.
Venice is known to be an expensive destination but don’t let that put you off from visiting this magical, romantic and unique city. Read this handy tips on how to enjoy Venice on a budget.
Barcelona is my favourite city in the world and one of the very best places to visit in Europe if you love a combination of city living and beach vibes. Thanks to its coastal location along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona offers many things to do, including a gorgeous beach, vibrant nightlife, and stunning architecture.
After checking out La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Casa Mila, wander around the Gothic quarter (the historic center). This quirky area has narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars and traditional restaurants. And if you’re visiting with kids, or simply looking for an adrenaline-filled day trip, head to Tibidabo amusement park in the north of the city.
Sunny Spain is also one of the best countries to visit in Europe with so much to offer, from beautiful beaches to flamboyant cities. Another one of my favourite Spanish cities is Seville in Andalusia.
Lisbon, the charming pastel-colored capital of Portugal, has a unique old-world charm. Located on the banks of the Tagus River, this unique city has a rich history that spans centuries.
Take a ride on the iconic old yellow trams and explore the narrow winding streets of Alfama, the oldest district. Discover its captivating maze of alleyways and traditional Fado music and admire the stunning views over the city from the São Jorge Castle.
Take a trip out to Belem to learn about Portugal’s Age of Discoveries and visit the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery. Indulge in the local delicacy, pastel de nata, at the historic Pasteis de Belem and relax on the beaches in Cascais. Portugal never fails to enchant.
Check out my Spain and Portugal road trip itinerary to see two amazing countries in one epic trip
Budapest, the enchanting capital of Hungary is one of the best European cities for culture and good times. The 19th-century Chain Bridge crosses the River Danube and connects the two distinctly different parts of the city – the hilly Buda district and flat Pest.
Catch the old funicular up Castle Hill to explore Budapest Castle and Old Town. Don’t miss the views from the photogenic Fisherman’s Bastion. Gaze across the river at the impressive neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament Building and then relax in the cities famous thermal spas.
Another significant part of any Budapest trip is exploring the iconic ruin bars, which you can find in the old Jewish quarter. Housed in old, abandoned buildings, they are decorated with quirky furniture and hip decor and serve up some of the best craft beer you’ve ever tasted and affordable prices.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the enchanting capital of the Czech Republic, and regarded by many as the jewel of Central Europe. Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires”, because of its many historical sights, castles, churches and old town square, home to the intricate astronomical clock.
Prague may not be as flashy as London or Paris, but it’s charm is undeniable and it is one the best destinations to visit in Europe for anyone intrigued by it’s history, fairy tale atmosphere, beautiful architecture and great beer!
Start your journey at Prague Castle, a huge and stunning complex that houses the iconic St. Vitus Cathedral and offers panoramic views of the city. Stroll across the famous medieval stone Charles Bridge which is adorned with statues and explore the fascinating Jewish Quarter. Finish your day by sampling some of the best beer in Europe.
Athens is not just the capital of Greece and the gateway to various dreamy Greek islands. It is also home to The Acropolis, an incredible UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most famous landmark in Athens. This iconic hilltop citadel boasts the remains of various 5th-century BC landmarks like the colonnaded Parthenon temple and many other ancient monuments.
If you want to learn more about Athen’s history, visit the National Archaeological Museum. Also check out the city centre is also an interesting area that blends old and new with a fast-paced modern world operating around a visually historic location.
And if you want to head out to Greek’s stunning islands the port city of Piraeus is not far from Athens. Take a short ferry ride or an island hopping day trip and explore the tiny but beautiful islands of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina.
Berlin is another city known for its mix of past and present. After a turbulent 20th century saw the city divided during the Cold War, Berlin has made an epic comeback.
The city’s historical landmarks, modern architecture, and vibrant art scene make Berlin one of the coolest cities to visit in Europe, with a happening nightlife scene. It’s also a popular base for digital nomads.
An important part of Berlin’s history is the Berlin Wall. However, only segments of it remain today in places like the East Side Gallery which have now become memorial sites full of colorful murals.
Other Berlin landmarks include the Reichstag Building and the Brandenburg Gate, which became a symbol of reunification after the wall fell in 1989 and signalled the end of the Soviet Union.
Istanbul, a fascinating metropolis that sits on the crossroads between Europe and Asia, is a captivating blend of ancient traditions and modern wonders.
This sprawling city was once the centre of the Ottoman Empire and offers a treasure trove of history and iconic attractions. To get your bearings take a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait to admire the city’s unique skyline and witness the fusion of cultures.
From the majestic domes and minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, to the Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern, there’s so much to explore in Istanbul.
Don’t forget to wander through the bustling Grand Bazaar, visit the Hamman and savor the delights of Turkish cuisine, from mouthwatering kebabs to aromatic baklava. You’ll soon see why Istanbul is one of the greatest cities in the world.
Final thoughts on the best places to visit in Europe
While this is not a complete list of all the best places to visit in Europe, if its your first time visiting this part of the world then the iconic cities on this list are an excellent place to start. Just be prepared for crowds if you visit in the peak season in July and August.
Traveling between certain European cities by train is quick, easy and sustainable. So its well worth including a few different cities in your Euro trip itinerary and spending a few days in each destination.
Popular routes include London, Paris and Amsterdam and Paris to Rome via Switzerland. You could even retracing the routes of the Orient Express all the way to Istanbul. Get more inspiration with these amazing Europe by rail itineraries.
The options for exploring Europe are almost endless, but wherever you choose to go visiting Europe is always a delightful experience.
The laidback fishing village of Ericeira carries the accolade of as Europe’s only World Surfing Reserve, thanks to the concentration of seven incredible waves within a 4km radius.
Ericeira, along with Peniche, are the best surf towns in Europe and the best places in Portugal to learn how to surf so you’re spoilt for choice with the fantastic surf camps in Ericeira.
My Guide to The Best Surf Camps in Ericeira, Portugal
There are plenty of surf spots and surf camps for surfers of all levels in Ericeira, some of the most famous breaks include Praia do Sul and Foz do Lizandro for beginners or Ribeira d’Ilhas and Coxos for advanced surfers.
You can surf all year round in Ericeira but the best time to visit will depend on your experience level. Beginners will find the surf more manageable between May and October, when waves are smaller.
Winter is the best time to visit Ericeira for more experienced surfers as the atmospheric circulation in the area is stronger, meaning bigger waves. More advanced surfers can expect thrilling challenges at this time, with peak waves between November and February.
Surfing is not as easy as it looks so I really recommend joining a surf camp in Ericeira if you want to learn how to surf or improve your technique in a safe and fun way.
Not only will the experienced instructors teach you how to catch a wave safely but they also have expert local knowledge so they will take you to the best surf spots suitable for your level depending on the forecast that day so you get to have the best experience and progress so much quicker.
You’ll also get to meet other like minded people in a fun, friendly and sociable environment. Most surf camps include accommodation, meals, lessons, board hire, and some also include yoga classes, transfers and local excursions, making surf camps great value for money.
Ericeira itself is a pretty town to explore with blue and white Portuguese buildings and plenty of cool cafes and bars to grab a coffee and smoothie bowl or try the local seafood and vino verde. It’s one of the best surf towns in all of Europe and there’s also something going on and plenty of yoga classes too.
It’s only 40 minutes drive from Portugal’s beautiful capital city of Lisbon so you could combine your surf camp with a few days exploring Lisbon, the UNESCO listed colourful, fairytale castles at Sintra and the baroque palaces at Mafra.
Whether you’re a beginner seeking a sociable surf hostel experience, or a wellness enthusiastic looking to immerse in the elements – Ericeira surf camps have it all. To help you make the best choice for you, here’s my pick of the five best surf camps in Ericeira.
Read More: The Best Places to Stay in Lisbon
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If you’re considering an Ericeira surf camp, I recommend checking out www.booksurfcamps.com to read the testimonials and reviews from previous students. No two surf camps are the same and can have very varied facilities so it’s really worth checking out this site first – it’s like the TripAdvisor or Booking.com for surf camps!
COVID-19 Update: Portugal has reopened for tourism, but be aware that pandemic-related travel permissions can change at any moment and be dependent on your nationality. Check out the Portugal travel and tourism website for the most up-to-date information and remember to check the re-entry rules for your home country. Also make sure you have travel insurance which covers Covid-related cancellations. Mine is with Safety Wing.
Here is my pick of the 5 Best Surf Camps in Ericeira
Surfing and Yoga Retreat at Omassim Guesthouse
The Omassim Guesthouse team believe that the embodied practices of yoga and surf are the perfect pairing. Throughout this 8-day retreat, you can discover how to connect with the elements and your inner peace by bringing yourself fully to each of these practices.
Your hosts will welcome you to the homely guesthouse, where bright, comfortable rooms overlook the lush surrounding hills. Days start with an energising vinyasa class, followed by a morning on the waves, after which you’ll return for a delicious vegetarian lunch with your co-retreaters.
Evenings include a yin yoga class, optional ayurvedic spa treatments, and explorations of the beautiful Ericeira area.
Read More: Best Yoga Retreats in Portugal
Surfing and Yoga Holiday at Moka Surfhouse & Yoga Retreat
With the intention of building strength and flexibility while finding harmony in nature – this amazing 6-day retreat offers yoga from a large Mongolian yurt and surf from which spot offers the best conditions that day. The Moka team will guide you through daily yoga classes, including Hatha, Vinyasa, and Restorative with Nidra.
This holiday experience offers two different surf level packages, so beginners can get to grips with the foundations, while intermediate surfers can receive personalised tuition to hone their practice. Between classes, guests can lounge in the hammocks of the garden, or socialise with other guests in the central courtyard of the traditional Portuguese villa. Your hosts will keep you nourished with healthy breakfasts and delicious dinners.
Read More: Best Surf Camps in Peniche, Portugal
Beginners Surf Camp at Hostel & Surfcamp 55, Ericeira
This all-inclusive package is packed with surf tuition perfect for total beginners and progressing intermediate surfers. Instructors help you to set surf objectives, and then guide you to achieve them as your develop your skills throughout the week, with around three hours on the waves each day.
The ocean-front Hostel & Surfcamp 55 is conveniently located in the centre of bustling Ericeira town, with easy access to shops, restaurants, and bars for your meals. The communal hostel vibe is perfect for anyone looking for a sociable surf camp experience, where you’re guaranteed to meet some kindred spirits to share new experiences. Guests are also invited to use the terrace and barbecue facilities.
Read More: The Very Best Surf Camps in Portugal
Fun Surf Holiday at B&B Art House, Ericeira
If you’re looking for a vibrant, adventurous surf camp in Ericeira without breaking the bank, the B&B Art House team have created this seven-day experience with you in mind. Suitable for surfers of all levels – your hosts will take you to uncrowded areas to make sure you can get the most out of your time on the waves.
The B&B has recently renovated rooms with an eclectic mix of decor. Guests can enjoy amazing views from the property, and make use of the large terrace for yoga sessions. Located only a few minutes from local shops and restaurants, you can easily pick up food and supplies for your stay. The kitchen is available for preparing light meals and snacks. Optional activities include horse riding, cycling, and excursions to the nearby cities of Lisbon, Sintra, and Obidos.
Read More: The Best Yoga and Surf Camps in The Algarve
4-day Yoga and Surf Camp at La Casa Atlantica
For those seeking a short break that combines the thrill of the waves with the calm introspection of yoga – this could be it. La Casa Atlantica is a dedicated surf house, designed to be a meeting place for enthusiasts of all types – including authentic Italian food, which is lovingly prepared for many mealtimes.
Surf lessons are kept to a maximum of four students per instructor, so that personalised attention can be given to newbies, while others are guided to advance their techniques. While at La Casa Atlantica, you’ll also have the option to discover Kinesiology through an exploratory session with one of your hosts. Between activities, explore the beautiful surroundings complete with clifftop ocean views.
I hope this blog has helped you to find the perfect surf holiday in Ericiera. If you haven’t found the one for you yet don’t worry because Portugal has so many surf spots.
Check out my other blog posts on my favourite Peniche surf camps and my favourite yoga and surf retreats in The Algarve too.
Portugal is also a yoga hotspot with many amazing yoga retreats and yoga teacher training courses.
Have you been on any amazing surf camps in Ericeira? Leave your recommendations in the comments below the post and help out other surfers and travellers!
In September 2021 we drove an epic 3,500 km in 1 month visiting 12 destinations on an amazing whirlwind Spain and Portugal road trip.
We had the time of our life exploring the beautiful cities, landscapes and historical sights, eating as many tapas and pasteis de nata as possible, visiting offbeat communities and catching up with friends who have moved out there.
We didn’t find many articles online about driving around both Spain and Portugal in one trip and I didn’t find any Spain and Portugal itinerary that started from the ferry ports in Northern Spain.
So in this blog post I’ll share our route, itinerary and tips for an epic Spain and Portugal road trip – what we loved and what we would have done differently another time.
Contentshide1Our 1 Month Spain and Portugal Road Trip Route2Quick Tips for Driving in Spain and Portugal3Our Spain Road Trip3.1San Sebastian3.2Madrid3.3Granada3.4Orgiva3.5Seville3.6Our Portugal Road Trip3.7The Algarve3.8Lisbon3.9Portuguese Farm Life, Castelo Branco3.10Monsanto, Castelo Branco3.11Porto3.12Braga3.13Oviedo, Spain4FAQs and Tips for Planning a Spain and Portugal Road Trip4.1Why take a road trip around Spain and Portugal?4.2Where’s the best place to rent a car or campervan in Spain and Portugal?4.3How much does the fuel for a Spain and Portugal road trip cost?4.4When’s the best time for a Spain and Portugal road trip?4.5How to plan a Spain and Portugal itinerary? How long should we spend in each destination?4.6Did you use toll roads in Spain and Portugal?4.7Is it more expensive to take your car on the ferry straight to Spain or to drive through France?4.8What was it like traveling in Spain and Portugal during Covid in 2021?
Our 1 Month Spain and Portugal Road Trip Route
We got the ferry from the UK to Spain and this was our 1 month Spain and Portugal road trip route:
Portsmouth (UK) – ferry to – Bilbao (Spain) – San Sebastian – Madrid – Granada – Orgiva – Seville – Algarve – Lisbon – Fundao – Porto – Braga – Oviedo – Bilbao – ferry to – Portsmouth.
We had wanted to do this in 2020, but it looked too difficult with the constantly changing Covid restrictions, but in 2021 the dream finally came a reality and Covid really didn’t affect our trip too much. I’ll explain more about what it’s like traveling nowadays later on in this post.
Quick Tips for Driving in Spain and Portugal
We drove this route in 1 month but we spent 10 days of that at a friend’s farm in Portugal. So we only had 3 weeks to travel and sadly had to skip some places we really wanted to visit.
If you’re planning a Spain and Portugal itinerary I would recommend spending at least 1 month just to see the highlights of both Spain and Portugal.
Nothing can beat the freedom of exploring with your own set of wheels and the free roads in Spain were great, but in Portugal we had to take some toll roads if we didn’t want to spend double the time driving.
We took our own car over on the ferry from the UK, but if you need to rent a car you can compare and find the best deals on Discover Cars.
A campervan or motorhome is even better for this route as your transport, accommodation and kitchen are all on wheels for the ultimate freedom! You can compare and find the best deals for motorhomes and RVs on Motorhome Republic.
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The downside of taking a road trip is navigating confusing city center one way systems and finding affordable places to park. We stayed at hotels a little outside the city center with parking and took public transport to save us the hassle of driving in.
Agoda has a handy filter to find hotels with car parks and I’ll recommend car friendly hotels with parking and easy access from the motorways that we stayed at in this post. It’s a good idea to book in advance if traveling in the peak season of July and August.
It’s also a good idea to pre-book tickets for popular sights and attractions so that you can skip the line and make the most of your time, especially in peak season. I use Get Your Guide.
If you want to travel Spain and Portugal without driving then taking the coach is the cheapest option. I use BusBud to get discounts on long distance coach trips.
Or you could join a tour. This 14 day Best of Spain and Portugal tour with G Adventures takes you from Lisbon to Porto, then to Madrid, Granada, Cordoba and Seville and ends in Barcelona. Check it out here.
There’s more practical Spain and Portugal itinerary and road trip tips at the end of the post but lets get on with my Spain and Portugal road trip route!
Our Spain Road Trip
We began our Spain and Portugal road trip taking the 24 hour ferry with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth (UK) to Bilbao (Spain). Bilbao is a buzzing port city in the Basque region of Northern Spain and home to the Guggenheim Museum.
From Bilbao we drove through the mountainous landscape to San Sebastian. Driving a British right hand drive car on the right side of the road and figuring out the different road signs, in Spanish and Basque, was a bit confusing at first!
But Spanish roads are great and we soon got the hang of driving in Europe. It was useful to have someone in the passenger seat when merging into motorways or overtaking but over all it was fine once we got used to it.
Still, I would recommend allowing time in your Spain and Portugal itinerary so that you don’t have to rush on the first day and can acclimatize to the different driving conditions.
Bilbao to San Sebastian: 127km – 2 hours
Donostia San Sebastian was a perfect start to our Spain and Portugal road trip adventure!
Only 2 hours driving (avoiding tolls) from the ferry port at Bilbao is this pretty seaside town with lovely beaches, stunning views and a fab foodie scene.
San Sebastian’s Old Town is lovely to wander while sampling the delicious Pintxos (tasty tapas-like bar snacks) in the bars and the harbour treated us to a spectacular sunset.
Our highlight was taking the historic funicular railway up to Monte Igueldo to see the quirky amusement park and incredible views from there.
Best Things to Do in San Sebastian
Wander through the Old Town or take a walking tour
Go up to Monte Igueldo for the views and amusement park
Taste the best pintxos in the city – we took this food tour
Laze on La Concha Beach or stroll along the Paseo De La Concha.
Check out more things to do in San Sebastian and book tours here.
Where to Stay in San Sebastian – Mercure Monte Igueldo Hotel
The Mercure Monte Igueldo Hotel has the best views over San Sebastian, a lovely outdoor swimming pool, great breakfasts and free parking.
Also Visit: Barcelona is one of my all time favourite cities in the world for it’s combination of beautiful and unique art and architecture, beaches, food and all round amazing vibes.
Barcelona shouldn’t be missed off any Spain and Portugal itinerary but as I’ve been to Barcelona many times before we skipped it on this trip, but if you haven’t been you could skip Madrid and visit Barcelona instead and then head down the coast visiting Valencia and then heading to Granada.
San Sebastian to Madrid: 471km – 4.75 hours
From San Sebastian we drove almost 5 hours through the country to Madrid, the Spanish Capital, to break up the journey south to Andalusia.
Madrid is a beautiful, classy city with grand architecture, amazing parks, some of the most impressive art galleries and museums in the world and the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe.
Our highlight was visiting the Prado and exploring the Parque de El Retiro. This huge city center park, originally a pleasure grounds for King Felipe IV in the 17th century, is one of Madrid’s most well loved hang outs. It’s full of interesting statues, monuments, palaces, gardens, museums, galleries and activities. You can even row a boat on the lake.
Best Things to do in Madrid
Explore Madrid’s Art Triangle; the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza are considered the best art galleries. The Art Walk Pass gives you entrance and queue jump at all three.
Marvel at Madrid’s Royal Palace – the largest in Western Europe.
Stroll around the Gran Vía, Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor
Relax and explore Parque El Retiro and row a boat on the lake
Visit IKONO and the Museum of Illusions
Sample Madrid’s best wine and tapas – we took this fun tapas crawl tour.
Check out more things to do in Madrid and book your tickets and tours here.
Where to Stay in Madrid – Barcelo Imagine
Not wanting to drive right into Madrid we stayed at the Barcelo Imagine. It’s close to the motorways and Chamartin metro station with parking available onsite. The stylish rooftop pool, gardens and interiors also made this hotel a winner.
Madrid to Granada: 420 km – 4 hours
After a 4 hour drive from Madrid we reached Andalusia – Spain’s most flamboyant region and somewhere not to be missed of any Spain and Portugal itinerary. If you didn’t have time to travel around the whole of Spain, Andalusia is my top choice for a short Spain road trip.
From the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Mediterranean Coast, the beautiful landscapes, sun soaked white-washed villages, Moorish forts and palaces make Andalusia one of the most bewitching regions of Spain and my personal favourite.
Granada is home to The Alhambra, a vast palace and fortress perched imposingly on a rocky outcrop against the backdrop of the mountains.
The Alhambra’s long and storied history dates back to 899 AD. It was once home to Granada’s Nasrid rulers in the 14th century and contains some amazingly intricate architecture and palaces inside.
As one of the finest and largest Moorish Islamic buildings in Europe it’s almost overwhelming how much there is to see here. The Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba, Carlos V Palace and the gardens at Generalife are all must sees.
When planning your Spain and Portugal itinerary take into account that you must book at least a few days in advance to get a time slot for the Nasrid Palaces and have your passport with you when you visit.The audio guide isn’t the best so I recommend taking a guided tour so you know more about what you are looking at!
This Alhambra guided tour has great reviews and includes the admission ticket and allows you to skip the line. I’d definitely do that next time.
Best Things to do in Granada
Explore the magnificent Alhambra – book your fast track tickets here.
Take a photo from the Plaza Mirador de San Nicolas for the best viewpoint of the Alhambra
Join a sunset walking tour or a fun Segway tour of Albaicín & Sacromonte – Granada’s medieval neighbourhoods
Visit the Sacromonte Cave Museum and see how people used to live in cave houses.
Visit Granada Cathedral – Spain’s 2nd largest cathedral
Relax in a traditional Arabic Hammam
Check out more things to do in Granada and book your tickets and tours here.
Where to Stay in Granada – Hotel Andalusia Center
Parking is difficult in Granada so we stayed at this comfortable, modern, good value hotel on the outskirts with a rooftop pool and on site parking only 15 minutes walk into town.
One of our reasons for taking a road trip through Spain and Portugal is because we wanted to visit some alternative communities, friends and more remote regions that would have been difficult to access by bus.
Orgiva is a small town tucked away in a beautiful valley between the Sierra Nevada mountains about 1 hour from Granada.
I’d heard about the alternative communities around Orgiva from friends in Goa and wanted to check it out for myself.
I loved how people were able to build their own unique homes and form a community in this beautiful valley. It was really inspiring for me but if you’re not into this kind of stuff and just want to focus on seeing the sights then you can skip this part for your own Spain and Portugal itinerary.
The town, and it’s interesting mixture of inhabitants, is also brought to life in the book – Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart which is now being made into a TV series.
Where to Stay in Orgiva – Casa Jazmin
A lovely traditional Spanish house with beautiful swimming pool and gardens. Situated close to town with free street parking and friendly hosts
Granada to Seville: 250 km – 2.5 hours
Andalusia, and especially Seville, really captures the essence of Spain. As both the Moorish capital and later a 16th-century metropolis rich on the back of trade with the New World, flamboyant Seville has no shortage of sights and was one of the highlights of our trip.
You can see Seville’s sights on a horse and carriage ride or simply wander in the sunshine, admiring the incredible architecture and beautiful parks like Parque de María Luisa.
Don’t miss the Plaza de Espana, the Royal Alcazar and the massive Seville Cathedral – it’s the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and was even built to ‘make something so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it will think we are mad!’
Soaking up Spanish culture, eating tapas washed down with sangria and watching flamenco is the perfect way to spend an evening in Seville.
I really fell in love with Seville, it’s became my favourite place on this trip and I already can’t wait to return. Definitely allow at least 3 days to explore Seville into your Spain and Portugal itinerary.
Best Things to do in Seville
Marvel at The Royal Alcázar of Seville – Europe’s oldest royal palace still in continual use
See Seville’s sights on a romantic horse drawn carriage ride
Explore the Plaza de Espana and the beautiful Parque de Maria Luisa
Visit Seville Cathedral and climb the La Giralda Tower
Watch a traditional Flamenco performance in the home of Flamenco
Visit the futuristic Metropol Parasol, also known as Setas de Sevilla, at night.
Check out more things to do in Seville and book your skip the queue tickets and tours here.
Read More: My Perfect 3 Day Seville Itinerary and Tips
Where to Stay in Seville – Exe Isla Cartuja
The historic centre of Seville is another place where it’s hard to find hotels with parking. Exe Isla Cartuja is a good value modern hotel located near the stadium with plenty of free parking. It also offers easy access from the motorway and a quick bus into town
Seville to Carvoeiro, Algarve: 250km – 3.5 hours (avoiding tolls)
We just drove straight over the bridge and crossed the border from Spain into Portugal – there were no checks or Covid documentation required.
Our Portugal Road Trip
We started the Portugal part of our road trip with a much needed beach day in the Algarve! If you’re following a packed Spain and Portugal itinerary like us you’ll probably want to factor in some rest days too!
Even though it was warm in the September sun, the sea was really quite cold already so it was a super refreshing swim. The turquoise water and golden cliffs, a quintessential Algarve beach scene, made a stunning backdrop.
We only had a couple of days to spend in the Algarve to we stayed in the center of the region near the fishing village of Carvoeiro.
There is still no shortage of beautiful beaches in the Algarve, but sadly a lot of this region has been blighted with developments of towering white concrete apartment blocks (which looked empty)
But Carvoeiro retains it’s charm and made a good base to explore the nearby beaches like Praia da Marinha, kayak to Benagil Caves and to walk the Seven Hanging Valleys hiking trail to soak up the stunning views and rock formations that the Algarve is known for.
Best Things to do in the Algarve
Relax on the beaches
Take a boat tour or kayak to visit Benagil Caves
Take your Benagil Cave tour to the next level by travelling on a pirate ship!
Walk the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
Learn to surf by taking a surf lesson or joining a surf camp
Check out more things to do in the Algarve and find the best deals for activities and day tours here.
Where to Stay in Carvoerio – Castelo Guest House
A unique castle themed hotel in a central location with free street parking. Soak up the stunning views over the beach from the rooms and terraces and enjoy the wonderful breakfast and hosts.
Carvoeiro, Algarve to Lisbon: 307km – 2.75 hours
(4.25 hours avoiding tolls)
Taking the toll road from the Algarve to Lisbon will cut your journey time in half.
Or, if you have more time for your Spain and Portugal itinerary and want to take the scenic route you could visit the historic town of Evora on the way from the Algarve to Lisbon.
It’s one of the most picturesque and best preserved medieval walled towns in Portugal and a UNESCO world heritage site.
One of Europe’s most distinctive, colourful and picturesque cities. Old yellow trams rattle and screech up and down along Lisbon’s cobbled streets, terracotta rooftops sprawl across the hillsides, while tile covered, pastel coloured buildings part to reveal glimpses of the shimmering Tagus river.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Lisbon. Plan to spend at least 3 days here in your Spain and Portugal itinerary.
After spending so long in Goa, and falling in love with the unique blend of Indian and Portuguese influences there, it was interesting to learn about the history and culture of Portugal on a guided walking tour of Lisbon and to explore the narrow streets of Alfama (the only part of the Old city to survive the devastating 1755 earthquake)
The waterside district of Belem is definitely worth the short tram ride out of Lisbon’s city center. This was the place where many of the Portuguese maritime explorers left from to explore the world and is a lot more spacious and relaxing than the city center.
Don’t miss the marvelling at the Belem Tower and walking along the Tagus River to the Discoveries Monument. There’s also a huge world map in mosaics on the floor behind showing all the places the Portuguese explored which was eye opening to see.
The Jeronimos Monastery, also in Belem, has beautiful nautical themed details and you can try the original recipe pasteis de natas at Pasteis de Belem nearby.
Best Things to do in Lisbon
Wander and explore or join a walking tour through Lisbon’s most historic and storied districts – this is the tour we took
Ride the historic Route 28 tram through Lisbon’s most iconic districts. Or, if you’d rather avoid cramming in with the crowds take a tram tour or follow the route in Tuk Tuk!
See the Belem Tower and marvel at the 16th-century Manueline architecture of the Jerónimos Monastery
Take in the beautiful, heart-felt sounds of a traditional acoustic Fado show.
Explore Lisbon from land and water in adventurous style on an amphibious vehicle
Take a day trip to Sintra to explore the colourful fairytale castles and palaces.
Check out more things to do in Lisbon and book your skip the queue tickets and tours here.
Our Highlight: Lisbon’s old yellow trams have become an icon of the city and quite the tourist attraction. Riding the scenic tram route 28 as it twists like a rollercoaster through the historic neighbourhoods like Alfama, Baixa and Chiado was one of the highlights of my time in Lisbon.
You can buy a Viva Viagem 24 hour unlimited ticket for only €6.40 which includes all trams, metros, buses and elevadors in Lisbon. But you can only buy it at a metro station not on the tram. Or you could get a Lisbon Card which gives you free access to Lisbon’s top attractions as well as free public transport.
It’s so popular its actually difficult to get on! Board at Martim Moniz, where the metro meets the tram terminus, for a good chance of getting a seat. Standing is quite the experience as the tram lurches, screeches and rattles around.
Or, to be guaranteed a seat and learn something about the streets you travel though, I recommend taking the tram tour for a better experience.
Day Trips from Lisbon
Lisbon is also a great base to explore the many beautiful places nearby. Most of these are easily accessible with a day trip tour.
Don’t miss Sintra, a town and former royal retreat in the Sintra Mountains just 30 minutes from Lisbon. The colourful, fairy-tale like castles and mansions at Sintra are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most enchanting places in Portugal. This is the Sintra day trip we took.
You could also combine Sintra with a stop at Cabo da Rocha and the seaside town of Cascais or the picturesque Azenhas do Mar. Find more Sintra day trips here.
Visit the surfing capital of Europe – the surf reserve of Ericeria only 45 minutes away. It’s a charming historic blue and white fishing town with beautiful beaches and one of the best places to learn to surf in Portugal – more about surf camps in Portugal here.
Where to Stay in Lisbon – Inspira Liberdade Boutique Hotel
An elegant hotel with free parking located near Marques de Pombal so it’s easy to drive to and also close to the metro station. Some balconies have hot tubs.
For more on the different areas of Lisbon and the best hotels check out my post on Where to Stay in Lisbon.
After Lisbon we headed inland to the region of Castelo Branco to visit friends on their farm near Fundao.
If you didn’t want to go into the countryside the route up the coast from Lisbon to Porto is only about 320 km which takes 3 hours driving on toll roads, or 5.5 hours without tolls.
There’s plenty of stunning beaches, legendary surf spots like Peniche and Nazare and historic towns to visit on the way including picture perfect Obidos, the historic university city of Coimbra and Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal.
A Lisbon to Porto road trip is one of the highlights of many people’s Spain and Portugal itineraries, but this time we went inland to see what life was like on the farm so check out this blog for more about the Lisbon – Porto route.
Lisbon to Fundao: 260 km – 2.5 hours (4.5 hrs avoiding tolls)
Portuguese Farm Life, Castelo Branco
One of our main reasons for taking this Portugal road trip was to visit friends who bought an old farm near Fundao in Castelo Branco, Central Portugal and to check out what the lifestyle is like there.
This area is pretty remote with just a few small villages and plenty of nature backed by the mountains of the Serra da Estrela. There’s alot of ruins and cheap land in this area of Portugal (find them on Pure Portugal) and its inspiring to hear and see how people have moved out here to renovate the ruins and farms to build self sufficient homesteads and live off grid.
Some are also building eco villages, communities and yoga retreats and it’s been a dream of mine for a long time to come and see what farm life in Portugal is like for myself.
Our home for the week was this self contained cabin on our friend’s farm. It’s a beautiful area and it’s really inspiring to see what’s going on here but it’s also a reality check of how much money, time and hard work it takes to make it happen.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend with a farm in Portugal but still want to have this experience you can find hosts on Worldpackers looking for volunteers and you’ll receive free food and accommodation in return for your help.
(Use the code ‘GLOBALGALLIVANTING’ to get $20 off membership with Worldpackers.)
Where to Stay in Castelo Branco – Natura Glamping
Natura Glamping is an amazing example of a new eco resort with white geometric domes, spa baths, infinity pool, amazing views and free onsite parking.
Monsanto, Castelo Branco
While staying on the farm we took a day trip to the historic village of Monsanto – a village in Central Portugal that won the award of ‘the most Portuguese village in Portugal‘ and was one of the coolest places we’ve seen in the country.
Yes, the Portuguese seem to like building settlements on steep hills, but Monsanto isn’t really your typical Portuguese village. Actually it’s quite unique and even the Game of Thrones are filming the ‘House of The Dragon’ here!
I loved exploring the historic village of cobble stoned pathways and houses built around the boulders. The ruins of Monsanto castle perch high above the village with amazing views and an old church with spooky graves cut out from the rock.
Best of all it just felt like we were exploring, it doesn’t feel like a tourist attraction. Monsanto is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Castelo Branco region.
Due to the steep, narrow, historic lanes you can’t drive into Monsanto village. There is car parking and a shuttle bus slightly down the hill.
Where to Stay in Monsanto – Casa Mont’Santo
A cute historic fully equipped 3 bedroom cottage, accessible by car with parking, large terraces and great views
Fundao to Porto: 259 km – 2.5 hrs (4.5 hrs without tolls)
Portugal’s 2nd city is worth visiting just as much as Lisbon and mustn’t be missed from your Spain and Portugal itinerary!
Explore the grand cathedrals, blue mosaic covered churches and the colourful buildings of the historic Ribeira district that tumble down to the Douro River where port barges would have awaited their cargo.
Nowadays you can take a cruise along the river, ride the old trams, funiculars and the modern Gaia Cable Car to explore Porto and stop in at cellar doors to taste Port wine in the city that it was invented.
Did you also know that author JK Rowling taught English and lived in Porto for a while and found inspiration for the Harry Potter series in the enchanting bookstores here like the Livraria Lello and in the uniforms of the university students.
Best Things to do in Porto
Cross over the river on the Ponte de Dom Luis I Bridge for magnificent views
Take the 6 bridges cruise down the Douro River
Visit the port wine cellars and taste the best wines of Portugal on a wine tour
Explore the historic Ribeira district or join a walking tour.
Enjoy panoramic views of Porto from the top of the Torre dos Clérigos
Watch the sunset from the Jardim do Morro.
See the places that inspired JK Rowling on a Harry Potter tour
Visit the World of Discoveries museum
Check out more things to do in Porto and find the best deals on tours and attraction tickets here.
Our Highlight: The iconic Ponte de Dom Luis I Bridge is rated on Trip Advisor as the best thing to do in Porto and I can see why. Whether admiring it from below or walking along the top soaking up the sweeping views of this beautiful and unique city and watching the sunset from Jardim do Morro.
Soaking up the picturesque views and riverside vibes while tasting port wine in Vila Nova de Gaia and riding the cable car up to the bridge was another highlight.
Where to Stay in Porto – Vincci Porto
Amazing art deco style hotel in a stylishly renovated landmark building with easy access from motorway, onsite parking and opposite a tram stop. The panoramic river views from the terrace were a highlight.
Porto to Braga: 54 km – 1 hour without tolls
We made a short stop in Braga to meet a friend’s 2 week old new baby! Braga looked like a lovely, historic city but it was raining most of the time we were there so we spent most of the time inside catching up and playing with the little ones.
One thing I couldn’t miss when in Braga is the UNESCO listed Bom Jesus do Monte! The wedding cake like layered steps remind me of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church – the famous church in Panjim, Goa.
If you’re not keen on walking up the 577 steps you can take the historic wooden funicular railway up to the top. Dating back to 1882 it’s the oldest in the world that moves using water counter balancing.
Where to Stay in Braga – Vila Gale Collection Braga
Located in an amazing heritage building that used to be a church! With a beautiful swimming pool and gardens, fantastic central location and free onsite parking
Braga to Oviedo: 479 km – 4.5 hours (6 hours without tolls)
As we hadn’t planned enough time for our epic Spain and Portugal itinerary, after Braga we only had a few days to drive the 700km back to Bilbao for the ferry so we had to put our foot down if we were going to make it back to the ferry on time and sadly has to skip Santiago de Compostela.
We wound our way over the mountains of Northern Portugal and crossed over the border into Spain without any border checks or paperwork.
Northern Spain and the regions of Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria are beautiful, green and alpine-like – very different from the rest of the Spain.
We stayed 1 night in Oviedo, the unpretentious capital of the Asturias region, and had a bit of time to look around the compact and characterful old town, wander the Campo de San Francisco park and try the local food and cider.
There’s plenty to keep you occupied for a few days in Oviedo. It’s also part of the pilgrims route – the camino (way) to Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral at sunset was a mesmerising sight.
Where to Stay in Oviedo – Exe Oviedo Centro
Great value modern hotel with spacious, comfortable rooms and free onsite parking, close to train station and 15 mins walk to the cathedral
Oviedo to Bilbao: 280 km – 3 hours
I would have loved to spend more time in Northern Spain but sadly we had our return ferry booked. The ferry departed at 8pm so the next day we drove the 3 hours along the coast from Oviedo to Bilbao.
We stopped for lunch at the pretty seaside town of San Vicente de la Barquera. The harbour, beaches, old village and castle amongst the backdrop of the mountains of the Picos de Europa make it one of the most picturesque sights on the Cantabrian coast.
Also Visit: If we had planned our Spain and Portugal itinerary better we would have loved to visit Santiago de Compostela and spend some time walking the Camino, the historic pilgrimage route, but we didn’t have time. Plus, it feels a bit like cheating to drive there instead of walk! I’ll save it for another trip when I have enough time to walk the camino properly!
We also wished we’d had more time to explore the coastline of Northern Spain and Picos de Europa – we didn’t know the region would be so beautiful so I recommend that you leave more time in your Spain and Portugal road trip itinerary for Northern Spain than we did.
FAQs and Tips for Planning a Spain and Portugal Road Trip
Why take a road trip around Spain and Portugal?
There are many ways to travel around Europe – flights are cheap, an interrail pass is fun and convenient and buses are affordable.
But for this trip as we wanted to visit a lot of places in a small amount of time, including some communities and friends off the beaten track. Doing this would be difficult, time consuming and expensive without our own transport.
Nothing beats the freedom of having your own set of wheels and being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.
Plus, there was less chance of catching Covid or dealing with Covid related paperwork when traveling in the safety of our own vehicle. When we crossed the borders between Spain and Portugal there were no checks or controls at all – we just flew straight through.
Where’s the best place to rent a car or campervan in Spain and Portugal?
We took our own car from the UK on the ferry from Portsmouth to Spain but it’s sometimes cheaper and more convenient to take a cheap flight and then rent a car when you get there.
The benefit of this is that you can drop it off in a different location from where you picked it up saving time and money on fuel (you may have to pay a one way hire charge though)
To find the best deals on rental cars I recommend Discover Cars. They compare all the best deals from the best companies which can save you alot of money – sometimes even 70%, Best of all there are no hidden fees so you can easily see the total price you’ll pay.
Traveling in a campervan, RV or motorhome is also an amazing way to explore and road trip in Europe. You can save money on accommodation and eating out when staying in a campervan or motorhome.
I use Motorhome Republic to find the best deals for motorhome and RV rental. As one of the largest motorhome rental agencies they have a price beat guarantee and the biggest choice from reputable and trusted companies.
You can find places to camp on the Park 4 Night app. It’s easy to find places to camp for free in Spain but Portugal made wild camping illegal in 2021. There’s plenty of campsites which are still a fun, friendly and affordable option. Many have swimming pools, bars and restaurants and feel more like a resort.
How much does the fuel for a Spain and Portugal road trip cost?
We spent €300 on fuel for this 3,500 km trip.
When’s the best time for a Spain and Portugal road trip?
The Summer months of July and August are the peak season for traveling in Spain and Portugal but I think the best time for a Spain and Portugal road trip is the Spring or Autumn as it won’t be so hot and the sights will be less crowded, plus you’ll get cheaper rates on accommodation.
How to plan a Spain and Portugal itinerary? How long should we spend in each destination?
When planning an itinerary you’ll need to research what you want to see and do so you know how many days to spend in each destination.
As a general rule of thumb I usually recommend spending at least 3 nights/ 2 days in each destination so that you have enough time to explore and relax and don’t feel like you’re spending most of your time driving.
We took 1 month for this trip but we spent 10 days with friends on their Portuguese farm, so we only had 3 weeks to travel. Although we tried to fit as much in as possible, there are still places we sadly had to skip because, to be honest, we didn’t plan our Spain and Portugal itinerary very well! So I would recommend spending at least 1 month to see the highlights of both Spain and Portugal.
If you have less time maybe just concentrate on one region like Northern Spain, Andalusia or Lisbon to Porto.
Did you use toll roads in Spain and Portugal?
To keep costs down and to see more of the countryside we tried to avoid toll roads on our Spain and Portugal road trip. This was easy to do in Spain because the free roads were so good and, on the motorways, there were petrol stations literally every 10 kms.
Portugal was a different story though and by avoiding toll roads in Portugal we would have ended spending double the time driving.
The Portuguese toll system is a bit tricky, especially if you are driving an non-Portuguese registered vehicle and don’t have an electronic transponder in your car, so it’s worth getting acquainted with it before you go for a hassle free trip. Read this article for tips.
If you rent a car in Portugal you can rent a transponder from the car hire company.
Is it more expensive to take your car on the ferry straight to Spain or to drive through France?
This is a question we spent alot of time deliberating on. Driving all the way through France looked fun with plenty to stop and see but would ultimately end up being exhausting and costly so we decided to take the car on the ferry from Portsmouth, UK to Bilbao in Northern Spain.
We estimated how much we would have spent in 5 or so days traveling through France in fuel, tolls, eating and accommodation (not to mention attractions and sightseeing) and it made more sense to take the ferry instead.
We paid £780 for return ferry tickets for 2 people, 1 car and cabins on each crossing. We found it useful to compare the routes available and get the best deal on Ferry Savers.
This 24 hour crossing is known for being rough at times but it was nice and calm and I didn’t feel sea sick at all. We had a comfortable en-suite cabin and enjoyed exploring the ferry. It felt like a mini cruise with the bars, restaurants, sun decks and even a small swimming pool.
Taking the ferry made it feel like much more of an adventure than flying!
What was it like traveling in Spain and Portugal during Covid in 2021?
The Covid situation and rules are always changing and you should always check the most up to date news before traveling.
But in our experience, in September and October 2021, Covid didn’t adversely affect our Spain and Portugal road trip too much,
We had to present either a negative test, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery and fill out a health form to enter Spain. The process of checking in and disembarking from the ferry was quick and simple. You don’t even need to get out of your car to go through immigration.
Our passports did get stamped at the Spanish border (due to Brexit UK citizens are only allowed 90 days out of 180 in the Shengen zone now.)
Apart from people wearing masks both inside and outside on the street (even though it was not a legal requirement to wear them outside) we didn’t notice many differences from traveling Europe before Covid.
Everything was open, people were friendly and happy to see tourists and, apart from wearing face masks in supermarkets and on public transport, Covid didn’t restrict or impact on our trip too much.
The restrictions had recently been relaxed in Portugal so we no longer need any tests or proof of vaccination to stay in a hotel or eat in a restaurant. There was no Covid pass in Spain.
When returning to the UK we had to fill out a passenger locator form and book a test to do on day 2 after we arrived back. We didn’t need to isolate or quarantine.
Covid doesn’t have to ruin your travels, but it’s really important these days to always check the most up to date rules before traveling!
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Do you have any more tips or questions about our Spain and Portugal road trip?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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For the ultimate Goa beach experience you can’t miss the chance to stay in a beach hut – where you can soak up the sea views and spectacular Goa sunsets right from the comfort of your room.
Goa beach huts used to be basic affairs that were dismantled and reassembled every season, but nowadays there are selection of luxury Goa beach huts. This means you can get that perfect Goa beach experience – pure relaxation while soaking up the natural beauty of Goa’s best beaches without comprising on comfort or modern conveniences.
I’ve lived in Goa since 2015 so I’ve been lucky enough to stay in many, many beach huts over the years! So I can give you my tried and tested handpicked recommendations for only the very best ones. Read on and I’ll reveal the very best luxury beach huts in Goa.
The Best Luxury Beach Huts in Goa – Insider’s Tips
The best place to find beach huts in Goa is in South Goa, where the best and least crowded beaches are. You will find the largest selection of beach huts on colourful Palolem Beach and laid back Agonda Beach in South Goa.
While North Goa is mostly beach resorts or hotels, there are also a few beach huts on the quiet and trendy beaches of Morjim, Ashvem and Mandrem in North Goa, staying on these beaches also gives you easy access to the exciting restaurants, shopping and nightlife scene of North Goa. There’s even a hidden luxury beach hut on popular Baga Beach!
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The standard of beach huts in Goa varies from flimsy plywood shacks to some really impressive, well built, wooden cottages. Some of the most luxurious beach huts even have private hot tubs or jacuzzis on the balcony with sea facing views!
It’s more important than ever to properly research which beach suits your vibe best and to check reviews and to book in advance in busy times like Christmas and New Year and Indian holidays.
Here’s my Favourite Luxury Goa Beach Huts
To help you find the perfect luxury Goa beach hut I’ve put all my favourites in this post.
As prices change depending on season and demand I’ve included links to Booking.com where you can find the best rates for your dates as well as checking out real reviews from previous guests.
The Best Beach Huts in South Goa
Dwarka Eco Beach Resort, Cola Beach, South Goa
For the perfect luxury Goa beach hut for a secluded romantic break or honeymoon look no further than Dwarka Eco Beach Resort situated in the exclusive, hidden paradise of little-known Cola Beach (not to be confused with busier Colva Beach also in South Goa)
There’s only 10 luxurious beach huts here all with incredible sea views from the balconies, some even have both sea and lagoon views. Each beach hut also has floor to ceiling windows to make the most of the stunning natural surroundings, sumptuous and comfortable furnishings, attached bathrooms with hot water and wifi. There’s also an excellent onsite restaurant and bar.
At Cola Beach you can you can really get away from it all and experience a tranquil and secluded holiday with plenty of privacy. Spend blissed out days relaxing on the beach, swimming in the sea and lagoon or try kayaking, fishing or hiking in the jungle. Sometimes it might even feel like you have the beach all to yourself.
Read More: Best Romantic Hotels for Honeymoon in Goa
Agonda Villas, Agonda Beach, South Goa
What could be more romantic than relaxing with your loved one in your private jacuzzi on your balcony overlooking the sea!?
At Agonda Villas, on serene and beautiful Agonda Beach, each of these luxury Goa beach huts has a jacuzzi on the balcony making it the perfect location for a romantic couples holiday or honeymoon.
All the rooms have a sea facing terrace or balcony with a sunken jacuzzi, a spacious bedroom with deluxe furnishings, air conditioning, wifi, 42 inch LCD TV, fridge, minibar and a large semi-open-air bathroom with hot rain water style showers.
Start your perfect day with the complimentary breakfast at the on site restaurant, try the eggs royale with smoked salmon, and laze the day away relaxing in your jacuzzi or on the beach for an unforgettable holiday!
There are just 11 beach huts at Agonda Villas and they get booked up quickly so book well in advance to experience this unique stay.
Read More: Best Beach Huts on Agonda Beach
Art Resort, Palolem Beach, South Goa
Palolem is the most beautiful beach in all of Goa with colourful beach huts ringing the soft sandy crescent shaped beach and calm waters. Art Resort and Art Prive, situated on the south of Palolem beach, are the most unique and groovy luxury Goa beach huts.
These individually styled colourful beach huts come complete with air conditioning, super comfortable European mattresses, attached bathrooms and a small living room.
The highlight though is the outside space featuring lovely wooden decks out front with sun loungers and billowing white drapes – the garden bungalows even have baths in the shape of a boat on the balcony!
There are also some huts directly on the beach with sea views, plenty of hammocks and even swinging beds to lounge on under the palm trees. There is a beach side restaurant and bar serving Indian and European food as well as a non profit art gallery and regular live music nights.
Read More: Best Beach Huts on Palolem Beach
Turtle Hill, Patnem Beach, South Goa
Patnem Beach, located just around the corner from popular Palolem Beach, offers a quieter experience while being within walking distance to beautiful Palolem. For the most luxury beach huts in Patnem check out Turtle Hill.
This collection of just 10 uber-stylish, eco-chic, luxury beach huts are located at the far northern end of Patnem Beach. Some are situated on the beach and others perched on the hill. All the rooms are impeccably decorated by a German interior designer and offer beautiful sea views from the balcony or terrace.
The hillside bungalows are spread over two floors, the bedroom and bathroom are on the top with floor to ceiling windows and ocean facing balconies to make the most of the stunning surroundings. Downstairs features a lounge room with sofa and sunbed.
None of the rooms are overlooked meaning you’ll get plenty of privacy. There’s also AC, Wifi and an onsite restaurant with a continental breakfast included.
The Best Beach Huts in North Goa
La Ri Sa Beach Resort, Morjim Beach, North Goa
For luxury beach huts on trendy but still uncrowded Morjim beach check out the incredible La Ri Sa Beach Resort. All the beach huts are beach facing with AC, big comfy beds and large patio doors that open out onto your private shaded terrace complete with luxurious hot tub!
It’s only steps from your comfortable bed to your private jacuzzi to the beach and sea beyond. There’s plenty of sun beds and hammocks strung between the palm trees to hang out in too and many excellent beach shacks and yoga classes just steps away.
Relax on the beach during the day and at night check out the hottest new nightclubs, bars and restaurants in Morjim. It’s only 16km to popular Baga beach too.
Read More: The Best Places to Stay in Goa (for all Beaches and all Budgets)
Little India Beach Cottages, Baga Beach, North Goa
The beaches of Baga and Calangute in North Goa are the most popular in Goa with the largest selection of restaurants, shopping and nightlife but they are a little crowded and it’s rare to find a beach hut in this area nowadays. If you are looking for that Goa beach hut experience in the heart of the all the action then check out Little India Beach Cottages just 1 min walk from Baga beach.
These cute, wooden, luxury Goa beach huts are well made and maintained while still having that rustic, back to nature, feet in the sand vibe. There are fan cooled and AC rooms to choose from all with comfortable and stylish furnishings, attached bathrooms and lovely terraces to relax on and enjoy the tropical greenery and nature. There’s also a lovely swimming pool in the resort.
Little India Beach Cottages is just a 1 minute walk to the beach where you will find many beach shacks, bars and watersports.
Beach Street Eco Resort, Mandrem Beach, North Goa
Mandrem and Ashvem Beaches offer the perfect combination of large, clean and uncrowded beaches in North Goa while also being close to the newest, trendiest nightclubs and only 20 km away from popular Calangute Beach.
There’s a few luxury beach hut resorts in this area, my favourite is Mandrem Beach Street Resort as all the rooms are beach facing. This resort has that traditional, laid back, rustic Goa beach hut vibe without sacrificing on comfort.
All the cute bamboo huts and chalets have a private ensuite bathrooms, mosquito nets and a balcony to enjoy the sea views. There is also a nice swimming pool in the uniquely styled resort and the excellent Lazy Dog restaurant. Yoga classes and massage treatments are also available in this resort.
I hope this post has helped you find the perfect beach hut in Goa and that you have an amazing time. If you need more tips for planning your trip to Goa and making the most of your time here check out my complete guide to Goa and all my other Goa blogs,
Have you got any more recommendations for luxury Goa beach huts?
Leave a comment below and your tips can help out other travellers! 🙂
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My Pick of The 5 Best Yoga Retreats in Sri Lanka for 2023
Whilst India is the birthplace of yoga, making one of the best places in the world to learn yoga. But the small neighbouring island nation of Sri Lanka is arguably an even better place for a serene yoga retreat. Sri Lanka is also a world class surf destination so it’s an ideal place to combine the two with many yoga retreats in Sri Lanka also offering surf lessons!
Read Also: Surf Camps in Sri Lanka I recommend.
Reasons to go on a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka can be described as ‘India lite‘ – with much of the colour and exotic spectacle you’ll find in India but in a cleaner, smaller, less densely populated country that’s safer for women and easier and quicker to travel around.
Sri Lanka is also known as ‘the Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ and offers a warm, sunny, tropical climate throughout the year, long stretches of stunning, unspoiled beaches, luscious jungles and tea plantations, scenic train rides, heaps of biodiversity, rich culture and history as well as the best safari and wildlife spotting opportunities outside of Africa!
Read More: My favourite places in Sri Lanka
Most people in Sri Lanka follow Buddhism and the island has a serene, spiritual energy. No wonder Sri Lanka is fast becoming one of the most popular places to take a yoga retreat or join a surf camp. It’s kind of a mix of the best bits of India, Bali and Thailand and yet it still doesn’t feel super touristy.
There are many wonderful yoga retreats in Sri Lanka to choose from. Some of the most popular destinations include beach destinations like Weligama, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Hiriketiya and Arugam Bay. The UNESCO listed ancient capital up in the hills, Kandy, is also a popular place for yoga and Ayurveda with some great jungly retreats.
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It’s more important than ever to do your research and check reviews. I find www.bookyogaretreats.com really useful as you can read real reviews from people who’ve been there before. It’s like the Booking.com for yoga retreats! To help you choose here are my recommendations for the best yoga retreats in Sri Lanka.
Covid Update: Sri Lanka is now open again for tourism. To check all the details and latest news visit the Sri Lanka Tourism website. Also make sure you check the re entry requirements from your home country for when you return. As the situation could change at any time it’s also more important than ever to have good travel insurance that covers coronavirus – mine is with SafteyWing. All these yoga retreats in Sri Lanka have also implemented enhanced hygiene and distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Note that the photos in the article were taken before Covid-19)
Read More: Why I love traveling in Sri Lanka
The Best Yoga Retreats in Sri Lanka
Plantation Villa, Kalutara
For one of the most mindful yoga retreats in Sri Lanka, consider a stay at the award-winning Plantation Villa in Kalutara. This yoga retreat offers classes for all levels in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga styles. Instructors incorporate their expertise in meditation, Ayurveda, and varied yoga styles to provide a natural environment that helps free your mind from the distractions of our modern world.
Plantation Villas allows you to relax and focus on your wellbeing with personalised service to ensure your mind and body are fully detoxed and destressed. You’ll stay in a beautiful, historic colonial villa in a room that opens up to a communal veranda, enjoy relaxing in the outdoor swimming pool and gardens, and refuel with natural, healthy foods that are locally and ethically sourced.
When not on the mat relax in the spa or soak up the ancient, local knowledge with plantation walks, cookery demonstrations and discussions about yoga philosophy, Ayurveda and meditation. You’ll also have the option to add on trips to beaches, temples, national parks and to explore the popular towns of Galle and Kandy. You’ll soon see why this is one of the best yoga retreats in Sri Lanka!
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Polwaththa Retreat, Kandy
Polwaththa Eco Lodge consists of 15 comfortable lodges, spread out in a pristine environment to give you that ‘Living-in-the-Jungle’ experience, close to the popular UNESCO listed ancient capital city of Kandy. The 4 day yoga, trekking, cooking, and reforestation retreat will help you reconnect to your body and to nature.
There’s 2 daily yoga and mediation classes in Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin which are often accompanied by wildlife as monkeys and deer often pass by. Off the mat you will be trekking through the jungle, planting trees, visiting local homes, swimming in a waterfall and having a local cookery lesson. Healthy and authentic Sri Lankan meals are included and eco friendly accommodation. The team can also arrange trips to the nearby incredible cultural sites like Kandy, Dambulla Cave Temple and Sigiriya Rock for an additional cost.
Everything Polwaththa do is centred around eco friendly and responsible tourism. Your stay will directly contribute to their Forest Healing Foundation and you’ll get to meet local people. This amazing yoga retreat in Sri Lanka is perfect for anyone looking to immerse themselves in nature and have a positive impact on their wellness, the environment and its people.
It’s not just me who thinks it’s amazing – check out the reviews, get more details, prices and book here!
The Salty Pelican, Hiriketiya
If your search for yoga retreats in Sri Lanka has you daydreaming of practicing asanas and surfing surrounded by unspoilt, tropical paradise and magical vibes then The Salty Pelican may be just what you are looking for. This yoga, meditation and surf retreat is located on a headland right between two pristine beaches, and offers yoga for all levels in Hatha and Yin styles.
The recently built facilities of this retreat feature modern, clean, and comfortable amenities complete with a infinity swimming pool, yoga deck, and yoga shala surrounded by jungle greenery and it’s only 200 meters from the beach! You’ll eat at the poolside restaurant featuring delicious local ingredients, seafood, smoothie bowls, Sri Lankan coffee, and vegetarian and vegan dishes. Multi-cultural instructors offer diverse yoga classes, surfing instruction, and rejuvenating meditation sessions for all levels.
There are a variety of packages available. The 8 day yoga, mediation and surf holiday includes daily mediations, unlimited daily yoga classes, unlimited surf board hire and 5 surf lessons, accommodation, daily breakfast, 2 group dinners and a massage. You also have the option to join evening events, national park visits, exploring temples, markets and more beaches nearby.
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Read More: The Best Surf Camps in Sri Lanka
Green Peace Inn, Weligama
Have you experienced how powerful Breathwork is yet? This 8 day intensive breathwork and yoga retreat will take you on a transformative journey and provide a safe space to face buried feelings and emotions and teach you how to let them go with love.
You’ll experience daily guided meditation classes, daily group breathwork sessions, mantras and affirmations, two multi-style yoga classes each day on the large rooftop shala at sunrise and sunset, delicious vegan meals, one Ayurvedic massage, accommodation and a supportive community vibe. There’s also plenty of time to relax at the beach, go surfing, explore the area or just soak up the sun and tropical vibes in beautiful Weligama.
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Surf & Yoga Mirissa, Mirissa
Surf & Yoga Mirissa is located in a laid back, bohemian jungle setting by the ocean in beautiful Mirissa where monkeys roam around freely. The friendly and knowledgeable team here focus on Hatha yoga for beginner and intermediate levels and offer yoga only or surf and yoga packages.
Twice daily yoga lessons are held on the lawn under the shade of the palm trees and at sunset on the cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. A massage is also included and there’s a gorgeous swimming pool surrounded by tropical greenery to chill out at.
Choose from a variety of accommodation options from wooden jungle cottages to air conditioned rooms, most with balconies. As well as a cafe, where the included continental or traditional Sri Lankan breakfast is served, there’s also a library and plenty of hammocks, games and equipment you can use including a slackline. For lunch and dinner you can eat at the onsite cafe or you can explore the many cafes and restaurants nearby.
There’s also the option to add on excursions to visit temples, tea plantations and go whale watching – Mirissa is also one of the best places to go whale watching in Sri Lanka!
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Still looking for the perfect yoga holiday? Check out my round up of the very best yoga retreats around the world
Have you been on any amazing yoga retreats in Sri Lanka?
Leave your recommendations in the comments below the post and help out other yogis and travellers! 😊
America is one of the most culturally and environmentally diverse countries in the world with a so many exciting destinations to visit and some of the best yoga retreats in the world.
The Best Yoga Retreats in the USA for 2023
From the tropical beaches of Hawaii and Florida to the deserts of Arizona and the sunshine state of California – there are many beautiful places that offer amazing yoga retreats in the USA where you can take that much needed break to feel a million miles away from the stresses of everyday life.
From yoga in Yosemite to meditation in Michigan; whatever you’re seeking, you’re sure to find the perfect yoga retreat in the USA for you. But with such a large country and so many retreats to choose from it can be hard to know where to begin!
So to help you find the perfect USA yoga retreat, I’ve handpicked 5 of the best.
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Before signing up to any retreat, it’s definitely recommended to check out the real testimonials and reviews on www.bookyogaretreats.com, for peace of mind that your experience and booking are safe and secure and to make sure it’s the right level and style of yoga for you.
Here is my pick of the 5 Best Yoga Retreats in the USA
Digital Detox Yoga Retreat in San Diego
SoCal Wellness Retreats, San Diego, California
How does disconnecting from your devices and reconnecting with yourself and the environment sound? At SoCal Wellness Retreats in San Diego, a digital detox is combined with daily yoga, meditation, and freshly chef-prepared plant-based meals, to have you feeling more you in the space of just 4 days.
As a former NYC news reporter, retreat founder John is the perfect guide as you let go of the rat race and focus on the here and now. In between vinyasa yoga classes and ocean swims, John delivers workshops on breathing exercises, the benefits of plant-based living, and leads two hikes through the astounding wine country.
Your en-suite accommodation at the 9200 square foot estate offers every comfort you could need, to help you to switch off and tune in. See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Read More: My pick of the best Yoga Retreats in California
Personalized Healing Retreat in Key West
Full Circle Yoga School, Key West, Florida
Enjoy a tropical escape and treat yourself to a 3 day private, personalised yoga, meditation and healing retreat in the beautiful Florida Keys.
Full Circle Yoga School offers some of the most popular yoga retreats in the USA from their stunning location in the heart of Key West. This retreat offers unlimited yoga classes in a variety of styles as well as an extensive list of life-changing and transformative private personalised healing sessions and meditation journeys.
With a menu of healing sessions too long to list here including TRE® – Trauma Release Exercises, Hypnotic meditation and Manifestation techniques it’s not surprising to hear that guests often experience healings, the release of past traumas, and cleansing and clearing of the soul during their retreat.
You’ll stay in a beautiful bed and breakfast in Key West just a stroll away from the Full Circle studio. Daily breakfast is included and for lunch and dinner you can explore the beaches and excellent local eateries of Key West. See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Read More: My pick of the best yoga retreats in Canada
Wilderness Yoga Holiday in Yosemite
Lasting Adventures, Yosemite National Park, California
If you’re short on time but not on energy, a two-night backpacking and vinyasa yoga holiday has what your mind, body and soul need to reset and rejuvenate. The alpine wilderness is not for the faint hearted, but the rewards are abundant. Ridge-top sunset yoga rounds off a day spent hiking, fueled by nourishing cuisine.
You’ll need to have intermediate hiking experience to reach the Mount Hoffman peak, and your exertions will be soothed by a delicious restorative yoga practice back at May Lake camp.
Throughout your climbs and chaturangas, you’ll be supported by a guide and a yoga instructor. This unique combination of mindful movements are sure to have you feeling exhilarated and centred. All backpacking, camping, and yoga equipment is helpfully provided, so all you have to do is turn up and take part. See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Read more – The best yoga retreats in Arizona
Yoga and Eastern Spirituality Retreat in Upstate New York
Earth Mind Wellness, Catskills, Ellensville, New York
Discover a transformative experience and learn more about East Asian spirituality in the beautiful Catskills of New York State.
Honor’s Haven Retreat is just 90 minutes from New York City but a world away from the hectic city life. This all inclusive 3 day retreat is specially designed to relax and refresh your mind, body and soul.
Earth Mind Wellness are originally from Korea and have put together this retreat to offer a complete wellness experience to fully rejuvenate physically, mentally and energetically through daily yoga and wellness classes, guided hikes and meditations, wellness workshops, meditative walks and plenty of personal free time to enjoy the resorts many amenities. including swimming pools, tennis courts and a spa.
The innovative yoga classes are based on ancient east Asian mind-body practices which also incorporate elements of Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Ki-Energy stretching and relaxation, while the nature walks will leave you feeling refreshed as your worries melt away into the stunning scenery. See more details, dates, prices and reviews and book here!
Hideaway for Writers and Mindfulness in Maine
Santosha on the Kennebec, Maine
According to Patanjali’s yoga sutras, Santosha can be described as a state of contentment and inner peace. With this in mind, your host JB sets the scene for the perfect yoga, mindfulness and writing retreat.
Santosha is a haven of evocative environments and introspective movement. Blissful hatha yoga classes and guided meditations help you to peel back layers and discover corners of your Self. Meanwhile, heart-led writing workshops, fireside readings, and breathtaking Kennebec River surroundings seep into your stories and fill your pages.
Your creative flow will take you from your mat to honing your craft, all fueled by lovingly-prepared local produce. As if that wasn’t appealing enough, you can partake in a wealth of activities including forest bathing, ayurvedic bodywork, and several other healing arts. See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Have you been on any amazing yoga retreats in the USA?
Leave your recommendations in the comments below the post and help out other yogis and travellers! 😊
In a nation like America of such contrasts and variety, California has to be one of the most diverse and most beautiful states. As California is the home of wellness culture and innovation in the States there’s an unsurprising plethora of yoga retreats in California.
Due to the warm climate, spectacular scenery and choice of yoga schools, California, along with Hawaii, Arizona and Florida, are the best places to take a yoga retreat in the US. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the Golden State.
There’s no shortage of amazing yoga retreats in California where you can take that much needed break from the rest of the world and feel a million miles away from your everyday stresses and life. After just a few days you’re sure to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
From sun salutations in San Diego, to meditation in Malibu, with so many offerings, it can be hard to know where to begin! To help you find the perfect California yoga retreat, here’s my pick of the top 5.
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There are many amazing retreats, but, before you sign up I recommend checking out the real reviews and testimonials from yogis who’ve already been there on www.bookyogaretreats.com. It’s like the Booking.com for yoga retreats!
COVID-19 Update: The USA is currently open for tourism for selected countries but be aware that pandemic-related travel permissions can change at any moment and be dependent on your nationality. Check out the US travel and tourism website for the most up to date information and remember to check the re-entry rules for your home country. Look at Gov.uk if you’re from the UK or the equivalent for your nationality. Also make sure you have travel insurance which covers Covid related cancellations. Mine is with SafteyWing.
Here is my pick of the 5 Best Yoga Retreats in California
Full Moon Gazing Meditation and Yoga Retreat
Vedanta Spiritual and Holistic Retreat, California Hot Springs
Your home for this 3-night retreat is an eco village dedicated to transforming human consciousness for global sustainability. Your hosts, Oxana and Kristin, will introduce you to this lunar-powered experience through traditional hatha yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
The retreat focuses on heart-opening practices, including forest bathing, mindful hill walks, and a visit to the hot springs. The powerful moonrise ceremony invites you to speak with your body and inner consciousness, perfectly complimented by practices of chi gong, guided meditations and dancing.
Vedanta Spiritual and Holistic Retreat is located at the southern point of the Sequoia National Forest, and the ancient magic of these 2000 year old trees can be felt across the site. There is a jacuzzi to slip into after you’ve enjoyed a lovingly prepared ayurvedic dinner. When it comes to yoga retreats in California, it doesn’t get much more authentic.
Click here to see more details, dates, prices, reviews and to book!
Read More: My pick of the best Yoga Retreats in the USA
Digital Detox Yoga Retreat
SoCal Wellness Retreats, San Diego
For a real escape and break from the rest of the world try experiencing the peace that disconnecting from your devices and reconnecting with yourself and the environment can provide. At SoCal Wellness Retreats in San Diego, a digital detox is combined with daily yoga, meditation, and freshly chef-prepared plant-based meals with the stunning backdrop of the Serenity Mountain Estate, to have you feeling more you in the space of just 4 days.
As a former NYC news reporter, retreat founder John is the perfect guide as you let go of the rat race and focus on the here and now. In between vinyasa yoga classes and ocean swims, John advocates breathwork as a powerful daily practice to access the subconscious and delivers workshops on breathing exercises, the benefits of plant-based living, and leads two hikes through the astounding wine country. With a focus on transformation through mindfulness tools, the intention is for you to continue your practice long after you’ve left the retreat.
After the yang of your activities, you’ll find your yin in the grounds of the estate. The property itself is over 9200 square foot, with 12.5 acres of land to explore, including fruit trees, flower gardens, and two swimming pools. Your en-suite accommodation offers every comfort you could need, to help you to switch off and tune in.
Click here to see more details, dates, prices, reviews and to book!
Read More: My pick of the best yoga retreats in Canada
Writing and Yoga Retreat
Sagrada Wellness, Santa Margarita
Restorative yoga, pranayama, and gourmet dining in an architecturally designed ranch house: the perfect setting to bring your latest writing project to life. Sagrada Wellness is a purpose-built haven, combining all elements needed to inspire ideas and expand creative concepts.
Creative writer and yoga teacher Leslie will guide you through your deeply nourishing yoga practices, as well as holding space for you to explore corners of your psyche and build them into new pages of your story.
Organic meals will awaken the senses, while a dip in the hot tub will soothe the body and mind, allowing your creativity to flow. The stunning landscapes set the scene for introspective yoga practices, and maybe even your next chapter…
Click here to see more details, dates, prices, reviews and to book!
Read More – The best yoga retreats in Arizona
Silent Meditation and Detox Retreat
Love is the Prize, Santa Ysabel
If you’re seeking a shift in consciousness, to raise your vibration, or to deepen your spiritual practices, what better place to do so than at 3,500 feet elevation above the stunning Santa Ysabel Valley.
Host of Love is the Prize, Memo, creates a setting designed to facilitate the release of destructive habits and responses, making way for healing and the formation of healthy practices.
Spiritual author and retreat instructor Memo will guide you through traditional Hatha yoga, spiritual discussions, and the practice of extended periods of ‘noble silence’. You’ll also receive a copy of his book to take home with you.
During meditative silence, you can practice journaling or take a nature walk. The nearby labyrinth is the largest in California, and an opportunity to practice intentional wandering.
To aid your physical and mental cleanse, you’ll be served organic detox juices for lunch and dinner. A renewed sense of self-love is the prize for honing the skill of silence on this magical yoga retreat in California.
Click here to see more details, dates, prices, reviews and to book!
Women’s Climbing and Yoga
Whitney Base Camp & Climbing School, Sierra Nevada
Suitable for beginners to the mat or the ropes, this 3 day retreat invites you to lean into your divine feminine and discover what you’re capable of. Your hosts Amy and Casey, expert climbing and yoga instructors respectively, will guide you through your yoga and mindfulness practices, then through the Alabama Hills.
Hatha yoga is introduced with an emphasis on mental focus and personal awareness, while a taste of life in the great outdoors will expand your horizons and sense of potential. The air doesn’t get much fresher than in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and you’ll have ample opportunity to inhale and exhale your way through the weekend.
All camping, climbing, and yoga equipment is included. You’re invited to prepare your own meals over the campfire, with the philosophy that you know what your body needs for this adventure. You’ll finish the weekend with a sense of accomplishment and connection.
Click here to see more details, dates, prices, reviews and to book!
If you want to combine your yoga retreat in the US with visiting some other US destinations check out this post the best places to visit in the US for more inspiration and tips.
Have you been on any amazing yoga retreats in California?
Leave your recommendations in the comments below the post and help out other yogis and travellers! 😊
With wide open skies, beautiful countryside, rich history, pretty medieval villages and a stunning coastline there are so many things to do and beautiful places to visit and stay in Suffolk, England.
This quaint and relaxed county in the East of England makes the perfect place for a staycation in the United Kingdom, ideal for a weekend break or a longer holiday away from the crowds.
Suffolk really has a lot to offer, it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK and makes a wonderful countryside escape within quick and easy reach from London.
The Best Places to Visit and Stay in Suffolk, UK (By a Local)
Suffolk holds a special place in my heart as it’s my home county! I was born and brought up here and want to share my local tips for the best places to visit in Suffolk and my recommendations for the best places to stay in Suffolk so that more people can discover and enjoy this underrated area.
From quaint villages largely unchanged since medieval times, castles and stately homes to seaside towns, rejuvenating walks, excellent museums and natural beauty spots that have inspired great artists, you’d easily fill a weeks holiday with the diverse range of things to do and beautiful places to visit in Suffolk.
Contentshide1The Best Places to Visit and Stay in Suffolk, UK (By a Local)2Tips for Visiting Suffolk2.1How to get to Suffolk and get around.2.2Where to Stay in Suffolk2.3Suffolk Map2.4The Best Places to Stay in Suffolk2.5Holiday Cottages in Suffolk3The Best Places to Visit and Stay in Suffolk3.1Bury St Edmunds3.2Lavenham and Long Melford3.3Newmarket3.4Ipswich3.5Constable Country4Best Places to Visit on the Suffolk Coast4.1Southwold4.2Dunwich4.3Aldeburgh and Thorpeness4.4Orford4.5Woodbridge4.6Lowestoft4.7Also don’t miss4.8Cambridge4.9The Norfolk Broads
In this blog post, as well as telling you all about the best things to do and places to visit and stay in Suffolk, I’ve also been a little cheeky and included two places which are just over the borders into the neighbouring counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. They are still only 1 hours drive from Bury St Edmunds (where I live and a good place to stay) and shouldn’t be missed when visiting the area.
The British weather is always unpredictable but did you know that Suffolk is one of the driest places in the UK! This means you’re more likely to have dry, sunny weather here than in most other places in the country! There are also many free things to do in Suffolk like walks in the beautiful countryside and on the beaches making it a good budget holiday choice.
While international travel is still difficult at least we can explore closer to home and see things that we used to take for granted with new eyes.
So, while I’m taking the time to connect to my roots and exploring closer to home instead of jetting off somewhere exotic, I wanted to also share my insider tips and Suffolk secrets for my beautiful home county in this ultimate Suffolk travel guide!
Tips for Visiting Suffolk
How to get to Suffolk and get around.
Suffolk is located in East Anglia and is within easy reach of both London and the Midlands. The train takes only 1.5 hours from London to Cambridge, Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds. There are also National Express coaches which are often cheaper than taking the train.
As Suffolk is a rural area public transport is not the most convenient way to get around. So to get the most out of your trip and to be able to explore all the best places to visit in Suffolk you’ll need your own wheels.
So it’s best to either bring your own car and drive to Suffolk or arrive by train and then hire a car. For car hire I recommend checking out Discover Cars as you can see all the best rates from all the car hire companies in one place.
All the best places to visit in Suffolk (and the cheeky ones I’ve added that are actually just over the border) are only about 1 hours drive from Bury St Edmunds so that makes a good base to explore all this area has to offer.
Where to Stay in Suffolk
There’s a wide variety of accommodation and places to stay in Suffolk including luxury and boutique hotels, country house hotels, quaint self catering cottages full of historic charm and character, cosy pubs, homely B&Bs, caravan parks, campsites and quirky glamping sites – some with hot tubs.
Suffolk is quite a spread out, rural county so you’ll need to consider what you want to see and where to stay in Suffolk in order to make the most of your time here.
Have a look at the Suffolk map below to get an idea of where the major towns and tourist attractions in Suffolk are located to help you decide where to stay.
I’ll also include my top accommodation recommendations for each place later on in this article.
The Best Places to Stay in Suffolk
My hometown, Bury St Edmunds, is a charming, historic market town which makes a convenient base from which to explore all the best places to visit in Suffolk – everywhere on this list is only about 1 hours drive from Bury.
The best hotel in Bury St Edmunds is undoubtedly The Angel Hotel. An elegant 15th century ivy-clad award winning hotel situated in a super convenient and picturesque location in the town center. Get more info here.
There are also many nice places to stay on the Suffolk Coast like Southwold, Aldeburgh and Thorpeness. My top pick for the coast is fabulous The Swan Hotel in Southwold which has 2 award winning restaurants and is owned by Adnams, the local brewery. Perfect for a seaside escape, but you would be a little further away from the other places to visit in Suffolk.
If you want to explore the best Suffolk has to offer you could base yourself in one town, like Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich or Southwold and take day trips from there, or rent a holiday cottage in the Suffolk countryside and use that as your base. Another option would be to take a road trip around Suffolk and stay in a few different places.
Suffolk is also a great place to go glamping, check out Hidden Meadows near Beccles and Secret Meadows near Woodbridge. Both have a quirky selection of luxury safari tents, shepherds huts and even gypsy caravans with hot tubs situated in wild flower meadows.
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Holiday Cottages in Suffolk
One of the most popular accommodation options is to stay in a self catering holiday cottage in Suffolk. There is a wide selection of charming and characterful traditional Suffolk cottages available for rent out in the countryside or near the coast. Many are very historic and pretty and will immerse you in the laid back Suffolk countryside lifestyle.
The advantage of renting a self catering cottage is that you get all the comforts, facilities, space and privacy of home and feel more like a local than a tourist. Many are also dog friendly! Dogs will love all the walks, wide open spaces and beaches of Suffolk and holiday cottages are the best places to stay in Suffolk with dogs.
My favourite Suffolk holiday cottage is Gardner’s Cottage A charming, Grade II listed, 17th century thatched timber framed cottage that sleeps 4 in the centrally located village of Thornham Magna only 30 mins drive to Bury St Edmunds. The village has a pub, thatched roof church, cafe, restaurant and photographer’s gallery.
Gardener’s Cottage has been lovingly updated with modern facilities while still retaining many beautiful original features and character including exposed wooden beams, pamment floors and an Inglenook fireplace. I also love the cute stable door and how the 2 bedrooms (with ensuite bathrooms) are accessed by quirky individual staircases.
This chocolate box Suffolk cottage is also dog friendly and has a lovely garden, large terrace and wild flower orchard. It sits on the edge of the Thornham Estate which offers 12 miles of wonderful walks through beautiful parkland and ancient woodland. Click here for more photos, info, prices and to book!
Read More: My Pick of the Best Holiday Cottages in Suffolk
The Best Places to Visit and Stay in Suffolk
Bury St Edmunds
My hometown! The small historic market town of Bury St Edmunds was the home of Saint Edmund, the original patron Saint of England, and often also referred to as Bury Saint Edmunds or just Bury by the locals.
Bury offers 1000 years of history with plenty of things to do and makes a great base for exploring Suffolk. Bury’s motto ‘Shrine of a King, Cradle of the Law’ refers to it’s two most important moments in history.
Best Places to Visit in Bury St Edmunds
Bury’s most famous landmark is the Abbey Gardens; impressive, crumbling abbey ruins and delightful gardens that are best accessed through the imposing 14th century gateway tower from Angel Hill and overlooked by St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the only cathedral in Suffolk.
The abbey was built around a shrine to Saint Edmund – the Anglo Saxon King and martyred original Patron Saint of England. For centuries the abbey was one of the most powerful monasteries in medieval Europe and a famous place of pilgrimage.
It is also the place where the Barons met and drew up the petition that formed the basis of the Magna Carta / swore an oath to force King John to accept the need for the ‘Magna Carta,’ the charter of liberties.
Bury St Edmunds is also home to the Greene King Brewery where you can take an interesting tour of the brewery and taste the beers. You can also visit The Nutshell Pub nearby – a tiny, quirky pub which is the proud record holder of Britian’s smallest pub.
Bury’s Theatre Royal is the only surviving Regency playhouse in Britain where you can experience what going to the theatre was like in pre-Victorian times. My Mum often volunteers here too! There’s also a small museum, Moyse’s Hall, which displays local history and archaeology.
Just outside Bury St Edmunds Ickworth House, an Italiante palace and gardens, and West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and Country Park make a nice day out. I loved going on school trips to the Anglo Saxon recreation days at West Stow and I have fond memories of horse riding at Ickworth Park.
Best Places to Stay in Bury St Edmunds
The Angel Hotel
This award winning, elegant 15th century ivy-clad hotel situated in the most picturesque square opposite the Abbey Gardens has accommodated many famous people, kings and queens including Charles Dickens who mentioned The Angel Hotel in The Pickwick Papers. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here
Ravenwood Hall Hotel
An opulent country house hotel set in a country estate just outside Bury St Edmunds with plenty of period features. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here
Lavenham and Long Melford
Villages don’t come more chocolate-box than Lavenham. Just 20 minutes drive south of Bury St Edmunds lies the best preserved medieval village in England and one of Britain’s most historic and picturesque places.
Best Places to Visit in Lavenham and Long Melford
Lavenham was the prosperous center of Suffolk’s wool trade between the 14th and 16th centuries and has changed very little since then. The village is a treasure trove of crooked, pastel painted, timber framed medieval houses and 300 of the village’s buildings are listed.
This makes Lavenham one of the most colourful and prettiest places in Suffolk. Some of the historic buildings in Lavenham were even featured in the Harry Potter films and you can even stay in Godric’s Hollow, the birthplace of Harry Potter. (Book here on Air BnB and use this link to get £25 off)
You can spend a pleasant day wandering around this picturesque village, join the Lavenham guided walking tour, peruse the boutique shops and galleries, enjoy lunch in a historic pub, the most popular and famous is The Swan, or afternoon tea in one of the tea rooms.
Just 5 miles away is another quaint, historic village called Long Melford, home to two Tudor stately homes, many antique shops and the Holy Trinity Church, the most splendid church in Suffolk with fabulous 500 year old stained glass windows.
Kentwell Hall is a beautiful moated Tudor house with magical gardens and hosts regular tudor re-enactment days – my favourite school trips! 500 year old Melford Hall has an eclectic history and is also worth a visit.
Best Places to Stay in Lavenham and Long Melford
The Swan Inn
Another of my favourite Suffolk hotels! Staying at this historic 15th century timbered pub with 2 AA rosette restaurant will immerse you in the unique charm and history of pretty Lavenham – the best preserved tudor village in the UK. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here
Hylton Holiday Cottage
This pink, tudor, timber framed, 1 bedroom cottage in the heart of Lavenham village oozes history, charm and character while still including all the modern home comforts you need. It’s also dog friendly, has an enclosed garden and in a good location to explore the rest of Suffolk. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here
Newmarket is famous as the home or headquarters of horse racing. Newmarket holds a special place in my heart as I worked at Newmarket Racecourse for many years. You can see the horse racing influence all over this unique town that even has pavements just for horses! If you drive through Newmarket in the morning you will see racehorses being exercised on the gallops and may have to stop at a horse crossing.
The history of horse racing goes back to 1666. Anyone who is interested in horses and horse racing should not miss visiting Newmarket – the home of racing and one of the best places to visit in Suffolk!
Best Places to Visit in Newmarket
Try to time your visit to Suffolk to coincide with a race meeting at Newmarket Racecourse. There are actually 2 racecourses in Newmarket and the racing season goes from April to October.
The modern Rowley Mile Racecourses hosts Spring and Autumn race fixtures while the quaint July course hosts summer race meetings – a highlight of these are the Newmarket Nights that host live music from famous artists after the racing. Find out more information on the Newmarket Racecourses website here.
And it’s not just the racecourses, there are many more equine attractions in Newmarket including the National Horse Racing Museum and The National Stud. There are also a variety of Discover Newmarket Tours you can join where you’ll explore hallowed grounds such as the Jockey Club Rooms, Tattersalls – the world’s oldest auction house, trainers’ yards and the famed gallops.
The fantastic National Horseracing Museum tells the story of horse racing from its earliest origins to the world-wide phenomenon it is today. It’s one of the best attractions and museums in Suffolk which also features an art gallery and chance to meet former racehorses. The National Stud is the only working commercial stud farm to run behind the scenes tours where you’ll get to meet the stallions, mares and foals and learn about thoroughbred breeding.
Best Places to Stay in Newmarket
Bedford Lodge Hotel
A luxurious 4 star Georgian hotel with rose gardens, an excellent health club and spa and award winning restaurant close to Newmarket town center and the racecourse. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here
A article about the best places to visit in Suffolk wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Ipswich – the county town of Suffolk and the largest town. There’s plenty of accommodation options, hotels and places to stay in Ipswich. To be honest, I don’t visit Ipswich all that much, it’s not the most beautiful or exciting town in the world but it does have it’s charms and several attractions.
Best Places to Visit in Ipswich
The vibrant, recently redeveloped marina and waterfront has many nice eating and drinking spots including the boutique Salthouse Harbour Hotel and is a lovely place to relax on a sunny day. From here you can also take a cruise along the River Orwell to the picturesque Shotley Peninsula, an area famous with birdwatchers.
Christchurch Park is a nice stroll and holds an excellent art collection at Christchurch Mansion displaying works of local painters like John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough in a fine 16th century Tudor mansion. Foodies will also want to visit the Suffolk Food Hall which showcases the best of local produce and visit the The Suffolk Craft Society to shop for interesting crafts, souvenirs and gifts.
A few miles from Ipswich is Jimmy’s Farm, which became famous from the TV show and has developed into a top attraction with an award-winning restaurant, farm shop, nature trail, glamping site and hosts several family friendly festivals throughout the year.
Best Places to Stay in Ipswich
Salt House Harbour Hotel
My favourite place to stay in Ipswich. This stylishly renovated old dockland building has a wonderful location on the waterfront and it’s easy to walk into town. Luxurious rooms have lovely views and there’s also an excellent restaurant. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here.
Suffolk’s bucolic landscapes were made famous by John Constable’s paintings in the 18th century. As Britain’s foremost landscape artist of the time, Constable painted many idyllic views which are still recognisable today.
Walk and explore the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale, the birthplace of Constable, where you can visit the famous Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s House, the site of The Hay Wain painting, which is mostly unchanged since Constable’s days.
Constable Country makes a easy day trip from Ipswich. Art lovers may also want to visit Thomas Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury.
Best Places to Visit on the Suffolk Coast
Suffolk’s Coast is one of the most beguiling and mysterious in England dotted with charming and underrated seaside towns and stretches of natural beauty. Suffolk’s best seaside towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh avoided becoming tacky seaside tourist towns and a largely unspoilt retaining much of their authentic and unique charms. Much of the Suffolk Coast has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty although most of the beaches are pebble and shingle not sand.
While heading across to the Suffolk Coast you could stop at the impressive and imposing 12th century Framlingham Castle. I still have fond memories of dressing up as a princess here on a school trips and more recently Suffolk’s most famous current resident, Ed Sheeren, wrote ‘Castle on the Hill’ inspired by this castle in his home town. If you want to know more about Ed Sheeren’s childhood in Suffolk there’s also an exhibition at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.
Southwold is my favourite town on the Suffolk Coast. A serene and picturesque Georgian town with painted old houses and maritime inns and a lighthouse overlooking a shingle beach with a Victorian pier and colourful beach huts.
Instead of tacky amusements, Southwold’s pier has a restaurant, cute little shops and vintage-style coin-operated machines that have helped win it “Pier of Year”. The lighthouse dates back to 1890 and is still working today. You can climb the 92 steps to the top to enjoy the views. Southwold is also home to the Adnams Brewery which runs tours.
A pleasant 20 minute stroll over the common and footbridge or unique foot ferry bring you to the quaint Georgian village of Walberswick – a popular spot for crabbing, painting, pub lunches and beach walks.
Best Places to Stay in Southwold
If you want to stay on the Suffolk Coast then one of the best places to stay is Southwold. Choose from boutique hotels and B&Bs on the coast, quaint self catering holiday cottages and camping and caravanning sites. Southwold is a small seaside town so budget accommodation is limited and most places get sold out in the summer months. So make sure you book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
The Swan Hotel
My favourite place to stay in Southwold is The Swan Hotel owned by Adnams – the local brewery. This award winning 18th century 4 star hotel is just 200 meters from the sea and combines period features with modern comforts. There’s two fabulous restaurants, four poster beds and the garden rooms have a private patio and a view of Southwold Lighthouse. You can also book onto a special brewery tour for residents. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here.
Take a walk along the wild Dunwich Heath and Beach and see if you can spot the church spires of the sunken village poking up from below the ocean.
There’s not much to see nowadays but during the Anglo Saxon era Dunwich was the capital of the Kingdom of the East Angles and one of the largest towns in England with an important harbour and seven churches.
Due to coastal erosion most of the town has fallen into the sea. There is a small but interesting Dunwich Museum that tells the story of the lost village.
Aldeburgh and Thorpeness
Head further South down the Suffolk Coast to explore Aldeburgh, an even more more low key seaside town. You can stroll along the long pebbly beach, see the famous Scallop sculpture and eat super fresh fish and chips straight from the boat.
Aldeburgh was famous as home to the Aldeburgh music festival, founded by Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten, which is now held at nearby Snape Maltings.
Nearby is enchanting Thorpeness – purpose built in the 1920’s as a fantasy holiday village to recreate the medieval atmosphere of ‘merrie olde englande’ and inspired by Peter Pan. Enjoy the tea rooms and golf course, search for treasure in the eccentric emporium and splash around on Thorpeness Meere, a boating lake discovering islands like ‘The Pirate’s Lair’ and ‘Wendy’s Island’.
Places to Stay in Aldeburgh and Thorpeness
The White Lion Hotel
A lovely traditional hotel opposite Aldeburgh’s shingle beach with comfortable rooms, an oak panelled restaurants as well as an informal beach facing bar serving real ales and fresh Suffolk produce. Book well in advance to get a room with a sea view some of the rooms have far-reaching sea views. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here.
The House in the Clouds
One of the most iconic landmarks of Suffolk. This water tower turned into a unique and spacious holiday home with 5 bedrooms spread over 5 floors and surrounded by 1 acre of private grounds with the finest living rooms views in Suffolk! Book well in advance! Check availability and request to book here.
A little South from Aldeburgh is another village vying for the title of the prettiest village on the Suffolk Coast. Orford is a gem with an impressive castle, cute cottages, pubs and a picturesque quay offering river cruises.
The well preserved keep of 12th century Orford Castle soars over the town and offers views over Orford Ness and is home to the village museum. Orford Ness Nature Reserve is a ten mile long shingle spit with marsh, lagoons, waterways and an interesting, secretive military history. Sadly, the iconic Orfordness Lighthouse built in 1792 was recently demolished.
Woodbridge is a pretty, vibrant, market town on the banks of the River Deben. Stroll along the riverside path and quayside to visit the Tide Mill. This historic mill is over 850 years old and is one of the only tide mills in the world whose water wheel still turns and grinds wholemeal flour.
Nearby is Sutton Hoo, an Anglo Saxon burial site home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. The ancient burial mounds held the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king 1,400 years ago, probably Kind Raedwald, and his treasured possessions.
If you are a horse lover like me then visit the Suffolk Punch Trust that protects the oldest English breed of working horse which is now endangered. As well as meeting the horses and foals you can learn about the agricultural history of Suffolk in the Heritage Museum.
Best Places to Stay in Woodbridge
The Old Granary Cottage
A charmingly renovated former granary is now a 2 bedroom grade II listed holiday cottage with lovely riverside views. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here!
Seckford Hall Hotel
This beautiful, historic, manor house dates back to 1530 and offers great value pet friendly accommodation with plenty of period features, landscaped grounds, a swimming pool and spa and restaurant serving fresh food with many of the herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in their own garden. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here!
Lowestoft is another popular seaside resort in North Suffolk with a golden sandy beach, family fun and seafront amusements. It’s also close to Suffolk’s tourist attractions for families like Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park, a family theme park where we used to go for childhood birthday parties, Africa Alive, a sprawling Africa themed wildlife safari park, East Anglia Transport Museum, the only place in the UK where you can ride on working vintage trams, trolley buses and narrow gauge railway. There’s also Somerleyton Hall one of the finest Victorian stately homes in the UK with the finest gardens in East Anglia.
Best Places to Stay in Lowestoft
The Victoria Hotel
This historic Victorian hotel with comfortable and quirky modern furnishings overlooking Lowestoft’s award-winning blue flag beach offers free parking and makes a good base for exploring the area. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here!
Also don’t miss
OK, strictly speaking Cambridge is not in Suffolk but in Cambridgeshire, but it’s less than 30 mins from Newmarket and you shouldn’t miss visiting this historic and beautiful famous university town.
Things to do in Cambridge
Cambridge boasts ancient colleges, idyllic ‘backs’, lovely parks and pubs, world class museums and a lively student scene. The very best way to experience Cambridge is punting on the River Cam along the backs of the famous colleges. You can either join a guided punting tour or pack a picnic and some bubbly and try out punting yourself – it’s harder than it looks but alot of fun.
Back on dry land visit the bewitching and world famous Cambridge University buildings, a highlight is Kings College, one of England’s finest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture, and explore the Botanic Gardens. One of the best ways to explore Cambridge is on a walking tour lead by the university students themselves.
Cambridge also boasts fascinating museums including the Fitzwilliam Museum, which holds an impressive half a million works of art and antiquities, the Museum of Cambridge, where you can learn all about the city in a lovely 17th-century building, and discover world-class art and artefacts from all over the world at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Not far from Cambridge is also the Imperial War Museum Duxford – Europe’s largest air museum which houses over 200 aircraft and military exhibits and one of my favourite school trips.
Best Places to Stay in Cambridge
If you’re visiting Cambridge in the summer outside of the university term times then what better place to stay than in one of the famous and historic Cambridge University colleges! Christ’s College offers comfortable accommodation in one of the UK’s most historic university buildings with scenic college gardens in the heart of Cambridge city centre. Click here for availability, rates, reviews and to book!
The Graduate Hotel
Wonderful 4 star hotel with ‘Harry Potter’ vibes, restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and garden in a great location near the university colleges. Check availability, rates, reviews and book here!
The Norfolk Broads
I know! Another sneaky entry that’s not actually in Suffolk but over the border in Norfolk but it’s still only 1 hours drive from Bury St Edmunds and one of my favourite places in the UK. The Broads is a network of 127 miles of navigable, lock free waterways, rivers and lakes that twist through big sky countryside of reedbeds and marshland dotted with ruined windmills and picturesque villages.
The Broads were formed by the flooding of peat workings and are now a national park and a popular destination for boating holidays. You can hire a boat and cruise for a blissful week, rent out a boat for the day or join a tour.
I went with Broads Tours. A good, if slightly tacky, entry point to the Broads is Wroxham which has many opportunities to get on the water. It’s also a terminus for the Bure Valley Railway, an 18-mile round trip on a steam locomotive. Oulton Broad near Lowestoft is another gateway to the Broads from Suffolk.
Best Places to Stay on the Norfolk Broads
The best place to stay on the Norfolk Broads is, of course, on a boat! A good place to hire Broads Cruisers is on Norfolk Broads Direct.
There’s also some lovely hotels and pubs overlooking the waterways around Wroxham, Horning, Reedham and Beccles.
One of my favourite hotels is the Waveney House Hotel, in Beccles in Suffolk. Also check out The Hotel Wroxham or The Innkeepers Lodge in Horning.
For a beautiful self catering Norfolk Broads holiday cottage on the water try The Wherry in Wroxham.
So there’s all my favourite places to visit in Suffolk from a lifetime of living here! I hope you’re feeling inspired to visit the under rated gem that is Suffolk! The beautiful countryside, historic towns, pretty villages, coastline and open spaces of untouristy Suffolk could be perfect if you are looking to getaway for a weekend break, staycation or holiday in the UK.
For more information visit the official Visit Suffolk tourism website.
Have you visited Suffolk? Anything else I should add to my list of the best places to visit in Suffolk?
As a deeply spiritual country and the birthplace of yoga, India is a dream destination for most yogis looking to do yoga teacher training abroad and it’s no secret that you’ll find the most affordable and authentic yoga teacher training in India.
Whether you’re thinking of changing your career and becoming a registered yoga teacher, or just simply want to learn authentic yoga beyond the asanas, deepen your yoga practice or have a spiritual experience there are so many great reasons to do yoga teacher training and studying yoga in India is the obvious choice.
There are so many yoga schools in India that choosing the best yoga course for you can be overwhelming so I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to yoga teacher training in India to help you.
I started my own yoga journey in India and it changed my life! I moved to Goa and have been living and traveling in India for over 10 years. I’ve been able to experience many yoga schools in India myself and also heard a few warning stories. So I’ll share with you all my tips to help you have the best experience possible.
A Guide to Yoga Teacher Training in India
Contentshide1A Guide to Yoga Teacher Training in India2Reasons to do yoga teacher training in India2.1The best places in India to do yoga teacher training2.2How much does yoga teacher training in India cost?3How to choose a yoga teacher training course in India3.1200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Courses3.2Advanced Yoga Courses3.3Shorter Yoga Courses3.4Online India Yoga Teacher Training Options4Tips for choosing a yoga school in India5My Pick of the Best Yoga Teacher Training Courses in India5.1The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh5.2The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Goa5.3The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Kerala5.4The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Dharamshala5.5The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Mysore6Tips for planning to your yoga trip to India6.1The best time to do yoga teacher training in India6.2Getting to India6.3Visas for India6.4What to wear for yoga in India
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Reasons to do yoga teacher training in India
India is the obvious choice for authentic yoga teacher training (YTT). India is famous as the birthplace of yoga and Ayurveda which makes the country one of the most popular places in the world to practice yoga or do yoga teacher training (YTT).
Visiting India and being immersed in the rich history and spiritual energy of the country that invented yoga can be a truly transformational experience and a life changing adventure. India holds a very profound spiritual energy that is difficult to describe but can be life changing to experience.
In India, yoga is so much more than simply the physical practice, it’s an ancient science and a complex, spiritual practice and lifestyle. When you do a YTT in India you will learn all about the history of yoga in India and yoga philosophy.
You’ll be taught authentic and traditional yoga from experienced yoga teachers for whom the yogic practices are a way of life. You will not only gain a yoga teacher certification but also learn about the yogic lifestyle and deepen your own personal practice.
Not surprisingly there is a plethora of high quality yoga schools in India, many are registered with Yoga Alliance USA so, once qualified, you’ll be able to teach yoga all over the world as a registered yoga teacher.
It’s also very affordable and a lot cheaper doing a YTT in India compared to the West. Most YTT packages include accommodation and meals throughout the course.
Yoga on a cliff at 3,500 m in Ladakh
The best places in India to do yoga teacher training
India is an amazingly diverse country with so much to explore from the Himalayan mountains to deserts, exciting cities and tropical beaches.
There are many unique holy and spiritual places, temples and colourful religious festivals to experience in Mother India. If you can, allow extra time after your YTT to experience ashram life and travel around India.
Courses can be found all over India but the best places are:-
Known as ‘the yoga capital of the world’ situated on the banks of the holy Ganges river at the foot of the Himalayas with many ashrams. Check out my Rishikesh Travel Guide for more.
A popular beach holiday destination with lively nightlife, colourful hippie markets and a unique fusion of Indian and Portuguese culture. Check my Goa Travel Guide for more.
Laid back, luscious, tropical backwaters, beaches, jungles, tea plantations and wildlife sanctuaries in the far South of India and the birthplace of Ayurveda. Check out my Kerala Travel Guide for more.
A colourful town in South India famous for it’s flamboyant palace, vibrant markets and the home of Ashtanga yoga. Check out my Mysore Travel Guide for more.
The home of the Tibetan government in exile in the Himalayan mountains. Many popular yoga schools from Goa run their courses up here in the summer. Find out why I love Dharamkot so much.
If you want to feel the inspiring energy of the Himalayan mountains then pick Dharamsala or Rishikesh, or if you’d prefer to train in a relaxing, tropical environment, then consider Kerala or Goa in South India.
Do some research (or click on the links to read my other India blog posts) and decide which destination you like the sound of and then start your search for the best schools there.
The best time to do yoga teacher training in India varies depending on your destination as it’s such a huge and diverse country. You’ll find more tips for planning your trip to India and when to visit at the end of this article.
How much does yoga teacher training in India cost?
India has some of the cheapest and most affordable yoga teacher training courses in the world with prices ranging from only $600 – $2000.
The average cost for a 200 hour yoga teacher training in India is around $1000 for a 1 month intensive course with meals and accommodation included.
However, standards of facilities might not be the same as you are used to at home. In India the electricity, hot water supply and internet can be erratic, beds can be hard and food hygiene can be a concern. It’s all part of what makes India such a transformative destination but its often worth paying a bit more for more comfort.
Don’t forget that you’ll need an Indian visa too. (More about this at the end of the article.)
How to choose a yoga teacher training course in India
There’s a lot of things to consider when choosing the teacher training course including the certification you’ll gain, the quality of the yoga education, style of yoga taught, the reputation of the yoga school, the instructors and facilities, destination, length and price of the program and how advanced you are in your own practice.
My top tip would be to consider what yoga style you want to teach, the destination you want to visit and research the reputation and reviews of the teachers and the school. Always make sure the school is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga school. Here’s a great article on how to choose the best YTT for you which goes into more detail.
There are so many different yoga styles – from classical hatha yoga to ashtanga, vinyasa, yin, restorative and even aerial yoga, so whatever you are looking for you can find it in India. If you’re unsure which yoga style to specialise in then go for a multi-style program or traditional classical Hatha 200 hour yoga teacher training program.
It’s generally expected that students undertaking India yoga teacher trainings should have experience of at least 6 months of regular yoga practice, although some schools will accept beginners while others have stricter entry requirements.
There are so many options of different YTT’s it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for you. Here’s the most common options;
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Courses
The intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training certification is the most popular. Courses usually which takes place over 20 – 30 days, but I’d recommend taking the most time you can for the best experience.
A 200 hour India yoga teacher training course should contain daily meditation, pranayama and traditional hatha yoga asana practice as well as lectures on yoga anatomy, alignment, yoga history, the yoga sutras, yoga philosophy and teachings about the yogic lifestyle.
You’ll also learn about teaching methodology and get teaching practice, both one on one and leading up to teaching the whole class towards the end of your training.
This is a really important element of a yoga instructor course to prepare you for being a registered yoga teacher. Some courses have written exams, others just have a practical exam where the students teach a class at the end of the course.
Successful completion of the 200 hour yoga teacher training course will give trainees a yoga teacher certification and the qualification to register with Yoga Alliance, become a certified yoga teacher and start teaching yoga.
Advanced Yoga Courses
For those who want to go deeper, after completing the initial 200 hours, there’s also the option of the more advanced yoga course – the 300 hour YTT.
Or you could choose a 500 hour YTT this is a intensive combination of the 200 hour and 300 hour yoga program in succession and takes about 60 days.
Shorter Yoga Courses
If you are looking for short yoga courses, or you’re not sure if you’re ready for a full yoga teacher training program yet, you can opt for a foundation 100 hour yoga teacher training course and come back later to do another 100 hours to complete your certification. There’s also a few 50 hour options.
Remember that authentic Indian yoga teacher training course is not a relaxing yoga retreat holiday – it’s an intensive, challenging, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual life changing journey.
If you’d prefer a relaxing yoga holiday then you’d be better off going for a yoga retreat in India. There are also many amazing ashrams and meditation centres you can visit in India and even stay in if you want to experience ashram life.
Online India Yoga Teacher Training Options
If you can’t make it to India right now there is a still a way to gain your yoga teacher certification as some of the best Indian yoga schools offer online yoga teacher training courses nowadays.
One of the best is World Peace Yoga School in Rishikesh who offer a comprehensive self paced multi-style online 200 hour yoga teacher training where you can earn your Yoga Alliance certification to work as a yoga instructor anywhere in the world.
Online YTT’s are generally the most affordable way to become a certified yoga instructor, but they do have some drawbacks compared to in-person trainings. Here’s more on the pros and cons of online yoga teacher training.
Tips for choosing a yoga school in India
There are a plethora of schools in India offering YTTs but not all are equal and choosing a good one can be difficult.
A lot of yoga centres in India are mostly focused on profit than providing the most authentic experience. Ones that show up high on a Google search are not necessarily offering the best yoga education, they are just good at SEO.
There are also many fake gurus out there and solo female travellers need to especially careful as there have been cases of sexual misconduct and the rise of #MeToo in yoga is a real concern, not just in India but all over the world. Women do need to be careful who they trust when traveling to India (check out my tips for women here)
A good way of checking out the schools reputation is to read real reviews and testimonies from past students on bookyogateachertraining.com to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. You should also check that the school is a registered yoga school and approved by Yoga Alliance or the International Yoga Federation.
Read more here about how to choose a good yoga teacher training program and how to prepare for doing yoga teacher training.
My Pick of the Best Yoga Teacher Training Courses in India
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of programs this bit is for you! To make it easy for you here are my recommendations for some of the best schools for 200 hour yoga teacher training in India.
This list is based on personal experience, recommendations from friends, years of research and reviews on www.bookyogateachertraining.com.I hope it helps you take the next step in your yoga journey!
The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh
200 hours Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga Vidya Mandiram, Rishikesh
Image courtesy of Yoga Vidya Mandiram and www.bookyogateachertraining.com
If you decide to do a yoga teacher training in India, why not go straight to one of the most popular programs in the world capital of yoga in Rishikesh at Yoga Vidya Mandiram.
This program offers a 22-day, 200-hour hatha, ashtanga vinyasa YTT on the banks of the holy Ganges River in the foothills of the Himalayas. This program focuses on traditional Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga styles and is affiliated with Yoga Alliance.
As well as practicing your yoga asanas in the studio and on the banks of the holy Ganges river, you’ll learn all about Patanjali’s yoga philosophy, the eight limbs of yoga, anatomy, alignment, teaching methodology, pranayama, mediation and yoga nidra.
You’ll work with experienced and registered yoga teachers that have been steeped in traditional hatha yoga teachings from a young age and are eager to teach yoga and share their wealth of knowledge with you and get a lot of teaching practice yourself.
The program includes accommodation and three healthy vegetarian meals a day. You can stay in a single room or a shared double room, and all rooms have Wi-Fi connection available. You’ll also be able to visit local holy shrines and temples, go hiking or rafting, or go on a short walk to visit the town or the river ghats.
One of the reasons for Yoga Vidya Mandiram’s popularity is the range of yoga certification courses they offer. If you have limited time or you are just beginning your yogic practice you could go for their 7 day 50 hour Hatha and Ashtanga YTT, or the 11 day 100 hour Hatha and Ashtanga program.
If you’ve already done your 200 hours you can do an advanced 300 hour YTT over 28 days, or do your 200 and 300 together in one go with the epic 50 day 500 hour YTT.
See more details, dates, prices and reviews here
Read more about Rishikesh and the other Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Rishikesh I recommend here
The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Goa
200 hours Hatha Yoga Teacher Training
Earth Yoga Village, Palolem, Goa
Image courtesy of Earth Yoga Village and bookyogateachertraining.com
The beaches of Goa are one of the most popular places for a YTT and Earth Yoga Village in Palolem is my favourite.
This Goa yoga teacher training course is held at a beautiful, laid back, eco village on Palolem Beach which is arguably the most beautiful beach in all of Goa for a yoga practice.
Earth Yoga Village runs an amazing 27-day, 200-hour hatha yoga teacher training set in a beautiful jungle by the Arabian Sea. The sea breeze, combined with the lush green scenery, provides a tranquil scene for your yoga classes.
You’ll participate in Hatha yoga and Vinyasa flow yoga classes and learn all about yoga anatomy, alignment, yoga philosophy, teaching methodology, pranayama, mediation and yoga nidra to receive Yoga Alliance certification following successful completion of the program.
Earth Yoga Village creates an intentional community atmosphere. You’ll be able to stay in a cute eco beach hut and have access to healing and chill-out spaces and a library. You’ll eat three vegan meals per day and have access to skilled yoga instructors and therapists throughout your stay.
Earth Yoga Village also occasionally host a special 13 day 100 hour mindfulness and meditation teacher training, a 13 day 100 hour yin and yoga nidra teacher training and, for those who’ve already done their 200 hours they offer an advance 27 day 300 hour holistic YTTC.
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
Read more about Goa and the other Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Goa I recommend here
The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Kerala
200 hours Hatha, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training
Vrinda School of Yoga, Varkala, Kerala
Image courtesy of Vrinda School of Yoga and bookyogateachertraining.com
Kerala is one of the most luscious and relaxing places in all of India and the home of the ancient life of science of Ayurveda making it the perfect destination for deepening your yoga practice.
This 28-day 200-hour Kerala YTT is located in the heart of the stunning holy beachside town of Varkala. This location gives you access to beaches, temples, nearby authentic fishing villages and countless outdoor activities.
The program at Vrinda Scientific School of Yoga features Hatha yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga training led by passionate, qualified doctors of yoga and nature cures with expertise in a wide variety of styles. The school is also registered with Yoga Alliance USA.
The lead teacher Doctor Malathi is a post graduate degree holder of yoga from Dr. MGR medical College Chennai with over 10 year experience in yoga training and one of the best yoga teachers. Female yoga teachers are not as common in India and her energy, empathy and enthusiasm was a real highlight for me and will put solo female travellers at ease.
Your included accommodation will give you access to beautiful scenery, and you will be able to participate in extra activities such as painting, cooking, and Sanskrit classes. You’ll eat three meals a day of fresh, delicious, vegan, Ayurvedic food perfect for a yogic diet.
Being in the birthplace of Ayurveda, Vrinda School of Yoga also offers a 28 day 200 hour YTT program with ayurvedic massages and treatments.
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Dharamshala
200 hours Multi Style Yoga Teacher Training
Sarvaguna Yoga, Bhagsu, Dharamshala
Image courtesy of Sarvaguna Yoga and bookyogateachertraining.com
If you want to escape the heat of India and feel the magic and powerful energy of the Himalayan mountains head up to the Dharamshala area for a traditional yoga training.
An excellent choice for an authentic Indian yoga training in Dharamshala is Sarvaguna Yoga. Tucked into the mountainside at the base of the Himalayas in the serene village of Bhagsu close to McCleod Ganj – the home of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government in exile.
The 200 hour YTT offered here takes place over 28 days and incorporates asana practice in classical hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga, yin yoga and yoga nidra as well as mantra chanting, pranayama, daily meditation and spiritual therapy.
Classes are taught by experienced instructors, one of which is Dr. Keshava, a registered yoga teacher who has taught over 100 teacher training courses and the school is registered with Yoga Alliance. You’ll also be taught the yoga business skills you’ll need for a successful career as a yoga teacher or yoga studio owner.
Your modern and comfortable guest house accommodation will include Wi-Fi, 24-hour hot showers, and everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing stay including freshly prepared traditional Indian vegetarian meals.
On your days off you will be able to visit temples and monasteries and explore the mountains, participate in trekking excursions. Dharamsala is one of my favourite places to go in India in the Summer months and I’m sure if you go you’ll fall in love too.
The Himalayas are probably one of the best places in the world to meditate and Sarvaguna also offer a 15 day 100 hour meditation teacher training program. If you’ve already done your 200 hour check out their advanced 300 hour YTT held over 28 days.
Sarvaguna offer courses in Dharamshala from April till September and in the winter time from October – March you’ll find them on peaceful Agonda Beach offering their 200 hour yoga certification courses in Goa.
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
The Best Yoga Teacher Training in Mysore
500 hour Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training
Image courtesy of Yogadarshanam and bookyogateachertraining.com
Mysore is famous is the yoga world as Guru Pattabhi Jois developed Ashtanga yoga here. His world famous yoga centre, the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, is now run by his daughter but it can be difficult to get into.
Luckily there are now other options for yogis wanting to immerse themselves in the Mysore yogic lifestyle. The intensive yoga program at popular Yogadarshanam is 60 days long and will give you a 500 hour yoga certification and prepare you to be an amazing yoga teacher.
The 200 hours and 300 hour courses are combined into one experience here with a focus on Ashtanga yoga and Hatha yoga styles. As well as practicing your yoga asanas and teaching style you’ll also study yoga philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodology and the yoga sutras so you’ll be super knowledgeable once you start teaching yoga. You will take yoga classes from an experienced instructor who trained under BKS Iyengar, one of the world’s most famous yoga masters as well as work on your own asana practice.
Mysore is a colourful and fairly large city in the south of India, so unlike more remote YTT locations, this program will allow you the option to explore urban Indian life and the many things to do and see in Mysore like temples, markets and flamboyant palaces.
Most yoga students in Mysore have to arrange their own accommodation near the yoga studio, but Yogadarshanam provide comfortable accommodation in Gokulam, the yoga area as well as three vegetarian meals a day during your program.
See more details, dates, prices, reviews and book here!
For more options check out the listings on bookyogateachertraining.com and remember to read the reviews!
Tips for planning to your yoga trip to India
The best time to do yoga teacher training in India
Generally speaking the best time to visit India is between November and March in the cool, dry, winter season where days are sunny and dry and temperatures are cool, by Indian standards.
April and May can be unbearably hot until the monsoon rains bring respite from the heat in June/July – September/October, depending on where you are.
But India is a huge and diverse country so the best time to do a yoga teacher training in India really depends on your destination:
November – March is the best time to do a YTT in Goa, Kerala and Mysore. After that it becomes too hot or too wet.
If you do a YTT in Rishikesh in December or January you’ll likely find it quite cold, especially during early morning meditation or yoga classes. Rishikesh is in the foothills of the Himalayas it gets pretty chilly up there in the winter and the buildings are generally not very well insulated and shalas (yoga studios) are often open air.
For Rishikesh, the best time to go is September/October or March – April. Dharmashala is even higher up than Rishikesh so gets even colder but is a perfect escape from the heat in May, June and July.
Getting to India
Mumbai (BOM) and New Delhi (DEL) receive many international flights from all over the world and will probably be your point of entry to India, although Goa and Kerala also have smaller international airports.
From Mumbai or Delhi you can transfer to a domestic flight to get closer to your YTT destination. Most yoga schools will be able to arrange a transfer from the nearest airport and I recommend you take this to ensure you get to your destination safely and stress free.
The quickest way to get to Rishikesh is to take a domestic flight from Delhi to Dehra Dun which takes about 1 hour. Then from Dehra Dun it is about 40 minutes in a taxi to Rishikesh. Alternatively the bus from Delhi to Rishikesh takes about 6 hours. The train to Haridwar takes about 7 – 9 hours and then you’ll need to get a taxi 30 mins to Rishikesh. Book your train well in advance as they get fully booked.
Cochin in Kerala and Goa both have well connected airports receiving some international and many domestic flights. Mysore is 3 hours from Bengaluru/ Bangalore which receives many international flights.
The nearest airport to Dharamshala is Kangra/ Gaggal Airport (DHM) which is a small airport with limited services 30 mins away from Dharamshala. You can also get an overnight sleeper bus from Delhi but this can be a hair raising ride through the mountains.
You can book buses and trains in India easily online at 12Go Asia.
Visas for India
Nearly all nationalities (apart from citizens of Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives) must apply for an Indian visa before travelling.
An E-Visa is available to 156 nationalities including the USA, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries, but you still need to apply online before you travel to India. Get your e-visa here.
E-Visas are currently unavailable for citizens of the UK and Canada. You need to apply online withVFS and attend an appointment in person to get a regular/paper Indian visa. The waiting time for appointments in the UK is currently about 1 month. So apply well in advance, but also be aware that the visa is valid from the date of issue, not the date of entry.
If getting an Indian visa is a problem why not consider Bali instead – it’s also a deeply spiritual Hindu island with many luxurious retreats and trainings.
India has reopened for tourism but all international arrivals still also need to submit an online self declaration form and upload either a vaccine certificate or negative covid test. Check the latest covid news and arrival guidelines here
What to wear for yoga in India
India is a conservative country and female travellers should dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention. Loose fitting, light clothes are a good way to cover up and stay comfortable in the heat.
Tight leggings and crop tops aren’t really appropriate for yoga in India although you don’t need to cover up so much at the yoga retreats or beaches of Goa, the most westernised state in India. See more packing tips and what to wear when traveling in India here.
Also make sure your travel insurance covers you for all the activities you plan to do on your trip and for any covid related cancellations or illness. I recommendWorld Nomads
I hope this blog has helped to find your ideal India yoga teacher training course. If you’re still undecided check out my other posts or this article aboutyoga teacher training abroad for more tips and recommendations. Also check out Love Yoga Love Travel Blog my new yoga blog.
Read More India and Yoga Blogs:
The Best Yoga Retreats in India
The Best Yoga Retreats in Goa
The Best Yoga Retreats in Rishikesh
The Best Yoga and Ayurveda Retreats in Kerala
A Guide to Yoga Teacher Training in Goa
A Guide to Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh
Tips for Women Traveling in India
The Ultimate Itinerary for Traveling India
Did you do your yoga teacher training in India?
I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below the post and help out other yogis and travellers!
Bali, also known as ‘the island of the gods,’ is one of the world’s most enchanting destinations. It’s a larger island than most people realise and there’s so much to see and do that it can be hard to plan your Bali itinerary.
From epic surf and diving to beautiful beaches, mesmerising temples, stunning rice terraces and waterfalls, some of best yoga retreats in the world and some of the nicest people I’ve ever meet – there’s so much to love about Bali!
The Best 2 Week Bali Itinerary
I’ve been lucky enough to live in Bali and explore every inch of this beautiful island several times, so I thought it was about time I put all my tips into a 2 week Bali itinerary.
Some of the best things to do in Bali are surfing, yoga and exploring the stunning nature and unique culture of this deeply spiritual island.
So this is my ideal itinerary for 2 weeks in Bali which includes plenty of yoga and surfing and will allow you to experience the spiritual side of the island of the gods.
Read More: 10 Absolute best things to do in Bali
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If you only have 2 weeks in Bali you want to make the most of your time so this Bali itinerary includes just the highlights. I’ve skipped all the bits that I didn’t absolutely love (ie Kuta Beach!) and just included my absolute favourite places and experiences in Bali.
As Bali is one of the best places in the world for surfing and yoga my Bali itinerary focuses on combining these activities with sightseeing.
So if you want a healthy, fun and active 2 week Bali itinerary with a focus on yoga, surfing and spirituality them I’ve been there and done the research for you – just follow my itinerary to have the best 2 weeks in Bali! 🙂
Read More: Where to Stay in Bali: The lowdown on all the areas and hotel recommendations to suit all budgets
How to Spend 2 Weeks in Bali
Contentshide1The Best 2 Week Bali Itinerary2How to Spend 2 Weeks in Bali2.1Bali Itinerary Day 1 – 4: Surfing @ Canggu2.2Bali Itinerary Day 5 – 9: Yoga and Temples @ Ubud2.3Bali Itinerary Day 10 – 13: Diving and Snorkeling @ Nusa Lembongan2.4Bali Itinerary Day 14: Sanur3Essential Tips for Planning Your Bali Itinerary3.1Best time to visit Bali3.2Visas for Bali3.3Getting to Bali and getting around
Bali Itinerary Day 1 – 4: Surfing @ Canggu
Start your 2 week Bali itinerary by flying into Denpasar (DPS) the only airport. I always check Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
If you only have 2 weeks in Bali then give the busy areas like Kuta beach, Legian beach and Seminyak beach a miss and instead head straight to cool Canggu beach – Bali’s hippest surf, yoga and digital nomad hot spot.
Canggu isn’t as busy as Kuta but still has loads of cool beaches and surf spots including Echo Beach and Batu Bolong. There’s also tons of cafes, bars, shops and yoga studios.
Canggu is also close to Tanah Lot temple and surrounded my green paddy fields instead of high rise hotels. Click here for more about the coolest things to do in Canggu.
Where to stay in Canggu:
I stayed at Stormrider Surf Camps. The wooden traditional style accommodation is in a great area of Canggu surrounded by rice paddies and overlooking the swimming pool.
Each morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, we visited the most epic surf spots, chilled on the beach at lunch and in the evening cooled down with some great yoga sessions. Bliss! They even pick you up from the airport and its perfect for beginners. The 3 day package is perfect if you want to fit it in to a 2 week Bali itinerary.
Click here for my recommendations of the best places to stay in Canggu and check out more surf camps in Bali here.
Ulu Watu is another good place to start your Bali itinerary. The surf here is better suited for my experienced surfers but there are some beautiful beaches, luxury resorts with stunning views from the cliffs and the Ulu Watu temple to check out.
Bali Itinerary Day 5 – 9: Yoga and Temples @ Ubud
After you’ve had a your fix of surf and beaches head inland up to Ubud – the cultural and spiritual heart of Bali. If you’re looking for the spiritual side of Bali then Ubud will be a highlight of your 2 week Bali itinerary.
Visit the sacred monkey forest, Ubud palace, the stunning Tegalalang rice terraces and the many temples, stay in one of the world’s best yoga retreats and eat in the many almost unbelievably delicious raw vegan restaurants. Check out more things to do in Ubud here.
Ubud also makes a great base to explore the rest of the island including some of the most magical temples – my favourites are Ulun Danu Beratan (the temples that looks like it’s floating on the lake), Pura Besakih (the mother temple) and Tirta Empul (a water purification temple.)
You can rent a scooter to explore the temples and rice terraces or if you want to see the best of all Bali’s most beautiful and instagrammable spots in just one day you can take this popular Bali Instagram tour – the tour guide will even help you get the perfect insta worthy shot.
Where to Stay in Ubud:
I stayed at Om Ham Retreat just north of Ubud which was the highlight of my 2 weeks in Bali. I really enjoyed the unique style of Kundalini Tantra yoga taught there by an authentic Balinese guru.
There was plenty of time for me to rent a scooter and explore as well as just chilling in the swimming pool overlooking the rice paddies, enjoying the massages in the spa, the yummy, healthy food and kundalini smoothies.
There are yoga retreats in Ubud to suit all styles and abilities though and there are also many amazing places to stay from family run homestays to luxury villas with infinity pools overlooking the jungle and rice terraces.
Check out this guide to yoga in Bali for more and see my recommendations for where to stay in Ubud and the best yoga retreats in Ubud.
Bali Itinerary Day 10 – 13: Diving and Snorkeling @ Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan, along with Nusa Cenigan and Nusa Penida are 3 small tropical islands only 30 mins boat ride away from Sanur (get your boat ticket here) and just might be my new favourite place in Bali.
You could visit the smaller Gili Islands instead, but I prefer these islands as there’s more local Balinese life and culture here. It’s like Bali used to be before the crowds came. They are also much closer so saves you time if you are planning a 2 week Bali itinerary and want to fit in as much as possible.
The Nusa Islands have some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the world where you can dive with giant manta rays and turtles on the surrounding reefs. There are so many options for snorkeling trips, discovery dives and padi diving courses on the island and you don’t need any experience to try a fun dive with Lembongan Dive Center.
There are 3 islands to explore here – Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are connected by a super cute yellow suspension bridge and Nusa Penida is largely unexplored and contains some of Bali’s most stunning natural beauty spots. It’s also really fun to explore the island by scooter or just laze on the blissfully uncrowded beaches and soak up the epic sunsets. See here for more things to do in Nusa Lembongan.
Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan:
I stayed at Nyoh Gading Homestay and Hostel which has dorms and private rooms, a lovely swimming pool and chilled café area and great staff and it’s less than 1 minute walk from Jungtu Batu Beach – the best area to stay on the island.
Also see my recommendations for more of the best places to stay in Nusa Lembongan here.
If you have more time then I’d recommend hopping on a boat and visiting the paradisaical tiny Gili Islands and Lombok, but it might be hard to fit these in to a 2 week Bali itinerary.
Bali Itinerary Day 14: Sanur
If you’ve got an early flight then it’s probably a good idea to plan your 2 week Bali itinerary so that you spend your last night back on the mainland. Sanur is a good place between the islands and the airport with a calm beach and plenty of beach front cafes.
Ulu Watu, Nusa Dua or Jimbaran are also good options as they are close to the airport and have wonderful beaches with a great choice of luxury resorts.
Read this post for a detailed explanation of all the different areas to stay in Bali to help you decide.
Essential Tips for Planning Your Bali Itinerary
Best time to visit Bali
If you’re planning an active 2 week Bali itinerary you should check the weather beforehand to make sure you’ll be able to do all the activities you want to do.
As a tropical island, Bali is warm all year round with the temperatures being between 28°C and 32°C (82°F to 90°F) however, the more mountainous areas, like Ubud, are slightly cooler.
There are two distinct seasons in Bali that you should know when planning your Bali trip – the wet season and the dry season.
The dry season is from April – September. This is the best time to visit Bali for beach days, sunbathing, hiking, diving and most outdoor activities. It’s also the main tourist season with July and August being the busiest months. Experienced surfers can surf all year round in Bali but beginner surfers will be better off visiting Bali in the dry season.
Bali’s wet season is from November to March. Frequent tropical downpours give Bali it’s famous, luscious, tropical, greenery. The wet season is a good time to visit Bali to escape the crowds and enjoy cheaper prices at the spas and luxury resorts. Christmas and New Year are still busy though. It doesn’t rain every day though, East and North Bali are not so wet, but Ubud sees a lot of rain.
For me, the best time to visit Bali is the shoulder seasons like April and May and September and October. It can be a little hot and humid and you might experience a short downpour but you’ll get to enjoy all Bali has to offer while avoiding the peak season crowds and prices. May is also when the Bali Spirit Festival is held!
Visas for Bali
Most nationalities can get a 30 day Visa on Arrival at the airport which costs $35 USD . The visa fee can be paid in cash in several major currencies or by card. Once you arrive, walk to the right as you exit the airport and get a fixed-rate coupon for an official taxi.
You can extend the visa by a further 30 days by visiting the immigration office in Denpasar.
Getting to Bali and getting around
If you’re planning a 2 week Bali itinerary then make sure you allow enough time to get there! Bali is close to Australia and a long way from Europe and America. Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) also known as Denpasar International Airport in the south is Bali’s only airport.
There are many flights to Bali from Australia but there are limited direct flights to Bali from Europe or North America. To reach Bali from Europe or America you’ll probably have to fly to one of the Asian hubs like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok from which there are frequent flights to Bali .
All these cities are exciting destinations in their own right so why not plan your itinerary to have a few days stopover and break the journey by exploring somewhere like Singapore on the way.
Getting around Bali can be a bit tricky as there isn’t really a proper bus or public transport system and the popular tourist destinations can get a bit congested with traffic so it’s important to plan your 2 week Bali itinerary carefully to avoid wasting time being stuck in traffic.
Locals use Bemos (mini buses) to get between the villages but it’s not the quickest or easiest way for tourists to get around the island. There’s is the Kura-Kura Bus, a public shuttle bus service that operates daily between the popular tourist areas of Bali.
If you are planning a packed Bali itinerary and want to see alot then the best way to get around Bali is to either rent a motorbike or car or hire a taxi or driver to get around.
Gojek is an online taxi and motorbike taxi app that works in the most developed areas of Bali and is a cheap, safe and convenient way to get around. They can also deliver food or groceries to you.
Hiring a private driver in Bali is not expensive and is a good way to do a day’s sightseeing if you don’t want to drive yourself or join a tour as you get the freedom to go wherever you want on your own schedule. If you want the contact for my driver just email me.
I hope you found this 2 week Bali itinerary useful, if there’s any more Bali travel tips you need just leave a comment below.