5 natural spa retreats in Europe

5 natural spa retreats in Europe

Return to nature in the heart of some of Europe's most wildly romantic national parks

1. Peneda-Geres National Park - Portugal

Set among lush oak forests and prehistoric granite plateaus, Peneda-Geres is one of a kind. The mineral springs of Calda de Geres were favoured by Roman settlers, and after an energising day exploring the mountains together on local Garrano ponies, they're perfect for treat yourselves to a well deserved soak.

Sit back and relax: Surrounded by craggy mountains and luscious lakes, Aguas do Geres Hotel Termas and Spa is the perfect place to ease back. The hotel's wellness centre will take the stress out of your honeymoon, with massages, cool pools and simmering hot tubs - there's something for everyone.

2. Majella National Park - Italy

Situated just two hours east from Rome, Majella is a world apart from the clamour and bustle of the capital city. Known by the locals as 'Mother Mountain', the peak towers above the surrounding countryside at over 2,000m, making it a refuge and haven for wildlife and for those who know of it.

Together you can spend the day hiking the 'freedom path' through Majella's panoramic beech forests or exploring the vast limestone 'grotte' before returning to the picturesque hillside town of Caramanico Terme to enjoy the natural sulphurous thermal waters or the luxurious spa at Hotel La Reserve and to
sample the little-known but exquisite Abruzzese cuisine.

Sit back and relax: If you're looking to chill out and recharge on your honeymoon Hotel La Reserve is the place to stay. A mixture of wellness, traditional and aesthetic treatments are on offer with 'advanced techniques'. A steaming outdoor pool - with sulphurous water - restores the body and spirit. While the Grotto spa looks and feels like a Roman bath with ancient healing features on hand for those fizzled out by their wedding.

3. Fulufjallet National Park - Sweden

Prepare to be mesmerised from the moment you and your partner enter into the paradise that is Fulufjallet. Cascading waterfalls, frozen in motion and glistening in the bright Nordic sun contrast with verdant, lichen-bedecked spruce-forests, concealing the crystalline rivers within.

If you are both feeling active, zip up warm and have a go at cross country skiing, or head out onto the lake in a two man canoe. Or, if you just want to have some down time, take a ride on a husky-pulled sled and cosy up as you watch the magical pearly landscape pass you both by. Warm up those chilly limbs with a Scandinavian sauna and, if you are lucky, fall asleep to the unforgettable sight of the dazzling northern lights, glimmering above you both in an otherwise silent sky.

Sit back and relax: The park has loads of options to stay nearby, from cosy chalets in the back woods, historic wooden houses like Turistgården in Särna, to the more luxurious ski-in, ski-out Pernilla Wiberg Hotel at nearby Idre Fjäll.

4. Oulanka National Park - Finland

Close to the Arctic Circle, Oulanka is a wilderness wonderland for those couples who wish to try something just a little different. Pull on those walking boots and together brave the 'bear trek' hike which, lasting several days, allows you to glimpse the Scandinavian forests in all their untouched splendour. Or how about a day of cross country skiing, or having a go at climbing at the Mount Karhu ice wall? Snuggle up in the evening at a traditional Finnish sauna or, in the summer months, spend the night in an igloo, trying your hand at fishing or simply basking in the midnight sun...

Sit back and relax: Shake off winter's chill in a wood burning Finnish sauna, or a more traditional smoke sauna. Stay at Basecamp Oulanka for the best mix of adventure and relaxation.

5. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park - Georgia

Saddle up with your partner in the picturesque villages of Marelisi or Abastumani and discover the untouched beauty of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Together you can enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Black Sea in the west and the Caucasus Mountains to the north. If you're feeling adventurous, ascend Mount Samethskhvario which, at over 2,500m will reward you with unparalleled vistas of extensive woodland and forest. Then return to Marelisi to taste local produce and even join local residents in traditional processes, such as cheese and wine making.

Sit back and relax: The Borjomi Gorge area is renowned for its mineral springs and resort towns. Borjomi on the eastern edge of the national park, Nunisi to the north and Abastumani, south of the park have warm mineral springs and historic sulphur baths to soak your cares away.

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