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Wellness Series #5 - 5 Ways a Holiday is Different From a Retreat

While we’re familiar with the free time, relaxation and indulgence in a beautiful new setting that a holiday entails, what sets a retreat apart? They incorporate many similar elements, so here’s how to tell the difference…


The choice to book a holiday can simply be to break away from our daily routine, take a breather from work, or put responsibilities on hold temporarily.

Choosing a retreat usually stems from the desire to change and improve our lives. Often it requires being up to facing potential challenges while on a path towards greater fulfillment.


The purpose of a holiday is generally to relax and enjoy downtime, away from work and home life, and experience a location by exploring local culture and food.

Embarking on a retreat is usually for the purpose of enhancing well-being and kickstarting change, whether to eat more healthily, move mindfully or learn about something that supports personal growth. It’s often done solo for more focused reflection, and an opportunity to connect with others on a like-minded journey.


On holiday, the experience focuses outwards on exploring new surroundings with a sense of fun and excitement. It’s about enjoying the moment, whether activities are planned or time is spent at leisure.

On a retreat, the focus turns inwards as you learn to tune into your body, mind, feelings and intuition. Meals, activities and treatments are thoughtfully designed to support the change guests seek. As you surrender and allow yourself to process potentially difficult emotions, it results in you leaving feeling lighter and feeling more connected.


Guidance on holiday tends to be in the form of a tour operator or guide sharing knowledge on the region. If sightseeing is a highlight, the majority of time is spent outside the hotel exploring the destination. Itineraries may be fixed with optional programmes included, or you may need to organise experiences on the trip.

Retreats led by wellness guides, experts, teachers and hosts are developed to help you achieve objectives around enhancing well-being. All that is required is that you show up, without needing any prior knowledge on the subject, and allow your hosts to take care of the rest, leading you through each step of the process. The venue or hotel is important, as you may spend most of the time there to reap maximum benefits. Spending time in nature is also usually a key element of most retreats.


The benefits of a holiday are having time to relax, be it lazing on the beach with a book, or breaking your routine by indulging in local delicacies. Although you feel rested and create new memories and experiences to take home, this often fades soon after returning to life as normal.

The longer-term benefits of a retreat add new meaning to your life as you learn about healthy practices and eat nutrient-rich food. These new tools can enrich your life back home, while supporting ongoing growth and change. The restoration takes place at a deeper level both with yourself and others.

Should you be inspired to experience these benefits firsthand, please for full details on our upcoming retreats. While you will enjoy all the rest and relaxation of a traditional holiday, we go a step further and ensure you return home with tips, practices and tools to support your personal growth long after your suitcases are unpacked.

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