Last updated on March 8th, 2023 at 11:49 am
It’s that time of year when travel dreamers begin to dream about possible travel destinations for next year, coupled with the holiday season itself, where we are reminded to be grateful for another year and all its blessings.
I’ve assembled my 8 top travel designation retreats where you can practice gratitude.
These travel destinations offer the perfect peaceful environment in which to rejuvenate, reconnect, and practice gratitude. Think of adding these to your travel dream bucket list.
8 Gratitude Retreats for your Travel Bucket List
1. Ananda–In the Himalayas
Located in the Indian Himalayas, overlooking the Ganges river, not far from the towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar, Ananda–In the Himalayas is India’s first luxury destination spa.
Positioned near the birthplace of yoga and the place where The Beatles’ discovered transcendental meditation, the premises includes the royal palace of Narendra Nagar, of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal. At the heart of Ananda–In the Himalayas, it is focused on Yoga and Ayurvedic practices.
Ananda–In the Himalayas was rated as the number one destination spa in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine and stated as one of the best spas in the world in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
2. St. Vincent and The Grenadine in the Caribbean islands
Saint Vincent is the main island, and the Grenadines are a chain of smaller islands stretching south from Saint Vincent Island to Grenada. One precious gem in St. Vincent is the “family-run, home-away-from-home” boutique hotel, the Beachcombers. The hotel is located on Villa Beach in Kingstown near Spanish Wells, Gaulding’s Cay, Tarpum Bay, and Rock Sound.
Secluded islands offer beaches that make you grateful to be alive. Feeling the sun on your face, the smell of sea air, and the sand between your toes offer extended moments of pure bliss.
3. Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
The Bernese Oberland, also known as the Bernese Highlands, is located in the higher part of the canton of Bern, Switzerland. It encompasses the areas around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and the valleys of the Bernese Alps.
Recharge your batteries in the Alps, where gratitude for being alive grips your senses.
Spend a day hiking in the Berner Oberland. The regional transportation system is fantastic, with railways and cable cars to drop you near a scenic hiking location.
4. Argentine, Patagonia
Patagonia is a thinly populated region at the southern end of South America. Known for its spectacular trekking experiences, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares has incredible visual natural wonders to take your breath away. Most hiking trails are for the moderate trekker, with a few challenging sections worth the effort.
The Patagonia region has plenty of accommodations to suit any travel needs, from golfing resorts to traditional hotels to hosterías. Hosterías are small hotels that typically were created from abandoned sheep ranches.
Go trek on a glacier and be grateful!
5. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Don’t be disappointed by the “touristy nature” of seeing Ha Long Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam, as it is one of the more beautiful places globally. The incredible limestone karst scenery, the golden sunsets, the little floating villages, and fruit-selling boat people–all a glory for the senses and a great place to practice being grateful.
Ha Long Bay has twice been recognized as a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO and one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Because of this, there are a few luxury hotels, high-altitude rooms with views of Ha Long Bay, and a variety of mini-hotels that require booking well before your planned trip.
6. Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish and is located in the Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. Pamukkale is a mineral-bath spa created by terraces of carbonate minerals from the flowing water. Say your gratitude mantras in the Sacred Pool. Be prepared to walk barefoot and be sure to wear sunglasses, as the white hillside can be as blinding as fresh snow.
The Pamukkale site was registered as a first-degree natural and archaeological site in 1980 and has earned its place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are plenty of budget-friendly hotels in the town of Pamukkale that are within walking distance of the entrance to the pools. You can be grateful for that!
7. Machu Picchu, Peru
What travel bucket list would be complete without mentioning Machu Picchu, Peru? Located in Aguas Calientes, Peru, Machu Picchu is the ruins left behind by a prominent 15th-century Inca city. Known as the “Old Mountain” by the Inca people who built it, Machu Picchu is the perfect location to close your eyes for a moment of gratitude and breathe in the crisp, high-altitude air.
Whereas I would be the type of traveler to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you don’t have to hike to get to the mountaintop and can be grateful that bus and train options are available. If you do want to hike the trail, you are not allowed to hike on your own; instead, you must hike with a licensed tour company.
8. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa National Park is located in eastern Zambia, Africa, and is furthest south of the three national parks in the valley of the Luangwa River. If you want to see the last remaining African wildlife, this is the place to go. For this reason, South Luangwa is considered one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries.
Staring at the stars sprinkling across the night sky will be one of the most cherished moments of your lifetime. It will make you grateful to be alive.
I hope this list of possible gratitude retreat ideas helps you with your travel bucket list ideas for the coming new year.
And in the words of John Muir:
“Hiking–I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains–not hike! Do you know the origin of the word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages, people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now, these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
And tell them how grateful we are for spending time in magnificence.
Natasha von Geldern is a travel writer, editor, and blogger who is passionate about making the pages of the atlas real by traveling the world. She is a contributor to Travel Wire Asia, Wild Junket Magazine, Yahoo! Total Travel, and Travelbite. You can find her on her travel website and blog, WorldWanderingKiwi.
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