There's no denying that wellness is having a moment and in travel, people are increasingly seeking out holidays with a healthy twist. Whilst meandering through the limestone peaks of the Dolomites and coasting along the shores of Lake Garda and Lake Como, our Italy expert, Charlotte, discovered that there's no better place to strive for wellness than here. Continue reading to find out why...
We could all use a little more happiness in our day-to-day lives and a good way to get the endorphins flowing is to get into nature and get your body moving. As well as being staggering to look at, the Dolomites- a UNESCO World Heritage Site - are the ideal natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts and fitness fanatics alike. Visit in the summer, and you can hike and cycle to the sound of cow bells on the well-marked trails of Europe's largest alpine meadows. Don't miss the chance to try your hand (and feet) at a Via Ferrata - meaning 'Iron Road' - as you climb across the mountain face with the help of metal cables stuck into the rock, following in the footsteps of WW1 soldiers who used this method to get themselves and their equipment over the rocky crags. Come winter, the Dolomiti Superski area - consisting of over 700 miles of slopes across 12 resorts - is the perfect place to don your skis and get that all too enticing adrenalin rush as you shoot down the slopes. With pistes for all abilities and only one ski pass to access all, this snowy wonderland takes some beating.
Get Close to Nature in The Italian lakes
Over on the Italian Lakes, ditch your skis and skim across the surface in a kayak or windsurf. Paddle the pristine waters, encircled by yet more jaw-dropping mountains, exploring hidden corners of Italy's most beautiful lakes. With their own Mediterranean microclimate, swimming is also possible in some areas of the lakes. If that's not quite hardcore enough, strap yourself in for some canyoning or explore on two wheels along almost 250 miles of scenic cycle paths around Lake Garda - a top wellness travel pick.
Alleviate Stress With Lovely Lake Views
What better way to relax than dipping into a hydrotherapy pool or enjoying a pampering massage? Add floor to ceiling windows showcasing the lovely lake views and you have the perfect setting in which to switch off and replenish. Begin your days with yoga and pilates classes and don't miss the chance to meet with a personal trainer who will offer you professional health advice. Spend your days outdoors soaking up the sun then, come evening, return to your luxury hotel to unwind in a hammam, Turkish sauna or, even better, a heated panoramic infinity pool. On Lake Como, make a beeline for Grand Hotel Tremezzo where you can bathe your troubles away in its three pools, including a unique floating pool on the lake for an unforgettable swimming experience.
Devour Delicacies Across Northern Italy
No one goes to Italy to avoid carbs and northern Italy is no exception whether you're enjoying high-altitude gastronomy treats or tucking into indulgent lakeside lunches. Here, food is a huge part of the culture, so don't hold back as you nourish your body with an abundance of good food and wine. While in the Dolomites, enjoy hearty, wholesome meals in the many rifugios (mountain huts) dotted across the region. In these rustic refuges, tuck into tasty traditional treats including cured meats, polenta, beetroot stuffed ravioli and apple strudel - the perfect pick-me-ups for intrepid hikers and skiers alike. For a different style of dining, head to the Alta Badia region to savour heavenly haute cuisine. In this scenic ski resort there are a whopping four Michelin stars shared between two gourmet restaurants - a food lover's paradise. Meanwhile, in the lakeside towns of Bellagio and Riva del Garda, trattorias serving hearty Italian classics such as pizza, pasta and gelato are plentiful. During your trip, we can arrange for you to try your hand at pasta making with a local chef, Giovanna, for a unique insight into the food culture and the chance to impress everyone back home with your cooking skills.