Re-charge mind, body and soul on a villa holiday in Sicily

January is often the time we take stock and assess our sense of wellbeing. Have we managed to achieve a healthy balance in our lives? Even in the midst of the turmoil of a pandemic, do we manage to find a little time for ourselves?
Whether it’s home-schooling that’s getting you down, a stressful job or simply the need for a change of scene, this is the time when, for so many of us, thoughts turn to getting away from it all. In fact, rarely has there been a time when so many of us were so desperate for a well-earned holiday. Certainly, you won’t be alone in dreaming of an energising break, whether in your own country or overseas.
The good news is that while traditional wellness retreats have a reputation for being fairly pricey, there are plenty of other options that will re-charge mind, body and soul without breaking the bank.

Poolside yoga

Release any residual tension by starting each day with a daily poolside yoga session. At Casa dei Nomadi, pitch up on the poolside decking or on one of the garden terraces for a private yoga class that will set you up for the day. Follow up with a gentle swim in the pool, lie back in the jacuzzi or wander on to the pebbly beach for an invigorating dip in the sea.


Workouts with a view

Need an inspirational location to get you on a treadmill?  Check out the super-luxe Villa Taormina, one of the most sought-after villas in Sicily’s glitziest resort, where an hour a day on the treadmill, tucked away under a poolside pergola, will feel relatively painless. Complete your workout with a swim in the spectacularly located 16m pool or a dip in the translucent water in the bay below the villa.

Villa Taormina
Villa Taormina, Taormina

For a slightly lower-key option, the treadmill at Villa Arte Mare Blue is perfectly positioned overlooking the rural hills above Cefalù and the sea beyond.

Villa Arte Mare Blue
Villa Arte Mare Blue, Cefalù

Mindfulness and wellbeing

What if you just want to step away from the stress and time pressures of everyday life and retreat to a peaceful setting to unwind and relax? Being by the sea has always been thought to have a positive impact on mental health and the sound of the ocean has been proven to create a sense of calm. If you’re a swimmer, you’ll also be well aware of the feelings of positivity and happiness generated by the release of endorphins.

At Casa Ulisse, you’re just a hop away from the water’s edge. Spend your days lazing on the powder-soft sand, swim in crystal-clear water and lounge in the vast garden on lawns dotted with palm trees, accompanied by the sound of the sea.


Nature retreat in south east Sicily

While most people expect great beaches in Sicily, they’re less familiar with the nature reserves. In fact the island has plenty of options for walkers and birdwatchers or anyone who just feels the need to re-connect with nature. Choose from the Zingaro Nature Reserve in the west of the island or, heading east, the mountain ranges of the Madonie and Nebrodi national parks.

Stay at Oasivera, on the edge of the Vendicari Nature Reserve, and set off on walks across plains carpeted by juniper bushes and sweetly-scented herbs, and swims in deserted bays and rocky coves.

Villa Oasivera, Vendicari Nature Reserve
Villa Oasivera, Vendicari Nature Reserve

The family option

It’s all very well dreaming of a spa break but if your children are still young, the chances are they’ll be more attracted by a waterpark and the beach than mindfulness classes and a swanky steam room.

In fact a villa holiday can be a great compromise, provided you choose the right villa. At Casa del Carrubo, the garden is designed to keep everyone happy, with a pool, lawns and plenty of space to run around or play table tennis. Cycle down to the nearby beach and just before popping dinner on the barbecue or in the pizza oven, sink back in the soothing outdoor jacuzzi to soak away any final tension.

Casa del Carrubo, Noto
Casa del Carrubo, Noto