Pilates holiday guide

Chances are, you can sign up for a Pilates class at your local gym. However, choosing a Pilates holiday on the Pelion Peninsula in Greece or Spain’s Costa Blanca will certainly aid your quest for rejuvenation and relaxation under the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. A Pilates holiday is perfect for switching off and letting friendly instructors and your senses take control. Beginners are welcome, as are solo travellers looking to make friends in a relaxed and inspiring environment.
Take your time to unwind on a wellness holiday where Pilates is practised alongside meditating to the sounds of gently lapping waves and the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.
Healthy food, the freedom to roam and knowledgeable hosts help to turn a wellness retreat into a haven; and these trips will appeal to those looking for a flexible approach to exercise as well as free time. Dip in and dip out of Pilates, meditation and restorative breathing classes as readily as you would do the ocean; read a book by the pool; visit local villages; stroll to the beach – there isn’t much to do for a reason. This is your time to be free. Find out more in our Pilates holidays travel guide.


What is Pilates?

Developed by German fitness instructor, Joseph Pilates, in the early 20th century, Pilates is a system of movements designed to strengthen core muscles for better balance, posture and muscle tone. You’ll learn breathing techniques and practise focusing your mind to allow your muscles to gently stretch and strengthen, guided both verbally and physically by qualified instructors. Classes are for small groups – usually no more than 10 people – and each session generally lasts 60 or 90 minutes. Pilates is performed on mats and may also incorporate equipment such as hand weights, foam rollers, gym balls, pulleys and stretch bands.

What is a Pilates holiday?

On a dedicated holiday, Pilates sessions form part of an overall fitness and wellbeing programme over the course of a week. An emphasis on healthy eating and exercise keeps you healthy both inside and out, with sunshine and sea breezes boosting the natural sense of calm. Morning meditation followed by daily Pilates sessions let you embark on your own personal journey of physicality and inner peace with Tai-Chi, Qi-gong, yoga and core training classes also helping you explore the relationship between body and mind. Pilates holidays do not follow a rigid, boot camp-style agenda; they’re much more likely to introduce you to a variety of optional disciplines and providing a relaxing setting for socialising or seeking seclusion. You can detox, lose weight and tone up just as readily as sunbathing, swimming and walking in surrounding scenery. Pilates, exercise, meditation, optional therapies and delicious healthy food are all included; it’s completely up to you how much or how little effort you’d like to commit.
Pippa Dale-Harris is the owner and director of our Pilates holiday supplier, Dolphins Leap Wellness Retreat in Greece:
“The Pilates component makes up a third of our wellness programme on our retreats and is tailored to all levels of ability. Guests receive early morning meditation on the beach followed by a morning gymnastic Pilates session and then evening Qi-gong and sound bowl therapy.”

Where will I stay?

These holidays are in purpose built fitness and wellbeing retreats in Greece and Spain. Pilates, yoga and meditation classes take place on sun terraces overlooking the ocean, under shaded pavilions, or in studios. Spa, gym, massage and therapy rooms mean you can sign up for additional treatments in your own time, and professional dieticians, exercise coaches and healthcare experts are on hand to ensure you progress at your own natural and healthy pace.

Coastal settings, on Greece’s Pelion Peninsula or Spain’s Costa Blanca, offer access to sandy beaches, local villages and mountain trails, wit time to explore the surrounding destination. Outdoor swimming pools, communal dining spaces and luxury suites or twin guest rooms offer a balance between social interaction and privacy. Delicious, healthy meals – on a full board basis – give extra energy and encourage healthy habits.

Who goes on Pilates holidays?

Our Pilates holidays are suitable for people new to Pilates, experienced practitioners, and anyone who would like to take a more holistic approach to wellness and relaxation. Veggies, pescatarians, vegans and conscientious carnivores (quality over quantity) will find nutritious local cuisine created and presented to a very high standard. Wine is often served with evening meals; remember, it’s a holiday not a boot camp. Solo travellers can share a room with a member of the same sex, or enjoy their own space – some retreats do not charge a single supplement for this. These trips are perfect for making new friends over communal meals or while relaxing around the pool. Groups are small – no more than 10 to 16 guests – and daily classes are adapted to meet the expectations and needs of individuals as well as the group as a whole. These are not women-only retreats, and there are male and female instructors, staff and therapists. If you’re willing to join in, smile and go with the flow then you’ll benefit hugely, mentally and physically, from your time away.
Lorraine is head Pilates teacher for our supplier, the Ultimate Retreat Company, at their wellbeing retreat in Spain:
“The type of people who attend the holiday is very mixed, from the high powered business executive who needs some down time to busy mums. It’s for everyone really as we all need time to stop and breathe.”

Who'll be teaching?

The teachers are highly qualified to an internationally-recognised, professional standard. They will often live locally and come to the retreat to take daily group sessions and also private one-to-one classes. Instructors are trained to adapt and modify classes to meet the level of the group as well as developing individuals at a suitable pace.

Our top trip

Pilates wellness retreat in Greece

Pilates wellness retreat in Greece

Pilates and Wellnes Retreat in Greece by the sea

From £850 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Pilates or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.


Pack light, both physically and mentally, and visit in spring or autumn if you’re looking to make the most of Pilates practise in Greece or Spain.
Although our Pilates and wellbeing retreats have been designed to embrace sunshine and sea views, the best time to go on a Pilates holiday is outside of July and August. These months in the Med are simply too hot and you’d be much better off stretching and flexing in May and June or September and October to ensure comfortable conditions without wilting in the heat. November, March and April are also great months for a relaxing, off peak break, with far fewer crowds and more affordable prices flights into Alicante or Thessaloniki airports.
Julie Slade is founder and director of our Pilates holiday provider, the Ultimate Retreat Company
“The best time to attend a Pilates retreat in Spain is any time that suits you. We offer holidays throughout the year because our retreat’s location benefits from a special micro climate on the coast. My favourite time for Pilates is between the months of May to October.”
Pippa Dale-Harris, from our Pilates holiday supplier, Dolphins Leap Wellness Retreat in Greece:
“Greece has a Mediterranean climate so come in April or October if you want cooler temperatures, May, June or September if you prefer the warmer times.”
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: # [Woman holding feet: Poprotskiy Alexey] [Salad: Jez Timms] [Beach: Elena Ktenopoulou]