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Top detoxing breaks for 2012

Green Travel News
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Posted by Philippa Jacks at 11:13 on Monday 26 December 2011

Titanic Spa Yorkshire. Photo: Titanic SpaTitanic Spa Yorkshire. Photo: Titanic Spa

If you've been over-indulging in mince pies and mulled wine over the festive period, then now's the perfect time to book a  detox trip to get back in shape in the new year. Here's our top suggestions for healthy holidays to kick start the year:

Green spa breaks

The Massages at Titanic Spa, Yorkshire. Photo: Titanic SpaMassages at Titanic Spa, Yorkshire. Photo: Titanic SpaTitanic Spa in Yorkshire is one of the most eco-friendly spas in the country, using solar power to generate electricity, washing its towels and robes with a special cold-water system, and using salt to regulate the pool instead of harmful chemicals. Its Eco Detox package begins with a journey through steam, ice and sauna rooms, helping the immune system to bounce back after that Christmas ‘flu. Next there is a detoxifying bath with stimulating jets and a cocoon body wrap and finally a facial to banish the tell-tale signs of one-too-many late nights in December. The package costs from £165 and includes a healthy lunch in the spa’s bistro. You can stay on-site at one of the Spa Apartments. For booking go to: www.titanicspa.com. Take the train to Huddersfield and then a local bus. To book train tickets via thetrainline.com go to: Train to Huddersfield.

Absolve your body of Christmas sinning with a spa package at Delphi Mountain Resort in Galway, Ireland. The day-long Delphi Detox Dream package comprises an hour in the Thermal Suite, a seaweed bath and wrap and – for feet made weary by hours of Christmas shopping - a 30-minute organic foot treatment. The package costs €225 and lasts 4 hours 45 minutes. This green hotel also offers meditation classes, and is set in 400 acres of Connemara forest where guests can enjoy more energetic activities like rock-climbing, kayaking and zip-wiring. The resort re-opens after Christmas on February 1. For booking details, see Delphi Mountain Resort, Connemara, Galway, Ireland.

Green spa breaks in Europe
The Brittany tourist board has created a website to promote the region as a spa and wellness destination, focussing on thalassotherapy (seawater therapy). But don't be alarmed – you don’t have to brave the seaside in January to enjoy its benefits. Instead, simply bathe and shower in mineral-rich seawater and enjoy a spa treatment with marine-based products from the comfort of an indoor spa. Using saltwater is less harmful to the environment than freshwater, so you can feel smug as well as invigorated after a short break here. The website highlights 13 thalasso centres along the coast from St Malo to La Baule. To book eco-friendly ferry travel to Brittany (including Plymouth and Rosslare to Roscoff, and Weymouth, Portsmouth and Poole to St Malo), see Plan your journey by ferry

If Christmas has taken its toll on your wallet as much as your health, then a city break to Budapest in Hungary can tick both boxes. With more than 400 sulphur springs dotted around the country and being outside the eurozone, Hungary is ideal for an affordable spa break. There are several hot springs within the capital city itself, ranging from authentic spas built by the Turks in the 16th century to modern medical spa facilities. A two-and-a-half hour city tour combining Budapest's top thermal spas with architectural and historical highlights is a relaxing introduction to the city. The Urban Adventures tour costs £25; travel overland by Train from London to Budapest via Paris and Munich. For booking details see Day Tour: Budapest Sights & Spas, Hungary

The Spa Boat, Norway. Photo: Magnetic NorthThe Spa Boat, Norway. Photo: Magnetic NorthIf you don’t like the idea of sharing your sauna and hot tub with strangers, why not charter the Spa Boat – a former Norwegian fishing vessel that been converted into a three-bedroomed luxury cruise boat? It has its own Turkish hammam in the curved wooden walls of the hold, a sauna with a window out to sea, and a hot tub on deck. The Spa Boat is moored in Tromso in the Arctic, and sails the northern coast of Norway, giving opportunity for skiing, whale-watching and spotting the Northern Lights. Magnetic North can arrange for you to join a group departure (on which prices are from £200 per person per night) or charter it privately. You can travel overland by train from London to Narvik via Stockholm, then by bus to Tromso. For booking details see Norway Arctic Spa Boat Holiday.

Active detox holidays
Sleigh rides on A Taste of Winter trip. Photo: InntravelSleigh rides on A Taste of Winter trip. Photo: InntravelSwiss mountain air and vitamin-rich goat’s milk are a winning formula: just look what it did for the girl in the wheelchair in Heidi. To make your own miraculous recovery, try a week-long activity holiday in the pretty Swiss village of Kandersteg, where you can work off the extra pounds by cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, curling, tobogganing and more. Sweat out the remainder of the Christmas toxins in Hotel Victoria’s cosy sauna. The seven-night trip in January costs from £1,160 per person half-board, including rail travel from London to Kanderstag via Paris. For booking details, see A taste of winter in Kandersteg, Switzerland. 

The alcoholic temptations of après-ski mean many ski holidays are more ‘retox’ than detox. But the ski-and-yoga packages offered at La Source in Samoens in the French Alps are a super-healthy alternative. The week-long package includes five morning sessions of vinyassa flow yoga to prepare your mind, body and balance for a day on the slopes. Other wellness activities and treatments available (for an extra charge) include shiatsu massage, tai chi, aromatherapy and reiki. The package includes seven organic, home-cooked breakfasts and dinners. Why not offset all the turkey and chippolatas consumed on Christmas Day by taking a vegetarian cooking workshop (€50)? La Source gives a discount if you arrive by train; for booking details see La Source Eco Chalet, Samoens, French Alps.

Swapping your stuffy, germ-ridden office for the snowy wilderness of Swedish Lapland is a sure-free way to get over your Christmas sniffles. Learning to control your own team of husky dogs, you’ll feel a little like Santa Claus yourself as you skim across 20-50km of snowy Lapland landscape each day on this dogsledding tour. What’s more, January is the perfect time of year for spotting the Northern Lights dance across the sky. Accommodation is in remote log cabins without running water or electricity, which will help make up for all those hours sat watching James Bond films on TV. The eight-day dog-sledding trip with Nature Travels begins and ends at Kiruna train station, and costs from £1348 per person.
For booking details, see Northern Lights Dog Sledding in Lapland, Sweden.

Winter walking in the Cairngorms. Photo: Wilderness ScotlandWinter walking in the Cairngorms. Photo: Wilderness ScotlandWhy not resolve to learn a new skill next year? Wilderness Scotland’s Winter Walking trips to the Cairngorms and Creag Meagaidh are perfect for beginners with no prior experience of the activity. On this five-day trip, you will find out how to use an ice-axe and how to walk in crampons, and will spend up to eight hours each day climbing the snowy peaks of the Cairngorms, Ben MacDui and the Monadh Liath. The trip costs from £535 including most meals and equipment. While you don’t need experience, you do need to be rather fit; book a place on the February or March trip if you need a couple of months to get in shape.
For booking details, see Winter walking, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

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