Spiritual Retreats Around The World

by Virginia Cunningham

Sometimes, the trappings of modern life do not seem conducive to spiritual practice. With our many responsibilities and distractions from the divine, it can be necessary to take time out to reconnect with all that we call holy. While there are ways to find the space for contemplation and serenity in everyday life, we know we need more than that at times.

Here are some of the most accommodating places in the world to realign our higher selves:


Little Portion Hermitage

Blessed with the backdrop of a truly inspiring Ozark mountain vista, LPH is a unique Eureka Springs getaway founded in Northwest Arkansas by a well-known Christian musician. Not surprisingly, this location offers music as a source of spiritual renewal in addition to its vibrant ministry.



Ananda in the Himalayas

One of the most legendary meditation retreats in the world, the sprawling Ananda is a worthy destination for pilgrims from any faith. Nestled over 3,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River, Ananda will make anyone feel closer to God. While the center’s foundations are Buddhist, teachers also provide lessons in yogic breathing, which can be incorporated into most faiths.


Conception Abbey

Combining a Benedictine monastery and an influential seminary school, this abbey in Conception Junction, Missouri provides personal guidance as well as a well-known oblation program. The Abbey operates under the mandates of the Benedictine order, meaning visitors should expect a strict regimen of silent communal prayer and warm fellowship.

Image Courtesy of Adrian Wewer/Wikimedia Commons


Holy Isle

Just off the coast of Scotland’s west side (near the Isle of Arran), Holy Isle hosts meditation retreats in an enclave called the Centre for World Peace. Though founded by Buddhists who promote the Tibetan practice of Kagyu meditation, all faiths are welcome to find themselves within the confines of this location’s grassy, wave-beaten parameters.

Permanent residents of Holy Isle live in total silence, just to give you an idea of the ethos of this truly special place.


Magic Falls of Southern France

Close to the tiny village of Montsegur, the waterfalls of Southern France attract seekers from numerous faiths, especially those seeking the feminine energy of the Virgin Mary. While Lourdes is a more obvious site for pilgrimage, the outskirts of Montsegur are much more private, yet are also reported to have strong healing tendencies.


Timber Creek Hearth House

A sister retreat of sorts with the Buddhist Shantivanam retreat of Easton, Texas, Timber Creek is a more recent retreat center that reflects the efforts of the spiritual to bridge the differences between faiths. Deep in the woods of Drexel, Missouri, Timber Creek provides spiritually-awakening trails in green pastures, a generous library of awakening books and audio selections, and the mentorship of co-founderTom Jacobs.

Image Courtesy of Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia Commons


Big Sur

It doesn’t matter what your background is, it’s difficult not to be inspired by the truly beautiful coastline that extends around Big Sur, California. Its nature trails, waterfalls and mountains alone will make even the most hard-hearted visitors renew their connection with something greater, or even find it for the first time. Steeped in ancient Californian wisdom, Big Sur is the home of Esalen, an institute famed for its unique marriage of New Age spirituality and mystical psychology.

Again, while even the most humble corner of the cosmos may be the site of personal revelation, there are some locations that seemed especially sacred. With faith and hope, you will find some answers in the peaceful midst of one of these hallowed locations.


Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health writer in Southern California who specializes in yoga, alternative medicine, natural supplements, and skin care. She has traveled to spiritual retreats all over the world to see Geshe Gyatso speak.

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