We're not quite sure what it is about the Iberian haven of Portugal but it's fair to say that it holds an edifyingly large share of relaxing retreats. Perhaps it's because the Portuguese love of life and comfortable pace means they're experts in unwinding. Or maybe the dramatic scenery and warm weather lends itself to kicking back and taking stock.
Whatever the reason, it's clear that the standard of spas and resorts in this country is very high and keen aficionados would do well to pay Portugal a visit.
From medical stays to luxury packages, those looking for an escape from it all will undoubtedly find an ideal retreat out here. So if you're tempted to head away for some real downtime, here are some suggestions from the
Flexicover team to help take the hassle out of choosing, leaving - you more time to focus on relaxing.
For wine-lovers - The Yeatman
Vinho ('wine') is the name of the game in The Yeatman, not only in its restaurant but throughout the hotel - even the pool is shaped like a decanter. Voted Europe's Best Hotel Spa in 2013 at the World Luxury Spa Awards, it uses vinotherapy products from high-end brand Caudalie. These harness the antioxidant properties of grapes to nourish tired skin. Guests can soak in a bubbling barrel looking out over the Douro River, in a red wine bath to improve blood and lymph circulation or a grape pomace bath for truly relaxing experiences. And to relieve aches and pains, a winemaker's massage is offered; so sit back and let yourself really unwind with wine.
For the eco-friendly - Areias do Seixo
If you love the planet as much as you love being pampered, the environmentally-friendly Aerias do Seixo - situated 30 minutes drive north of Lisbon - will leave you with guilt-free relaxation. Owners Marta Fonseca and Gonçalo Alves have constructed each of its 14 rooms to run off geothermal and solar energy. There's no compromise on quality either and the place takes eco-chic to a new level, with the global design of the rooms marking it out as a spectacular five-star hotel. Coupled with this, the food is organic, the bar runs on an honesty box and the spa is Ayurvedic - perfect for those who want to revel in natural luxury.
For wellness - Vilalara Longevity
While parts of the Algarve have a reputation for hosting wild weekends, famed destination spa Vilalara Thalassa provides excellence in the opposite direction too. High on the Praia das Gaivotas cliff, this true medicinal spa focuses on the kind of self-care that may be neglected in everyday life. From weight loss programmes to mindfulness breaks, the 11-acre site sets itself up as the ideal environment to rebalance your life. In addition to 20 spa therapy rooms, four seawater swimming pools and a fitness centre, a team of experts is on hand to craft specific programmes for your stay and offer advice for continuing the good work at home.
For urban lovers - Four Seasons Hotel Ritz
Spa-lovers don't have to retreat to isolated estates to experience an indulgent spa holiday. The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz is in the heart of Lisbon yet guests can ignore the city without whilst relaxing within. Overlooking the city's greenery - it's located right by the entrance of the Parque Eduardo VII - the hotel offers a wide range of treatments from lymphatic drainage to an organic green tea salt therapy to improve the skin. For really indulgent treatment, try their renowned signature therapy: the symphony massage, which uses not two but four hands for the ultimate massage sensation.
For couples - Six Senses
Set in the wine-making region of the Douro Valley, this renovated 19th century manor house is now the site of one of Portugal's most decadent spas. Ten of the rooms are given over to treatments and couples can claim the largest of these, where magnificent windows look out onto the lush amber-hued vineyards below. The estate offers vinotherapy and various yoga programs to suit all abilities, including a specific detox session. Their Couple's Journey package features foot cleansing rituals, facial treatments and refreshments from the spa - providing an indulgent way to ramp up the romance.
If the thought of spending time at one of these spas is your idea of perfection, being covered by a Flexicover travel insurance policy will ensure you have added peace of mind as we are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.