A vegan retreat in Romania lets you do yoga with Dracula. Well, almost.
Situated in Transylvania, the backyard of famous vampire character Dracula, Akasha Wellness Retreat promotes plant-based nutrition and gentle yoga healing.
It’s not the usual location type for a retreat, The Guardian points out, with Ibiza, Thailand, and Portugal being popular choices for a getaway. But the “sleepy village of Pestera” offers “[f]ields of conical haystacks and wonky wooden houses dot the landscape, horse-drawn carts wander the lanes and it feels as if the clock’s been rewound a few decades.”
Akasha, which takes place in a nine-bedroom house, is run by a family trio made up of Irina, who manages the yoga, her mother Daniela, and her aunt Elena, a UK-based doctor with a focus on nutrition.
Guests enjoy yoga twice a day, meditation, talks on vegan eating and wellbeing, and cooking demonstrations. The retreat encourages a digital detox and on the second-last day there is a morning of silence, intended to deepen the detox and keep guests centred and calm. Nutritional therapist Daniela Exley shows retreat-goers how to make nut milks and patés and offers advice on improving diet.
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True to its virtues, Akasha serves up vegan meals that are free from gluten and sugar and made mostly with organic, seasonal local produce. Dishes include buckwheat and beetroot breakfast pancakes as well as raw chocolate puddings. According to The Guardian, “even non-veggies rave about the food, which is always colourful, plentiful, and full of flavour.”
The resident yoga teacher changes all the time and guests often practice outdoors. Akasha offers other calming sessions, like its “powerful” sound bath whereby participants lie fully clothed and allow the sounds of gongs to “wash” over them – no getting wet necessary.
Herb-filled bath treatments, reflexology, and Swedish massages are available, and an outdoor hot tub and infra-red sauna are on site.
The scenery is like a fairytale, The Guardian comments, and visitors can get amongst the fantasy-feel by calling into the “bewitching” Bran Castle, home of Dracula himself. It’s the country’s top tourist attraction, offering secret passages and stories of Vlad the Impaler and Queen Marie who used to live there. If you’re not so into the spooky stuff, the area is also ideal for long mountain hikes or a visit to the local bear sanctuary.