The top 10 European wellness hotspots for 2023
With more of us seeking to switch off and retreat from the stress of work and life, wellness holidays have never been more popular.
With this in mind, we’ve uncovered some of the top places in Europe to visit if you’re looking for a wellness retreat, with the ranking based on factors such as the amount of green space (essential for long, relaxing walks), number of spas, and noise levels.
1. Prague, Czech Republic
If you’re looking for a holiday that will provide you with total relaxation, then look no further than the capital city of the Czech Republic. Almost 40% of Prague is covered in green space, meaning you’ll be able to spend your days on scenic walks, or enjoying a long, lazy picnic in a pretty park.
There are also lots of wellness-related activities to try out in Prague, with 94,300 searches for wellness-related phrases over the last 12 months – more than any other city in the ranking.
2. Berlin, Germany
Berlin takes second place in the ranking with the city’s low levels of noise pollution making it an ideal choice for a wellness holiday as your rest and relaxation won’t be interrupted by annoying levels of noise.
Berlin is also home to the fourth largest number of spas on our list with a huge amount (336) to choose from and it fares well with yoga studios too, with 21 to choose from.
3. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki offers rest and relaxation in abundance – after all, saunas are a way of life in Finland. But that’s not all the Finnish capital has to offer; it also boasts the fifth lowest levels of traffic – meaning you’ll spend less time frustratingly trying to get from A to B.
Helsinki also has the seventh highest healthcare score out of all destinations in our index, due to the high quality it offers. So, with this Scandinavian country offering a relaxed and happy way of life, it’s the perfect place for a much-needed wellness retreat.
4. Sheffield, UK
The only UK city to make it onto our top 10 list is Sheffield, offering the perfect option for a wellness staycation with low levels of air pollution and a high-quality healthcare score.
While Sheffield city centre might not have much in the way of green space, it’s situated right on the edge of the Peak District, so if you want to clear your head with some good old-fashioned hiking, Sheffield can offer you plenty of opportunities for that.
5. Munich, Germany
Not only does Munich have the third highest number of searches for wellness, but a quarter of the city is made up of greenspace, with the sprawling Englischer Garten similar in size to both Hyde Park and Central Park.
Munich also has the second lowest noise pollution percentage out of all the locations of the ranking (21%), making it pretty tranquil for a large city, and an ideal choice for a relaxing retreat.
6. Barcelona, Spain
Boasting more yoga studios than anywhere else on our list, you’ll have 52 options to choose between when picking where to do your sun salutations.
Barcelona also has the second highest number of spas in the city, at an impressive 619 to choose from, so once you’ve finished your relaxing spa treatments, you can head to one of the beaches to watch the sunset, before enjoying some delicious tapas in the evening.
7. Hamburg, Germany
With the fourth highest search volume for wellness-related phrases (45,500), Hamburg comes in at seventh place, offering plenty of wellness-related activities.
Not only that, Hamburg has the lowest levels of noise pollution than anywhere else on our list (20%), meaning it can truly offer some peace and quiet. Whether you fancy a lazy lie-in at your hotel, or a quiet walk in Alsterwiese Schwanenwik - one of the most popular green spots in the city – Hamburg should definitely be considered when planning a wellness holiday within Europe.
8. Leipzig, Germany
The fourth German city to feature in our wellness holidays ranking is the eastern city of Leipzig. While it can often be overlooked in favour of the larger cities, it still offers lots to do – especially if rest and relaxation is at the top of your priority list.
Leipzig has the eight highest amount of green space out of all cities analysed, with 39% of Leipzig covered in parks. It’s also the perfect place to go for some peace and quiet, as noise pollution levels are the third lowest within the ranking, behind only Hamburg and Munich.
Paris might be known for being the city of love (and fashion), but it also scores highly for wellness, too.
With a total of 30 yoga studios situated across the city, only Barcelona and Rome beat it; but the truly impressive fact about Paris, when it comes to wellness, is that it boasts almost 1,000 spas – the highest on our list.
10. Frankfurt, Germany
For the final city in our top 10 list, we head back over to Germany - more specifically, Frankfurt. Its low levels of traffic are part of the reason why it’s scored so highly as a wellness retreat, alongside its high search volumes for wellness-related phrases (25,600 –eighth highest within the ranking).
While it might not score as highly as some other cities for spas, there are still a respectable 33 to choose from. 32% of the city is covered in green space, meaning there are lots of opportunities to relax and take it slow in Frankfurt, too.
If you’re dreaming of somewhere warmer for your wellness holiday, then you might want to consider Madrid or Zaragoza, which come in at positions 11 and 19, respectively.
Copenhagen and Stockholm are the next Scandinavian cities on our list to feature, with more German cities offering rest and relaxation, in the form of Dortmund (12th), Hanover (14th), and Stuttgart (16th).
Alternatively, if you’ve decided on a UK staycation, then Liverpool is a good alternative to Sheffield, coming in at position 15, or Leicester and Bristol, which both fall into the top 30 location within the ranking.
Considering visiting some of these locations for a relaxing wellness retreat? It’s time to sort out your flights, accommodation, and travel insurance. You can compare different providers with us, including single trip and annual travel insurance – ideal if you’re thinking of taking more than one trip in the next 12 months.
This dataset ranks 50 major European cities, based on how good they are for wellness. To do this, 8 different factors were used. The list of European cities were selected based on population size and availability of the required data. Once the data for the factors was collected, the factors were then normalised, to provide each factor with a score between 0 and 1. The normalised values were then summed, to give each city a total score out of 8. The cities were then ranked from highest to lowest, based on their total scores.
The factors used are as follows:
- Green Space - The % of each locations land area that is designated as green space. This is usually public spaces such as be parks, squares, and community gardens.
- Noise Pollution - The % of each location’s population that is exposed to a harmful level of noise. This is classified as over 55 dB Lden.
- Air Pollution - The annual mean levels of fine particles in the air. Measured in micrograms per cubic metre.
- Number of Spas - The number of spas and wellness locations listed on TripAdvisor for each city.
- Number of Yoga Studios - The number of yoga and pilates locations listed on TripaAdvisor for each city.
- Traffic Score - The traffic score given to each location by numbeo, based upon the time consumed in traffic due to job commutes, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, CO2 consumption estimation in traffic, and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.
- Healthcare Score - The health care score given to each location by numbeo, based upon the quality of the health care system, health care professionals, equipment, staff, doctors and cost.
- Search Volume - The total Google search volume for the phrase "wellness" from December 2021 - November 2022, for each location.
All data is correct as of 05/01/2023.
From the 50 destinations, 30 were included in the shortlist and only UK cities outside of London were included.
- https://worldpopulationreview.com/continents/europe/cities - Population Data
- https://isglobalranking.org/ranking/#green - Green Space Data
- https://isglobalranking.org/ranking/#noise - Noise Pollution Data
- https://isglobalranking.org/ranking/#air - Air Pollution Data
- https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ - Spas and Yoga Studios Data
- https://www.numbeo.com/traffic/region_rankings.jsp?title=2023®ion=150 - Traffic Data
- https://www.numbeo.com/health-care/region_rankings.jsp?title=2023®ion=150 - Healthcare Data
- Google Ads Keyword Planner - Search Volume Data