making waves with mad to live retreats

With many of us wanting more out of our holiday than spending our time lazing on a sun lounger, getting on a healthier path and going on holiday are no longer mutually exclusive. Those precious few weeks away can often be a chance to recharge, get a helping hand to finally get fit or to simply de-stress. Often, we find ourselves so busy being busy, we don’t have time to really look after ourselves.

A few weeks back, we landed in Lagos, in the heart of Portugal’s Algarve, to simply do that. We joined the Mad to Live retreat, a high-octane women’s surf, fitness and adventure retreat. The week had a group of us on a schedule of outdoor fitness activities, with the right dose of thrill for all kind of adventure seekers.

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Southern Portugal’s famed coast line offers some of the best waves for beginners and intermediate surfers, and there was no better place to be based than the beautiful old town of Lagos – somewhere that the beers are cold and taste even better after a long session in the salt. The town lies along the bank of the Rio Bensafrim, with 16th-century walls enclosing the old town’s pretty, cobbled lanes and picturesque piazzas and churches.

Alongside expert surfing tuition from the team at The Surf Experience, with genuinely some of the friendliest instructors, throughout the week we topped and tailed our days with sunrise trail running, and evening beach yoga session to help rebalance our bodies. And when not attempting to catch waves, we found ourselves exploring the local coast line on mountain biking adventures, stand-up paddle-boarding, horse-riding and even wild swimming in a nearby reservoir.

If you’ve ever been surfing, you’ll know that nutritious food is the secret ingredient to a great surf holiday. Regardless of whether you’re being bashed about by waves or riding them like a pro, it’s an intensive exercise and you’ll be ravenous after a couple of hours in the water. One of the highlights of the retreat were by far the delicious home-cooked meals back at the boutique townhouse where we were based. Think hearty salads, freshly grilled fish, slow roasted meats, and some of the most mouth-watering desserts we have tried in a long time.

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The brainchild of surfer, fitness coach and all-round adventure addict Sophie Everard, the Mad To Live retreats focus on empowering through surf and creative adventure. Coupled with Sophie’s infectious enthusiasm and positive energy, we couldn’t help but leave energised and ready to tackle life back at home. If you’re already planning on getting away later this year and would like to try something less than ordinary, then a Mad to Live retreat may well be the answer.

For 2019, the Mad to Live retreats will also be hitting the shores of France, Morocco, Costa Rica, as well as the UK. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled!