The story of Terranam is a tale of pure passion out of founder Maria’s need to disconnect from the outside world every so often. Being a seasoned retreater herself, Maria has cherry-picked the highlights of her experiences from the last 14 years, bringing the very best elements to create a Spanish wellness retreat set in the autonomous region of Galicia.
Encompassing a renovated manor house that dates back to 1767, Terranam is permanently dedicated to retreats all year round. The pillars that form the Terranam ethos are to breathe, explore, enjoy and unwind, through wellness, gastronomy, nature and connection. Maria’s aim is to give her guests a collective hug and a sense of belonging within Terranam. Hosts, Javier and Rogelio couldn’t be more welcoming, accompanying you through your daily activities, they are far from your average ‘tour guides’, more like old friends that just so happen to be taking you on an incredible wellness journey! You’ll instantly feel at home at Terranam…arriving as a guest, leaving as a friend.
The appointed title: ‘Permission To Pause’ executes perfectly the experience Terranam has curated. Upon checking into the charming suites within the house, each with unique design flares, you’re encouraged to lock away your phone in the box with the slogan ‘be present’ engraved. The aura flowing throughout the property is comforting and tranquil, helping you adjust your mindset to a calmer pace. Adorned with natural textures and soothing tones of turquoise, the interiors have been carefully thought out with attention to detail to add to the lulling charisma of the manor house. Nestled within a hilly terrain, the patch of land covers wild greenery and long-standing rockery to explore and find quiet moments for yourself. The pool area is a sun trap, ideal for lazing around in the late afternoon with dips in the mineral water running from their very own mountain spring.
The wellness aspects of the retreat will fast-track you to settle into a slower pace of life. Morning and evening yoga sessions take place in the top room of the manor house. An energetic flow to kick your day off in the AM and an unwinding restorative practice in the PM. The airy space overlooks the eucalyptus woods, providing a scenic gaze during sun salutations. Suitable for all abilities, Terranam’s yoga teachers are accommodating to adapt the practice to your level, with no competitive atmosphere amongst the guests. There’s a focus on breathwork and meditation intertwined within the sessions, honing in on your breath and taming the monkey mind to allow your inner thoughts to quieten down. This time forced me to recognise the lack of peaceful moments I give myself in my everyday life, restlessness did often arise but having the ability to centre my mind back to my breathing is a learning curve that I’ll hopefully take with me to utilise day to day.
The region is a breeding ground for wellness-enhancing expeditions, with pine and eucalyptus woods, mountainous terrains, tranquil lakes and the sprawling coastline that’s hugged by the Atlantic Ocean. Making full use of the natural oasis that surrounds Terranam, the retreat entails adventures and hikes, exploring a breathtaking lagoon, historic Viking ruins and a boardwalk hike along the beach front.
Terranam sets itself apart from other retreats with unusual evening agendas which will explore holistic rituals. Taking place in the disused chapel on the property, guests are taken on a sound healing journey, that uses Tibetan drums, gongs, bowls, vocals and various other instruments that create an exhilarating sensation within the body. The vibrations reverberate against the ancient stone walls to align your chakras, for some this may bring out your inner darkness, others come over drowsy, and others feel physical tingling all over the body. Unique to how your emotions are at the given time, the outcome will vary and the experience will give you what your soul most desires.
Taking a different approach to a lot of retreats, you will not be deprived of food at Terranam, in fact, it’s likely to be some of the best you’ve had! Adopting a farm-to-fork style of gastronomy, the vegetarian dishes have been curated by top Spanish Michelin star-trained chef Marta Cebrian Lopez. 85% of the produce is sourced from the region of Galicia, under a zero waste philosophy. Harnessing the fresh, quality ingredients, each meal takes a creative play on vegetarian cuisine, with unexpected combinations of sweet and savoury that work so well together. The balance of meal times complements the daily agenda well, a smoothie pre-yoga, brunch post-yoga, a snack and smoothie after an afternoon of activity and then a three-course dinner that is a long affair in the evening, leaving you aptly satisfied. The stand-out dishes for me are the Millefeuille with local requeixon cheese and the cashew and almond stuffed savoy cabbage with black rice croquettes.
On the last night of the stay, a Galician feast will commence giving retreaters a true insight into the traditions of Galicia. Think Padron peppers, local cheeses, olives, octopus, scallops, mussels and a celebratory glass of local Albariño wine. At the end of the banquet, you’ll be taken through an ancient spell-binding tradition to immerse you in a truly Galician ritual…we won’t give away too much but be prepared to get kooky! Echoing the Celtic blood that runs through the veins of the town, Terranam has done its utmost best to pay homage to the history of the region. This was an unexpected element of the retreat which I thoroughly enjoyed as this region was brand new territory to me, being a less touristy area of Spain. Each guest will leave a fountain of knowledge of Galician, with anecdotes on the Vikings that once attempted to invade the land and the Camino pilgrimage that attracts thousands each year to the neighbour’s town of Santiago.
The people form the foundations of a retreat and Terranam have managed to draw in soul seekers from all corners of the globe ranging from young to old. The friendships kindled on Terranam’s retreats, both with the guests and the staff, are everlasting developing at a rapid rate as you all embark on a majestic journey together. Exchanging IG handles and phone numbers with promises to keep in touch on the final day seemed bittersweet as we had to leave this little slice of heaven, grateful for the time we spent together.
‘Permission To Pause’ strikes the perfect balance of what ‘wellness’ truly means. In my eyes, retreats shouldn’t feel like you’re being held hostage on a diet of solely raw vegetables. Retreats should be filled with moments of joy, of which you will find many during your time at Terranam. You’re free to take part in as much or as little as you desire, there’s no pressure to force yourself to do anything that feels outside your comfort zone. There is no one way to sum up who this retreat is for, as literally anyone and everyone will get something from ‘Permission To Pause’ whether that be clarity, friendship, adventure, enjoyment, new experiences, fulfilment, relaxation or on my personal reflection, a combination of them all.
Designating a few days to nurture the mind, body and soul is one of the finest forms of self-care. Boasting attention to detail through every execution of their retreat, from the house to the staff, the divine cuisine and the medley of wellness experiences, Terranam have mastered the art of balance.
words by Isabelle Shury