Wildfitness Obonjan Experience, Croatia
A fantastic mindful fitness holiday on a festival island
Best for: For those who want the feel of a festival but want it to be a wholesome, active healthy holiday too
Not for: Those who just need a rest, or a pure Wildfitness retreat with no one else around
Takes up to 20 guests
Each summer Obonjan welcomes creative thinkers, musicians, artists, yogis and dancers to share their energies and practices with each other. Wildfitness will be there for four weeks, so you can enjoy the festival whilst also getting fitter the wild way, with daily workout sessions, mindful movement, talks and healthy meals that make the most of the landscape to have you moving like our wild ancestors would have done. It’s a genius mix that sure beats the treadmill and is certainly not for anyone who just fancies a quiet lie down.
Combining a fully fledged Wildfitness retreat with the Obonjan festival means you get two for the price of one. This is an exceptional and rare experience.
This is not an exclusive location – there are other festival goers there but your base is the secluded southern part of the island.
Read our personal review
Coming soon: Rosie Walford is in Croatia this Summer to review a Wildfitness retreat on Obonjan Island – her full review will come in the early Autumn, so watch this space
Wildfitness will lead you in a range of daily activities in line with their wild ethos to get you moving, eating and living in a more wholesome way. The hand-picked coaches are skilled at working with every individual’s ability, no matter how fit they are, and there’s no sense of competition. There are individual movement assessments at the start and end of the course, and you’ll have a follow-up Skype call with a Wildfitness coach to help provide advice on how to keep ‘wild’ once back home.
Wildfitness sessions are totally immersive and the team stresses the need to be mindful (present and focused) when moving. It is this focus that in many ways differentiates them from a gym environment, where you can lift weights without paying attention to form or run on a treadmill without looking at where you are going. Moving in nature requires your full attention – and it’s a hugely liberating experience.
You’ll learn The Art of Running in a workshop that focuses on the biomechanics needed for efficient running, and later in the week take part in a wild run from the South to the North of the island when you’ll explore Obonjan’s spectacular natural features in the form of rocks, bush and trees and man made in the form of stone walls, ruins, tracks and the like, jumping, vaulting, climbing and swinging your way across the island until you hit the ocean.
You’ll have a session on the power of breath and an introduction to free diving when you can tap into your mammalian diving reflex. During the week you’ll also be swimming or kayaking across to an uninhabited island to the east of Obonjan. At any time you can jump off the edge of one of Obonjan’s pier’s into the sea, but there’s also a 20 metre pool on site if you fancy some lengths.
There are various talks throughout the week to help you understand the wild way of living, moving and eating in a naturally balanced way, covering the need for movement, good nutrition and rest. You’ll also have a session on mindset, which encourages you to take the bubble wrap off yourself and introduce challenge back into your life to ensure you’re still adapting, evolving and resilient..
Play is important to the wild way, and Obonjan is the perfect place to let go and adopt a playful mindset. There’s a programme of performers and musicians, dancing and DJs, but you can also expect to feel at one with nature doing a yoga class, having a massage or taking part in other wellbeing activities. You won’t find drunken teenagers in muddy fields – the aim of the island is to find a balance between wellbeing and light entertainment so that people of all sorts backgrounds can connect.
While you are nestled down at the south of the island away from the main performance area, light sleepers might want to bring some ear plugs. Safe deposit boxes are available free of charge in the reception building. In addition to movement and training gear, bring some light party clothes for the evenings.
Also do bring some cash to spend at the Market Street boutiques. You can book to stay longer after your Wildfitness programme direct with the festival organisers.
When to Go
Retreats run during the summer in July and August, when the average temperatures are 25 degrees with about a 10% chance of rain (3/4 days per month). It’s a perfect time to visit.
Wildfitness guests dine poolside at The Kitchen restaurant most days, but there is a huge range of other restaurant options to choose from on the island and the chefs in each of them have been briefed so that the meals you eat adhere to a menu reviewed by Wildfitness nutritionist Tatu Bearcroft. You are encouraged to all eat together, but if you want to explore and perhaps even get away from the group for a bit of solitude that’s totally fine too.
You’ll eat three deliciously, healthy and filling meals each day. In the morning there are eggs cooked to your preference along with yogurt and fresh fruit, and you will only consume naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, dried fruit, honey or agave. Being right on the coast means that the fish is the freshest source of protein here, seasoned and baked or grilled to your taste. There are dried fruit and nuts available to snack on throughout the day.
Coffee and alcohol is not part of the diet over the course of the week, and you’re encouraged not to indulge, but Wildfitness are not restrictive or dictatorial in their approach and ultimately the choice is yours.
The concept for the island was thought up by Dan Blackledge, a legend within the party industry. He is now turning is attention to making festival experiences fit into a lifestyle. Blackledge brought in a group of experts to create a green strategy.
One of the experts Blackledge employed is the Eden Project co-founder Brian Spooner who will be monitoring the biodiversity of the land over the next 4-5 years. The architect Una Barac designed the beautiful eco lodges and tents to be made from mostly recycled and local materials.
Zadar / Split