I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve had a little shift in the way I plan travel and holidays. There was a time when I’d take for granted the fact that I would return from travel feeling much, much worse for wear. Over-fed, under-slept, over indulged, and usually extremely run-down. A “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation” sort of thing.
I wouldn’t change a thing about any of those trips, obviously, but I’d now quite like to get back to my everyday feeling like myself, or better, even (that would be ideal). My dream destination would allow me to marry all my preoccupations: gorgeous seaside views, incredible music, yoga and other wellness goodies, and the ability to drink cocktails while watching the sun dip into the sea; a lovely little crisscross of wine, weirdness, and wilderness is the exact distance from reality that I’m after.
When I first heard about Obonjan, I did what you’ll likely do shortly; abandon the article mid-read to pop over to the website and check how long it is on (i.e. how soon I can get there). The organisers describe it as “Your perfect summer holiday, with a festival twist,” and that’s fairly accurate. They’ve taken over an entire private island in Croatia to pull together a three month event that is part music festival and part wellness retreat, all conveniently situated on the Med.
They have the island on a 45-year lease, and have teamed up with members of the original creative team behind the Eden Project to ensure that Obonjan stays sustainable, and is built to last. The calendar of events runs from July 28—September 6, with daily music, arts, and wellness stuff on throughout, which means that visitors can make the island home for as long as they please. Fancy a month away, doing yoga, checking out art installations, eating glorious fresh food, all while watching acts like DJ Shadow, Floating Points, Machinedrum, Erol Alkan, Four Tet… yep, you can do that. Want to go just for a week, and spend all that time in the sea? Yep, you can do that too.
The water is crystal blue, and the organisers also promise fresh, organic produce from both land and sea, as well as plenty of quaffing options for those who aren’t so much in the “my body is my temple” camp. Even if you’re the sort to lose interest minutes into a new resolution, the events calendar is busy enough that you won’t have time to get bored, and if you haven’t the slightest interest in wellness, in bettering your body, or in eating clean, there is nothing quite so glorious as abandoning the city for a few days of camping. JUST KIDDING. Glamping, if anything. Accommodation on Obonjan Island costs from $103 (about Rs 7,000) per night. Choose from spacious, furnished, air-conditioned Bell Tents that house between one and three people, or, if travelling in a larger group, pick the sea-facing Forest Lodges (up to four people, although two-person options are also available).
Plus that price includes accommodation, all music events, group yoga and meditation sessions, talks, comedy and cinema. So whether you’re dipping into their meditations, an upside-down yoga class, sampling a cocktail of vinyasa, hatha, or ashtanga yoga, trying out a session of reiki, or listening to a talk from kundalini yoga teacher Guru Jagat (from California’s RA MA Institute), that’s all part of your stay. And you can pack light; stores like London’s She’s Lost Control will sell everything you need right there on the island. Plus there’s a convenience store that’ll keep you stocked up on toiletries, travel accessories, snacks and drinks, and all at local Croatian prices.
They’ve sort of struck that perfect balance between clean living and living the high life, with enough à la carte physical pampering and indulgence on offer that even the most dedicated hedonist will find something to really love. Go to Obonjan, for beachside sun worshipping, and that you’ll come back pretty proficient at your sun salutations is just bonus.
Getting there: Zadar and Split Airports are the closest to Obonjan, with a journey time of 45 minutes to the port of Šibenik, along the Croatian coast. There are regular boat transfers from Šibenik to get you to the island (or you can get a private boat). Obonjan is just 6km from the mainland. Trains run from Split and northern Croatia into Šibenik railway station with international connections available.
Obonjan will run from 23rd June to 3rd September 2017.
For more, and to see the full calendar of events, visit their website or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.