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9 Day Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat in the Ardales National Park in Andalucia
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

Meditation Retreat Spain

This is a unique opportunity to practice this ancient form of silent meditation in a stunning setting. You will experience the liberating effects of the Dhamma, guided by Mike Helmle. Held in a partner venue in the Ardales National Park of southern Spain, the course has been carefully designed to provide a safe space in which meditators of all levels can dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the practice. Stripped from all distractions and responsibilities, practitioners will be able to establish and maintain high levels of awareness and concentration - the ideal conditions for insights to unfold.

Meet the instructors

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  • Seven-day silent retreat
  • Sitting and walking meditation
  • Yoga to prepare the body for meditation
  • Experience the liberating effects of the Dhamma
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • 2 daily meals

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


7 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: German
Group size: 4-15 participants
Airport transfer available:
Málaga Airport (US$82 per person)
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The Olive Branch

The Olive Branch is a small and friendly bed and breakfast, located in the stunning Ardales National Park.

  • Shared accommodation with twin and / or bunkbeds
  • All accommodations are ensuite
  • Accommodations are clean, simple and free from distractions, enabling continuous meditation


Vipassana is a meditation technique taught by the Buddha over 2,600 years ago, using a method of neutral self-observation to see things as they truly are. In your day-to-day lives, most of you are so occupied by external distractions that it is only when a crisis strikes that you start to wonder if there is something you have been missing.

The word Vipassana means to see clearly. Using a method of neutral self-observation you are able to see things as they truly are - rather than as you want them to be or are told they are.

The teachings of the Buddha go far beyond what is commonly thought of as meditation, by methodically and systematically guiding the practitioner to the very root level of human existence. During this process, insights are revealed which illuminate your true nature, giving practitioners a useful tool in understanding themselves and the world around them.

In your day-to-day lives, most of us are so occupied by external distractions - our job, partner, house, social obligations - that there is rarely an opportunity to step back and consider who we really are. Often it is only when a crisis or nervous breakdown strikes that we start to wonder if perhaps there is something we have been missing.

Vipassana gives us an opportunity to step away from our surface-level existence, and to undertake a thorough investigation into the mechanics of the body-mind relationship. In doing so, you not only gain a clear understanding of yourselves and others, but are also able to find refuge from the turmoil of an external world that you cannot control.

You can expect to experience more love, acceptance and compassion for yourself and all beings around you, and a level of self-understanding that will enable you to meet any challenges with a clear and open mind, body and heart.

Daily schedule

To ensure a deep and mind-opening retreat experience, Riverheart Retreats has created a schedule which allows the participants to let go of any need for decision making and fully immerse themselves in the practice of the teachings. Each day follows the same simple and clear routine, where everything needed to dedicate one’s attention towards the inner landscape of the self is provided; a schedule which allows the mind to slow down and fine-tune itself towards the most subtle layers of perception.

  • 04:00 Wake up bell
  • 04:00 - 04:30 Morning activities
  • 04:30 - 05:15 Sitting meditation
  • 05:15 - 06:15 Chanting / mindful yoga
  • 06:15 - 07:00 Sitting meditation
  • 07:00 - 08:30 Breakfast / chores
  • 08:30 - 09:30 Meditation instructions
  • 09:30 - 10:15 Walking meditation
  • 10:15 - 11:00 Sitting meditation
  • 11:00 - 13:00 Lunch / rest
  • 13:00 - 13:45 Walking meditation
  • 13:45 - 14:30 Sitting meditation
  • 14:30 - 15:15 Walking meditation
  • 15:15 - 16:00 Sitting meditation
  • 16:00 - 16:45 Walking meditation
  • 16:45 - 17:30 Sitting meditation
  • 17:30 - 19:00 Refreshments / interviews / rest time
  • 19:00 - 20:00 Dhamma talk
  • 20:00 - 20:45 Walking meditation
  • 20:45 - 21:30 Sitting meditation
  • 21:30 - 22:00 Prepare to sleep


  • Daily early morning yoga to prepare the body for all full day of sitting and walking meditation


Guided instruction on classical sitting and walking meditation, with daily Dhamma talks to guide the practitioner on their inner journey

Silence will be observed from after the orientation on day one, until the closing circle on the last day. The only exception to this is the interview each participant can schedule with the teacher.


Mike Helmle


Ardales National Park

  • A remote space surrounded by nature, free from the distractions of daily life
  • Beautiful hiking trails into the mountains and lakes
  • Only 1 hour from Málaga Airport (AGP)
  • Held in The Olive Branch - a simple and welcoming space perfect for up to 15 guests
  • Outdoor swimming pool for before and after the retreat


  • All food is vegetarian
  • Any special dietary requirements can be catered for if notified in advance
  • There is no dinner (to support the practice of continuous meditation)
  • In the afternoon and evening breaktime, students will have access to the tea station for herbal tea or hot chocolate
  • On the arrival day, there will be a light supper provided in the afternoon

Simple and basic

  • Porridge and fruit for breakfast, and a healthy lunch option
  • Ingredients are organic and locally sourced whenever possible

Eating is part of the meditation practice as students are encouraged to practice mindful eating.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Organic
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

The Ardales National Park is a haven for climbers and hikers - guests wanting to stay at The Olive Branch before or after the retreat can contact the venue directly to arrange these activities.

Riverheart Retreats is the home of the retreat instructor and his family - located in Coin 40 minutes from The Olive Branch, guests are welcome to extend their stay and add on some extra days at Riverheart after the retreat if arranged in advance - yoga, creative writing and massage therapies are all available.

What's included

  • All meditation instruction
  • Yoga classes
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Daily meals
  • Equipment
  • Bedding and towels

What's not included

  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Insurance
  • Option to extend the stay at the teacher's home and retreat centre 40 minutes away from the VIpassana site (bookable in advance)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Málaga Airport (AGP). Check-in is only available from 2 p.m. onwards. Riverheart Retreats will organise a group transfer from the airport at 1 p.m. to coincide with this and to offer you the lowest price possible. So, please book your flight to coincide with this.

If you arrive earlier, there are cafes at the airport or you can travel into Malaga city to enjoy the sights before the group transfer arrives. Orientation is at 4 p.m. on the arrival day so all guests need to have arrived by this time. Please let Riverheart Retreats know if you intend to make your own way to the centre.

Check out is at 12 noon and Riverheart Retreats will organise a group transfer at this time. Guests are welcome to extend their stay at the teacher's home and retreat centre if booked in advance - this is 40 minutes from the Olive Branch, so please contact the teacher for more details.

Airport: Málaga Airport Airport transfer available: Málaga Airport (US$82 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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