It’s a time honored tradition, traveling to seek health. Pilgrims to Lourdes journeyed for a miracle. The well-heeled traveled to Battle Creek for rest and rejuvenation. Cancer patients seek unconventional cures in Mexico. Businessmen travel to the Mayo Clinic for regular check ups. And modern women go spa-ing to regain their ground, or for a ‘time out- with friends or daughters.

Joy of Health Vacations is a modern twist on an old practice, yet its roots go back to ancient Rome. Literally. This fertile region nestled amidst the vast rolling hills between the majestic Alps and the vast Carpathian mountains in Central Europe, served as the easternmost front of the Roman Empire, and - not coincidentally – it lies atop one of the most abundant reservoirs of mineral rich healing hot springs in the world. For the Roman soldier, it was a fountain of rejuvenation. They came here to heal their wounds, and to rest and strengthen their weary bodies for the next battle.

Fast forward over 2000 years of use by royal families, Turkish sultans, Hapsburgs kings, and Europeans from all across the continent, to modern Budapest, Hungary. Joy of Health Vacations follows in the grand tradition of offering healing retreats at the “belle epoque” Grand Margitsziget Hotel’s certified Medical Wellness spa, located in the heart of beautiful, charming Budapest. Situated on a leafy pedestrian island in the Danube River between Buda and Pest, you are minutes from the sights and rich culture of the “Paris of the East”.

Since Hungary joined the European Union a few years ago, Budapest has become an increasingly popular destination, for its affordability, as well as for lovers of a more authentic experience of Old Europe, where the café culture and the arts are still very much alive. Its slightly exotic flavor is unique, with its traces of architecture and customs left by occupying Ottoman Turks, Austrian Hapsburgs and the Soviets. You can feel the spirit of history and endurance pervade the city. Especially on the island, once a hunting ground for wild boar and rabbits, and for a medieval convent, whose remains are still visible, and still later, the place of inspiration for poets and musicians, whose statues line the walkways.

Can you tell we know and love it well? And highly recommend it? In the interests of full disclosure, it must be said that these health vacation packages have been lovingly assembled by us. We are committed natural health professionals who continue to celebrate the expansion of medicine to include more holistic, non-drug based therapies, and healthy lifestyle change as a way of life. For us, the annual habit of a Time Out that for Europeans is a way of life, represents the best of integrative medicine, a wonderful example of preserving what works in traditional therapies, with advanced scientific medicine, and conscious self-care.

The spa is fully staffed and supervised by medical doctors, and is recognized and reimbursed by most European insurers as a standard treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, back pain, and other pain conditions. The two to three week program of soaking in hot spring mineral waters, daily mud packs, specialized electro-therapies, massage and guided movement combine with medical diagnosis and direction into a uniquely customized program for pain relief, as well as preventive “wellness” care.

You can also ‘take the waters’ simply to enjoy a restful, rejuvenating vacation in a truly unique destination. In addition to balneotherapy (i.e., hot spring therapy), the Grand Hotel has a full service spa with Clarin body treatments and facials, a hair salon and manicurist. They also offer Thai and aromatherapy massages, sauna cabins, the usual spa “works”. There’s also a 3 mile professional jogging track around the island next to the river. You can stay on the island after your morning baths and therapies, or explore the city and enjoy the restaurants and nightlife. The sightseeing itinerary is modular, and we are happy to help guide you in choosing what you’d like to see.

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