‘España Rustica’ – Hiking/Yoga Retreat

September 10th – 15th 2018 (Limited Places Available)

Ladies, it’s time to prioritise yourself! Get ready to disconnect from the fast pace of modern living and spend five days surrounded by peace and tranquility, eating home cooked delicious food, watching magical sunsets, making memories and taking in some magnificent scenery as you hike through the beauty of the Sierra de la Contraviesa in Andalucia, Spain.

Espana Rustica is a 5 day fully guided hiking and yoga retreat situated in the heart of the beautiful village of Murtas in Andalucia.  

This retreat has been especially designed for women who are new to hiking and/or yoga and who are looking to try something new.  

Not only will you get to enjoy five sun filled days in this beautiful part of Southern Spain enjoying  good food, good company and no doubt some much needed relaxation, but you will also leave having experienced a sense of achievement. Our aim is that you leave less afraid to experience new adventures and more inclined to live life to it’s fullest.

““I would love for you to come and join me for what will be an amazing experience spent sharing breathtaking scenery, good food, good company, fantastic hiking and enjoying some much need peace and tranquility

The beautiful village of Murtas sits at the foot of the highest peak in the Sierra de la Contraviesa, known as Cerrajón. With a population of less than five hundred Murtas transports you back to the beauty of rustic España at it’s best. Long siestas, almond groves, winding cobbled streets and plenty of uninterrupted peace and quiet.

As well as it’s peace and tranquility Murtas boasts magnificent views of both the Mediterranean and the neighbouring Sierra Nevada mountain range making it the perfect place to escape to when you’re ready for some serious time out.”

Paula x

What’s included in the retreat…

  • Four nights accommodation at the El Mirador de Murtas. **We will have exclusive use of this venue during our stay**
  • Fully guided hiking experience with our mountain expert Cliff Lowther
  • ‘Optional’ additional adventure based activities
  • Morning sunrise restorative yoga sessions on our private terrace with our fabulous yoga instructor Lauren Barber
  • All of your meals and snacks which will be home cooked vegetarian options including wine with your evening meal.
  • Transfers to and from Malaga airport to the village of Murtas.
  • Guaranteed maximum group size of 10. This is a small and intimate retreat designed to ensure you feel part of the group especially if you’re travelling alone (as most guests do).


Our Accommodation


Our accommodation for the retreat will be at the El Mirador de Murtas. The El Mirador de Murtas was opened in 2013 by locals Miriam and Oscar, a young couple who wanted to show the world the uniqueness of the people of Murtas and the tranquility of their beautiful village.

During the retreat we will have exclusive use of the El Mirador which offers a comfortable, clean, yet rustic vibe. All rooms are ensuite (rooms will be based on a maximum of 3 sharing). We will also have exclusive use of the Mirador’s very own private terrace which is drenched in sun through the day, perfect for our al fresco dining and then offers a canopy of stars as the sun sets behind the mountains. The El Mirador is the perfect venue for our rural escape.

Fully Guided Hiking Experience

Fully guided hiking experience as well as additional optional adventure based activities for those looking for a little extra excitement!! This retreat is very much aimed at beginners looking to experience hiking for possibly the first time with a group of supportive and like minded women.

Take in the stunning scenery and the abundance of peace and quiet as you challenge yourself to achieve something you haven’t done before. As with all our retreats España Rustica is designed so that you not only enjoy five days of good food, good company and no doubt some much needed relaxation but that you also leave having experienced a sense of achievement. That you leave less afraid to experience new adventures and more inclined to live life to its fullest.


For us food is one of the key ingredients of a good retreat. As a former cookery teacher Paula prides herself in being able to make simple delicious dishes that not only nourish the body but also the soul. All of our meals for the duration of your stay will be vegetarian.

An example breakfast will consist of a choice of porridge (a hiking essential), cereals, fresh fruit, smoothies and a cooked option. Lunch will be a tapas style affair will lots of delicious local produce. Where we will be out hiking over a full day a packed lunch will be provided. Evening meals will include dishes such as home made vegetable curry or bean chilli. Hearty dishes for the returning hiker. Our evening meals will also be accompanied with a glass (or two) of delicious local wine to toast the achievements of the day.

On our last night we plan to host a little BBQ fiesta to celebrate your last night with us and all you will have achieved.There will also be wine available with your evening meal as we will need something to toast the beautiful sunsets with!

Meet Your Team

Paula Lawson is a health and wellness coach and is the founder of Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You. She is passionate about helping women to realise their own self worth. Paula fell in love with hiking and adventure back in 2013 after a week long holiday in the Lake District and has never looked back.

“Hiking forced me to step out of my comfort zone and push beyond what I thought my limitations were. Each new challenge proved that I was capable of so much more than I had ever thought possible. I was so much stronger than I had believed myself to be. Each time I pushed my boundaries I could feel my confidence growing. It allowed me to start and create a new life. A life that wasn’t defined by fear but a life that was defined by adventure and self acceptance.”

Paula created her retreats to offer other women the opportunity to experience the beauty of hiking in a safe and supportive environment. To create some new memories, make some new friends and to leave with a renewed sense of strength and purpose.

Cliff Lowther is our lead instructor/guide on all our retreats and is an extremely experienced adventurer having been involved with adventure based activities throughout his life. Professionally, he has used adventure and the outdoors as a vehicle for personal development with all his clients for over 35 years and has led expeditions to countries including Cambodia, Ecuador and Peru.

The outdoors is, simply put, Cliff’s passion in life. Whether it’s wandering the mountains of the Lake District or ice climbing in Norway. Apart from the Lake District Cliff’s favourite place in the whole world is the small village of Murtas, home to our retreat. Having lived here for many years Cliff knows the mountains as well as he knows the locals.

“The moment you breathe in the clean air and look at the vistas from the village you will feel the stresses of life fade away. I am looking forward to meeting you all on the next retreat”

Cliff will encourage you to push beyond your comfort zone. As well as being the seasoned professional he is incredibly supportive, friendly, kind and has a very good sense of humour!

Lauren Barber is a yoga teacher and meditation guide who works intuitively to provide a safe space for people to explore movement, find confidence and discover a way of practising yoga that nourishes their mind, body and soul.

Having come to yoga through a back injury, and after years of suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, Lauren’s way of teaching varies from strong powerful practices which empower and ground, to very gentle and nurturing restorative sessions to bring relaxation, suppleness and a sense of peace and ease.

Fun and playfulness is at the heart of Lauren’s teaching and her biggest passions are bringing movement, nature and self acceptance to a class. Smiling, wobbling and giggling are actively encouraged in her practices, as is gentleness, kindness and self compassion.

Andrew Lawson is the final member of our team and takes care of all our behind the scenes day to day logistics ensuring that you have the best experience possible.

Andrew’s favourite saying is that there are no problems in life, only solutions! Although a mechanical engineer by trade Andrew is himself a keen hiker and adventurer and spends most Sundays sailing his boat ‘Mayhem’ out of Sunderland marina (weather permitting – it is Sunderland).

As well as doing a lot of behind the scenes work Andrew is an amazing cook and will be found helping Paula out in the kitchen preparing breakfast and dinner. He is also well trained in the art of ensuring that wine glasses are kept topped up!!

The total price for our Espana Rustica Hiking Retreat is £950.00.

To secure your place a deposit of £225.00 is required with the balance due 8 weeks prior to our departure. To book your place simply email me at paula@behappybebrightbeyou.co.uk

(**Please note flights are not included**)

Example Itinerary


We will arrive at the El Mirador de Murtas at between 3 and 6pm where there will be refreshments waiting. Once you’ve settled in you will have some free time to perhaps have a wander around the village and take in the scenery or simply relax on the terrace and enjoy a good book. Once all our guests are arrived and settled we will have some introductions and then Lauren will lead us in a short relaxing yoga session to help you to fully unwind after your travel. This will be followed by a delicious evening meal served on the terrace with a glass of vino to celebrate your arrival.


We begin the morning with a gorgeous restorative yoga session on the terrace as the sun rises (approx 8am). This will be followed with a delicious breakfast to prepare you for the day ahead. At around 10.30 we will be looking to head out for our first hike of the week. Todays hike will be slightly more gentle to ease us into it and also to help you to acclimatise as we are at over 1000m in altitude. We will return back to the village for approx 4.00pm where you can have some free time and relax before our evening meal at around 7pm.


We begin the morning again with some restorative yoga and a delicious freshly prepared breakfast. At around 10am we will look to head out on the second of our hikes. A slightly longer day today with some magnificent scenery as we venture into the canyons. There will an optional activity offered during the day for anyone who would like to try something a bit more adventurous. We will return back to the village for around 5pm leaving plenty of time to relax before dinner.


A later start this morning for those that want a little extra time in bed. Yoga will begin at approx 9am followed by breakfast. This morning you have the option of some free time or if you would like to be a little more adventurous we will be offering the opportunity to really push your boundaries and to do another optional activity with our outdoor expert Cliff Lowther. There will be some time after lunch to further explore the village and the local area before we set out a around 3pm for our hike up the highest peak Cerrajon where we will sit and watch probably one of the most magnificent sunsets you will ever see. At around 9.30pm we will arrive back at the El Mirador to celebrate our final evening together with a delicious BBQ and a glass of bubbly.


A final fresh breakfast awaits you on our beauitful terrace before we say our goodbyes and you depart from the village of Murtas feeling relaxed, refreshed and with a renewed sense of confidence in your own ability. The journey back to Malaga airport is approx 2 hr and 30min and we aim to depart the El Mirador at around 9.00am so please consider this when booking your return flights.


Are flights included in the price?

Flights are not included in the price but your transfers are. You will need to arrange flights to and from Malaga airport. Transfers from Malaga airport to Murtas will depart at approx 1pm and 4pm on the Monday. Our transfers from Murtas back to Malaga airport will depart at around 8.30am on the Friday morning. (Please note when booking your flights that the transfer back to the airport will take a minimum of around 2 hour 30 min).

Are you able to cater for specific dietary requirements?

All of your meals for the duration of your stay will be freshly prepared vegetarian options. And as most of the food is prepared fresh we are also able to offer a gluten free and dairy free menu. For the days where we are hiking through the day a packed lunch will be provided. Should you have any other dietary needs you would like to discuss please feel free to contact us.

How fit do I need to be to participate in the activities?

This retreat is designed for those that are new to hiking rather than experienced hikers (although you are still very welcome to come if you are experienced). We would recommend that in order to fully enjoy the experience you should be able to walk for approx 10 miles on the flat without any major discomfort.

What are the optional activities and when do I have to decide if I want to participate?

The area around Murtas offers us the opportunity to try additional adventure based activities such as climbing and abseiling. Again, these activities are aimed at beginners and require no experience in order to participate. These activities come at no additional cost but are ‘optional’ to those that are feeling a little more adventurous. This retreat is designed to offer you the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and to grow in confidence. You can decide whether or not you want to participate on the day of the activity.

I’ve never done yoga in my life. Does that matter?

Not at all! Our yoga teacher Lauren is an extremely patient and experienced teacher and will be adapting the sessions to suit the needs of the group. Even if you have never stepped onto a yoga mat before you will be able to fully participate in the session which is designed to simply help you to relax and reconnect with yourself.

Do I need any specialised equipment?

We will be sending out a full packing list several weeks before the retreat. We would recommend a good pair of comfortable lightweight hiking boots. We will be walking for several hours so it is important that your boots are well worn in. You will also require a medium sized backpack and a water carrier (minimum 1 litre).

You are also welcome to bring your own yoga mat should you wish although it is not necessary.

Do I have to fly into Malaga Airport?

Malaga airport offers a huge variety of UK based connections at a very reasonable cost therefore we will be including transfers to and from Malaga airport in the package. However, should you wish to fly into an alternative airport and arrange your own transfers we will be more than happy to help with directions to the village of Murtas.

Who can I contact if I have any further questions?

Please feel free to email me at paula@behappybebrightbeyou.co.uk  if you have any further questions at all. I understand that for those of you who may never have hiked before you might be a little nervous about doing something out of your comfort zone but trust me you will never look back. If you feel that little voice in you saying ‘just go for it’ then trust it. We have a tendency to overthink our decisions rather than just trust our gut instinct. We think of all the reasons why we shouldn’t do something rather than all the reasons why we should. If we want to change then we have to be brave enough to bring something new into our lives.

The total price for our Espana Rustica Hiking Retreat is £950.00.

To secure your place a deposit of £225.00 is required with the balance due 8 weeks prior to our departure. To book your place simply email me at paula@behappybebrightbeyou.co.uk

(**Please note flights are not included**)