Often without being aware of it, we’re constantly surrounded by noise. It’s like we’ve forgotten that seeking out silence and spending time in nature can do so much for our health and well-being. Find out why walking in a still forest has restorative effects, which benefits being in nature brings, and where you can find the world’s most beautiful forests.
More people are living in cities today than at any other time in history. We hardly spend time in nature anymore, even though we’re not built to live between four walls. If you start seeking out nature more often, you’ll quickly notice the positive effects it has on your body and soul.
When you walk, your body produces increased levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter known for its ability to combat mild forms of depression and pain. In addition, a walk through the forest can encourage a meditative state and help clear your mind.
In Japan, they even have a name for going on a mindful walk in the forest: shinrin-yoku, which translates as “forest bathing”. It’s a practice that grounds you – literally and figuratively. It recharges your energy, declutters your thoughts and allows you to make more clear-minded decisions.
During a forest walk, healthiness doesn’t just come from processes in our heads – it’s in the air, too. Science suggests that if you breathe in forest air, you’re inhaling healthy bacteria that your body benefits from. Forest air is also rich in negatively charged ions, which have mood-elevating and health-boosting effects.
The 7 most beautiful forests in the world
You can start reconnecting with nature in a nearby forest, a public park, or even in your own backyard. But why not use your vacation as an opportunity to visit one of the seven most beautiful forests in the world?
1. Crooked Forest in Poland
The most mysterious forest you’ll ever see, the Crooked Forest is home to around 400 oddly-shaped pine trees. You can find it just outside the village of Nowe Czarnowow, close to Poland’s border with Germany.
2. The Amazon rainforest
Stretching over an area of 5,5 million square kilometres, the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. It’s shared by nine countries: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guiana, French Guiana, Ecuador and Surinam. Home to a truly astounding variety of animal and plant species, the Amazon rainforest’s biodiversity is unparalleled.
3. Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan
If you get a chance to visit Japan, don’t miss this forest. Walking the path that meanders through the high bamboo trees is a magical experience.
4. Banff National Park in Canada
Located in the Rocky Mountains, this is Canada’s oldest national park. You can find mesmerising turquoise-blue lakes here, and you have a good chance of spotting a bear.
5. The Hoh Rain Forest in the US
The Hoh is the largest protected rainforest in the United States. It’s part of the Olympic National Park in Washington. The trees in this forest are tall and old, beautifully overgrown with different types of moss.
6. Waipoua Forest, New Zealand
New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree can be found in this forest. Tāne Mahuta, as the “god of the woods” is called, is approximately 2000 years old, 51 metres tall and has a trunk girth of 14 metres.
7. Zhangjiajie National Park Forest, China
With its valleys, lakes, caves and finger-shaped cliffs, this may be China’s most enchanting forest. The forest’s enormous rock pillars, some of which are over 200 metres high, were the inspiration for the floating mountains in the movie Avatar.