Getting outside can do wonders for your well-being and your mind. Think natural light, fresh air and quiet. It’s well known that after just a few days without all the trappings of our modern lives, little by little we start to relax – our posture changes, our breathing slows, and calm descends upon us. Hit the restart button to reset the mind, body and soul in all four corners of Europe. The perfect time to reflect on your life; where you’ve been and where you want to go.
1. From Finland to Iceland
Rauma, one of the oldest cities in Finland, is an ideal destination for a mindful summer holiday. The famous historical old town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is extremely well preserved and almost fairy-tale like, creating an atmosphere of the long-forgotten past. From the oldest, we go to one of Iceland’s best kept secrets; Patreksfjordur in the Westfjords region. Off the beaten path, discover the imposing sea cliffs, the 10km red beach and Dynjandi Falls.
2. From Croatia to Slovenia
Croatia has been a popular holiday destination for many years but worry not – there are still quiet spots to be found. Take in that famous sunset, best viewed from the comfort of your own yacht (rentals aplenty), enjoy the crystal-clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea and sail off into the horizon – at least until you reach the island of Hvar. Listed as the queen of the Croatian Dalmatian islands, the island of natural beauty, it’s famous for its impressive 13th century fortress, lavender fields and secluded beaches.
From Croatia, we head down the coast to Kotor, Montenegro and further inland to find peace in Durmitor National Park. Characterised by winding streets, Kotor is surrounded by fortifications dating back to the Venetian era and is famous for its impressive landscape interspersed with limestone cliffs. The breathtaking scenery continues in the Durmitor National Park - formed by glaciers and traversed by rivers and underground streams – it’s the ideal setting to dive into nature and go on mindful hikes.
Finally, the small Lake Bled in Slovenia has everything you need for a sweet getaway. Heralded as one of the most scenic spots in Slovenia, it offers hiking trails, secret swimming holes, the oldest castle in the country and beautiful, picturesque Bled island.
3. From Italy to Portugal
What better way to relax and unwind than with a hot bath? Or, in this case, a hot bath in nature? The Isle of Ischia is a volcanic outcrop in the Bay of Naples that’s famous for its mineral-rich thermal waters. The beautiful village of Monsanto, Portugal is a strange sight to see, with boulders popping up through rooftops and around corners, but it’s quiet, rustic, with architectural gems and boulders around every single corner. Walk up and down the cobbled streets, visit the ruins of the Templar castle and experience the living museum that is Monsanto. If secluded beaches are more your thing, albeit black volcanic beaches, then we suggest exploring the Azores Islands in Portugal. The volcanic surroundings breathe life into the abundant colourful and vibrant nature, gorgeous green and turquois crater lakes – Lake Sete Cicades and Lagoa do Fogo - and mineral hot springs of Caldeira Velha. Hitting the off switch is definitely possible here.
4. From France to the U.K.
The famous Bordeaux region in France is not just a wine destination, it’s also home to the Plum Village Monastery - the ideal retreat where you can learn how to add mindfulness into all your daily activities and live each moment of life more deeply.
And finally, if you’re after a comfortable stay instead of meditation and nature walks, book a luxury pod in Wales’s Wye Valley, U.K. The luxury pods in Wales, Cynefin Retreatsis in the UK, have been designed to blend in with the beautiful countryside and come with rainfall showers and luxury downy beds.
Take the time to escape and plan your mindfulness getaway!