Last Updated on January 12, 2023
How To Celebrate Slow Travel In Europe In 2023
One of the most prominent travel trends of the last few years, slow travel invites tourists to be more intimate in their approach to exploring other countries. Rather than having a bucket-list mentality where the focus is to see as much as possible in one trip, slow travel adventures are focused on just one or two key areas, encouraging you to take in the details of your destinations. This enables you to develop a connection to the true culture of a country, taking you to places away from the tourist trail where you can immerse yourself in authentic local traditions, cuisine, and language.
As well as giving you the time to delve deeper into one location, slow travel also prioritises methods of transport that allow you to absorb the atmosphere and scenery of your surroundings to the fullest extent. For example, traditional holidays often include a fair amount of driving or even flying to get you from A to B, whereas slow travel itineraries value walking, cycling, and sailing. These modes of transport allow you to stay engrossed in nature while you move, again inviting a focus on detail. Train travel is a faster option but nonetheless fits the bill for slow travel as it takes you to rural landscapes and into contact with the local community.
Given its compact geography and opportunities for free travel across country borders, Europe is an ideal destination for a slow travel adventure. A comprehensive rail network crisscrosses the continent, while its coastal borders and inland rivers offer fantastic routes for sailing enthusiasts. Glorious countryside awaits in each country, pleading to be explored on foot or by bike. Discover the best ways to celebrate slow travel in Europe in 2023.
There are endless stunning hiking trails in Europe, with options to suit serious walkers or those who prefer a gentle stroll. England is one of the best countries for a walking holiday due to its selection of national parks, each with its own uniquely spectacular landscape. Dramatic coastal cliffs and heliotrope heather fields await at the edge of the North York Moors, while rolling fields dotted with sheep and wildflowers can be found in the Peak District. For England’s highest peak and some of the country’s most iconic vistas, nothing can beat a walking holiday in the Lake District National Park.
For a more extreme experience, look no further than Norway. The country’s iconic fjords are some of the most extraordinary landscapes in the world – breathtaking mountains and deep gorges cut by wide rivers and rushing waterfalls. Older travellers visiting from the UK may prefer to take a cruise from Southampton through the Norwegian fjords for a restful way to marvel at this majestic landscape, but for younger and more athletic tourists the best way to explore is on foot. For maximum daylight and safer hiking, plan your visit for the spring and summer months.
Serious hikers or those who yearn for the chance to do some soul-searching will find no shortage of scenery and serenity on a pilgrimage through Italy. The most famous of these follows an ancient Christian trail which leads from Canterbury, England, all the way to Rome, connected by rural abbeys and monasteries. The most scenic portion of the trail is arguably found in Italy’s Tuscany region, the stretch between Lucca and Siena. Expect Renaissance art and architecture in Lucca and awe-inspiring UNESCO sites in Siena, separated by the beautiful and utterly tranquil Tuscan countryside.
Europe By Bike
For spectacular cycling in Europe, the Austrian Lake District is a fail-safe destination. Known locally as Salzkammergut, this region sits in the foothills of the Swiss Alps and provides picture-perfect panoramas of serene turquoise lakes stretching out towards distant snow-capped mountains. Choose between gentle flat trails that stay on a level with the lakeside or challenge yourself by heading higher into the hills via well-signposted routes through flower fields and woodland. Quaint villages and towns with pretty timber houses and colourful churches offer the chance for respite and the opportunity to sample some of the traditional delicacies including mouth-watering apple strudel.
A quieter but no less picturesque European cycling destination is Slovenia. Often overlooked by tourists intent on getting to its more famous neighbours, such as Italy and Croatia, this small country lies to the south of Austria and has equally beautiful countryside. The hills around Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, provide the most popular cycling paths, passing through forest, farmland, and pretty little towns set on the side of twinkling rivers. The expansive Lake Bled near Ljubljana is a highlight where you can swim in the natural waters and sail to the small church at the lake’s centre.
European Rail Routes
For those who prefer a more restful holiday to an action-packed adventure, take advantage of train travel in Europe. Not only is the rail network an easy and eco-friendly way to move from place to place, but train rides in Europe can also be a highlight of your trip.
Scotland’s strange and striking landscape is singular scenery that you will feel unable to tear your gaze away from. Ranging from rolling green hills to the jagged rock formations of the remote north coast and outer islands, it is easy to see how this magical scenery has inspired many myths including the iconic tale of the monster that lurks beneath the surface of Loch Ness. The West Highland Line is one of the most popular and picturesque rail routes in Scotland, taking you along the west coast to the magnificent Trossachs National Park and then inland through the remote wilderness to Fort William.
Just as scenic but with completely contrasting views is the Rhine Valley Line that follows the Rhine River through the German wine country. You could also choose to cruise the Rhine for an even more immersive experience of this characterful countryside that boasts neat fields, terraced vineyards, and chocolate-box rural villages. The Rhine Valley leads you from Germany over the border into France at the historic city of Strasbourg, renowned for its incredible medieval architecture.
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