Meditation and travel are a natural pairing. Slowing down while experiencing something new gives you the clarity to take it all in, making careful observations and forming lasting impressions.
Here we’ve picked seven serene spots around the world suited to a moment of quiet reflection, gentle breathing and mindfulness.
1. Navagio, Zakynthos – Greece
Navagio is an exposed cove on the coast of the Ionian island of Zakynthos, reached only by boat. At its most serene outside the main tourist season, it’s hugged by huge vertical limestone cliffs blanketed in lush green foliage. Within, soft white sand and clear turquoise water await beachgoers, who share the sand with a relic of history – a smuggler shipwreck washed ashore in 1981. Head out early in the morning or late afternoon to discover the cove at its most peaceful and for a picture postcard space to zone out, follow signs up to the Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery and a nearby small viewing platform.
2. Loch Loyne Highlands – Scotland
Everything about the Scottish countryside commands attention. Powerful, brooding and endless, it’s a spectacular landscape to lose yourself in thought and reflection. Around 15 miles from the historic settlement town of Fort Augustus are the Loch Loyne Highlands, a rolling landscape embodying water, mountains and plains. Idyllic for solitary walks, peaceful reflection and gentle meditation, let the natural beauty of the land wash over you and take your mind far, far away.
3. Tamarama – Sydney, Australia
Flanked by two prominent headlands, Tamarama has a small ocean beach tucked away between Bondi and Bronte. A popular local swimming and surfing spot, an early morning or evening visit is a wonderful time to find a little space for yourself in this suburban paradise. With a deep body of sand between you and the water and plenty of crashing waves and frothing sea, it offers a place of respite from the sometimes-hectic pace set by the call of Sydney’s many attractions.
4. Dal Lake – Srinigar, India
Known as the ‘jewel in the crown of Kashmir’, this vast body of water is encircled by the peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains and mirrors the ebb and flow of life on the water. Reflecting the clusters of colourful houseboats that line the shores, the lake is the lifeblood of Srinigar and transports goods, locals and travellers. Take a shikara (long-tailed boat) out at dawn or dusk and quietly watch the magic of Dal Lake reveal itself to you.
5. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont – Paris, France
In the northeast of Paris, in the 19th arrondissement, lies the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Easily accessed by Metro or for those with a little more time on their hands, a good stroll from the city centre, it offers beautiful panoramas across the city and dreamy spots for a little quiet time. Often overlooked by travellers sticking closer to the main tourist sites, it’s a peaceful park home to temples, waterfalls and plenty of patches of greenery. With steeply elevated hills throughout, pick a spot that commands a view across to the familiar silhouette of Sacre Coeur and simply settle.
6. Royal Botanic Gardens – Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne exudes culture, creativity and plenty of style and getting amongst it is a big part of the experience. When you need to take some time to recharge and reset, a walk down leafy St Kilda Rd to the Royal Botanic Gardens provides the perfect opportunity to ground yourself. Enter the old gates and be taken into a wonderland of tranquility and colour. Wander through until you find a spot that speaks to you, by the lake, amongst furry ferns or under the old oak trees.
7. Lake Chuzenji – Nikko, Japan
In the mountains of the Tochigi prefecture, around 140 km north of Tokyo, is Nikko, a wonderfully serene antidote to the intensity of the capital. In its national park lies Lake Chuzenji, a sacred lake that has mesmerised travellers for centuries. Surrounded by mountains and beautifully echoing the colours and patterns of the season, it’s an inspiring place that beckons a moment of lakeside meditation. Often chilly and windy, it’s exposed to the elements and takes you far from Japan’s contemporary side and deep into its traditional roots.
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