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Slowcation: The Art of Relaxation & Travel Reimagined

We’ve all heard the line, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” Vacations can be tiring: going from one attraction to another, walking more than you typically do in a day, and making sure you fit in everything you want to do during the week or so you have at your destination. This traditional way of vacationing is changing, and “slowcations” are becoming increasingly popular. 

What is a Slowcation?

What exactly is a slowcation? According to the vacation rental website Offbeat Stays, a slowcation is “a travel niche that focuses more on building a connection with the destination – the local people, culinary delights, rich culture, folk music, and much more. An exquisite indulgence.” It is a type of vacation that emphasizes relaxation and immersing yourself in a place rather than rushing around to see all the sights. It’s about slowing down, disconnecting from the busyness of everyday life, and truly experiencing a destination. 

The key components of a slowcation are: 

  • Relaxation – Unlike traditional vacations packed with activities, a slowcation is about taking things at your own pace and prioritizing rest and rejuvenation.
  • Connection – Slowcations encourage connecting with the local culture, people, and food. 
  • Mindfulness – Instead of ticking things off a list, you savor the experience of each activity. This could involve spending hours at a museum, lingering over a long lunch, or simply soaking up the atmosphere in a beautiful setting.

Who Should Take a Slowcation?

Everyone can benefit from a slowcation, but you need to be ready for it. People feeling burnt out, anyone wanting to truly learn about a different culture, nature lovers, and really, anyone who just wants to sit, relax, and take it all in without a strict agenda. You’ll focus on relaxation, mindful experiences and fully immersing yourself in local, authentic experiences. 

Tips for Taking the Perfect Slowcation

The point of a slowcation is to slow down and destress. To make the most of your slowcation, you need to pack smart, choose the right activities and the right destination.

Pack Smart

A slowcation is all about enjoying the simple parts of a destination, and with that comes packing simply too. We’ve created a packing list to help you with your journey.

lithiumphoto | Adobe Stock

Some basic tips are: 

  • Minimize footwear; just one or two pairs of comfortable shoes should suffice. 
  • Embrace layers- packing clothes that can be layered will allow for adapting to changing weather. 
  • Don’t forget sunscreen! 

Choose the Right Activities 

Remember: you want a slower-paced vacation when going on a slowcation. Don’t jampack your day with a rigid itinerary. Choose activities that allow you to live in the moment and take it all in. 

Choose activities that are tailored to relaxation, like yoga, spa treatments, and sitting on the beach. The best slowcation activities promote mindfulness and present-moment awareness. Choosing activities that resonate with you can lead to deeper connections with the local culture, nature, and yourself. Avoid over-stimulation, too. Tourist traps are usually loud and crowded, overstimulating your senses. This is why quieter, less popular spots are important when planning activities. 

Choosing the Right Destination

The destination is probably the most important part of planning a slowcation. Cities are not the best idea when you want to take a slowcation. Find quieter, slower spots that focus on nature and local customs. 

Best Slowcation Destinations

Luckily, several spots throughout the world will create the perfect slowcation for your next trip. Whether traveling afar or staying closer to home, the right destination for you is out there. Whether it’s a yoga retreat, jungle adventure, or local food tour, here are the best places to take your slowcation. 

Bali, Indonesia

Bali may be the OG of slowcations. A top honeymoon spot for years, this beautiful island offers stunning beaches, lush rice terraces, and a rich culture You can spend your days relaxing on the beach, exploring temples, getting a massage, or taking a yoga class. 

Spend your time and Temple Hop around the thousands of temples (pura) scattered across the island, each with unique architecture and significance. Some popular temples to visit include Besakih Temple (the Mother Temple of Bali), Tanah Lot Temple (perched on a rock in the ocean), and Tirta Empul Temple (known for its sacred cleansing springs).

Our Slowcation Bali Hotel Pick: Bambu Indah, Ubud

Bambu Indah, Balcony Room
Expedia

This eco-friendly resort nestled amidst Ubud’s rice paddies offers a true connection with nature. Rustic yet luxurious bamboo accommodations provide stunning views. Indulge in yoga classes, spa treatments, and mindful activities, all in a serene and sustainable setting. It’s perfect for those seeking a peaceful and nature-focused slowcation. They offer tours, activities, or simple relaxation for the ultimate slowcation stay. 

Lake Como, Italy

This picturesque lake region in northern Italy is known for its beautiful scenery, charming towns, and delicious food. From relaxing boat cruises on the lake to hiking and biking or learning the art of Italian cooking in a hands-on class, Lake Como has everything you need for the perfect slowcation. The area has several wellness-focused activities, including rejuvenating spa treatments to practicing yoga on a secluded beach. The historic lakeside villas are ideal for immersing yourself in history and culture without the business of popular Italian attractions. 

Our Italy Slowcation Hotel Pick: Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como

Premier suite - Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como
Expedia

Situated on the shores of Lake Como in Blevio, the hotel offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle. Surrounded by lush gardens and boasting breathtaking lake views, the setting is conducive to slowing down and appreciating the beauty of nature. You could easily fill your entire vacation with treatments from their spa, luxuriating in the sauna or steam room, or meditating in the zen garden.  

The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a stunning region in southern Portugal with beautiful beaches, charming towns, and a relaxed atmosphere. With over 100 miles of coastline, you can spend your days swimming in the ocean, sunbathing on a secluded beach, or exploring hidden caves and rock formations. The towns in the Algarve are picturesque and filled with historic churches and buildings, perfect for immersing yourself in Portuguese culture. The protected wetland area of Ria Formosa Natural Park is perfect for taking in nature and birdwatching. The village of Salema is perfect for meeting locals, eating fresh seafood, and relishing in what life is like in a costal Portuguese town. No matter where you find yourself in the Algarve, you are sure to be able to meet locals, immerse yourself in history, and relax with the sounds of the waves to guide you. 

Our Algarve Slowcation Hotel Pick: Pousada de Tavira

Steeped in history, this pousada (guesthouse) in Tavira offers a unique experience. Once a 16th-century monastery, guests can stay in charming rooms with traditional elements, explore the on-site castle walls, and wander the town’s cobbled streets. Perfect for those seeking a slowcation that combines relaxation with cultural immersion, it’s close to the beach, as well as attractions like Forte de Santo António de Tavira, Igreja do Espírito Santo, and Castelo de Tavira. You can also unwind at the on-site spa. 

Galway, Ireland

This charming city on the west coast of Ireland is a great place to relax and experience Irish culture. You can spend your days exploring the city’s shops and pubs, taking a day trip to the Connemara region, or listening to traditional Irish music. You’re a day trip away from the idyllic Cliffs of Moher and Connemara National Park. The city itself is full of Irish history, from exploring the medieval walls surrounding the city center, visiting the Galway Cathedral, or wandering the market. For a true Irish experience, you can’t miss a ceilidh in one of the city’s many pubs. Ireland is known for its B&Bs, which are a perfect way to blend in with the locals, and your hosts are sure to give you advice on how to live like a local. 

Our Galway Slowcation Hotel Pick: Adare Guesthouse

Adare Guesthouse, Galawat, Ireland
Expedia

This traditional B&B is a five minute walk to the city center, and your host will be present whenever you need them. The organic garden and patio are perfect for relaxing in, and there is parking available if you rent a car for easy access to the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara National Park. 

Cinque Terre, Italy

This string of five villages along the Italian Riviera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The villages are car-free, so the only way to get around is by foot or boat. This makes for a very slow-paced and relaxing vacation. You can spend days swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, exploring the villages, or hiking in the hills. The limited cell service in the area makes it easier to disconnect during your stay, allowing you to engage with your surroundings fully. Instead of cheap souvenirs, you’ll find local artisans selling their products; instead of big restaurants with large menus, you’ll find locally sourced food.

Our Cinque Terre Slowcation Hotel Pick: Amare il Mare 

Booking

The Amare il Mare affittacamere (guest house) is located in front of the Lardarina staircase, in one of the quietest areas of the town with a breathtaking view of the Corniglia beach and Manarola. Some rooms have balconies, perfect for sipping a cup of coffee overlooking the sea. The location of Corniglia is quiet and isolated, making it one of the best spots in Cinque Terre for a slowcation. 

Hoi An, Vietnam

A charming town on the central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An is one of the more relaxed areas in the country. Known for its well-preserved AncientTown, beautiful beaches, and delicious food, you can spend your days exploring the Ancient Town, relaxing on the beach, or taking a cooking class. A UNESCO Special National Cultural Heritage Site, Ancient town is a well-preserved small-scale trading port that was active in the 15th to 19th centuries. The timber-framed buildings and old Japanese covered wooden bridge make this town a delightful step into the past. 

Mostly unspoiled by mass tourism (there are a few bigger resorts in the area), the beaches are clean and maintain their natural beauty, offering the perfect place to relax and relish in the simplicity of the area. 

Rent a bike or get one at your hotel to explore the rice fields and along the river. Tra Que Gardens have cooking classes you can take and learn how local food is prepared. 

For a true immersion into the lifestyle of a Vietnamese fisherman, you can take a speed boat to Cham Islands, and embark on a fishing tour for an up close look at how the fishermen fish. 

Our Hoi An Slowcation Hotel Pick: Dechiu Hotel

Terrace/patio Room - Dechiu Hotel, Hoi An, Vietnam
Expedia

This boutique hotel was built on the memories of designer TheO Pham, it is meant to bring feelings of warmth, safety, laughter and more. The hotel’s website claims “Dechiu Hotel was born so that memories could live a second life, so that what is mine can be shared with you, so that leaving means staying,” which sounds like the perfect slowcation accommodation. Close to An Bang beach, you can easily wander to the beach to relax. 

Slovenia

Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe that is known for its beautiful scenery, charming towns, and delicious food. The Julian Alps are ideal for hiking or biking, and taking in the stunning landscape that seems to be out of a fantasy novel. The Lake Bled region, nominated as one of the new seven wonders of the world in nature, offers a serine setting perfect for connecting with nature. 

Travel to Bled Island on a pletna boat, a traditional boat that has been in use since the 16th century. On Bled Island, visit Church of the Mother of God, one of the most recognizable features of Lake Bled. The site of a church since 1142, the current building originated in the 17th century, and offers a place for peace and reflection. 

Lake Bohinj offers an even quieter respite for your Slovenia slowcation. Dedicated to responsible tourism to preserve the biodiversity and traditions of the area, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the beauty and simplicity of it all. From fishing to hiking, swimming, and wellness activities like yoga and spas, you’ll leave Lake Bohinj revitalized and connected to nature and the local customs of Slovenia. 

Slovenia has several charming towns and villages worth exploring. Ljubljana, the capital city, is a pedestrian-friendly city with a lively central market, a beautiful castle, and a river running through the center. 

Our Slovenia Slowcation Hotel Pick: Sunrose 7

Expedia

This adults-only boutique hotel was built in the 19th century, and features alpine aesthetic, gorgeous bespoke carpentry, and most rooms feature views of the Julian Alps. There is an on-site restaurant that combines traditional Bohinj food with more modern takes. 

The spa was inspired by the golden fairies that are rumored to have lived in the most beautiful places of Bohinj, and offers 7 elements of relaxation: a waterfall, Hot Tub, Pearl Bath therapy, Finnish Sauna, hot-cold therapy, sound therapy, and handmade lanterns. Enjoy a massage or beauty treatment.

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