If the hustle and bustle of your life are dragging you down and you need a getaway, think international. The combination of old-world charms and unique destinations will inspire, ease, and transport you away from your everyday troubles.
Escape the stress with these soothing spots.
Image via Flickr by edwardweston52
Olympia, home of the first Olympic games, was not a town at the time of the games. It was known for its sanctuary and was a national shrine featuring a giant gold statue of Zeus. The games weren’t just about competition. They were about honor, struggle, and the body. No matter what was going on between the Greek states, to compete in the games participants had to be willing to put aside their differences and respect the truce. This serene spot features many ruins. The beautiful churches will remind you of this historic, sacred ground. But remember when you visit, no matter how serene you’re feeling, bare arms aren’t appropriate.
Chaing Mai, Thailand
Chaing Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and is situated amidst the highest mountains in the country. It’s listed in TripAdvisor’s “25 Best Destinations in the World.” Chaing Mai has more than 300 Buddhist temples and hosts many festivals throughout the year. It boasts an exciting cultural scene including the famous Night Bazaar, museums, and several universities. If a soothing outdoors experience interests you, it has several national parks and Botanic Gardens.
Tibet, sometimes called the roof of the world, is as serene and mystical as any other on the planet. Join the waves of awestruck pilgrims as they venture to the 1300-year-old Jokhang Temple, or visit one of the many striking monasteries. It’s hard to decide which is more majestic: the surrounding Himalayas or the stunning architecture of these holy refuges.
From the breath-taking water vistas to the magnificence of St. Marks Square and the Basilica San Marco, Venice shines in its dream-like splendor. Venice is an amazing contrast in romantic opulence and devout Catholicism, making it both a soothing and stimulating destination. Venice is synonymous with over-indulgence. If you notice you’re having problems with moderation, consider a facility that employs the 12 keys rehab model upon your return.
Image via Flickr by RebecaAR
If serenity is your goal, arrive at Portofino from the water. Not only is water a natural soothing element, but the road into Portofino is terrifyingly narrow and drivers aren’t married to a particular side of the road. This exclusive sea-side resort has its share of expensive boutiques and upscale bistros, but if you’re looking for a more soothing experience than retail therapy, take a walk in the Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino.
Dead Sea, Israel
The Dead Sea is an extremely salty body of water and has long been appreciated for the healing powers of its mud and minerals. As one of the first health resorts, the Dead Sea has been a soothing spot for thousands of years. Biblical King David even used it as a refuge. Floating in the Dead Sea is believed to help psoriasis, rhinosinusitis, and osteoarthritis, among other things. Debate this if you wish, but the serenity of this special place is guaranteed.
Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands
Palma was historically home to the rich, regal, and religious, which accounts for the great number of churches and stunning architecture. You’ll want to visit the immense Palma Cathedral that faces the harbor as if it’s standing guard over this magnificent city. In the evening, the lights from this gothic structure reflect off the water and provide the backdrop for a lovely meditative path.
These international destinations are sure to bring joy to your soul and lift your spirit. But if you find yourself becoming overly joyous and toasting a few too many of these spectacular sights, know that you’re not alone. It’s easy to get swept up in the scenes and the wonderful aromas, but if you’re still having difficulties with moderation when you return home, consider a journey where you’re the focus. Getting on the road to recovery is a pilgrimage well worth it.