Travel trend: We want to go out: Why holidays in the countryside are so popular - and where we can still find real nature

Pure nature is the motto for many people when it comes to this year's vacation.

Travel trend: We want to go out: Why holidays in the countryside are so popular - and where we can still find real nature

Pure nature is the motto for many people when it comes to this year's vacation. They want to trudge through the snow in the Swedish tundra, climb the Swiss Alps or simply listen to the sound of the sea on the Dutch coast. Many of us long for a break from the fast pace of everyday life, for a quiet walk in the forest, a view of the greenery immediately after waking up and a bit of down-to-earth authenticity when traveling.

In short: nature holidays are booming. The hype surrounding time out in the countryside is not only regularly shown in surveys, fully booked campsites, tourists cavorting on hiking trails and the increasing demand for previously underestimated and original travel destinations such as Georgia, Albania and Montenegro also reflect this trend. A trend that providers have long since discovered for themselves. They invite you to travel close to nature and promise as little of everything as possible - so as not to diminish the authentic nature experience. But what actually appeals to us so much about nature?

“We are in a living relationship and mutual connection with natural spaces and the more-than-human world,” says nature therapist Olivia Köhler, somewhat spiritually, which is now also scientifically proven: Nature has a positive effect on our well-being. Researchers Elizabeth Nisbet and John Zelenski from Carleton University in Ottawa were able to prove in several studies that spending time in nature makes us happier, can reduce stress and intensifies our connection to nature. In addition, taking a break in the countryside strengthens our mindfulness, can increase our concentration and reduce fatigue. A positive effect on our cardiovascular system is now also proven.

Admittedly, anyone who plans a nature holiday usually does not find out in advance how it can have a positive impact on their own well-being. It's more of a feeling, a longing to just take a breath. Köhler also knows this, as she tells stern: “Such a break offers space and opportunity to slow down and connect – with nature, with yourself and with others.” That's why she has been offering regular retreats for several years, where she takes up to 13 city dwellers into wild nature.

Köhler has joined the growing market of nature holiday providers. In addition to the classic options between camping and hiking trips, there are now a number of new variants of time out in the countryside. According to a survey by the booking platform “lastminute.com”, cycling trips will become even more important this year. According to Booking.com's 2024 travel trends, 38 percent of travelers want more nature-based experiences off the beaten tourist path in places that are less well-known this year. The “Skyscanner.com” platform describes a new type of traveler called “analog adventurers” who are happy to forego digital devices on vacation in order to be able to fully enjoy their vacation.

Nowadays, nature vacationers also like to do this while camping, in tiny houses or in the form of a survival trip on their own doorstep. And fortunately, despite flourishing mass tourism, this is still possible in many places around the world. This year, for the first time, the rating platform “TripAdvisor” honored the most popular nature travel destinations with the Travelers Choice Award.

Accordingly, we find the most beautiful spots of nature mainly overseas. Kathmandu in Nepal comes in first, followed by Halong Bay in Vietnam and the popular Egyptian holiday resort Hurghada. Nature in Mauritius, Lombok in Indonesia and the Kruger National Park in South Africa is also said to inspire many travelers. Also in the top ten: Kauai (Hawaii), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands) and Guadeloupe.

Anyone who has ever been out and about in Germany's forests, seen the Alps up close or taken a walk on the beach on the North or Baltic Sea coast knows: you don't necessarily have to get on a plane to take a break in nature. Sometimes it's enough to take a day off, pack a bag, turn off your smartphone and go outside. This can feel strange at first, but according to natural therapist Köhler, it can seem like a short vacation.

She advises anyone who is stressed out by life, exhausted or simply looking for new inspiration: "Try it out and be surprised by what thoughts, body feelings and insights come to you." Like many others, she is convinced that nature holidays work. No enlightenment is needed for this. It's enough if we end up "just" returning to everyday life a little more relaxed and grounded.

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