Holidays & Travel

Why going slow is rapidly becoming the new way to travel

Take a holiday where the journey is the destination, with these easy-going trips, says Sarah Marshall.

It’s all about that relaxed pace
Anopura farm hotel in Jaipur It’s all about that relaxed pace (Rebecca Conway)

With access to the world now easier than ever, it’s hard to resist the temptation to cram holiday itineraries with multi-day hops. But on the flip-side, slow travel is growing in popularity.

This doesn’t necessarily mean taking an age to reach a destination – although journeys are rapidly becoming part of the adventure. Instead, the emphasis is on being immersed in every moment, whether that’s savouring street food in an Indian market, or hiking through mountains in Spain.

The end result is a holiday that’s often better for the environment and more relaxing for your soul. Here are some of our top slow travel picks right now…

Cross the Arctic Circle by train

A train travelling through Sweden

There aren’t many places in the world where train journeys risk being interrupted by a reindeer on the line. Travelling along the inland spine of Sweden, a five-night trip on the historic Inlandsbanan train offers travellers the chance to see Santa’s helpers along with bears, wolves, lynx and wolverine on a journey into the wilderness.

Start above the Arctic Circle in Gällivare – reached with a flight or overnight train via Stockholm – and stop at Jokkmokk to visit the Sami museum and learn about indigenous culture. Between June 5 and July 6, this region experiences the phenomenon of Midnight Sun with daylight around the clock.

The trip ends in Mora in the Dalarna region, a folkloric area cherished by nostalgic Swedes and famous for its red wooden horses.

How: A six-day North to South trip costs from SEK 9,295/£705pp including five nights’ accommodation in mid-range hotels and museum entries. Flights extra. Visit res.inlandsbanan.se/en

Take it easy in the Dolomites

The Dolomites

It can seem daunting in a foreign country, but using public transport is both an economical and more sustainable way to travel – plus it plunges you into local life. Inntravel has made the process easy with their new ‘stroll’ portfolio of trips, using local buses, trains and lifts to make walking more accessible.

Their seven-night adventure to Italy’s Dolomites includes days on the Alpe di Siusi, Europe’s largest Alpine plateau, a climb to the UNESCO Dolomites Panoramic Balcony and a low level route along the path of the historic Ferata de Gherdëina, a former railway line built by Russian POWs during WWI. Sleep and eat in family-owned restaurants and hotels.

How: From £1,070pp (two sharing), including half-board accommodation, luggage transfers, and route notes and maps. Available from May 25 to October 31. Visit inntravel.co.uk

Enjoy the simple life in India

A cow-milking experience at Anopura (Rebecca Conway)

The stereotypical image of India conjures up colourful chaos, but the best way to soak it all in is slowly. Surrounded by lemon groves, frangipani trees and marigolds at the foothills of the Aravalli Mountains, Anopura is a peaceful farm featuring a collection of four villas and seven suites. An hour’s drive northeast of Jaipur, the journey to get here passes through ancient temples, dramatic cliffs and patches of jungle.

Alongside leopard safaris, immersive experiences include block painting classes with local women, picnics in temple ruins at dusk, and cricket games with the nearby village.

How: One bedroom farm villas (sleeps two) start from £170 per night on a B&B basis. Visit anopura.com

Sail away to Spain


Picos de Europa mountains - parador fuente de (Alamy Stock Photo)

In an era of slow travel, ferries have been enjoying a renaissance. Brittany Ferries, who operate trips from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander and Bilbao, have joined forces with the Paradores to offer relaxing holidays with stays in historic hotels and immersion in Spain’s cultural heritage.

Parador de Fuente Dé, for example, is a modern mountain shelter in Cantabria’s Picos de Europa mountain range with access to trails and a cable car. Take part in photography workshops, learn the basics of beekeeping and indulge in forest bathing.

How: Five-night trips from £280pp for a car and two people, including return ferry crossings and three nights’ B&B in a Parador. Visit brittany-ferries.co.uk