Slow travel in 2021

For your summer break this year, you may be dreaming of off the beaten path destinations, an immersive adventure in nature or going to a place with little to no visitors.

What if you were gently adopting the slow traveller mindset?

You can be a slow traveller on the coast, in the mountains or rural areas, anywhere in the world.

Because, Slow Travel is, above all, a philosophy, which invites you to take your time to travel and focus on discovering territories, heritage & inhabitants.

In other words, as we explained in a previous article, slow tourism is the antithesis of holidays where you must tick all the boxes on your bucket list in a minimum of time.

Whether you choose to visit your own country, Europe or a more remote destination, here are some ideas to get you started.

Take yourself a bike-cation

Cycling holidays europeCycling is on the rise, and more and more travellers choose to discover a country or a region they are travelling to by bike.

In terms of slow tourism, it’s a perfect combination between discovery & adventure.

Cycling trips give you the freedom to stop en-route, in the small villages and towns, that you wouldn’t even imagine existed if you were travelling by car.

Cycling holidays are not necessarily for the sporty and adventurous who go on a world tour; there are loads of itineraries suited for families, beginners, or experienced cyclists alike.

In Europe, it’s a great way to get around, thanks to the Eurovelo network. EuroVelo are long distance cycling routes. There are currently 17 routes totaling over 90,000km of cycling itineraries across Europe.

That gives you quite a number of options to organize you next cycling holidays in Europe.

In France, there is no shortage of routes. The “Véloroute” network, designed for travellers, allow you to discover the regions in ideal conditions, with limited to no car traffic on the way.

Our favourites: the Seine à Vélo, one of the most recent one, linking Paris to Le Havre, or the Flow Vélo, which will take you from the Périgord region to the Atlantic ocean.

To find the itinerary that suits you in France, we recommend that you visit the France Vélo Tourisme website.

Leave the road, take the rail

Travel by train in Europe

Travelling by train is a perfect match with the slow travel philosophy, which invites you to favor soft modes of transport and take your time, even to arrive at your destination.

Practical and less limiting than a road trip in a car, travelling by train allows you to watch the scenery go by between two stages, to be lulled by the movement of the train and to have the freedom to stop almost anywhere you want.

2021 is the European Year of Rail, which is another good reason to choose the train for your holidays this summer. Europe counts 201,000 km of railways, and you can plan a train journey through 33 different countries.

With Interrail passes, you can travel at will throughout Europe from 3 days to 3 months either in one specific country or several.

Have a van life experience

van travel

Travelling in a camper van is extremely popular, and there are now many options to rent a van for a one or two-week road trip.

Van travel and slow tourism go hand in hand.

Being fully autonomous, you can choose how long you want to spend in your destination, meet the locals, and discover off-grid places.

And before you leave, to make sure your van trip is nature friendly, we recommend you read our tips for an ecofriendly road trip.

Hiking holidays

hiking holidays

Another good idea for slow travel this summer is trekking or hiking. It’s ideal if you are looking for an immersive experience with nature.

There’s nothing like planning a trip, accompanied or not, to a national park.

There are 6,500 of them around the world, all with the common aim of protecting the natural heritage.

In France, there are 11 national parks and 54 regional natural parks, giving you a multitude of possibilities for itineraries and a variety of landscapes to discover.

Enough to satisfy the thirst for adventure of both beginners and more experienced hikers.

Travelling at water’s pace

river tourism

What if, for a change, you set off to discover your destination along its waterways?

River tourism is an excellent way to adopt slow tourism on a staycation or a neighbouring country or region.

You can either choose to have a barge cruise, or hire a boat without licence in some destinations, to sail the waterways.

Either way, visiting a region on its rivers or canals will give you a completely different view than if you were to travel on its roads.

The time spent sailing is ideal for contemplating nature and discovering life on the water.

At each mooring, you can venture out to discover the heritage and life of the surrounding towns and villages, cycle or walk along the towpaths or enjoy water sports.

 Will you take it slow this summer ? Leave us a comment on how you practice slow travel on your holiday


Holiable is an eco-friendly travel planner helping you find sustainable hotels, green restaurants and ethical tourism activities around the world. Holiable was developed to share experiences, advice and reviews on sustainable travel, making it easier to prepare your next eco-friendly holiday.
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