When compiling a list of the most inspirational, relaxing and rejuvenating destinations around the globe to help soothe your soul, it is easy to focus strictly on the spas, yoga studios, and tranquil beaches near many of the world's more obvious "relaxation-focused" travel destinations. But to find peace of mind, it's not always about minimizing physical activity or "switching your brain off." Rather, many top destinations for complete rejuvenation and finding zen are those that help you locate your center, get to know yourself better, and naturally bond with your travel companions, friends, and family. The goal is complete rejuvenation upon completing your itinerary in one of these soul-searching trips.
Portrait of sadhu, a holy man in Varanasi
As the birthplace of yoga, India is certainly a top destination for those on the hunt for peace, serenity, and enlightenment in their lives. India is a vast nation and quite diverse, too. The state of Kerala in the South is an inclusive area, with Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus living side by side, and boasts stunning beaches, rolling green hillsides, and sanctuaries that act as a reinvigorating retreat from the outside world. India is a truly wondrous nation, and a Southern Indian destination is ideally suited to those seeking an enlightened and blissful escape. Those seeking diverse cultural influences and uniquely Indian attractions must spend time in Northern India, to discover the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore National Park (India's premiere tiger reserve), and the blue-washed houses of Jodhpur.
VICTORIA FALLS, AFRICA
The Victoria Falls is the largest curtain of water in the world at 5600 feet (1708 meters) wide
A luxurious trip to Africa, Victoria Falls in particular, provides an opportunity to analyze one's place in the world. Standing next to the famed waterfalls that measure more than 360 feet and flow an incredible 38,000 cubic feet of water per second, you can't help but feel just a bit smaller. Take an excursion to either Zambia or Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls straddles the border between these two countries - where there are plenty of opportunities to view wild animals in their natural setting. The authenticity and grandeur of Africa speaks to your soul, and a luxury vacation to the continent can provide an ideal level of invigoration and relaxation for the worldly traveler.
Traditional stilt fishermen in scenic Sri Lanka
Known as the Emerald Island, Sri Lanka boasts a potent spiritual history and offers numerous meditation retreats and rehabilitative centers, all set amidst the swaying palms, vibrant green hills, and ancient temples that personify the Sri Lankan landscape. Visit the Lion Rock Fortress, Dambulla Rock Caves and the Reclining Buddha, and the temple at Polonnaruwa for areas where you want to soothe your soul. Sri Pada or "Sacred Footprints," is a holy site set amidst Adam's Peak, a spiritual place to find peace and harmony. Pack your bags and set out on a journey of self-discovery in this incredible island nation.
Amazing scene of the northern lights (Aurora borealis) on the Reykjavik coast in Iceland
This incredible nation of fire and ice is becoming more popular with travelers these days, but it can hardly be considered crowded. Iceland is strikingly beautiful, offers an array of stunning natural vistas and cosmopolitan centers, and a host of unique cultural interactions to foster a deeper understanding of the warm and welcoming residents. Rejuvenate your mind and body with a dip in a warm, natural pool of mineral-rich geothermal water while relaxing in the middle of a lava field. Then retreat to a local spa for a massage or mud bath. There is nothing wrong with taking great care of yourself after a thrilling day among the fjords, glaciers, and legendary waterfalls of Iceland.
Meditation at a template in Bali
This island nation offers a unique blend of cultural experiences interspersed among historic seaside temples, stunning highland villages, and idyllic beaches. Indonesia is the perfect place to rediscover your love for the outdoors and all things natural, as well as the colorful and vibrant local people who make Indonesia such a pleasure to visit. Your luxury journey to this region can be custom-tailored to your ultimate travel goals. Looking to spend time on the beach? You can't beat Bali when it comes to white sands, turquoise waters, and plush accommodations. Intent on creating a cultural or history-minded experience in Indonesia? If so, explore the Sultan's Palace in Yogyakarta, the Borobudur Temple, or the still-active Merapi Volcano near Kaliadem. Indonesia is an authentic and unforgettable destination that will make it all the easier to find peace of mind.
CHILE & ARGENTINA
Hiker standing in front of Torres Del Paine in Patagonia
The Patagonian Fjords are a site to behold, and represents a raw, natural and primal destination for those seeking to reconnect with their inner self. Patagonia is the ideal backdrop to support your move toward better peace of mind and a more composed spirit, and the untouched natural beauty of the area is only truly appreciated when viewed in person. Travel throughout Patagonia on foot, via canoe or boat, on horseback, or in an eco-friendly vehicle, then find your ideal location to experience the true meaning of zen. Cosmopolitan Santiago, Chile acts as the perfect launching point for this destination, and is well-suited to providing the kind of counterpoint you'll need to truly appreciate the vast wilderness of the Patagonian Fjords.
The great thing about these six destinations is the wide array of things to do, places to see, and experiences to savor. You will come back a changed person - with a rejuvenated spirit, a new appreciation for the cultures you've discovered, and plenty of experiences that can help you find your true self and your true center. If you'd like more information on traveling to any of the destinations listed above, contact a Cox & Kings Destination Expert.