32 best places for a relaxing holiday for those who want to escape the stresses of everyday life

These relaxing holidays offer complete escapism

Relaxing holiday ideas collage
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With modern life feeling increasingly more hectic, it's no surprise that for many of us, the motivation for booking a holiday is to get away from it all -  with some beautiful scenery as a backdrop. 

From sun-drenched Greek islands without heaving crowds to yoga hotspots and spiritual centres, these places will instil a sense of calm as soon as you arrive. There are UK walking holidays, spa breaks and the most relaxing European city breaks and island escapes, as well as long-haul options. 

With a recent survey from The Vacationer revealing that for 56% of people, relaxation is their primary motivator for booking a holiday, the demand for a stress-free break where you can fully relax, slow down and get in tune with nature is clear. These are our 32 favourite destinations for a relaxing holiday.  

Skiathos, Greece

The sea at Skiathos

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Pretty Skiathos still has the white and blue hues of neighbouring Santorini and Mykonos, but it's much quieter making it one of the best off-the-beaten-track places to visit in Greece. Wander the pretty cobbled streets and enjoy the generous hospitality of traditional tavernas with lengthy lunches that run into the afternoon. When night falls, the town is lit up by candlelight, with plenty of spots to enjoy a sundowner or evening meal. 

Lonely Planet's Where to Go When: the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year | £15.98 at Amazon 

Lonely Planet's Where to Go When: the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year | £15.98 at Amazon 

When it comes to travel guides, Lonely Planet is undoubtedly the market leader, with dedicated guides to just about every country in the world. But if you're not sure where to go on your next trip, this comprehensive guide on the best place to travel to - and when -  is a brilliant source of inspiration.

Møn, Denmark

The cliffs of Mon, Denmark

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Møn is a quiet island in Norway with stunning white cliffs that wrap around three miles of its eastern coast. Møns Klint is Scandinavia's first Dark Sky Park, which means it's one of Denmark's best places to watch the Northern Lights

Nevis, Caribbean

A church in Nevis

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One of the smaller islands in the Caribbean Sea twinned with neighbouring St Kitts, Nevis has all the hallmarks of a paradise island, with a warm, tropical climate, incredible vistas and golden sandy beaches worthy of a postcard. The food is also worth shouting about, with restaurants like Bananas, set within the grounds of the Hamilton Escape, serving up delicacies like local lobster linguine.   

Menorca, Balearic Islands

The sea at Menorca

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Menorca is perhaps the quietest of the Balearic Islands, with largely unspoilt beaches and sleepy Mallorcan towns. The capital city of Mahon offers plenty of culture, with museums and galleries, including the Museu de Menorca, to explore at your leisure. 

Edinburgh, Scotland

The old town in Edinburgh

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If it's a relaxing mini-break in the city you're craving, Edinburgh has a much calmer feel than a lot of capital cities. It's steeped in history, with its majestic Castle the focal point of the city, with plenty of cosy boltholes to while away an afternoon in by candlelight. The city comes alive with the colours of autumn or the twinkling lights of the festive season - it's a great place to visit in the colder months. 

The Algarve, Portugal

A beach in Algarve, an ideal relaxing holiday destination

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The Algarve is known for its dramatic cliffs and white sandy beaches, making it an ideal destination for walking and hiking, as well as relaxing on the beach. Consisting of a cluster of small towns within the Faro District, head to picturesque Lagos, or Sagres for a laid-back surfing break. 

The Maldives

A beach on the Maldives at sunset

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The Maldives is an archipelago of over 1,000 across 26 atolls with panoramic views of the ocean. Island life offers a slower pace, with time to swing, snorkel and take in its incredible natural beauty. While typically associated with honeymooners, the last few years have seen more hotels emerging aimed at groups of friends and families with more affordable prices. 

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai

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While the Thai islands are typically associated with full moon parties and backpacker bars, Chiang Mai, a city in mountainous northern Thailand, is a tranquil option for visitors. It's home to hundreds of Buddhist temples dating back to the 14th century for a cultural and relaxing holiday. 


Cacti in Lanzarote

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Thanks to its proximity to northwest Africa, Lanzarote offers warm tropical waters and (mostly) wall-to-wall sunshine, without the faff of a long haul flight. The landscape and its incredible rock formations remain largely unspoilt, so it's the perfect place to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature. 

The Lake District, UK

The Lake District at sunrise

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The Lake District's dramatic landscapes draw crowds from far and wide, with the region especially popular with walkers. Lakes are incredibly relaxing and there's also the opportunity for an invigorating dip in the wild. Near the bigger lakes like Windermere and Ullswater, there are plenty of quaint independent shops to pursue and tea rooms for a pit spot after getting those steps in. 

Antibes, The French Riviera

Street signs in Antibes

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Antibes is a cultural hotspot on the French Riviera famed for being the one-time home of Pablo Picasso. For art history fans, it's a bucket-list destination, and it's hard not to feel relaxed wandering around its cobbled streets, which offer incredible views across the French Riviera. 

Tallinn, Estonia

Arial view of Tallinn

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For a relaxing city break, Tallinn, with its charming Medieval architecture and laid-back atmosphere is a great option. Stroll around its winding streets and enjoy the extremely reasonable food and drink prices. 

The Whitsundays, Australia

The Whitsundays

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The Whitsundays, a group of islands off the east coast in Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef, is a place to go if you really want to feel in the middle of nowhere and experience awe-inspiring views. Take a boat trip out to the smaller islands, laze around on the beach and soak up all of Australia's natural beauty. 

Falmouth, Cornwall

Falmouth beach in Cornwall

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Cornwall is one of the most charming places in the UK due to its beautiful coastline, thriving wildlife and cute coastal cafes and restaurants. Falmouth has a pretty harbour with plenty of waterside pubs to enjoy fresh seafood washed down with local beers. If you're opting for a relaxing break in Cornwall, avoid the summer months when the crowds can be overwhelming.

Tuscany, Italy


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The rolling hills of Tuscany make for the perfect backdrop for a relaxing holiday, with historic castles, hilltop villages and sprawling vineyards to explore. For wine enthusiasts, Tuscan wines are some of the best in the world. 

Richmond Park, England

Richmond Park

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Okay, so when you think of a relaxing holiday, your thoughts might not immediately turn to the capital city of London. But stay in one of its leafy suburbs and you'll feel like you're in an entirely different city. 

Situated in the idyllic town of Richmond, Richmond Park is the largest of London's Royal Parks. Wandering around this countryside oasis, it's hard to believe you're so close to the capital. Check into a cosy pub with rooms for the full English countryside experience, just outside London. 

Nordfjord, Norway

Nordfjord in Norway

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Nordfjord is truly breathtaking, with the opportunity to get close to nature during a glacier walk, mountain hike or a slow cruise along the fjord, taking in the wild and varied landscape. To see the region from a different perspective, the Loen Skylift takes visitors from the shores of the Nordfjord to the summit of Mount Hoven. 

The Scilly Islands, UK

The Scilly islands

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Looking out to sea from the sandy shores of one of the five inhabited Scilly islands, enjoying the warm tropical climate, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean. Getting here is slightly complicated, with holidaymakers having to take a boat or seaplane from Cornwall on the mainland - but the benefit is that once you've made the journey, it's incredibly peaceful. 

Tangalle, Sri Lanka

Tangalle in Sri Lanka

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There are so many beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka that it's difficult to choose just one, but Tangalle is up there as one of the most picturesque, with wild sandy beaches and plenty of beachfront bars and cafes to watch the sunset. 

Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam

A boat on Halong Bay

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You'll likely recognise Hạ Long Bay's landscape due to its limestone islands topped by rainforests rising from calm blue waters. The area is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its abundance of wildlife. The best way to experience Hạ Long Bay is by water, taking a slow boat ride around the islands.  

Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree in California

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Journey out to the desert to Joshua Tree to explore the wilderness of the desert. Joshua Tree National Park has a wild and rugged landscape that will excite hikers, while glamping fans can find some super luxe options for a night under the stars. 

Izu, Japan

A bridge in Izu

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A world away from frenetic Toyko, the Izu Peninsula is easily reachable from the capital on the Shinkansen or conventional train lines. The area is known for its natural hot springs, known as onsen, which are rich in salts due to Izu's volcanic history. Soak away your stresses with spectacular surroundings. 

Darjeeling, India

Darjeeling in India

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World famous for its delicious tea, Darjeeling sits at the foothills of the Himalayas and is a popular destination for hikers and those wanting to explore its impressive tea gardens. 

The Cotswolds, UK


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The Cotswolds offers fairytale-like scenery with old-world architecture, thatched roofs and chocolate-box cottages. It's also home to some of the UK's best spas, for a little R&R during your holiday. 

Ibiza, Spain


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While the White Isle might be known for its hedonism, travel to the north side of the island for an entirely different side of Ibiza. Portinatx in the northermost part of the island, is a resort that was formerly a sleepy fishing village and offers a laid-back atmosphere to complement its breathtaking natural beauty. 

Vis, Croatia

Vis in Croatia

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Vis, a tiny island in Croatia, is much less crowded than neighbouring Hvar but offers the same 17th-century architecture. Kut, the oldest part of the island and arguably the most picturesque, is a 20-minute stroll from the harbour. 

Essaouira, Morrocco

Seagulls in Morocco

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Essaouira is a world away from the bustling souks of Marrakesh with far fewer tourists.  Explore its maze of streets, the architecture a mix of Portuguese, French and Berber influences. There's still plenty of opportunity to shop local produce but at a slower pace. 

Ubud, Bali

Arial view of Ubud

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Bali's certainly garnered a reputation as becoming a bit of a tourist trap, but there's no denying the allure of Ubud, widely regarded as the island's spiritual centre. There's plenty of opportunity for yoga here, often with an incredible backdrop.



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A small island that's part of the Maltese Archipelago, Gozo has retained its wild natural landscapes, while still being an emerging destination for wellness retreats. It's more sparsely populated than many other European islands and enjoys a slower pace where visitors can absorb its natural beauty in their own time. 

Provence, France

Lavenders bloom in Provence

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Famous for its wildflowers, with vast open fields filled with sunflowers and lavender surrounding Provence's Medieval town, it's the France we know from fairytales. The pace in Provence is slower, with long breakfasts consisting of French bread, croissants and preserves and evenings spent relaxing in pretty gardens outside huge farmhouses. A particularly good holiday for a multi-generational family due to the often bigger accommodation options. 

Puglia, Italy

Puliga in Italy

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Puglia is fast becoming one of Italy's most coveted destinations for holidaymakers, but it's not quite as expensive as long-standing favourites like Lake Como or the Amalfi Coast. Pay a visit to (or even stay in if your budget allows) the Trulli of Alberobello, a cluster of traditional Apulian dry stone huts. 



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Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and can be busy in parts, but if you veer away from the tourist hotspots there's a whole wealth of nature to explore on this stunning volcanic island, from incredible national parks to dramatic clifftops. 

Lauren Hughes

Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren worked on the woman&home brand for four years before going freelance. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine.