Slow escapes: 15 of the best slow travel trips to book whenever you’re ready

Taking it easy can truly enhance your travel experience, in so many ways. Here are some of the very top trips for mellow, blissed-out journeys that allow you to take it all in at a much calmer pace…

Kirtey Verma
20 November 2019

1. Paddle the waterways of Canada

(Grand American Adventures)

Leave civilisation behind and paddle more than 320km of the great Yukon River on the Yukon Canoe Adventure with Grand American Adventures.

As you voyage deep into the remote Canadian wilderness, you’ll end up following the renowned gold-rush route, traversing the same waters that were once a lifeline to the miners.

Camp out on riverbanks watched by curious beavers and even glimpse the odd bald eagle stalking the skies as you roam through abandoned trading posts and settlements, such as Hootalinqua and Big Salmon Village, and revel in the absolute stillness of it all.

When? 14 July; 4 & 25 August 2019

How long? Eight days

How much? From £979 (excluding int’l flights)

2. Get lost on the maze-like waterways in India

(Corinthian Travel)

Take your time and enjoy Kerala’s intricate lagoon network on Corinthian Travel’s Slow Kerala Backwater Cruise.

With three nights to enjoy the sleepy waters (one-night cruises are the norm here), you can fully unwind and appreciate the gentle life of the rural villages that line the shores.

On land you can enjoy unhurried cycle rides through remote communities and visit bustling bazaars and serene temples, then try your hand at private cookery classes in the spice port of Cochin.

Who?Corinthian Travel(020 3583 6089)

When? Year-round

How long? Eight days

How much? From £1,145 (excluding int’l flights)

3. Sail to the heart of the Maldives

(Oana Dragan)

Attune yourself to the rhythms of the South Malé Atoll and embark on a Maldives Dhoni Cruise with G Adventures.

Sail across the islands on a traditional dhoni boat, before wallowing in turquoise lagoons, snorkelling among the coral reef and swimming alongside turtles, reef sharks and stingrays.

Then let friendly locals take you under their wing as you embrace the laid-back Maldivian lifestyle far from honeymooners and beach dwellers. Perfect for a slow, authentic escape.

Who?G Adventures (0344 272 2060)

When? Year-round

How long? Seven days

How much? From £1,129 (excluding int’l flights)

4. Answer the call of the wild in Tanzania

(Natural High)

Swap 4WDs for your own two feet and stroll the hills, kopjes and valleys of the northern Serengeti on a Walking Safari with Natural High Safaris.

Walking from camp to camp, slow down and become one with the landscape and wildlife as you join a cast of thousands of wildebeest and zebra on their migration.

Seek out big game by spying wind direction and the behaviour of other wildlife, and enjoy the thrill of the slow reveal.

Who?Natural High Safaris (01747 830950)

When? Selected dates June to October 2019 & 2020

How long? Seven days

How much? From £4,750 (excluding int’l flights)

5. Stray off the beaten track in India

(Wild Frontiers)

Escape India’s chaotic capitals and see a more serene side to the country on an India in Slow Motion trip with Wild Frontiers.

You’ll stray off­ the beaten track, dawdling through Rajasthan’s rural villages and camping at the glittering Pangarh Lake.

Bangle makers and brass pottery take centre stage in Bundi’s bazaars, then relax with royalty as you spend the night as a guest of a prince in Madhya Pradesh’s Fort Ahilya, before combing the ruined city of Mandu’s majestic fortresses and temples.

Who? Wild Frontiers (020 8741 7390)

When? 3 Nov 2019; 2 Feb & 21 Nov 2020

How long? 15 days

How much? From £2,725 (excluding int’l flights)

6. Taste la dolce vita in Italy

(Wexas Travel)

Taking the time to dine is the whole ethos of Wexas Travel’s Gastronomy of Puglia trip. As you amble medieval towns and self-drive coastal wonders, you’ll indulge in gourmet dinners in centuries-old hilltop estates and go on wine tastings and cellar tours.

Spot local fishermen unloading their catch of the day in Gallipoli – right before you sample it yourself – and take in cave dwellings (Matera), castles and frescoed churches, before resting your head in country manors and townhouses.

Who?Wexas Travel (020 7590 0796)

When? April to October 2019 & 2020

How long? 7 days

How much? From £995 (including flights)

7. Uncover island life in Greece


A slower pace of life awaits on the Ionian Islands Bike & Sail tour with UTracks, as you set sail from Corfu and take the time to explore the coastlines and coves of its surrounding islands.

Hop ashore to pedal to the sea caves of Kefalonia, two-wheel it past olive trees and through lush valleys on Ithaca, and bike mountain villages and cli­ff tops of the mainland coast before finishing on the idyllic island of Paxos. And for those looking to take it even easier, e-bikes can be hired for a supplement.

Who?UTracks (0800 0744 135)

When? 24 August; 28 September; 5, 12 & 19 October 2019

How long? Eight days

How much? From £1,390 (excluding int’l flights)

8. Stroll through time in Croatia

(On Foot Holidays)

Meander Dubrovnik’s backstreets and Adriatic coast on The Walled City and the Elafiti Islands self-guided walking trip with On Foot Holidays.

Get lost in centuries-old monasteries and palaces, then climb atop the city’s fortifications for views over the Old Town, before ferrying over to the car-free islands of Lopud, Sipan and Kolocep where you can swim in sandy bays and enjoy fresh fish lunches – all under your own steam.

Who?On Foot Holidays(01722 322652)

When? April to October 2019 & 2020

How long? Seven nights

How much? From £830 (excluding int’l flights)

9. Take it easy in Cambodia

(Vivid Travel)

Absorb Cambodia’s rich culture and laid-back lifestyle at your leisure on Vivid Travel’s bespoke Stone, Sand and Sea tour.

Most trips typically o­ffer a mix of slow and scenic bike rides through rural countryside, alongside explorations of Phnom Penh’s busy streets and wartime relics, and the Khmer temple complex of Angkor.

Watch the sunset over the iconic Angkor Wat, before perhaps ending your trip amid the pristine beaches and deserted bays of Koh Rong island.

Who? Vivid Travel (020 3813 2405)

When? May to September 2019 & 2020

How long? 14 days

How much? From £1,995 (including int’l flights)

10. Bliss out in Indonesia


Leave your worries behind and slowly soak up Indonesia’s ancient culture on Rickshaw Travel’s relaxing Rice Terraces & Paradise Beaches trip.

Explore Ubud’s rich green rice terraces, stroll through perfumed plantations of coffee and clove, before taking on traditional Balinese cooking classes and resting your head in palaces.

Then you can fully unwind on the dreamy Gili islands, where you can slumber under the sun, dine on fresh seafood and snorkel with sea turtles – you’ll feel like a modern castaway.

Who?Rickshaw Travel(01273 934823)

When? Year-round

How long? 14 days

How much? From £1,185 (excluding int’l flights)

11. Spring into action in South Africa


Designed to coincide with the austral spring, Naturetrek’s Go Slow… in South Africa trip presents a different side to the Western Cape.

With the wildlife slowly awakening, you can spot African Penguins at Boulders Beach or Southern Right Whales in False Bay, while enjoying the spectacular mountainous scenery of the Cape Peninsula and the Hottentots Holland Mountains. After a long day of wildlife watching, chill out with a glass (or two) of local Stellenbosch wine.

Birdwatchers can also glimpse a vast array of their feathered friends, listening to the songs of the Cape Sugarbird and Cape Batis. You’ll see some of Cape Town, and also explore the notorious Robben Island prison.

Who?Naturetrek (01962 733051)

When? Selected dates September 2019 and September 2020

How long? 10 days

How much? From £4,295 (including flights)

12. Ride the rails in Scotland


Put the brakes on your trip and enjoy going Slowly Through The North Highlands By Train with McKinlay Kidd.

Starting in Inverness, your journey takes you through some of the remote areas of the Highlands, so you can soak up the peaceful way of life with a private tour of Plockton village, the rugged Isle of Skye, as well as the wilderness of the North Coast, all in your own time.

Then head to Loch Ness on a quiet boat trip – depending on whether the legendary monster makes an appearance. Finally, add an optional day trip to Orkney to your itinerary, if you’re still keen to explore at an easy pace.

Who? McKinlay Kidd (0141 260 9260)

When? April to October 2019

How long? Seven nights

How much? From £1,195

13. Step into the Philippines


Escape to the Philippines on Foot with TravelLocal and uncover its true wonders: the world’s smallest active volcano (Mount Taal), the enchanting pyramid-like rice terraces in the Ifugao Mountains, and the peculiar primates with eyes bigger than its brains count among them.

Ride a horse along soft black lava sand to the rim of Mount Taal’s crater, marvel at the Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island, meet the aforementioned big-eyed tarsiers at Bohol’s sanctuary, and spot dolphins on the small island of Balicasag.

Drift down the river on slow cruises, sunbathe on the beach and enjoy blissing out with relaxing spa treatments.

Who? TravelLocal(0117 325 7898)

When? Year-round

How long? 18 days

How much? £2,140 (excluding int’l flights)

14. Sail away in Iceland


Check out of modern life and explore the atmospheric Icelandic coast on the Iceland Circumnavigation expedition cruise with Aurora Expeditions.

Offering a new perspective on Iceland unseen by wayfarers, this brand-new itinerary navigates dramatic fjords, rocky cliffs, mud pools and geothermal springs, while shining a spotlight on black sand beaches, lava fields and extraordinary whale watching hot spots in the Hornstrandir peninsula, too.

Nature reigns supreme on this slow voyage, soundtracked by thundering waterfalls, spouting geysers and the calls of bird colonies.

Who?Aurora Expeditions (0 808 189 2005)

When? 2 to 12 June 2020

How long? 11 days

How much? From £5,232 (excluding flights)

15. Take on dog sledding in Greenland


Get pulled onto the ride of a lifetime with man’s best friend on the East Greenland Dog Sledding Expedition with Regent Holidays.

You’ll need a good level of fitness, but you can prepare to be completely cut off from modern life, delving into the isolated wilderness of Ammassalik Island and navigating remote settlements, mountain valleys and glaciers, all the while entirely dependent on your tough team of Greenlandic sled dogs.

You can also take in the impressive views across King Oscar’s Fjord and Sermilik Ice Fjord, before spending the night on the shores and taking things slow by scouting out seals with a local Inuit.

Who?Regent Holidays(01174 535 920)

When? February to April 2020

How long? 10 days

How much? From £3,595 (including flights)

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