Close your eyes, even for just a minute or two. Think of the last time you were at one with nature, whether it watching the sunset on the beach or a stroll through a scenic forest. Now, open your eyes. Can you recall that time?
We asked because it matters. Being at one with nature matters. It is good for our health and our happiness. A BBC report about nature’s effect on people conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trust confirms it. We won’t go into the specifics, though the crux of the study is simple (yet illuminating): Being at one with nature makes us healthier and cheerier. To this end, even the simplest of things — feeding birds or planting flowers count. But why settle for the simple when you can actually explore the best that nature can offer? Schloss Schneeberg, which we featured last September, is a prime example, as it gives you a glimpse of unspoilt Austrian wilderness. There are others like it too, and many are much closer to home.
So, with that in mind, here are five of the top European destinations to appreciate nature. The first two are right here in the UK.
Lake District, England
Nestled in North West England is the Lake District. It is one of the country’s premier tourist destinations, and for good reason. As The Independent notes in its travelogue on the Lake District, the region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and England’s largest national park, with some of the country’s deepest and longest lakes. The views are picturesque with blue, crystal-clear waters serving as the perfect counterpoint to the lush scenery all around. Once here, go on and explore the region. Chances are you’ll encounter wildlife, including red deer, fell ponies, and red kites.
Scottish Highlands, Scotland
The sparsely populated Scottish Highlands are simply magnificent, and one of best places to best appreciate its beauty is on The Isle of Sky. See its beautiful lakes and multihued mountains, hills, and cliffs. Durness, home to the Sango Bay, The Kyle, and Smoo Cave, is another Highland spot that is a must see. The countryside is ideal for long walks and cycle rides, with many places to stay dotted around the area.
Krka National Park, Croatia
Located in the historic city of Šibenik, Krka National Park is a stunning destination. It boasts a series of turquoise-coloured, crystal clear lakes and rapids, all surrounded by seemingly endless greenery. It also has a couple of majestic waterfalls -Skradinski Buk and Roski Slap – whose waters cascade down to Lake Visovac. The park, aside from its scenic surroundings, is a popular destination among birdwatchers as well as it is home to over 200 species of birds, notably herons and egrets. Take a dip in the lake, and watch the birds in flight. You’ll feel relaxed and reinvigorated afterwards for sure!
Malin Head, Ireland
In 2016, Donegal in Ireland was hailed as “the coolest place on the planet” by National Geographic. It was two years ago, yes, but nothing much has changed. Donegal is still a very cool a place, and Malin Head is arguably one of its coolest attractions. Way up in the north of Ireland, this destination offers an unobstructed view of the mighty North Atlantic. The area also has a surprising feature. In a featured post by Lottoland, they explain how the Northern Lights can be seen from Malin. Seeing the lights in Ireland is a bit closer, and warmer, than travelling to Scandinavian countries. Experiencing the Northern Lights should be on your bucket list. Because there is nothing quite like witnessing those brightly coloured lights seemingly dancing in the night skies above the North Pole.
Grenen (literally “the branch”) protrudes from the northern town of Skagen in Denmark. It is the rare destination where you can stand right between two clashing seas, namely the Skagerrak and the Kattegat. There is a distinct simplicity to this setup — a sandbar made by nature, crystalline water from two mighty seas, and a breathtaking horizon that extends seemingly for forever. But that’s not the only reason to visit Grenen. This region is known for its unbelievably diverse marine life. At any given time, you’ll spot seals lying lazily on the sand, orcas passing by, and dolphins swimming around.
It was stated earlier, and it bears repeating now: Being at one with nature is a good thing. It can make us healthier and happier. So, we are encouraging you to do just that. A visit to the places on this list would do you a world of good for sure, but it’s not the only way. Feed the birds, if you will, or plant flowers. Just make sure you take time out to be at one with nature.