Spring has sprung so now is the time to get back outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and reconnect with nature. Spending time in nature has endless benefits such as improving mental health, reducing feelings of stress and anger, and boosting physical health.
More Outdoor Breaks You Need to Try
Hakusan National Park, Gifu and Ishikawa Prefectures, Japan
Mount Hakusan, the tallest mountain in central Honshu, is visible from four prefectures and is one of Japan’s three holy peaks, revered in Japanese tradition. Since monk Taicho Daishi made the first pilgrimage to this mountain in 717 CE, many have followed in the man’s footsteps. Before tackling the holy mountain, stretch your legs amongst the various verdant forests on the park’s grounds across the Gifu and Ishikawa prefectures.
Alpe Adria Trail, Slovenia
More than 60% of Slovenia is covered in forest, making it the third most densely forested country in the EU, so it’s no surprise that Slovenia is fondly known as the green heart of Europe. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, there is no better way to experience the great outdoors than taking part in the Alpe Adria Trail.
Linking Slovenia to Austria and Italy, the trail is approximately 750 kilometres long, has 43 stages and is suitable for hikers of all abilities. Stages one to 21 run through Austria before getting to the 22nd stage which takes trekkers across Slovenia, where the Italian and Slovenian borders intertwine. Destined to win every traveller’s heart, paths guide tourists through Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, Lake Jasna, Trenta Valley and the emerald-green Soča River. The Slovenian part of the trail offers many opportunities for authentic restaurant stops and stays at mountain huts and traditional inns.
The Islands of Tahiti
The rugged volcanic terrain found across The Islands of Tahiti offers numerous hiking possibilities for all abilities through jungle pathways, vanilla plantations and fields of wild orchids.
All hikes provide rich rewards of stunning mountain top panoramas, and those looking for a particularly challenging hike can try to scale Mt Otemmanu on Bora Bora. For those looking to mix culture into their workout, head to the Marquesas Islands, such as Nuku Hiva, and explore the Tiki statues and original settlement archaeology sites as you wind your way around the islands.
Tucked into the north-eastern Aomori Prefecture, well off the typical tourist trail, Hachinohe is a thriving region where city meets coast. The region is known for its coastal walking, but it also boasts plenty of ancient woodlands perfect for forest bathing.
Walk past the secluded fishing port of Fukkubo to find Yodo-no-Matsubara, the Yodo Pine Grove. Here, rows of 100-year-old pine trees sway in the ocean breeze. Glimpse rugged and whitened coastline through the trees, a picture-perfect walking experience.