There seems to be a constant struggle for everyone to find their own place – both literally and figuratively – in this world. This is especially true for people living in busy cities where every square inch counts and where people appear to bump into each other all the time. Places can get too crowded leaving no room for any breathing space. Taking a break and finding a spot that can provide a little bit of solitude is certainly welcome during these instances.
However, finding that kind of tranquility may look like an elusive dream if you’re so used to congested locations. It’s not time to give up all your hopes though. There are actually a number of places that can provide you some peace and can offer a spiritual awakening.
No matter how constricted your actions currently feel, the world is huge enough to give you wiggle room. It is big enough to have a location that will take your mind off the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are many places not only waiting for you to enjoy and explore but to also provide you with a sense of calmness and serenity.
Here, we have rounded up 20 destinations you can go to for peace and spiritual growth.
20 Kyoto, Japan
People always rave about how wonderful Japan is. It is a country rich in culture yet it also offers a modern way of life. Shopping, theme parks, and sightseeing are not the only things the country has to offer as it can also be a place for spiritual retreat.
Located in the Kansai region is Kyoto, which used to be known as Heian-kyo or translated as “Capital of Peace and Tranquility”. The place is the center of culture from thousands of years ago up to today. It is home to 90 Christian churches, 400 Shinto shrines, and 1,660 Buddhist temples – so it cannot get anymore peaceful and spiritual than it already is.
19 Cape Reinga, North Island, New Zealand
Found at the northern part of New Zealand is a stunning place of lush green hills and azure waters. It is where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. An interestingly gnarled pohutukawa tree is rooted at the cliff. Cape Reinga is also known as Te Reinga Wairua which translation means “leaping place of the spirits”.
According to Maori mythology, the souls of the dead go to this place where they depart to join goddess Hinenuitepo for the eternal home. In particular, this takes place at the old tree. Visitors will be in awe of the beauty and serenity of the place. This crown jewel of the north has a dramatic and spiritual feel that tourists will appreciate.
18 Crater Lake, Oregon, USA
There are two contrasting theories of how this place in Oregon came to be. On one hand is science, which claims that Mount Mazama blew its upper portion about 8,000 years ago thus creating a deep hole. On the other hand, Native American Klamath claims a fight between Llao, the Chief of the Below World, and Skell, the Chief of the Above, thus causing damage.
No matter how this beauty was created, the result is a fabulous place that is tucked away in peace. Its splendor caught the eye of Nelson Beecher Keyes, author of Encyclopedia of American national parks, who called it one of the most beautiful sites in the world. The other two are Victoria Falls and the Grand Canyon.
17 Assisi, Italy
This Italian retreat is regarded as both luxurious and sacred having been built around a holy spring. The place, which is where St. Francis of Assisi was born, is popular among tourists who yearn to meditate, practice yoga, and even go for a pilgrimage walk. It doesn’t matter what religion you practice as this area provides a spiritual experience through interfaith convergence.
It is a small town that offers a taste of the Italian culture through local performances. There are also Basilicas that host sacred music performances. Guests can feast their eyes on the magnificence of the hills of Umbria as well as the forests of Monte Subasio.
16 Varanasi, India
If you’re looking for inner peace and discovering spirituality, India will definitely be part of the list. At the center of the Ganges valley of North India is Varanasi, which stands out among all the places in this South Asian country. It is rich in culture, colorful, vibrant, and sacred. This is one of the oldest city in the entire world and is considered holy by those practicing the Hindu religion.
There are sacred palaces and temples here which is where those who follow Hinduism cremate their family members. The water is also considered holy. Both inhabitants and foreigners come to this place to just bathe in it. The rest of the place is best for meditation, eat vegetarian meals, and meet up with spiritual advisers.
15 Avebury, Wiltshire, UK
This sacred site features one of the more prominent megalithic monuments. Avebury is home to the largest known stone ring in the world and its multiple rings are older than Stonehenge. The rings, which are masked with much mystery, is not the only thing spectacular about the place. The Avebury complex is also an art form that showcased the local inhabitants craftsmanship and creativity.
It is not difficult to find peace in this World Heritage Site. You can explore the place on foot to truly appreciate its landscape. You can do this on your own as there are plenty of permissive paths to explore in the area.
14 Isle of Arran, Scotland
The Isle of Arran is home to the Holy Isle, a tranquil spot best known for being a Buddhist retreat. This place is located at the west coast of Scotland.
The entire island is divided into several spots. There is a place dedicated for guests’ retreat, a secluded area for Buddhist retreat, a location native-tree planting, and a space solely for birds and animals. Its spiritual heritage roots can be traced to as far back as 6th century.
Guests are welcome to visit the place for a day tour or retreat during the summer season or between the months of April and October. It is usually closed during winter time.
13 Córdoba, Spain
A visit to Córdoba, Spain will make any traveler believe in peace beyond the hectic schedule of modern life. This city in the southern part of the country is the location of the La Mezquita, which literally means “the mosque”. The structure started out as place of worship for the Muslims during the Islamic conquest but a Catholic cathedral was built inside it during the Christian reconquest.
The place is an epitome of peaceful religious tolerance – with Islam, Christianity, and Judaism coexisting – so it is a good location to find your own serenity. Walk along Calleja de las Flores to enjoy the prettiest patios you will ever see.
12 Sabi Sands, South Africa
Finding peace can also be luxurious. This is the kind of experience that Sabi Sands provides. The game reserve is composed of 65,000 hectares that was founded by local landowners in the ‘50s. It shares a border with the equally famous Kruger National Park.
There’s a variety of luxury lodges in the area where guests can stay at while relishing a safari getaway. These accommodations are all about opulence and elegance while offering delectable gourmet cuisine at the same time. There’s a lot to explore and discover in this huge space including one’s own tranquility. Being so close to nature will surely provide most people with a sense of calm and tranquility.
11 Mount Shasta, California, USA
Mount Shasta may scare some people because it is an active volcano but its beauty is something worth visiting. Beyond the breathtaking view, those seeking to discover spirituality frequent this place. It is regarded as one of the most sacred mountains in the world by numerous religious communities. There are many spiritual retreats, places of worship, yoga centers, and healing centers in the vicinity.
Towering at about 14,000 feet, Native Americans used to go to this place to fish and enjoy all of its other natural resources. Today, many visitors find it hard to leave the area given the positive energy it exudes.
10 Ladder Ranch, New Mexico, USA
Wildlife conservation and overall customer satisfaction are the benchmark of this sprawling land. This property house four tributaries of the Rio Grande River – Seco, Animas, Cuchillo, and Palomas streams. These bodies of water supports a rich flora and fauna such as cottonwoods, sycamores, Chiricahua leopard frogs, and Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
Going to this place offers the visitors to experience a unique outdoor adventure complete with a placid environment. Nestled in 156,439 acres of land, there are many things one can enjoy here. Guests will be able to witness a spectacular wildlife including elk, antelope, mountain lions, javelina, and bears among others and an inspiring mix of ecosystems involving pine forests and desert grasslands.
9 Rishikesh, India
Yoga is almost always associated with the words peace and spirituality. And what better to experience a relaxing treat than to go to one of the world’s largest yoga capitals, Rishikesh. This holy city offers spiritual retreats that includes yoga classes, meditation services, chants, and the like.
These retreats, which are known as ashrams, can either be simple and basic or elaborate and luxurious. It’s really up to the guest to choose the kind that suits the experience they’re looking for. Travelers will also have an opportunity to get to know Hinduism better through traditional ceremonies. Temple visitations and trail hiking are also very popular here.
8 Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia
Lake Titicaca is at the very heart of the Inca civilization. Legend has it that Manco Cápac, its founder and king, came to life from a rock coming from the lake’s Isla del Sol. Eventually, the site became an important religious center which shrines were regularly visited by pilgrims from across the empire.
At present, the vast lake shimmers at an altitude of about 3,800 meters. This “Island of the Sun” is a placid location that travelers can sail to. There are no cars in the island so visitors simply have to walk on its flagstoned paths and visit its temple ruins.
7 Sedona, Arizona, USA
Visiting this place can immediately give a sense of calm and peace given its stunning view. Many visitors claim how they have renewed their souls bu going to this awe-inspiring place. Sedona is among those selected few areas where guests can witness the amazing red rocks that create a desert-like landscape.
It is believed that the colors in this location provide a sense of healing that leads to spiritual, creativity, and self-renewal. The spiritualistic vibe of this part of Arizona can be traced to its historical links with the Native Americans and their spirits. The best time to go to Sedona is between the months of March and May as the temperatures are warm but not sweltering and everything is in full bloom.
6 Batanes, Philippines
Located at the northernmost part of the Philippines is the province of Batanes. The place is part of the Cagayan Valley region and is home to sprawling rolling hills and deep blue ocean. It exudes a sense of exclusivity and solitude so it is the perfect place for people who are looking for some peace and isolation. It is a quintessential place to find oneself.
The area is remote and far-flung but very much accessible from the country’s capital city. Its unspoiled environment will cultivate only positive feelings and energy. This place is all about good vibes coming not only from its beautiful surroundings but also from its accommodating and warm residents.
5 Southern France
France is hands down one of the most astonishing countries to visit. If you want to go on a spiritual journey though, its southern part is one of the best places to go to. The area has stone sites, sacred and historical cathedrals, and tours that go beyond modern political and religious movements.
The Plum Village is the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe and is a popular meditation center. Buddist practices and tradition is preached here along with the importance of mindfulness in all of one’s everyday activities. Guests will experience serenity and a sense of community during their stay here. Cooking and cleaning are just some of the things that visitors have to perform.
4 Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka
If you’re looking to transform yourself spiritually, one of the best things to do is climb Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka. Going up the lump of dented rock, which is also known as Sri Pada, usually begins in the middle of the night so travelers can experience its sensational sunrise. The trail goes all the way up to about 2,244 meters of steep steps, tea estates, long drops, shrines, and forests filled with wildlife.
The “sacred footprint” knows no religious boundary. It doesn’t matter what faith a visitor may have as people of different religions make that climb to worship at this holy place. Depending on the belief, this mark may be attributed to Adam, Buddha, Saint Thomas, or Shiva.
3 Half Moon Caye, Belize
Off the shore of mainland Belize is a dreamlike piece of isle that totals at about 44 acres. The minimalist paradise houses seaside cabanas and open-air dining structure. The most popular thing to do in the area is dive at the very popular Blue Hole, which is an underwater sinkhole that’s so huge it can be seen even from the space.
The best time to visit the place is between December and April. This is when the Lighthouse Reef Adventure Basecamp opens for the season. The best way to start the day is with a sunrise yoga session. Another alternative is to go on a leisure walk at the other end of the island where guests can enjoy the company of colorful seabirds.
2 Ilha Grande, Brazil
The place’s history may turn off some tourist but the spectacular view will make up for its reputation. This 75-acre of island is near Rio de Janeiro and served as a prison for some of Brazil’s worst criminals up until 1994. The location has remained pristine and undeveloped so you can expect placidity and serenity.
Travelers can enjoy hiking trails that go as long as 93 miles, a summit that goes as high as 1,000 feet, and numerous miles of powdery sand beach. It has a secluded beach called Panaioca Beach that can be reached either by boat or going on a three-hour hike.
1 Halibut Cove, Alaska
Capping of this list is Halibut Cove in Alaska whose population is at 76 per a census conducted in 2010. This remote community in the Kachemak Bat State Park is home to businesses and artists. It has become a popular tourist destination for those seeking tranquility given its location and view. There are lodges and cabins around the cove and the only way to explore the area is by a boat.
People looking to bring some Zen in their lives will appreciate accommodations looking over a fjord filled with spruce. As an added bonus, the wilderness of Alaska is also at the disposal of the visitors.