Country road and trees with sun setting in the background

Head for the Hills: 4 Ways to Get Out of the City

Dreaming of a blissed-out countryside escape right about now? You’re not the only one! Being cooped up for months on end has only heightened our desire to get out into the great outdoors and savour every moment in nature.

If you’re one of the many city dwellers looking to trade urban sprawl for rural escapism, we’ve got the inspiration you need for your next head-clearing, soul-cleansing adventure.

The countryside is calling — are you ready to answer? Here are four different ways you can shake off that cabin fever and get out of the city right now.

Sun setting over an open field and trees
Reconnect with nature on a countryside escape | © Federico Respini/Unsplash

1. Chase the cosmos

A stargazing getaway is the perfect way to escape urban life, reconnect with the great outdoors, and forget your worries (if only for a little while). After all, it’s hard to be distracted by irksome thoughts when you’re marvelling at a star-studded sky and contemplating the universe and your place within it.

It doesn’t matter where you live — the grandeur of the cosmos can be seen as long as the conditions are right. So, head out of town to find clear, countryside skies, or search for your nearest dark sky park or reserve here. 

Then, grab a pair of binoculars, an app to help you pinpoint constellations, some blankets and chairs, and you’re all set for an unforgettable stargazing escape.

Silhouette of a person looking up at a star filled sky
Plan a stargazing trip to get away from it all | © Greg Rakozy/Unsplash

2. Visit natural wonders close to home

How many times have you chosen to skip over noteworthy places in your own backyard in favour of far-flung destinations across the world? 

We all have incredible natural attractions within easy reach of our hometowns — whether it’s a sprawling lake or magnificent mountain range, a little-known walking trail or a thundering waterfall. 

Drawing up a list of all those attractions and making a plan to see them in person is a great excuse to set off in search of new adventures and get out of town for a few days.

Waterfall flowing into a stream in Iceland
What natural wonders are in your backyard? | © Tobias/Unsplash

3. Get off the grid 

If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that we need to take more time to switch off, get out in nature, and prioritise breaks from our day-to-day routines. Luckily, an off-grid getaway makes it easy to accomplish all of the above in one go.

If you’re keen to take a bona fide digital detox holiday, look to those places where big skies and rugged wilderness take centre stage. Maybe it’s a self-sustaining lodge tucked away between mountain peaks, a blissfully remote campground, or a cosy cottage located a few kilometres from the nearest town centre. Bonus points if the Wi-Fi connection is a bit spotty — or better yet — there’s no Wi-Fi at all.

Without the temptation to check your emails or scroll through your Instagram feed, you can focus on what matters most: hitting the reset button and spending quality time with your nearest and dearest.

Red cabin surrounded by hills and rocks in Sweden
Go off the grid to hit the reset button | © Niklas Tidbury/Unsplash

4. Plan a forest bathing getaway

Have you ever taken a walk through the woods without a plan? That means you weren’t following a hiking trail, you weren’t setting up a campsite, and you didn’t have a specific destination in mind — you were just there to be present. 

It’s not often we find ourselves without something to see or do in the wilderness, but the simple act of being mindful in nature is the premise behind the Japanese practice known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. Not only is forest bathing incredibly accessible, but it also comes with a whole host of positive effects, from decreased anxiety to a boost in happiness and more.

So, how can you plan your own forest bathing getaway? Pick a destination that’s close to nature — whether it’s a no-frills cabin nestled within a national park or a hotel near a nature reserve — and plan to spend at least a few days here to reap the benefits of this popular Japanese practice.

When it’s time set off into the woods, be sure to leave your phone and camera behind. The only thing you need to do is wander aimlessly and slowly, making an effort to savour the sights and sounds you encounter along the way. Take time to appreciate the fresh air you’re breathing, listen to the birds singing, and look at the sunlight filtering through the branches.

The key to forest bathing is to use all five senses to immerse yourself in your surroundings while soothing your mind, body, and spirit.

Forest with trees and moss-covered ground and sunlight filtering in
Fit forest bathing into your next countryside escape | © Gustav Gullstrand/Unsplash

Ashley is a Content Editor at TourRadar. When she’s not writing, travelling, or obsessively checking flight prices on Skyscanner, you can find her attempting to fine-tune her photography skills or watching a shark documentary.

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