5 Unusual Places To Get Away To This Winter

BY BALANCE FESTIVAL TEAM | TEGAN HEDLEY
Nov 25, 2019
5 Unusual Places To Get Away To This Winter
With Christmas approaching, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the words ‘holiday season’ a million or so times already. However, if you’d rather use this time to take an actual holiday, there are plenty of options far-flung and close by to choose from. Need some inspiration? Here’s our top picks for where to escape to this winter.

If you’re seeking sun – South Africa

For winter sun, South Africa is a top choice; not only are you almost guaranteed some solid daylight hours at this time of year, your options for things to do are almost endless. Head to Cape Town for a heart rate-rising surf, Drakensberg's stunning hiking trails to reacquaint yourself with the sound of silence, or Franschhoek for a foodie experience to remember. If a wellness retreat sounds more up your street, the Bodhi Khaya Retreat in Gansbaai, in the country’s South West, comes with rave reviews and offers stays focused around developing leadership skills or assisting with nature conservation, as well as your usual yoga and pilates breaks. 





If you’ve got a long weekend – Ghent, Belgium

If you’re tight on time, there are still plenty of spots to escape to within easy reach of London. Less than a three-hour Eurostar ride from St Pancras – that’s less time than it takes to reach Cornwall – Ghent, in Belgium, is awash with cafes serving healthy fayre, ample veggie and vegan options, as well as a treat-heavy Christmas market. What’s more, the beauty of the city and its many attractions mean it’s a great place to get your step count up – and as we all know, walking is has long been proven to be a highly effective form of exercise, reducing in the risk of health conditions, from diabetes to various forms of cancer (1).

If you’re a winter sports fan – PyeongChang, South Korea

The 2018 Winter Olympics put South Korea on the map as a winter sports destination, and PyeongChang is at the centre of this shift, with four Olympic-quality resorts within 10km of the town. Totalling in at a modest 40km of runs, it’s admittedly not the biggest playground in the world but the lifts are quick and some some slopes even stay open until gone 2am – and how often do you get to see in a new day on the top of a mountain? Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to combine your visit with other health-helpers, including the Korean version of apr├Ęs-ski – a visit the sauna – generous helpings of gut-boosting probiotic kimchi and a stroll in one of the country’s many national parks.

For outdoor adventures – An Irish Road Trip

It doesn’t matter what season it is: If you were to let a spot of drizzle put you off visiting to Ireland, you’d never go at all. Perhaps one of the best ways to see this beautiful country is by taking a road trip, and with plenty of national parks to roam around and beaches to get blown around on, there's no shortage of places to get out and stretch your legs. Our top tip? Pack a picnic each morning and discover somewhere new each day. And don’t forget, Guinness has a healthy helping of iron in it – if that’s not an excuse, we don’t know what is.

For an invigorating spa break – Malmo, Sweden

London has its fair share of lidos that are perfect for a frosty dip, but Malmo’s Ribersborgs Kallbadhus does a good job of blowing them all out the water (… sorry). Established back in 1898, this traditional public bathhouse is split into men’s and women’s sections, with stress-busting saunas opening out onto the sea, allowing you to soak up all the benefits of cold-water swimming. There’s just one catch – you have to be completely starkers!




1. https://walkingforhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/Walking%20works_summary_AW_Web.pdf  
 
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