Updated: Apr 22
Escaping the hurdles and stress of urban living can prove to be difficult. Majority of the world’s cities often portray images of gridlocked traffic, polluted by noise, and skylines dominated by steel and glass skyscrapers. All these could be a handful to some urban dwellers.
For those who do appreciate a laid-back attitude, here are 5 cities around the globe that will lull you to a languid pace of life of small towns serenity.
With its distinctive colorful wooden houses, its sense of history and the nature you can find right on its doorstep, Bergen can give visitors a real taste of the Norwegian way of life. As a UNESCO World Heritage City and a European City of Culture, the Bergen region has the ideal combination of nature, culture and exciting urban life all year around.
Do you fancy or enjoy seafoods? Well, be overjoyed because Norway is famous for its fishery industry, and Bergen was the high seat of fishing and seafood trading, even in medieval times. Bergen is home to some of the finest seafood restaurants in Norway. If you don’t fancy sitting through a three course meal or paying Norwegian restaurant prices, try out the fishmongers’ take-away dishes like fiskekaker, meatball-like fish patties, which you can have served in burger buns for a truly Norwegian delicacy.
Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik is ranked as one of the world’s best cities for travellers. Best known for its tranquil landscape, arts scene, cool nightlife and marine exploration. The capital city is the perfect landing spot for visiting an amazing array of nearby attractions. Most of the sights are geological wonders, such as waterfalls, lava plains, hot geysers, warm lagoons, glaciers, volcanoes and black sand beaches.
Want to gaze at the Northern Lights? Reykjavik makes it a favourite place to look out for this night-time spectacle. November to March is the best time to see this natural wonder and you have more chance if you go at a time of the month when the moon is small.
For the lovers of arts, Reykjavik is home to a surprising number of museums for such a small city each revealing a slice of the country’s fascinating history. The museums include the Maritime Museum, the Einar Jonsson Museum, the Art Museum, and the Víking Maritime Museum.
Awarded the title for Europe’s green capital for 2016, Slovenia’s capital and largest city is known for its outstanding efforts in reducing the city’s carbon footprint. With restless traffic restricted in the heart of Ljubljana, pedestrians and cyclists flow peacefully through, meandering along the sparkling emerald Ljubljanica River that cuts through the capital. Graced with a pretty hilltop castle and the presence of the Museum of Modern Art and National Gallery, Ljubljana remains deep rooted in its artistic culture and history.
You can also enjoy a tranquil afternoon spent swaying to rhythmic melodies of violinists and flutists at the urban oasis of Tivoli Park transform into vibrant nights at its lively bars.
Mendoza instantly captivates the hearts of its visitors with its sophisticated cafes, burgeoning gastronomic scene, wide tree-lined boulevards, and romantic plazas. The city is synonymous with Malbecs, and though it’s one of Argentina’s largest metropolises, the classic Mendoza experience consists of little urban exploration. Mendoza is also an ideal base for wine tourism in Argentina.
It’s extremely easy to lose track of time while cycling through gently sloped vineyards and indulging in dozens of wine tastings, sipping full-bodied reds until the sun dips into the horizon. Mendoza’s sunny climate offers abundant opportunities for rafting and skiing at the foothills of the Andes and it also attracts adventurers seeking outdoor thrills.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
The former capital of the mighty Lanna Kingdom is blissfully calm. Though its historic center is enveloped by a flourishing metropolis and hectic highways, it is distinctively easy-going compared to the chaos of Bangkok. Chiang Mai boasts a serene setting for recharging your batteries.
The lush countryside radiating in every direction, this city is a hub for hill tribe trekking and venturing into the depths of the rainforests that are sprinkled with gentle waterfalls and rustic villages.
The core of ancient Chiang Mai remains protected by the remnants of its city walls and a well-maintained moat from its heyday. These features not only preserve its antique wooden homes and elegant temples where monks are likely to approach you to practice their English, but also its deeply traditional roots and sleepy town atmosphere.