In a do-more, digital age in which speed is celebrated, it can be hard to switch off your phone, slow the pace and resist packing in as many plans as possible. This fixation on a fast pace often extends to travel, with many visitors feeling the pressure to fill their itinerary with excursions, experiences and numerous destinations, rather than simply switching off and appreciating the environment around them. That's where Slow Travel comes in...
What is Slow Travel and Why Choose It?
Inspired by the Slow Food movement - which emphasises communal meals, local produce and traditional cooking methods - Slow Travel is all about increasing the focus on your surroundings and living in the moment. It's about looking forward to where you're going, while being just as thrilled by how you get there, the people you meet, the sights you see and the experiences you enjoy along the way. Swap back-to-back flights and long car journeys for slower, more serene modes of transport, whether scenic rail journeys, a small ship, or even your own two feet.
Forget hour-to-hour itineraries that leave you needing a holiday afterwards just to unwind, and instead take it at your own pace. Cycle through Italian vineyards, glide across Canadian mountain lakes or embrace the culture of the destination, whether attending a local musical performance or sampling seasonal cuisine from the land.
Not only does this style of travel aim to place you firmly in the present, it is also promising for the planet, switching fuel-guzzling planes for much more eco-friendly trains and sail boats. Beyond that, the nature of Slow Travel encourages you to support, appreciate and stay a while in a location, rather than simply thrashing through it. Celebrating all things local can have a hugely positive impact on local people, communities, economies and wildlife.
Of course, here at Elegant Resorts, we're all about luxury, and our Slow Travel experiences are no different, carefully combining five-star experiences with a true connection to the destination. Whether a small river cruise that celebrates the charming local villages and historical highlights along its banks, or an ultra-luxe rail journey through enchanting European countryside, expect top-class service, exceptional regionally inspired and sourced cuisine, and eye-opening experiences that allow you to look through a local lens.
Our Recommended Slow Travel Experiences
There's something about rail travel that encourages peaceful contemplation and a chance to pause, inviting you to admire the landscapes that surround you and often connect with fellow travellers.
This is no truer than on Belmond's fabulous fleet of luxury trains, designed to slow the pace to a gentle amble and celebrate some of Europe's most impressive destinations. An icon of luxury inspired by the glamour of the roaring 20s (in fact, some of its carriages date back to then) the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express travels across a selection of itineraries that have been designed to evoke a sense of nostalgia, inspired by the European Grand Tour. Whether you wish to embark in London or take the Eurostar elsewhere, newly introduced destinations include various areas in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands, as well as the traditional treasures of Paris, Venice, Berlin, Istanbul and Vienna. Glide through alpine scenery or Tuscan countryside, feasting on (inclusive) menus that celebrate exceptional artisanal and local cuisine - whether the freshest lobsters from Brittany or sensational salt marsh lamb from Mont St Michel.
Maybe you'd prefer your Slow Travel experience a little closer to home? This trio of beautiful Belmond trains invite you to discover the destinations on your doorstep, offering daytrips and multi-night itineraries in and around the British Isles. The 1920s British Pullman celebrates the enchantment of England, while the beautiful Royal Scotsman showcases the splendour of Scotland, and the Belmond Grand Hibernian invites you to explore the very best of Ireland. Enjoy the signature Belmond service, feast on five-star cuisine (locally inspired, of course) and discover dreamy destinations with expert guides - whether exploring historic castles or visiting some of the UK's most celebrated whisky distilleries.
Be whisked away along one the world's most impressive rail journeys, as you glide through the illustrious landscapes, dramatic canyons, snowy peaks and mirrored lakes of the Canadian Rockies aboard the legendary Rocky Mountaineer. A huge array of itineraries is yours to choose from, departing from Vancouver and taking you to some of the most spellbinding settings on the planet - including the Banff and Jasper National Parks, where alfresco adventures range from boat trips across postcard-perfect lakes to hiking to spot some of the region's wonderful wildlife. No matter which journey you choose, relish the finest luxury in the GoldLeaf cabin's luxurious bi-level glass-dome coach, enjoying award-winning service, enchanting panoramic views and West Coast-inspired gourmet cuisine - from Fraser River salmon to Okanagan wines.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express
Dining Car aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman
Gold Leaf Service aboard the Rocky Mountaineer
Imagine starting the day slowly, watching the first of the morning's rays reflect off the perfectly still water, coffee in hand. Following a beautiful breakfast of fresh pastries or locally fetched eggs, you may choose to cycle to a nearby market, tour an historic castle, taste local wine with an expert guide, or simply unwind on your deck admiring the passing scenery. A dip in the pool, massage or elegant afternoon tea might come next, before a delightful dinner that celebrates both local produce and culinary traditions.
There is no finer way to discover tucked away harbours and towns than on a Scenic River Cruise itinerary, as you wind up the Rhine river and Moselle estuary in search of unique and authentic experiences. From Basel (reached by air or Eurostar for a flight-free option) journey through the arrestingly beautiful Black Forest towards the fairy-tale city of Strasbourg, where you'll attend a private classical concert at Rastatt Palace, exclusively arranged for Scenic passengers. Other dreamy destinations to explore include Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Antwerp and many more, before disembarking in Amsterdam. Throughout, complimentary 'Scenic Freechoice' excursions ensure you get the greatest enjoyment from your time along the Rhine - whether beer tasting in Düsseldorf or a guided cycle from Breisach.
Travelling by luxury barge is about enjoying a gentler pace of life. The beautiful Belmond Afloat in France fleet comprises seven finely crafted vessels, each one boasting spacious cabins, en suite bathrooms and state-of-the-art technology. A high ratio of crew-to-guests ensures impeccable service as you cruise along the arrow-straight, tree-fringed canals or scenic rivers of France, passing meadows filled with poppies, glades of poplar trees and sun-drenched vineyards. You may stop to taste Champagne at a family-run vineyard, hunt for fabulous French truffles or tour a captivating chateau, before returning aboard for freshly prepared local meals and exquisite wine.
Cruising Through the Moselle River with Scenic
Scenic Cruises Cuisine
Belmond Afloat in France - Alouette Top Deck
Belmond Afloat in France - Pivoine Lounge
'Yachting' is not only a statement about size; it describes a lifestyle aboard the intimate vessels. Indeed, SeaDream Yacht Club guarantees a slow-paced, personalised experience as you journey between some of the planet's most intimate and beautiful ports by luxury yacht. Adventure awaits on-board at the watersports marina, home to sail boats, kayaks and paddleboards for discovering the open ocean, while there are plenty of escorted onshore adventures to enhance your explorations further - whether sampling Croatia wine in Trogir or snorkelling off the uninhabited and utterly spellbinding Tobago Cays in the Caribbean. What's more, the fully inclusive offering includes exceptional gourmet cuisine - created using the freshest, local ingredients - paired with wine by the onboard sommelier. Choose from Caribbean, Mediterranean and Transatlantic sailings, as well as dedicated wine cruises, on which you can enhance your culinary knowledge with the expertise of Wine Director Martin Arentz.
Slow the pace, feel the wind in your hair and sail back to a time when striking sail boats ruled the seas, on an unforgettable luxury cruise with Star Clippers. With no dress code and low-key entertainment, a Star Clippers cruise is all about living in the moment and making the most of your surroundings, whether snorkelling with rays, hiking beside waterfalls or helping to sail the mighty masted boat that you're calling home. Among the variety of itineraries are several in the Caribbean, inviting you to fall in love with an array of inspiring islands and ports that cannot be accessed by larger ships - from the glorious greenery of Dominica, to the volcanoes of Guadeloupe, to the beautiful beaches of the British Virgin Islands.
SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream Yacht Club