This year, the closest most of us have come to a sunny getaway is setting up a deck chair in our back garden during a heatwave. We might have had a little extra time to perfect those tropical cocktail recipes and refine our ‘staycation’ playlists, but nothing beats the real thing. As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, we’re being tantalised with the possibility of a much-needed holiday once more. It’s hard to say exactly what post-lockdown holidays will look like, but with the introduction of ‘travel corridors’ and ‘green zones’, we’re beginning to see our options open up once more.
On the 4th of July, a list of countries that are exempt from the ‘all but essential travel’ rule was announced. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed that these destinations “no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers”. Therefore, travellers will be able to return to the UK from these places without needing to self-isolate after the 10th of July.
With this in mind, many of us are starting to plan our next trip away, keeping government-approved destination and GOV UK guidance in mind. The possibility of getting away has certainly got us thinking: what do we want out of our next holiday?
Throughout lockdown, many of us have embraced a slower and more calm way of living. This lifestyle emulates certain destinations around the world that we refer to as ‘Blue Zones’. With holidays back on the cards, slow travel, particularly to Blue Zone regions, is set to be the next big thing! Luckily, some of these enticing regions are on the approved travel corridor list, so it’s time to start planning your relaxing Blue Zone getaway!
What do we mean by ‘blue zones’?
There are certain areas around the world in which people live exceptionally long and healthy lives, we like to call these areas, ‘blue zones’. From Japan to Italy, people who live in blue zones practice unique lifestyles, specific to their region. These practices improve their vitality and longevity, making these places the regions with the longest life expectancies on the planet.
There are many elements to the blue zone lifestyle. Amongst other things, people who live in blue zones practice slow living; they incorporate exercise into their daily routine, they get enough sleep, and they show a strong focus on community and wellbeing.
In addition, people who live in the blue zones generally eat less meat, consume alcohol in moderation, and practice spirituality.
After lockdown, many of us have grown accustomed to a slower way of living, and we are more health-conscious than ever. So, when planning your next travel-corridor approved getaway, why not choose one of these divine blue zone destinations?
From the 4th of July, the official foreign travel guidance for Greece is that this country is “exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel”. Because of this, the idyllic Greek islands are set to be high on many Briton’s post-lockdown travel list!
If Greece is calling out to you, and you’re looking for a true blue zone experience, you’ll adore the island of Icaria. This paradise island is famous for the longevity and health of its residents and it is often even referred to as the island that ‘avoids Alzheimer’s’. The island’s air, water, and sense of community have been globally celebrated from as far back as the 1600s, when the island’s healthy environment was first discussed in literature.
Not only is Icaria a wonderful destination for health and longevity, but it is also a hidden gem compared to some of its touristic neighbours such as Mykonos and Kos. When holidaying in Icaria, you’ll be treated to remote beaches, beautiful forests, dramatic gorges, and other beautiful landscapes.
Despite Italy being one of the worst-hit European countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re set to embrace tourism again and welcome in UK nationals. Like Greece, Italy is on the green list that exempts it from the ‘all but essential travel’ rule.
Sardinia is a large Italian island, the second biggest in the Mediterranean Sea, and it promises a tranquil escape from the non-stop nature of modern life. Sardinia has come to be known as a blue zone due to its calm way of life and the healthy diet that its residents enjoy (made up mainly of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fish, and fruit). This diet is one of the reasons that Sardinians have a particularly long life expectancy.
As well as sampling delicious food in this world-renowned blue zone, you’ll get to explore historic towns, rolling hills, and secluded beaches galore on your next holiday to Sardinia!
Finally, if you’re planning on venturing a bit further, why not check out the paradise island of Okinawa in Japan? Travel to Japan has also been approved for UK residents, so if you really want to enjoy a slice of blue zone living, Okinawa is a great option.
Peppered with rich, dense jungles and unspoilt white beaches, Okinawa offers the dream island getaway. What’s more, the inhabitants’ focus on health and longevity means that they have a longer life expectancy than almost anyone else in the world (with an average life expectancy of 84 years). Often referred to as the ‘land of the immortals’, Okinawa is most certainly a blue zone paradise! This island is perfect for anyone who’s in need of a easy and relaxed holiday.
The prospect of throwing on a designer bikini or pair of swimming trunks and hitting the beach is getting closer every day, and as long as the UK’s foreign travel advice is carefully monitored and respected by potential holidaymakers, it looks like safe, much-needed holidays to blue zone locations are back on the cards!