A 2022 report indicated that as many as 33%-52% of individuals admit to feeling stressed, meaning relaxing and tranquil
With this in mind, Slot Tracker was keen to discover the most relaxing countries in Europe where travellers have the highest odds of feeling stress-free.
The experts created a points-based index system which evaluated the number of hiking trails, spas, yoga/pilates centres and national parks per 100,000 people to award each country a relaxation score out of 10 – ultimately discovering the most relaxing European destinations.
Slot Tracker can reveal that those residing or holidaying in Iceland have the highest odds of being relaxed, with an overall relaxation score of 9.26/10. Iceland has the second most national parks of all countries analysed at 2.34 per capita, 12 times more than Spain (0.19).
The abundance of natural sanctuaries in Iceland increases exposure to nature and encourages physical activity, which helps to reduce anxiety and stress. Also, the country has the third highest number of hiking trails per capita (168.50), more than double the amount found in Portugal (58.20).
Ireland, famous for its breathtaking landscapes, peaceful countryside and friendly atmosphere, follows in second place with a relaxation score of 8.13/10. Ireland has the fourth-highest spas per capita among the top 15 and over three times the number of national parks in the UK (29.63). With nearly double the number of hiking trails in Slovenia (28.72) in 15th place, Ireland is an ideal location for relaxation.
Taking third place is Malta, with a relaxation score of 7.84/10. Renowned for its breathtaking coastline and his
Also, Malta has over four times as many yoga and pilates centres as Croatia in fourth place (0.51 per capita) and 24% more national parks than Norway (0.55) in sixth place.
James Roy, technical director at Brainworks Neurotherapy, comments on the benefits of relaxation and travel: “A relaxing time away is one of the healthiest things you can do for your brain. The more foreign and the further from your daily routine, the better.
“A change in environment helps brain flexibility and weakens our mental habits, while unfamiliar sights and sounds stretch our brains in new ways. As our brains flex and come alive, colours become brighter, smells more intense, and our sense of touch and intimacy is heightened. This experience is often called the travel high. Some can find this greater brain flexibility quite addictive.
“The real power of a relaxing time away is clear when we return home. The greater mental flexibility (increased neuroplasticity) brings more awareness, allowing us to see our lives afresh. This is the time to break the old habits, usher in the new and improve your routine.”