Get your travel bucket list at the ready because we’ve narrowed down the absolute best 10 destinations to visit for the healthy traveler in 2018. From the sparkling beaches of Cape Town to the #aestheticgoals of Oaxaca, be prepared for some major wanderlust.
Dan Buettner has made it his life’s work to study places that have extroardinary levels of health and happiness, and this past year, Boulder, Colorado, topped his list of the happiest places in the United States (you can hear more about his research on mbg’s podcast!). The secret is a mix of easily accessible outdoor activities (a number of hiking trails start downtown, and the city itself is designed with biking in mind) and plenty of healthy amenities, from yoga studios to organic eateries (Blooming Beets Kitchen, which can accommodate even the most obscure dietary preferences, is a must-try). It also has among the most sunny days in the United States, making it a year-round destination for people willing to bundle up!
While Iceland’s been on a number of travel lists in recent years, the secret to healthifying your adventure is bypassing the capital, Reykjavik, and heading an hour inland, to Flúðir. Flúðir is the farming capital of the country, and you can pop into local greenhouses to find fresh, local fruits and vegetables year round, a rarity for the country. It’s also conveniently situated just south of the Golden Circle, named for the spectacular tourist destinations that comprise an easy daylong drive. Be sure to soak in the Secret Lagoon Hot Spring—unlike the more mentioned Blue Lagoon, which pipes in and chlorinates the water, killing any benefits, the Secret Lagoon uses healing, magnesium-rich mineral water fresh from the source.
London, United Kingdom
London’s health scene has gone from sleepy to booming in the past few years. With internationally renowned health names leading the charge, there’s suddenly a spate of health-minded, creative restaurants around the city, from Deliciously Ella’s eponymous cafe to Jamie Oliver’s fast-casual chain. Planet Organic and Whole Foods Markets have popped up on every corner, and you can check out a Boris Bike as an easy, eco-friendly way to navigate the spread-out city. Be sure to stop by Neal’s Yard, a hippie-type neighborhood smack in the middle of Covent Garden, for an Insta-friendly porridge bar and luxurious organic skin care from the quickly expanding Neal’s Yard Remedies.
If you want to live out the pastel pinks and sandy neutrals of a trendy wellness Instagram feed, Oaxaca is the place to go. Both a city and a region (we recommend you stay in town, using it as a base for day trips), Oaxaca is home to some of the best Mexican food in the world, with a fresh ingredient focus that takes farm-to-table to new levels. Spend your days wandering the colonial streets, exploring the many markets of the city, and ducking into tiny shops where you can find high-quality artisanal wares. And, of course, you’ll want to eat the food that Oaxaca’s famous for: chocolaty, smooth moles; dried crickets and ants (seriously!); and fresh-pressed corn tortillas.
Come face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring nature in the world in Banff (and its less visited but equally impressive sister park, Jasper) in Canada. There are lodging accommodations aplenty from well-kept, facility-filled cam grounds to more high-end hotels in the Lake Louise and Emerald Lake area. Stop for breakfast at Wild Flour Bakery, where you can also grab a few organic sandwiches to sustain you on your hiking adventure (the Lake Agnes Tea House hike, which ends at a mountaintop teahouse, is a must-do). Bonus: If you fly in through Calgary, stay at the Westin, where you can take advantage of their workout gear lending program and doctor-designed Superfoods Rx menu.