20 Most Zen Places on Earth

Embrace the "om" at these tranquil travel destinations.

20 Most Zen Places on Earth

Embrace the "om" at these tranquil travel destinations.

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After a long day at work, everyone could use a little rest and relaxation. However, instead of heading home to veg out on the couch, imagine being transported somewhere so tranquil and magical that your troubles simply melt away.

Around the globe (and miles away from the stresses of your day-to-day life), these idyllic and serene locations are the perfect antidote for what ails you. So relax, take a deep breath, and read on to discover the best places in the world to unwind and reflect. And when you’re in the mood for a more invigorating trip, hit the slopes at one of the 9 Best Luxury Ski Resorts in America!

Angel Falls waterfall

1
Angel Falls; Auyán-tepui, Venezuela

Located in Canaima National Park in Venezuela’s Bolivar State, visiting Angel Falls is a life-changing experience. Standing 3,212 feet tall, Angel Falls is the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. Despite the roaring waters cascading down the Auyán Tepui mountain, Angel Falls is undeniably serene, the perfect place for a contemplative hike.

Loch Lomond Scotland

2
Loch Lomond; Scotland

While Scotland’s Loch Ness may be its most famous lake, if it’s serenity you’re seeking, head to Loch Lomond. This placid, island-filled 27-mile lake, located in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, offers stunning views of the lush vegetation the Scottish Highlands are known for. And for more great travel advice, don’t miss these 30 Airport Secrets Only Insiders Know. 

Periyar River

3
Periyar River; Kerala, India

The longest river in the South Indian state of Kerala, the Periyar River is known for its tranquil waters and breathtaking natural surroundings. A popular destination for boaters, this gorgeous river, surrounded by the dense vegetation that fills Kerala’s rolling hills, is as peaceful as it is picturesque.

Denali National Park Alaska

4
Denali; Alaska, United States

Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, has the highest elevation of any mountain top in America. Located in the six-million-acre Denali National Park and Preserve outside of Healy, Alaska, this frozen wonder is equal parts stunning and serene. And wherever you’re traveling, make the journey more zen with these 20 ways to make travel less stressful. 

Namib Desert Namibia

5
Namib Desert; Namibia

The Namib Desert, which spans the coast of Namibia, Angola, and South Africa remains amazingly untouched by human hands. Although it stretches for over 31,000 square miles, the Namib Desert is virtually uninhabited by humans, with only sand, ocean, and wildlife to greet you as you journey through its vast expanses. How’s that for getting away from it all?

Redwood National Park

6
Redwood National Park; California, United States

This assemblage of northern California state and national parks is one of the most peaceful places on earth. Home to some of the world’s tallest trees, this coastal paradise, perfect for a meditative hike, feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. And are you traveling this holiday season? Make sure to check out these beautiful beach towns this Christmas.

Khor Virap monastery

7
Khor Virap; Armenia

In the shadow of Armenia’s Mount Ararat, this monastery, originally built in 643 A.D., is, without a doubt, one of the most peaceful places on earth. Surrounded by vineyards, with the tranquil landscape of the Ararat plain below, a trip to Khor Virap is as peaceful as it gets. And if you’re looking to go, don’t miss out on this secret trick that will save you on airfare.

Lumahai Beach waves

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Lumahai Beach; Kauai, Hawaii

While all of Hawaii is known for its picture-perfect scenery, few places are as serene as Lumahai Beach in Kauai. This white sand beach on Kauai’s north shore is perfect for experienced surfers who find themselves at peace on the water, or anyone apt to lose themselves in the music of waves crashing on the shore.

Lake Atitlan Guatemala

9
Lake Atitlan; Guatemala

When’s the last time you boated through a volcanic crater? At Lake Atitlán Guatemala, topped by clear sky and surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is charting your course.

Ghost Ranch retreat

10
Ghost Ranch; New Mexico, United States

Just outside of the Abiquiú village in New Mexico lies one of the most beautiful and peaceful retreats in the United States. Occupying 21,000 acres full of red rock cliffs in the Piedra Lumbre valley, this tranquil area is truly transformative, embodying the true spirit of the American Southwest.

Koh Lipe island

11
Koh Lipe; Thailand

Far from the frenetic pace of Bangkok and Nonthaburi is Koh Lipe, Thailand’s best-kept secret. This island, surrounded by the Andaman Sea, is known for its pristine white sand beaches, tranquil gem-toned waters, and cloudless blue skies.

The Serengeti

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Serengeti National Park; Tanzania, Africa

If you want to experience the true majesty of the natural world, there’s no place like Serengeti National Park. This Tanzanian national park, best known for its safaris, is home to millions of native African animals that roam its 5,700 square miles. If you’re planning a trip, make sure to stay until dusk—the sunsets over the plains of the Serengeti are legendary.

Geothermal Blue Lagoon

13
Blue Lagoon; Grindavik, Iceland

This peaceful natural geothermal spa is a tranquil place to watch your troubles melt away. Known for its milky blue water and stunning views of the lava field in which it’s located, this relaxing spa is world-renowned for its supposed healing powers.

Shwedagon Paya monastery

14
Shwedagon Paya; Myanmar

Located atop Singuttara Hill in Myanmar’s Yangon Region, this Buddhist monastery is among the most peaceful places on earth. Guarded by giant leogryphs and full of relics, including hair presumed to belong to Siddhārtha Gautama, this gilded monastery is about as peaceful a place as you’ll find anywhere. Even if you have a long journey ahead of you, you can make your trip less stressful and more fun with these travel hacks you won’t find in any guidebook.

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

15
Plitvice Lakes; Croatia

Croatia is known for its natural beauty, and no place embodies the enchantment you’ll find here like Plitvice Lakes. This national park is as calm as they come, with nothing but waterfalls, mountains, and glass-like lakes to relax among.

Stone Forest China

16
The Stone Forest; Yunnan Provence, China

Lose yourself among the limestone formations that make up China’s Stone Forest and find greater peace in the process. Also known as Shilin, this unique destination is rife with Chinese mythology, having been allegedly created when folk character Ashima turned to stone after being told she could not wed her true love.

Machu Picchu Peru

17
Machu Picchu; Machupicchu District, Peru

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this former Incan citadel is truly a sight to behold. Thought to have been built for emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century, Machu Picchu is home to some of the most stunning views of the Sacred Valley below.

Halong Bay Vietnam

18
Halong Bay; Vietnam

Tranquil waters and islands at every turn make Halong Bay in Vietnam a worthwhile sight for any intrepid traveler. A popular boating destination, Halong Bay offers freedom from the disturbances of modern life, with just land and sky to occupy your thoughts.

Drepung Monastery Tibet

19
Drepung Monastery; Lhasa, Tibet

Situated at the base of lush Mount Gephel in Lhasa, Drepung Monastery is one of earth’s most peaceful places. This Tibetan Buddhist monastery, founded in the 1400s, has been meticulously maintained over the years, offering beautiful views both inside and out, perfect for the contemplative traveler.

Kopan Monastery Nepal

20
Kopan Monastery; Kathmandu, Nepal

High on a hill outside Kathmandu is Kopan Monastery, one of the most holy places in Nepal. Inhabited by Tibetan monks and surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Kathmandu countryside, a trip to Kopan is sure to relax even the most tightly-wound traveler. Need to relax but don’t have the funds for an international trip? Try these 30 Easy Ways to Fight Stress right at home.

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