Slow tourism: the new European trend that’s giving holidays a break

After crossing the globe faster and faster, covering ever-greater distances, tourism is playing it cool and reinventing travel. What’s trending now is a slow pace and an authentic experience that puts the holiday focus on the pleasure of travelling. This is what’s behind a new phenomenon that’s winning more and more converts: slow tourism.

With the democratisation of air transport in the 1990s, travellers rushed into a mad dash around the world, all with a single driving force: to visit the most places in the shortest possible time. It was the tourist equivalent of binge-eating and the speed of it generated exactly the same kind of stress as our everyday lives. But that was then and this is now.

Made in Italy

The first seeds of the slow movement were sown about 20 years ago in Italy. This geographical origin was no accident. An Ipsos survey has shown that although the whole of Europe aspires to a slower way of life, the Italians are the most desperate about never having time for everything. And if we go back to the beginnings of the movement, we find that everything began with nutrition and the rise of fast foods, the ultimate symbol of a bad diet. Since then, the slow movement has crept into all walks of life : slow food, slow city, slow money, slow education and now, slow tourism. It’s a way of putting an end to the perpetual motion of modern life and its excessive consumption.

There’s a time for all things…

The important thing is to take your time, far from the madding crowd, to find a way of moving slowly to savour the experience of travel. We must realise that paradise on earth only takes its meaning from the quality of the moment we experience. Travelling is no longer just a way of getting to a destination as fast as possible. Travelling must become a goal in itself, the journey must become the destination. This approach reminds us that the journey is part of the holiday and combines respect for the environment with experiencing the local way of life.

Walking, riding, cycling, sailing or cruising in a self-drive boat

The great thing about slow tourism is that you decide on the means of transport. Starting from the principle that watching the scenery is much more enjoyable if you’re not looking through the window of a train or a car, slow tourism puts the emphasis on whatever allows you to experience the scents and enjoy the pleasures of nature, observe the details of the landscape and absorb local life and customs.

Slow tourism is also combined with a certain ethical approach, preferring less rapid and especially less polluting means of transport. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you having a bit of variety: setting off in a self-drive boat, stopping off on one of the banks, hopping on your bike and then finishing the journey on foot, to enjoy the whole wonderful concept.

A taste for the unexpected

Another characteristic of the slow traveller is the taste for improvisation. Slow travellers avoid the marked trails that you follow to the letter and which stifle the imagination. They prefer to go with the flow, happy to take a side path or to make an impromptu stay if the opportunity arises. It’s the opposite of package holidays, where hordes of tourists go the same place at the same time. The slow traveller prefers less fashionable destinations that are off the beaten track. They like to experience surprises on their travels, to stay curious and give themselves the chance to spend time and discover unexpected places.

Ready for a holiday that combines these simple pleasures?

Locaboat, the specialist in self-drive boat hire, will be pleased to introduce you to this concept that fits perfectly with our own style of travel: cruising along the waterways. It’s a chance for you to benefit from our great experience in the alternative of slow tourism.

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  1. Reeves says:

    We are looking for a barge to selfdrive through Europe for THREE MONTHS looking at starting in April. Need a barge that has 3 Cabins with ensuite, also would prefer the barge to have thrusters ,BBQ area decent Gallery with fridge/freezers and so on. We wish to go through a few countries. If you can send some information it would be appreciated.

  2. Charli Smith says:

    The touristic center is littered with boots where you can book activities. Your hotel will also be able to help.

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