In these uncertain times, travelling is perhaps at the bottom of your priority list. But with the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on mental health, and restrictions, school closures and work pressures causing stress to rocket worldwide, it doesn’t hurt to pick a place on a map and know that one day, you will be able to hop onto a flight and become the quintessential tourist again.
Click start to play today’s Word Search, where we wade through feelings and look for “tranquil” spots to visit around the world, once travel restrictions ease off.
In February 2021, the American Psychological Association conducted a survey and found that 46 per cent of Gen Z adults (people born between 1997 and 2012) feel their mental health has worsened since the onset of the pandemic, while 33 per cent of Gen X’ers (1965 to 1980) and 31 per cent of millennials (1981 to 1996) also reported feeling the same way.
Since our environment plays an enormous role in our mental health, Iceland’s flagship airline, Icelandair, conducted a study in October 2021, analysing factors like light pollution, happiness levels, and traffic congestion to find out which cities around the world offer the most relaxing environments.
Here are the top three:
1. Bergen, Norway
In first place because of its incredibly low levels of traffic congestion (13 per cent), low light and noise pollution (25 per cent), and a high average life expectancy (83 years), Bergen is picture-perfect. According to Norway’s tourism website, the city is nicknamed “the heart of the fjords”, and even though it is the second-largest city in the country, it has the vibe of a small town, and is full of charm and urban character.
2. Perth, Australia
The capital of western Australia took second place. Home to one of the world’s largest inner-city parks, along with white-sand beaches, and bays where you can swim alongside dolphins, the city is considered to be an urban oasis, with a rare combination of vibrant Nature and a thriving metropolis.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
The world’s northernmost capital city came in third, and it has its stunning location and magnificent surroundings to thank for it. While the climate is usually frigid, the area is full of geothermal hot springs, because of Reykjavik’s volcanic activity – and is there anything more calming than bathing in warm, natural, spa-like pools?