There’s no rule that says a vacation has to be exhausting and jam-packed with activity. Sometimes the best thing about visiting a destination is that it gives you the chance to chill out and leave your cares behind. But don’t be fooled, just because a city is laidback, that doesn’t mean it’s boring.
Take a look at our list of cities around the world that are fun and worth visiting – no hectic itineraries needed!
Considered to be one of the least stressful cities in the world, Stuttgart in southern Germany offers a chance to take it easy without missing out on any of the good times you’d hope to have on an international adventure. Museums, cultural institutions and historic landmarks are plentiful here and the nearby Alps are mighty and easy to reach. There’s plenty of public green spaces throughout and a pedestrianized city center that’s full of great places to eat and drink. Should you require a quickening of the pulse, this proud and rich home of Porsche and Mercedes Benz has amazing car museums to rev your interest and get you dreaming about a drive on the autobahn.
Old school southern hospitality mixed with youthful university vigor makes this cozy college town an ideal destination for a relaxing getaway. With its walkable downtown chockablock with cafes, bars, and restaurants snuggled up next to the University of Georgia’s gorgeous and historic campus, you’ll love just strolling around Athens. The bright lights of big city Atlanta are only about 70 miles down the road but there’s a lot of farmland buffered between.
With its expat community of diplomats and aid agency workers rubbing shoulders with the gracious and easygoing locals, this sleepy little capital of Laos, is a small town with a worldly feel. Restaurants are delicious, plentiful and homey. Buddhist temples inspire. Sunsets on the Mekong yield an array of pinks and purples. So, all the delights travelers seek across Southeast Asia are available in Vientiane, just minus most of the hassle and hustle some other cities in neighboring countries have become notorious for.
Halfway between Nashville and Atlanta and surrounded by wilderness and farmland, this laidback river town has a burgeoning food scene and a surprisingly vibrant arts community. Fans of Chattanooga love it for its equal parts low-key urban charms and easy access to the great outdoors.
Clean mountain air, good food, and an eclectic downtown area make this city one perfect for almost every type of vacationer. If a plant-based approach to unwinding happens to be your cup of tea, Boulder is the best-known city in the state for embracing these liberties most fervently, and if a chilled beer is what you’re looking for instead, you can imbibe at one of the twenty craft breweries located throughout the city. If your idea of relaxation involves a little more adventure and the great outdoors, there is plenty of skiing, snowboarding, hiking and climbing to keep you can take part in.
The high-tech hub of France’s most famous wine region is also one of the country’s most livable cities. For foodies craving the chance to indulge in fine dining but aren’t so into the stuffiness sometimes associated with such endeavors, Bordeaux allows the chance to loosen your collar and sink your teeth into some of the best food and wine in Europe. Art lovers and shopaholics will cherish time here too – and find their visit to Bordeaux to be as fun and fulfilling as anywhere in France could be – and a lot less hectic than in some of its other cities.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
One of America’s oldest settlements and a city famous for its many artists and galleries, beautiful Santa Fe beckons travelers seeking clean mountain air, unique Pueblo architecture, rustic cooking and place to explore at a peaceful pace.
This compact Swiss city on the Rhine and near the border of both France and Germany is as pleasant as a city can be. With more than its fair share of world-class museums and the entirety of its Old Town designated a Unesco World Heritage Site, Basel’s cityscape features some of Europe’s best preserved medieval buildings alongside modern architectural marvels. To further assist with attempts to decompress, hotel guests receive a visitor’s card granting free access to public transportation during their stay in town.
A short drive from Santa Barbara, quaint and quirky Solvang is famous for two things: its kitsch Danish village look and being in the heart of one of California’s best wine regions. The weather’s all but guaranteed to be perfect when you visit. The folks are super friendly. Tasting rooms in town and vineyards nearby all offer a warm welcome to guests.
Like to kick back when you travel? Where do you go to unwind?