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Top Places To Visit Near the Arctic Circle for Wellness Travel

Health Benefits of Arctic Activities in the North

|June 7, 2019
Anhelina is a wanderlust-fueled soul who is also a cat mom, amateur cyclist, and painter in her free time. She believes that every location, no matter how remote or obscure, has a unique charm that deserves to be shared with the world.

Some go for keto diets and slow fitness, others take magnesium baths. But instead of rushing to buy yet another foot massager or “mountain air” scented candle, why not start with the world outside your door?

Research has found that people who went on a 90-min walk in a natural environment reduced their risk of mental illness and depression. It seems like nature heals not only the body, but also our minds.

To make sure this year is the year you “get out there,” we’ve drummed up a list of the top arctic activities and places to visit in the Arctic Circle. 

But why the Arctic Circle? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all blizzard and frost mixed with a penguin or two. The Arctic is  diverse and irresistible. It’s quaint coastal villages, rich human cultures, and Mars-like landscapes. 

So now’s the time to take your health into your own hands and get outside!

#1 Relax and sip tea atop Canadian Mountains

Couple Drinking Tea In Front Of Mountains

Sometimes all you need is a hot cup of tea paired with a beautiful view

Why run on a treadmill when there are still places in the great outdoors left to conquer? Hiking in the Arctic is the perfect retreat from the brain fog and brick walls of modern life. So why not explore the edge of the world while you workout those muscles and lungs at the same time?

Being out in nature leaves us feeling alert and invigorated, while also improving our focus and concentration. Fresh air gives you a dose of oxygen, natural sunlight generates Vitamin D, and far-off horizons give your eyes a much-needed adjustment and rest from screen time.

Baffin Island’s rugged landscape is the perfect place to take a deep breath and relax

Going backpacking on Baffin Island, Canada is a great thing to do near the Arctic if you want to enjoy the health benefits of nature high up in the mountains. Trekking on the “land that never melts” among the frozen river valleys and majestic fjords, camping in tents and cabins among the glaciers is a life-changing experience.

Being out in nature leaves us feeling alert and invigorated, while also improving our focus and concentration.

After the physical and mental challenge, sit down, sip your tea, and relax among some of the world’s most gorgeous scenery.

#2 Dive into Earth’s purest water at Silfra Fissure

Snorkeling In Silfra Iceland Golden Circle

Being underwater is great for your physical and mental wellbeing

An old scuba saying goes, “we dive not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

Snorkeling and diving are staple activities for those seeking a retreat from the world. Swimming underwater has been known to help people suffering from ADHD, reduce anxiety, and relieve stress. Snorkeling and diving are both cardiovascular exercises, which stimulate the body to release endorphins and elevate your mood.

One of the best arctic activities to do is dive into the cleanest water in the world at the Silfra Fissure in Iceland. Explore a fissure where tectonic plates drift apart and enjoy the incredible health benefits of snorkeling and diving into the bargain.

Diving isn’t only a stress reducer — it’s also a lot of good fun

While in the water, your breathing takes on a calm rhythm, the noises fade away, and your senses refocus and enhance. Your mind starts to become quiet. Your sight narrowed by goggles, you become transfixed by the blue world around you. It's almost like meditation.

We guarantee that all your tension and worries will stay on the water’s surface!


#3 Get up close to the North Atlantic Ocean

Women Sailing On Ocean Sea

Getting close to water can make you feel as happy as a clam

It's human nature to be attracted to water. We have a lifelong connection with water, as it covers 71% of Earth and makes up around 60% of our bodies. It's no wonder waterfalls are such a major attraction!

No wonder that biologists say that being near water increases blood flow to the brain and heart. Apparently, as a result, people feel more calm, relaxed and just happy. Needless to say, time spent on water might also invoke inspiration and creativity.

If you’re seeking to become one with one of Earth’s quintessential elements, pack your suitcase and join an Arctic cruise! Sit on the deck and watch the passing glaciers, soul-stirring fjords, and serene icebergs. Spot majestic wildlife off secluded Arctic coasts.

The North Atlantic Ocean’s vast waters inspire and evoke creativity

Get up close to the North Atlantic Ocean and Labrador Sea on a Newfoundland Circumnavigation Cruise. Or discover why the Northwest Passage Sea Route attracted 19th-century explorers and embark on your own adventure in Arctic waters.

It’s a guaranteed getaway from the digital world and feast for your eyes.


#4 Watch extremely cute Arctic wildlife play in Canada and Iceland

Whale Arctic Animal

A large humpback whale in mid-breach

Puffins in Iceland have a way of making observers smile. These fearless birds, or “sea parrots” as they are sometimes known, roaming over centuries-old coastal cliffs will make your day. Lay down quietly in the grass on the Latrabjarg Cliffs, and observe with stillness like a nature photographer.

Pause those “cute animals” videos and come face to face with the real wild side of life! See how many wild animals you can spot on your trip. Maybe it will be a friendly Arctic fox coming to say hello, or a curious polar bear that stands up to get a better look at the travelers in the Tundra Buggy. Or is it going to be an energetic beluga whale splashing its tail to the awe of visitors?

The town of Churchill, Canada is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”

Wildlife watching will always lift your mood. Get a positive energy boost and just savor the exclusive moments face-to-face with nature. These guys are your ultimate companions in fighting Nature Deficit Disorder.


#5 Pet a horse along Iceland’s South Coast

Brown Horse In Iceland

The Icelandic Horse is one of the world’s most special horse breeds

Continuing the creature feature, these good-natured animals deserve a special mention. Horses have long been a part of mental health and therapy programs. The human-horse connection is a powerful, direct experience of nonverbal communication, which is believed to build a sense of trust and support.

Come ride or just pet kind-hearted Icelandic horses, which have been living in the meadows around Iceland’s Ring Road for hundreds of years. You can even combine a rejuvenating white water rafting trip with a special horse-riding adventure!


#6 Soak up Icelandic waterfalls

Man Standing In Front Of Skogafoss Waterfall

Wash away your worries next to one of Iceland’s 10 000 waterfalls

In Iceland’s South Coast, witness the magic of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, which is one of the rarest in the world, because you can walk behind it!

Or, while on the way to Myrdalsjokull Glacier, get up close to the mighty Skogafoss. A hike up to its crest will have you catching your breath a few times, but the panoramic views of the lowlands below will be a priceless reward.

You can also walk up to one of the world’s top 10 waterfalls, Gullfoss Waterfall on the Golden Circle route, or chase any other of the more than 10,000 Icelandic waterfalls.

These glacial waterfalls will be sure to wash away your worries in a matter of seconds!


#7 Be humbled as you stand next to nature’s colossal beauty

Absorb the magnitude of Mother Nature at Thorsmork Valley in Iceland

Our daily lives often make us feel like we have to perform our best and be in control. The pressure can be overwhelming, leaving no place for self-expression and simple freedom.

Let Nature’s giants shift your perspective and make you feel like a small dot in the majesty of Mother Earth. It’s important that you take the time to see vast natural wonders so still, gracious, and powerful to realize just how little we know about the world. 

Set yourself free in Iceland's Valley of Thor, snowmobile on Vatnajökull — the largest glacier in Europe — or surround yourself with ancient trees by camping on Vancouver Island.


#8 Feel the ground beneath your feet at the Canadian Rockies

Feet Of A Man Near The Sea

Dig your heels into the stunning nature beneath you

“Earthing” or “grounding” is a current wellness trend that suggests a simple barefoot walk on the grass can significantly reduce inflammation, anxiety, and a whole list of other unpleasant conditions.

The reason? The Earth is a wellspring of negative ions, supercharged with antioxidant and free-radical-busting electrons — clean air after a rainfall, near oceans and waterfalls, and inside forests and woodlands. Imagine then how supercharged your skin will be when your bare feet touch the ground!

A hike along the Laugavegur Trail will lead you to the best natural landscapes on Earth

Walk in meadows rich in wildflowers, and watch sorbet sunsets listening to the white noise of tumbling waterfalls. Camping or backpacking in the scenic Rocky Mountains — also known as the Canadian Rockies — is the ultimate example of experiential travel and immersion in nature at its best.

If you’re looking to set foot in Iceland, hunt for camping spots in Thorsmork or on the Laugavegur Trail. Moments like unzipping your tent to a golden sunrise leave memories for a lifetime.


#9 Practice mindfulness in natural hot pools

The Secret Lagoon Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is famed for being rich in minerals and skin-healing properties

What’s so “secret” about Iceland’s Secret Lagoon? Its waters, for years lauded in folk wisdom for its healing properties, may just be extremely beneficial for your health.

In fact, geothermal pools such as the Blue Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, and Mývatn nature baths are rich in minerals that may boost your skin’s health. Plus, many have insanely beautiful turquoise waters are also supercharged with a special ingredient, silica, which makes the waters milky-blue.

Ease your mind and body as you soak in warm geothermal waters

Silica is a precious natural white mud that might do wonders for your skin and is known to help with psoriasis, eczema, acne, and many other skin problems. Silica is also purported to strengthen your skin, tighten pores and exfoliate dead cells.

Moreover, these waters often have a full-body soothing effect and may just help you to sleep better. Pamper yourself for all the hard work you do every day, and soak in the healing waters of natural hot pools. Close your eyes and let the water work its magic on you.


#10 Stand under Iceland’s majestic Arctic sky

Northern Lights In Iceland

Feel at peace while you watch the Northern Lights shine

According to certain researchers, the feeling of awe can make you healthier, more humble, generous, and more in-sync with the people around you.

Become a Northern Lights explorer and see the magical Aurora dancing in the sky. An essential on many bucket lists, the Northern Lights are just not something you can afford to miss out on in life!

Secure yourself a vantage point, sip your hot cocoa, and wait for nature’s finest show to begin!

The bright colors of the aurora are so magical that they can be seen from space

The list of wonders you can experience in Iceland goes on. You can descend into the colorful heart of a volcano at Þríhnúkagígur, or take a tranquil walk on the Diamond Beach among the glittering icebergs. Compare where you had more “wow” moments. We guarantee that you’ll lose count very soon!


Where’s your favorite destination to kick back and unwind? Share it in the comments!

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