This International Women's Day we celebrate the fiercest woman of them all; she who treads through fire and water, who runs wild as the wind, dynamic as the universe, yet nurtures to the core. She who is relentless in her infinite quest to provide sustenance and security to all beings, flora and fauna. She is Mother Nature.
Italy’s southern capital, Naples, is full of character and life on every street corner; birthplace of the pizza, a euphonious dialect and home to great coffee. However, no trip to this southern gem would be complete without seeing it’s surrounding areas graced to us by Mother Nature. Gaze over to Mount Vesuvius from some of Naples great lookout points; a geological wonder is one of the world’s super volcanoes and currently the only live volcano left in Europe, which left devastating effects in Pompeii 79 AD. However, today Pompeii is so well preserved by volcanic ash, exposing more of the historical and captivating Roman city. End your visit to the southern city by renting a Vespa and take in the beauty along the Amalfi coast, not only is this coastline full of diversity, sparkling waters, mouth-watering cuisine but high in fertility beneficial for Naples, and for Italy.
The most favourable time of year to visit Japan is in the spring; pastel shades of blooming cherry blossom and hanami flowers fill spaces of the countryside as well as across the metropolitan hubs of Tokyo and Kyoto. For a true fairytale experience, lay under the hanami flowers hanging from the blossom trees whilst enjoying Japanese tea or bento and partake in one of Japan’s great national past times. Take advantage of the height of Japan’s flowering season in late March and hike through Mr Yoshino-yama, Nara (accessible from Tokyo and Kyoto). This sacred mountain trail is home to over 30,000 cherry trees, renowned as Japan’s best Sakura spot. Relax in the hot springs, soak up the beauty and treasure the elegance of Mother Nature.
Majestic waterfalls, emerald green rivers, underground caves, lush green forests, and tranquility that lasts forever. Slovenia is home to rocky cliffs and garden gateways to paradise that are perfect for weekend exploration or summer retreats.
Grand Canyon, U.S.A
No one is a bigger drama queen than Mother Nature, and quite frankly, we can understand why with the Grand Canyon under her wing. She is as woman as it gets, running more than 400 kilometres long, some 30km wide and a depth of almost 1,900 metres. With nearly two billion years of history and the raging Colorado River slicing through layers of rock, the Grand Canyon is home to more than 2,000 known species of plants and fungi and is the geolocation of the Mojave and Sonora deserts.
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
Welcome to the world's biggest cave, perhaps Mother Nature's most magical womb. It is over 5.5 miles long and has a jungle, waterfall and river within. To give you a modern perspective, the cave could actually fit a 40-story skyscraper within its walls. The roof of the cave collapsed centuries ago, after which a lush jungle took root. It is also a treasure trove of rare cave pearls, forming over hundreds of years as water drips down and leaves layers of calcite crystals on the sand. Today, monkeys and flying foxes live in what explorers named the Garden of Edam. Visitors will have to rappel 80 metres to enter the paradise of Son Doong.
The Sahara Desert, Morocco
While the desert might seem like a place that bears no fruit and grants no mercy, the opposite is actually true. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world, with silky orange sand dunes spanning nearly 4,000 kilometres, covering most of North Africa. It is home to several species of wildlife who intuitively know where to find water reserves, juicy plants and the perfect spot to cool in the shade of palm groves. The best time to catch sight of them is at dawn, when the countless footprints are visible at a distance. Here you can sleep under the stars, embark on soulful walks and undertake adventure expeditions.
Isle of Wales
For a relatively small country, Wales is big on nature. Explore the coast paths and nature trails, with three National Parks and five ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ with over 500 lakes and 15,000 miles of rivers, that cover almost a quarter of the country. Come spring, locals celebrate St David's Day, their National Day of celebration. During the spring months (March, April, May), you can walk among the blooming flowers and enjoy warming temperatures. Head into the charming towns to immerse yourself in Welsh history, culture and cuisine. For a bit of adventure, try coasteering.
The Bavarian Alps
The hills are alive with more than the sound of music here in one of Europe's most breathtaking landscapes. Trees extend their branches to make home for young hatchlings, birds sing to one another well after sunset, and the the green carpets are mesmerising. Sports and adventure lovers will appreciate the beautiful landscape and surrounding lakes; don't miss an opportunity to paraglide across the Bavarian Alps. It is truly an unforgettable experience.
There is a reason the Impressionists flocked to Normandy to create their famous masterpieces. Stand in the middle of a field and admire the vast expanse of land, giving rise to sunflowers and poppy flowers as they dance across the horizon for miles on end. If you are in close proximity to the town of Giverny, don't miss a visit to Monet's residence and intimate love story with nature.