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Embrace the Art of Slow Travel

Go beyond that quick Instagram snap and get to know the local economies and landscapes of your holiday destination with this guide to slow travel


Bike and bike stand on a pavement

So, first things first, what is this movement?

'Slow and steady wins the race' - if your mother said it then it must be true... Slow travel has become more and more popular over recent years, deriving from the slow food movement starting in the 1980s. It's the chance to make the most of the 'now' and to appreciate a destination's simpler things, away from the hustle and bustle of an everyday life we've been used to for all too long.

Over the past few months, our lives in the fast lane have ground to an unexpected halt. The mad rush between meetings has been replaced with part-listened to Headspace meditations and half-risen sourdough, and we want to take this newfound attitude on holiday with us. Toss your teenage-made bucket list in the bin and opt for our suggestions. Trust us, it’ll be better thought through, because here at Plum Guide, we put in serious hard work to provide only the very best advice. You might do less but at least you won’t have to pretend to enjoy the race from place to place. Climate change is far from cool, and responsible travel means you can reduce your carbon footprint and invest in the cities you stay in. Go beyond that quick Instagram snap and get to know the local economies and landscapes with our guide.

Ditch cars for bicycles in Copenhagen

Sure, a fast car may be flash, but where the planet’s concerned, two wheels are better than four. Opt-out of a rental car in Copenhagen and blend in with the locals on a bicycle. Did you know that 60% of residents ride to work or school? Even the city’s bridges are fume free. Take in the many-hued Nyhavn from atop your saddle at The Inner Harbour Bridge, and then cycle to Amager Beach to soak off any exercise-induced sweat - don’t pretend it wasn’t a workout. Still, this guilt-free mode of transport is worth the helmet hair.

The Design Show, Plum Guide home in Copenhagen

The Design Show, Plum Guide home in Copenhagen

Go wild for wetlands in London

You may have come to London for the bright lights and big city, but did you know it’s 50% green? Winding between these parks is a blue (brown) habitat often written off - water. While we are certainly not advocating for a swim in the Thames, Woodberry and Walthamstow Wetlands is your chance to discover the best of British birdlife. Fine, it’s not the tropics, but a greater crested grebe definitely trumps Trafalgar Square’s pigeons for beauty.

Angels In My Kitchen, Plum Guide home in London

Angels In My Kitchen, Plum Guide home in London

Take a train in Porto

In its essence, slow travel means ditching the short cut. While travelling by train might add hours onto your busy schedule, the view sure looks better than a motorway, and in terms of charm, São Bento Station tops many of Porto’s museum. Once you’ve taken ten to check out the station’s interior, depart on the Linha do Douro. The track meanders alongside the river and into port-tasting territory. Hop off at Pinhão and visit the winery, Quinta do Bomfim. Here you can enjoy a picnic (and a bottle) into the sloping vineyards. Just don’t forget the last train back to your wonderful Plum home.

Your Pale Blue Tiles, Plum Guide home in Porto

Your Pale Blue Tiles, Plum Guide home in Porto

Enjoy outdoor dining in Cornwall

Travelling slowly is an offset of the slow food movement, and with a range of quality producers, you’d be hard-pressed not to choose local in Cornwall. While you might think us strange to recommend eating outdoors in one of the country’s rainiest counties, The Hidden Hut delivers on freshly caught seafood. Take a seat on picnic benches overlooking the beach. The lobster paella and fire-cooked meats will be worth the potentially wet socks. Burn off the BBQ with a brisk walk around the picturesque headland.

The Glass Keep, Plum Guide home in Cornwall

The Glass Keep, Plum Guide home in Cornwall

Visit Dig Inn in New York

While we understand that french fries are finger-licking good, fast food doesn’t score highly when it comes to sustainability cred. Dig Inn is setting that record straight. Not that we ever imagined our guests biting into a Big Mac after a busy day boutique hopping... But now, if you’re desperate for something quick and casual, Dig Inn offers locally-grown salad bowls for the same cheap(ish) price tag. The company supports small-scale, minority-run farms - making a roast chicken dinner only partially regrettable.

Embrace slow fashion in Barcelona

Let’s be honest, you never wanted to shop till you dropped. While it’s tempting to skip the customer queues and order online, next day delivery certainly won’t help us out of this hot mess. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. However, several Barcelona-based stores are making it easier to invest in yourself and the planet. Choose sustainable fashion at Sunsais and GreenLifeStyle.

Try natural wine in Paris

Call us pretentious, but you can’t visit Paris and not drink wine. No, we’re not asking you to don a beret but we are hoping you’ll pick organic when you reach for a sip of the good stuff. If you are going to drink, drink healthily. Natural wine contains none of the fertilisers and pesticides you might find when shopping in a supermarket. It’s better for you, the planet, and your Saturday morning hangover. We recommend picking up a bottle from L'Etiquette. Or, even better, slow down and settle into a tasting session.

Offset Your carbon emissions

Apologies - we can’t talk about travelling responsibly without creating a little flygskam. In its simplest form, slow travel means choosing trains or boats over flying. Instead of whizzing between our European cities by aeroplane, why don’t you make the holiday stretch out a little longer? It’s a win-win. Train travel doesn’t have to mean jabbing elbows or uncomfortable seats; if you’ve got (lots of) change to spare, you can travel in style on the Belmond Orient Express. If you have to fly, there is a way to limit the shame - offset your emissions by investing in regenerative projects. We recommend using Gold Standard.

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