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The Traveller's Magazine
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Remember that post a while back about 5 natural wonders to see before they disappear? If you’re looking for places where you can relax and enjoy nothing but fresh air, here are just a few. These are highly recommended for travellers and holidaymakers suffering from asthma.

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It’s incredible to think about but something as simple as clean air has become a precious resource: even the air in Kathmandu has become almost unbearable! The hippies of the 1960s and ’70s made it their tip destination but today, if you breathe too heavily you’re bound to have an asthma attack. Fortunately there are still places around the world where you can get a breath of fresh air, provided of course you respect the natural environments there.

Far from the modern world, the best preserved tourist islands

Islands, mostly thanks to their insularity, have long been protected and preserved. This is not the case for all however, many have fallen to being developed until the last grain of sand for tourism. But some, few, are still as isolated and preserved as ever.

Gili Islands – Indonesia

Cidomo in Indonesia

The atmosphere here belongs to a totally different world. It’s unlike anything you’re familiar with at home. Getting there is a little tricky. First you need flights to Bali. From there it takes several hours by boat to reach these magical islands. Only a few hundred live here, surviving by trading coconuts for oil and accommodating tourists. On the islands you get around by food, bike or cidomo, a small horse-drawn carriage. You can go round the whole island in about an hour, without needing to step off the white sands of the beaches.

Perhentian Islands – Malaysia

Perhentian Islands

These islands are very popular among “eco” tourists because they’re protected as a national park, thus keeping the environmental impact from tourism to a minimum. Fresh water is supplied by natural springs and electricity from diesel generators… that is until their two wind turbines are hooked up and connected to the grid. The rules: no fishing, no cars, no coral collecting and most of all, no littering! It’s a diver’s paradise for spotting turtles and sharks.

Little Corn Island – Caribbean

Little Corn Island

The locals here speak both Spanish and English so you’ll hear this slice of paradise being called by both Little Corn Island as well as Isla Pequeña del Maíz. Its coral reefs attract many scuba divers. What’s unique about this place? No motorized vehicles are allowed. The island is 12km in length, travelled only by foot or by bicycle. Without a doubt this is one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean.

Lamu Island – Kenya

Lamu Island

This is one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in eastern Africa. The old town of Lamu is a recognized World Heritage Site with UNESCO.

The least polluted countries in the world

Yale and Columbia Universities published a study last year ranking countries on their pollution levels, taking into considereation 25+ criteria like air pollution, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. Good news for Europe, many EU countries made the list of least polluted. Not surprisingly Iceland is leading with Switzerland and Scandinavia close behind.Switzerland

  1. Iceland
  2. Switzerland
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Sweden
  5. Norway
  6. Mauritius
  7. France
  8. Austria
  9. Cuba
  10. Colombia

Cities to avoid in Europe

Which cities should you avoid like the plague if you’re hoping to give your lungs a holiday? Air pollution is exceedingly bad in some European cities due to traffic, causing concern for the future. Aphekom’s recent study shows that if you have difficulty breathing, avoid the big cities of Central Europe, Eastern Europe and those in the South of Europe as well.

The worst?

  1. Bucharest, Romania
  2. Budapest, Hungary
  3. Barcelona, Spain
  4. Athens, Greece
  5. Rome, Italy

Pollution

On the other hand if you’re set on a city break, you can still find clean and fresh air in many European cities, especially in Scandinavia, in the Benelux countries, Germany and Switzerland. The best include: Copenhagen, Antwerp, Brussels, Geneva and Dusseldorf.

There you have it! Now you know exactly where to go to regenerate and refresh on your next holiday. Have you ever been bothered by the pollution before on a trip? Where was it?

Imgs: AnnieGreenSprings, cgreg, hija del caos, MysteryBee, Ed Coyle Photography, Victoria Reay / Flickr cc.

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