20 places to embrace your inner hippy

Rebecca Hallett

written by
Rebecca Hallett

updated 25.08.2021

Wondering where to let your hippy spirit run free? San Francisco is an obvious choice, but there are enclaves all over the world where peace and love are rife. Here are 20 of our favourites:

1. Goa, India

It may be known as a party hotspot today, but Goa used to be firmly off the beaten track. The relaxed local culture, delicious cuisine and endless white-sand beaches have always attracted chilled-out travellers in need of a break, with an optional side of spiritual exploration.

Whether or not you’re interested in the nightlife, luckily there’s still much of the old, laidback Goa in evidence for the independent-minded traveller today.

Colorful bungalows on the tropical beach of Palolem, South Goa, India  © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

South Goa bungalows © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

2. Negril, Jamaica

This gorgeous beach may be over-developed in some places now, but it goes on for so indulgently long (it’s around four miles end to end) that you only need to wander a bit further to find yourself some peace and quiet.

If you’re feeling particularly active you can join in the water sports on offer, but you may find your schedule is soon pretty packed with sunbathing, walking and, if you're that way inclined, some meditating on this gorgeous beach in Jamaica.

Things not to miss: Sunset, 7 mile beach, Negril, Jamaica.

© Shutterstock

3. Glastonbury, England

Hear Glastonbury and you think of the festival. Of course, anyone can find their inner happy hippy at this world-famous music and arts festival, especially over in the Green Fields, but this is a year-round destination.

It’s at the heart of the "Isle of Avalon", an area rich in myths and Arthurian legends which attracts Pagans, Wiccans and all manner of New-Agers. Head up to Glastonbury Tor for ley-lines and gorgeous views, or wander along the hippy-tastic High Street.


© Guy Erwood/Shutterstock

4. Cape Maclear, Malawi

Diving, kayaking, walking, snorkelling... there’s plenty to do in Cape Maclear, but you may be content just lazing lakeside in a hammock, drinking in the stunning view of Africa’s third-largest, second-deepest lake. The area’s stayed pretty rustic despite its popularity with backpackers from around the world, and it’s a truly chilled, calm place to while away some time.


© Dietmar Temps/Shutterstock

5. Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal has had many troubles to contend with, not least the 2015 earthquake, but it’s always attracted spiritually curious travellers and probably always will. After all, there’s nowhere in the world quite like it – a truly awe-inspiring natural setting with a view across the Himalayas, a city full of treasures with a kind and welcoming population, and a key site in both Buddhism and Hindusim.

It’s also the perfect base for continuing your spiritual exploration, with treks to Pokhara and onwards to the Himalayas.

Patan Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley © Hakat/Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

6. Dahab, Egypt

Diving in the clear waters of the Gulf of Aqaba; sharing shisha with friends in the evening; sleeping under the stars in Bedouin tents… The laidback pace of life makes Dahab a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy your environment.

Though unrest in the region has resulted in fewer visitors in recent years, there’s little doubt they’ll find their way back soon enough to Egypt.

Restaurant sea view Dahab

© Shutterstock

7. Panajachel, Guatemala

During the sixties the lakeside Guatemalan town of Panajachel was so popular with itinerant hippies (mostly wandering down the continent from the USA) that it became known as ‘Gringotenango’.

As the civil war intensified visitor numbers dropped, but from the mid-nineties travellers started coming back in search of relaxation, stunning views of Lago de Atitlán and… well, what else do you need?

Panajachel Town and Atitlan lake with Mountains, Guatemala © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

Panajachel Town and Atitlan lake with Mountains, Guatemala © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock

8. Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand

Just above Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand is this small island, a classic stop on the Hippy Trail. Somewhere between 1983 and 1993 (no one seems sure of the exact date, or particularly bothered) a few travellers started playing music on the beach during the full moon, and year on year the event grew and attracted more visitors. The rest (hard partying, day-glo, chemically-enhanced) is history and Ko Pha Ngan is now one of Thailand's most visited islands.

Aerial view Phang Nga bay at sunrise with mangrove tree forest and hills in the Andaman sea © Avigator Fortuner/Shutterstock

Aerial view Phang Nga bay at sunrise with mangrove tree forest and hills in the Andaman sea © Avigator Fortuner/Shutterstock

9. Siargao, Philippines

For real seclusion, head to Siargao Island in the Philippines. If it’s peace and quiet that you’re after, though, maybe avoid September – the island became famous after word spread among the world’s surfers that there’s a break so good they called it "Cloud 9", and the Siargao Cup global surfing competition is now held there annually.

For the rest of the year it’s sedate and beautiful, a perfect place to find some zen.

10. Dali, China

A low-key city by Erhai Lake, Dali has long been a popular stop for backpackers and hippies. It’s still not overwhelmed by tourism, despite its gorgeous surroundings and intriguing traditional architecture (the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple are a well-known symbol of the city), which means it’s still a great place to find a bit of calm.

Dali, Yunnan, China © Jakrit Jiraratwaro/Shutterstock

Dali, Yunnan, China © Jakrit Jiraratwaro/Shutterstock

11. Eugene, Oregon, USA

Where Portland is hipster, Eugene is resolutely hippy. It’s the place to go for all your tie-dyeing needs, not to mention New Age philosophy, communal living and herbal remedies. There’s a lot to attract any type of traveller, but to get the most out of the city’s gorgeous natural setting and strong artistic community you should absolutely embrace your inner hippy.

Eugene, Oregon, USA © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Eugene, Oregon, USA © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

12. Jericoacoara, Brazil

Known for its dazzlingly white beach and impressive sand dunes, Brazil’s beautiful Jericoacoara has been pulling in hippies and surfers for years. It’s a great spot for windsurfing, as well, and of course for walking, sunbathing and any other chilled-out beach activity you can think of.

It’s also a national park, so it’s reasonably safe from development for now.

Jericoacoara, Brazil © Shutterstock

© ostill/Shutterstock

13. The Cyclades, Greece

Mykonos has always been a traditional stop on the Hippy Trail, but today is perhaps a bit overdeveloped and party-focused for some tastes. Luckily, there are other destinations in this group of gorgeous Greek islands.

Keep going to Andros, for instance, and you’ll find peace, quiet and stunning walks. If you’re really after isolation, though, aim for Anafi. It’s the last ferry stop, and the perfect place for some reflection and relaxation.

Little Venice, Mykonos, Greece © Ella Hanochi/Shutterstock

Little Venice, Mykonos, Greece © Ella Hanochi/Shutterstock

14. Lamu, Kenya

The small island of Lamu in Kenya has long been a prime spot for hippy travellers, and though there have been security concerns recently, it’s not hard to see the attraction. There’s not much to do other than take in the gorgeous medieval town, take leisurely dhow rides to nearby islands, and just chill out, man...

In the distance is the Riyadha Mosque in Lamu, Kenya © Shutterstock

Kenya's dhow © Shutterstock

15. California, USA

California is in many ways the perfect place to find your hippy self. The most hardcore of hippies can chill out in accepting, alternative San Francisco; those who still love a bit of luxury can head to LA to dabble in meditation and organic green juices; literary hippies can go all Dharma Bums and scale the Matterhorn; and anyone at all can find a bit of inner peace wandering the stunning Yosemite National Park.

A view of Golden Gate bridge from the top of Twin Peaks mountain, the highest place in San Francisco

© Shutterstock

16. Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a pretty perfect city for hippy-minded individuals: great cycling, lots of greenery, good food and a thriving music scene. If you really want to get into the hippy lifestyle, though, you need to head to Christiania.

This colourful city-within-a-city has been a commune since 1971, and is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s autonomous and self-governing, to an extent, and a fascinating place to see a long-term social experiment in action.

Christiania.The area occupied by hippies in Copenhagen © maisicon/Shutterstock

Christiania. The area occupied by hippies in Copenhagen © maisicon/Shutterstock

17. Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay means one thing: surfing. It’s famous for its long, sandy beach and a local life so laidback it’s almost horizontal. If you feel like even this New Agey, chilled out surfer town isn’t quite hippy enough for you, head to nearby Nimbin for colourful murals, dreadlocks and tie-dye galore.

Nimbin also happens to be known as the marijuana capital of Australia, even holding a "Mardi Grass" festival in May.


© Camila Se/Shutterstock

18. Chefchaouen, Morocco

Morocco has long been known as a destination for travellers who want to get off the beaten track. Marrakesh and Fez are the obvious places to go, but the travelling hippies of the world have long-preferred Chefchaouen. It’s cheap, cheerful and full of open-air markets and beautiful pale blue buildings. What’s not to like?

A view of the blue city of Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains, Morocco © Marko Razpotnik Sest/Shutterstock

A view of the blue city of Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains, Morocco © Marko Razpotnik Sest/Shutterstock

19. Istanbul, Turkey

The only city in the world to sit on two continents, Istanbul has long intrigued and enticed independent travellers. The "gateway to Asia" was a key point on the Hippy Trail of the sixties, a fork in the road from where some would head back into Europe and others would look onwards to India, Thailand and Vietnam. Today it retains its independent vibe, attracting hippies, hedonists, artists and romantics from all around the world.

Vintage tram on the Taksim Istiklal street in Istanbul

Vintage tram on the Taksim Istiklal street in Istanbul © Sotnikov Misha/Shutterstock

20. Gili Islands, Indonesia

These secluded islands off Lombok in Indonesia are pretty perfect if you want to get away from it all. Backpackers and hippies started heading there in the seventies and eighties, and now the islands are an established destination.

They’re perfect for diving, lounging on the beach, and simply doing nothing at all.

 Kasia Soszka/Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

Rebecca Hallett

written by
Rebecca Hallett

updated 25.08.2021

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