The Best Destinations Around The World For A ‘Vitamin Vacay’
Personal wellbeing has become increasingly important in the travel industry over the last few years.
Many people are taking holidays as a form of self-care and there are now so many opportunities available for people looking to combine the two – from yoga retreats and spa getaways to wellness-focused cruises and self-discovery adventures.
Yet some destinations offer benefits for the mind, body, and soul without wellbeing being the core focus of the trip.
Whether it be increased vitamin D thanks to year-round sunny climates, or friendly locals boosting your serotonin levels, some destinations are just naturally a ‘vitamin vacay’.
And we’ve found out where those places are by analysing cities around the world on a range of different health factors including vitamin B12, serotonin, vitamin D, and vitamin C.
So if you’re wondering where to visit on your next city break that will offer a dose of health on the side, read on below!
1. Faro, Portugal
Faro takes joint gold medal position for the best destination for a ‘vitamin vacay’. The Portuguese city scored particularly well for increased oxygen, with its air pollution being impressively low at 3.8 PM2.5 concentration, which was the fourth best in the entire study. Faro also scored favourably for the potential sugar intake with Portuguese people typically only getting 6.81% of their daily calories from sugar, meaning that you’re unlikely to have blood sugar spikes when visiting.
Being Portugal’s southernmost city, Faro also boasts an impressive number of sunshine hours each year. It didn’t score so highly for the happiness ranking though, but we’re sure that anyone who visits Faro will make their own serotonin whilst enjoying its neoclassical architecture and cobbled streets.
1. Stockholm, Sweden
In joint first place is Stockholm, Sweden’s capital city. Speaking of serotonin, the city has plenty of it with Sweden being the sixth happiest country in the entire study so it’ll be hard not to smile in such a joyful country. Stockholm also scored relatively high for the volume of citrus fruits consumed per person each year, with Swedes eating 0.63kg on average.
Similarly to Faro, Stockholm also boasts low air pollution with a 6.8 PM2.5 concentration thanks to its coastal location and Government initiatives.
The city did trip up on the average number of sunshine hours it offers to visitors though, with a total of 1,803 each year on average. That being said, July and August in Stockholm can offer attractive temperatures of up to 25 degrees celsius, so if you’re looking to reap the Vitamin D benefits, we recommend visiting during a summer month.
3. Helsinki, Finland
Round up the top three is Helsinki. Finland’s capital city scored particularly high for the best destination to boost your serotonin, the best in the entire study in fact, with the country being ranked as the happiest in the world. The country also scored highly for Vitamin B12 and the amount of meat, poultry, and fish eaten on average each day.
The city did fall down slightly on vitamin C and vitamin D with its cooler climates having an impact on the average sunshine hours and the ability to grow citrus fruits in abundance. Nevertheless, Helsinki is definitely a great option for anyone looking for a ‘vitamin vacay’ whilst exploring the city’s innovative art, culture and architecture.
Best City For Increased Vitamin D: Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona, boasts the sunniest climate in the entire study with an average of 3,871.60 sunshine hours per year. This is thanks to its Sonoran Desert location, low latitude, and the surrounding mountains shielding it from cool winds. As a result, those visiting the city are likely to experience increased vitamin D levels due to sun exposure, which is essential for maintaining strong bones, teeth, and muscles, and also plays a critical role in immune system function.
Best Country For Increased Vitamin C: Nigeria
Citrus fruits are a key ingredient in Nigerian cuisine, From oranges and tangerines to grapefruits and lemons. So much so that the average person in Nigeria consumes around 18.97 kg per year. And the health benefits of this? Well, citrus fruits are packed full of vitamin C, which helps people to maintain a healthy immune system and to prevent a range of illnesses. And with such an abundance of citrus fruits available throughout the country, tourists visiting Nigeria can also reap the benefits!
Best Country For Increased Serotonin: Finland
Once again, Finland has taken the gold medal in the World Happiness Report, a study that analyses countries’ happiness through a range of factors including social support, economic stability, and access to nature. Those looking to visit Finland will be able to take advantage of the country’s happiness and enjoy the effect that this will have on their own personal wellbeing by improving moods, decreasing any anxiety and depression, and increasing serotonin.
Best Country For Increased B12: Iceland
Anyone looking to increase their B12 levels should consider a trip to Iceland where the average person consumes 1283 calories per day from foods high in this: meat, dairy, and eggs. Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining healthy nerve and blood cells and is primarily found in animal products, so visitors to Iceland will easily meet their vitamin needs by sampling the country’s traditional lamb, fish, and dairy products.
Best City For Increased Oxygen: Sydney
With average air pollution levels of an impressive 3.1 PM2.5 concentration, Sydney had the lowest pollution levels in the study and is the ideal destination for any travellers looking to enjoy clean air and the associated health benefits thanks to its coastal location, moderate climate, and government initiatives. Oxygen levels are often increased in cities with low levels of air pollution so anyone visiting these destinations can expect improved cognitive functions, increased energy, and boosts to their immune systems.
Best Country For Decreased Sugar: China
China is the country that has the lowest percentage of sugar consumption in their daily diet, at a meagre 71 calories consumed each day. As a whole, Chinese cuisine is typically lower in sugar than Western diets, for example, as a result of it tending to favour more savoury dishes than sweet ones. Travellers enjoying food in China can also enjoy the health benefits that come with the lower-sugar diet by regulating blood sugar levels and lowering blood pressure.
To find out the best destinations for a ‘vitamin vacay’, we first collated a list of all of the main cities in each country in the world and then analysed each on the below factors:
- Vitamin D: the average number of sunshine hours in a city per year
- Vitamin C: the average amount of citrus fruits consumed per capita per year
- Serotonin: the happiness ranking of the country overall
- B12: the average amount of calories consumed from meat, dairy, and eggs per capita per day
- Oxygen: the average air pollution levels
- Sugar: the percentage of daily calories coming from sugar
We used a variety of credible sources to find data for each of the above categories including World Data Bank, IQ Air, and World Happiness Report and then ranked the cities from first to last based on this data.
Cities, where a full dataset was not available, were omitted from the index.
Data was gathered in April 2023. The full dataset and source list are available upon request.