World's top 10 hippie and alternative lifestyle destinations


There's not much to Zipolite, a small beach community on Mexico's southern Pacific coast. It's just a cluster of coastal homes, a few modest restaurants, some basic tourist accommodation. It's this simple, isolated nature that first drew hippies to Zipolite in the 1970s, and their spirit of counter-culture remains, most notably in the form of Mexico's only legal nude beach. Very little happens in Zipolite, and the locals wouldn't have it any other way.


The US has no shortage of hippie towns, but Eugene, Oregon might just be the hippiest of them all. The town's flower-power vibe is due in large part to a citizen named Ken Kesey, an essayist, novelist and counterculture figure of the 1960s who helped attract like-minded people. These days Eugene is still known for its alternative arts scene, and a wander through its Saturday Market will confirm its modern hippie credentials.


Christiania is weird. There's no other way to put it. If this autonomous hippie commune existed out in the middle of nowhere you would barely give it a second thought. But it's right in the middle of Copenhagen, an island of tie-dye in the otherwise buttoned-down Nordic capital. Freetown Christiania is an abandoned military barracks that's now home to some 850 free-thinking residents who run their own show and are refusing to leave.


Counter-culturalists have been flocking to Anjuna beach, in Goa, since the 1960s – legend has it the area's original hippie, Yertward Mazamanian (known as "Eight Finger Eddie"), chose to settle there because it didn't have a police station. Though Eddie's legacy lives on in Anjuna's weekly flea market, the area has been going through inevitable gentrification recently, with resorts and restaurants replacing the shacks of old.


Australia's flower-power haven is set deep in the northern NSW hinterland, far from law-makers and prying eyes. The area was known mostly for dairy farming until 1973, when the Australian Union of Students staged its fourth Aquarius Festival, a celebration of counter-culture, music and art. Many of the festival's participants had such a good time in Nimbin that they decided to stay and create their own community, and free-thinking, free-smoking Nimbin was born.


What ingredients are required for hippie paradise? A small town, tucked away from judging eyes. Somewhere scenically beautiful, somewhere inspiring, somewhere with a strong culture and a welcoming nature. And, of course, somewhere with access to decent hashish. Morocco's Chefchaouen ticks all of those boxes. The picturesque city is bathed in blue, its entire medina awash with a cerulean glow, it nestles in the mountains, and a distinctive scent still permeates the air.


If you've ever wanted to check out from the modern world, to relax amid natural beauty while taking classes in astral travel and lucid dreaming, San Marcos La Laguna is the place for you. This village on the shores of Lake Atitlan in central Guatemala was once solely the domain of the local Maya people, until spiritual types from the West decided the area's energy was conducive to all sorts of learning and discovery.


It doesn't take much imagination to connect the Haight-Ashbury of today to the "Summer of Love" of 1967. This is where it all took place – the concerts, the "happenings", the ideas, the experimentation – and the modern-day suburb remains proud of its legacy. There are still plenty of vintage clothing stores in the Haight, plus record stores and shops selling psychedelic paraphernalia. Some say the hippies are all yuppies now, but Haight-Ashbury is still a great place to explore.


Those were the days, when you could jump in a "fried-out Kombi" and hit the hippie trail, travelling overland from London through Europe and the Middle East, across Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, finishing up in India or Nepal. This was the traditional journey of the 1960s and '70s, and it included plenty of time in Kathmandu. The hippie trail is now gone, lost to war and unrest, but the Nepali capital still has a free-wheeling vibe.



As with any good hippie town, El Bolson can trace its free-thinking roots back to the 1970s, when Buenos Aires-based counter-culturalists began moving to this beautiful town in the foothills of the Andes. Though El Bolson these days is known more for its hiking than its hippie ideals, the legacy of those '70s pioneers remains in a place that still attracts travellers looking to drop out and commune with nature.