Down to try something new? Like to keep up with your fitness routine or fill your family holidays with adventure? Active and outdoor getaways aren’t just about hotels with a gym or hiking up the tallest mountain. There are loads of new and trending activities to do abroad that invite you to sight-see in a different way. Check out this pick of some of the best ones to try on your next trip…
Love the water but don’t fancy diving under the surface? Paddleboarding is an easy win for your summer holiday. With calm waters, a gentle pace, and the chance to take in your surroundings, it’s a great way to sight-see on the go. Yes, core strength is handy, but there’s no shame in staying on your knees for better balance. This is everyone’s game.
Start yourself off in Portugal, Europe’s stand-up paddleboarding capital. Break away from the beaches for the quieter Rio Inha and Duoro River near Porto. Or, you can find calm spots along the Algarve and Lisbon’s coastline. Slovenia’s Lake Bled is another beauty and its still surface makes for an even prettier paddle. Stop off at the small island in the middle of the lake for a break, and wave to the boats as they pass by – they’ll be jealous of your more private pick.
More of a city break person? No problem. Over in the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s canals are made for cruising. Take a trip here and you can try some stand-up paddleboarding yoga.
Surfing’s having a bit of a moment. More and more of us are realising how cool it feels to carve left or catch a wave to the shore. Both adults and kids can get onboard with this one – if you’re not bothered about being shown up by your youngest, of course. Surf travel is also a real thing, chasing the seasons to find the next big break. So, why not join in?
Portugal is nice and close for a short-haul surfing trip. Head west to the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve for world-class spots for both pros and beginners – it’s the only surfing reserve in Europe. You can seek out the surf down on the south coast, too. The Algarve has 20 top places to pick from, with coves facing south and west. Book in some family lessons or bag yourself a private session.
For somewhere further afield, Costa Rica’s Playa Tamarindo is packed with hippy beach bars and waves at Witch’s rock – head here for high tide during the dry season. It’s a great spot for beginners, but pros will also welcome the five footers from December to March. Another long-haul surfer’s paradise is Sri Lanka. Summers are set for Arugum Bay on the east coast, while winters call for the west and south coast, such as spots in Hikkaduwa, Weligama and Hiriketiya.
Zip-line over forests and through jungles on the ultimate activity holiday. Start your family adventure at Jamaica’s Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios. This adventure park is one for the adrenaline seekers, lining up 10 zip-lines. From the longest line, you can even enjoy some ocean views on the go. Another one is Mauritius’ Casela World of Adventures near the resort of Flic en Flac. Launch down the longest zip-line on the island, around 22 seconds long. Scared to go solo? You can fly in tandem, too. There’s also a canyon swing, where you step off a 45-metre-high platform and take off Tarzan style.
Finally, St Lucia takes you sky high at its Treetop Adventure Park on the northwest of the island. Whizz down their 12 zip-lines at around 30 miles per hour. Or, to slow things down a bit, try the air gondola which goes at a gentler pace and offers a great chance to spot some of the island wildlife.
Swap your two feet for two wheels with an E-bike. More sustainable travel is the way forward and yes, a manual bike is even better, but the electric versions are great to clock some longer distances without the fitness of a Tour de France pro. These machines are on the up and are all over Europe, so next time you spot them in a city abroad, hop on and see some sights from the saddle.
If we’re talking cycling holidays, Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula is a popular pick. Dubrovnik and Split are big for bikers and there are even organised tours that’ll take you and your wheels island-hopping, too.
Everyone knows not to drink and drive and the same goes for cycling, but there’s no harm to after a day’s ride. Italy’s Chianti wine region is a great place to pedal, through medieval villages and vineyards. Florence and Siena aren’t too far away for some road cycling, either. Further north in France, you can retire the yellow jersey at the end of the day and swap it for a glass of red in Bordeaux. Starting here, cycle east to the towns on Saint-Emillon, Sauternes and Cadillac – they all boast a good tipple.
Sound fun? Pick something new for your next adventure holiday and discover the top destinations to do it in. Check out our activity holidays.
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Author: Lily Owen
Last updated: 05/07/2023
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