Sporty Activities to Try on Your Summer Travels

June 3, 2016 by

Things to Do, Travel Advice & Inspiration

Whether traveling with family or friends, trying out new sports on vacation keeps holiday makers fit and comes with a great sense of achievement. Here are some activities to try out on vacation, with suggestions as to the best destinations and more relaxed backup plan options.


Amsterdam is a great city for biking.

Amsterdam is a great city for biking.

Why: Cycling boosts health levels and helps save the planet. It’s an excellent way to lose weight and get back to nature on vacation as well as saving on transport costs.

Where: Amsterdam and Copenhagen are two of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world, with dedicated cycle lanes and free bikes to borrow in the streets.

Where else? Get off the beaten track with an eco-cycle around Zambia’s Victoria Falls at sunrise.

Need to get fit? Follow in the bike tracks of the Tour de France — the world’s most famous cycle race — and explore the back roads of Champagne or the Rhone Alps on two wheels.


Why: Golfing gets people out and exercising, burning off as many calories as a 30-minute walkout. It’s a fantastic stress buster and also encourages people to socialize.

Where: A number of the most challenging golf courses in the world are found on the Algarve, Portugal.

Where else? Head for the sport’s historic home, St Andrews Golf Course, in Scotland for a bonanza on the prestigious Old Course.

Weather not good? Tee off in the dark at Prague’s new black light mini-golf adventure course; it’s great family fun and the perfect antidote to rainy days.


Go fishing near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Go fishing near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Why: Fishing is a great tension reliever and yet challenging enough to engage the brain while enjoying hours outside taking in good, clean air.

Where: Deep-sea fishing off the coast of the Florida Keys is second to none.

Where else? Fish the trout streams around Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Think fishing is boring? Go whale spotting off the coast of Madeira — while sightings can never be guaranteed, they are most frequent between May and October.


Why: Playing football encourages people to become team players, adds fitness and teaches self-discipline. It can be — and is — played anywhere by anyone.

Where: Join in with the locals for a friendly soccer game in Buenos Aires.

Where else? Play bubble soccer in Dubai, UAE, or challenge the residents to a game while enjoying a homestay on Lake Titicaca, Peru.

Want to see your heroes? Book well in advance to tour the stadium and grab coveted tickets for a Premier League Chelsea home game at Stamford Bridge, London.

Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding in Red Rock Canyon

Horseback riding in Red Rock Canyon

Why: Riding horses gives one of the best workouts, helping balance and promoting strength while you make new equine friends.

Where: Anywhere in the great outdoors, but for a spectacular treat in a dramatic landscape, ride through Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas at sunrise.

Where else? See Sinai on horseback or rewrite the rules by trying camel riding on the beach at Essaouira, Morocco.

Horses give you hay fever? Dress up smart for a day of horse racing at Royal Ascot near London; chances are you’ll see the queen.

Martial Arts

Why: Practicing martial arts promotes mental and physical well-being while teaching humility and self-awareness.

Where: Go the whole nine yards and dedicate a month of your life to learning the martial art of Kung Fu at a Shaolin temple near Beijing.

Where else? Martial arts don’t just come from Asia: The art of Capoeira originates from Brazil, and the wrestling game of Mepantigan, played to the accompaniment of gamelan music, is Balinese.

Martial arts not for you? Chill at an early morning tai chi session in Hanoi, Vietnam, and join locals performing their daily exercise ritual.


Try sailing in the Caribbean.

Try sailing in the Caribbean.

Why: Sailing requires dexterity, brainpower, organization and strength as well as team playing and initiative. It’s a demanding sport families can enjoy together.

Where: What could be better than learning to sail in the warm, sheltered and azure waters of Antigua in the Caribbean?

Where else? Get to grips with the rigging in bustling Sydney Harbour or crew an America’s Cup boat on Lake Michigan, Chicago.

Sailing not your bag? Enjoy being out on the water but let someone else do the work: Take a sunset cruise along Egypt’s Nile River to see Cairo light up after dark.

Whitewater Rafting

Why: Rafting is perfect for adventurous souls and adrenaline junkies who enjoy the thrill of speed, crashing through waves and the ever-present element of danger.

Where: The best spots in the US are the canyons, with extreme rapids on the Arkansas River in Colorado and the Gallatin River in Montana.

Where else? Combine the best of nature with white-water rafting on the Song Phraek River and elephant trekking in the Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand.

Kids too young? Take a gentle float down the lower Tongariro River in Turangi, New Zealand; it’s fun for all the family with some gentle rapids to negotiate, and nobody gets too wet.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Why: Scuba diving instills a sense of peace like no other sport and allows glimpses of a little-known universe of marine life, coral and historic shipwrecks below the waves.

Where: The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, is one of the best-known dive sites in the world. It’s the ideal place to work through the PADI course and qualify as a scuba diver.

Where else? Try the island reefs of the Maldives or the Caribbean; beginners can take scuba lessons on Grand Cayman.

Don’t scuba dive? Discover the secrets of the deep at the world’s largest aquarium in the Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates.

Sasha Heseltine


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