First, a confession – I’m all for getting fit and healthy but gyms are a no-no; there needs to be a strong motivation involved, like aimlessly chasing a ball or learning a new skill. Below are four fab European adventures that almost accidentally achieve the desired effect and are a whole heap more interesting than half an hour on a treadmill.
IF YOU’RE A CLIMBER
The Via Ferrata – Italian for ‘iron road’ – is a protected climbing route in the Dolomites and in the Alps. A modern steel cable runs along the route and is periodically (every 3-10m) fixed to the rock to allow even the inexperienced climber tackle it’s trail. Vertigo sufferers should probably swerve this one, but the expert guides can tailor a route to your requirements, and no previous mountaineering experience is required. Icing on the cake is staying in charming rifugios or mountain huts each night where you can enjoy delicious Tyrolean grub.
Via Ferrata, the Dolomites, Italy
RAMBLER’S WILL LOVE
The island of Corsica is the perfect blend of France and Italy, including the food, but we’re not here to enjoy the cuisine, rather to walk all or part of the fabled GR20, the most famous of France’s beautifully maintained Grandes Randonnées or long distance walking trails. Corsica is a seriously mountainous island so choose your stretch of trail wisely, but there’s a reason this is considered by many the finest walking destination in Europe. Then rest those weary feet in a well-earned break at one of the fab coastal hotels.
Walking in Corsica, France
SURF DUDES LOOK NO FURTHER
Think Algarve and you may imagine golf resorts galore, but there is another angle to this gloriously sunny part of southern Portugal – the perfect surf breaks of the Costa Vincentina. With ideal beach breaks, the surfing is perfect for beginners and pros alike, and this is – in our humble opinion, the absolutely best place to learn in Europe. (sorry for that, Polzeath). All this is a just a bit more than an hour from Faro Airport and there’s a great selection of hotels of all shapes, sizes and prices to choose from as well, and great surf instructors. Oh, and more hours of sunshine than pretty much anywhere in Europe.
Surf in Portugal
WATER BABES DIVE IN HERE
Diving might seem a somewhat sedate activity but apparently it’s a perfectly balanced fitness regime of cardio work out and strength conditioning that burns as many calories as jogging. Who knew? The best diving in close proximity to the UK is off the lovely island of Gozo, Malta’s secret little sister and a great place to stay whether diving or land-lubbing. There might not be Great Barrier Reef volumes of fish but the visibility is outstanding, there are amazing underwater structures to explore and the dive instructors are top notch. To top off the fitness routine we also recommend a sweaty boogie at cave club La Grotta in Xlendi.
Diving in Gozo
To book, visit m Original Travel’s website www.originaltravel.co.uk or ring 020 3582 4990. Tom Barber is one of the Founders of multi-award winning tour operator Original Travel. Prior to starting Original Travel he was a journalist for publications ranging from GQ to the Evening Standard. He is now also the Travel Editor for Esquire Magazine.
Image: Roxy Surf Wear – New Collection available at http://www.roxy-uk.co.uk