Photo: Run The World Adventures

8 Awesome Sport Vacation Ideas for Athletes

Wellness Outdoor Lifestyle Cycling
by Claire Litton Cohn Jun 20, 2018

If you’re on the very active end of the physical fitness spectrum, the idea of going on vacation and disrupting your daily routine and training schedule might make you anxious. Rest days are important but taking a full two weeks out can set you back physically and the crash of endorphins can make your mind sluggish. For those who prioritize sport, there is a rise of new vacation options which blend adventure, travel, and keeping fit. Here’s a list of experiences that only athletes will want to sign up for. Keep yourself in shape your favorite way or try something new, all in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

1. Cycling or triathlons, Nevis, West Indies

The small Caribbean island of Nevis doesn’t sound like the first destination you’d have in mind to bring your bicycle, but it is notable for several reasons, namely, the awesome scenery, and the challenging hill climbs.

sport vacation

Photo: ATGImages/Shutterstock

You can do a 20-mile circuit of the whole island, using the main road which circles Nevis peak. On this route the views of the other Caribbean islands, beautiful ocean, and little villages are unparalleled. If you want a more intense hill climb, try the Anaconda or Killer Bee. If you don’t have your own bike or you’re used to biking flatter terrain, you can rent the proper equipment at Wheel World. You can also find out information on the site about the Nevis Triathlon, if you are looking for a challenge.

2. Climb a tree, Pemberton, Western Australia

Pemberton is a quiet tourist destination in Western Australia. Five national parks, dotted with forests of ancient karri trees, are connected to the winding thousand-kilometer trail, the Bibbulmun Track.

These trees, unique to south western Australia, are eucalyptus and one of the tallest trees in the world…which is why you can stretch your muscles and your fear receptors, and climb more than 200 feet (60 meters) for a treetop view.

sport vacation

Photo: Adwo/Shutterstock

The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is 232 feet (71 meters) tall, and the only way up is using a series of hammered metal pegs added in 1988. If you’ve mastered one, feel free to try the others: the Gloucester Tree and the Diamond Tree. Once you’ve conquered climbing, go for a hike along the Bibbulmun, explore Beedelup Falls, or go on a five-day canoe tour of the local waterways.

3. Running, Dolomite Mountains, Italy

If you love challenging runs and hikes, you can’t find better than the Dolomites. The region won Best Trail Running in 2014 from Outside magazine.

sport vacation

Photo: Holimites

The number one destination trail for runners is the Alta Via, a 120 km (75 mile) route that slow hikers can do in 10-12 days, but a motivated runner can do in 1-4 days. You can do the trip solo and self-plan, but first-timers probably want to consider a package tour.

sport vacation

Photo: Holimites

Holimites and Run The World both offer interesting routes, as well as a transfer of your personal belongings along the route, so you can run with just a hydration pack and a couple of snacks.

4. Swimming, Crete, Greece

If the idea of swimming 5 km (3 miles) a day in open ocean water sounds like heaven to you, check out the chilly but welcoming waters of the Mediterranean with a swimming tour.

SwimTrek offers week-long swimming tours around the island that was once the heart of the Minoan Empire. These tours are based in remote coastal village Porto Loutro — only accessible by hiking, boat, or swimming — and allow you to experience the stunning cliff views and calm waters of the Greek islands while pushing your limits in the open ocean.

5. Marathon, Great Wall of China

Now in its 20th year, the Great Wall of China Marathon is considered one of the world’s most difficult marathons. The route includes 5,164 steps of steep climbs along the most recognizable symbol of China. With much of the Great Wall still in its original state, runners should expect loose stones, missing steps, or no steps at all in some parts of the course.

Participants can choose from full, half, or “fun run” options, which also wind their way off the Wall into mountain trails in the surrounding countryside. Snack and water stations are available, but, as with most marathons, this is not for the faint of heart. Because the marathon traditionally happens in May, temperatures can vary wildly, sometimes getting as high as 104°FF (40°C). Many tour operators provide trips to the marathon, so look around for one that offers what you need; most will help you find lodging, offer training tips, and possibly take you on other running tours of the region.

Albatros, the company that organizes the race, offers marathons in other unique locations as well. You might also be interested in the Petra Desert, Polar Circle, or Bagan Temple marathons.

6. Trekking, Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), Colombia

This trek through Colombian jungle winds up climbing almost 4000 feet to the ruins of Teyuna.

sport vacation

Photo: Chrisontour84/Shutterstock

Often referred to as the most challenging hike in the world, this trek you should not be in your plans unless you’re comfortable with hiking 14 km (8.5 miles) a day up and down hills in 110% humidity, surrounded by mosquitos that can practically lift you into the air.

sport vacation

Photo: Expotur

A decent level of physical fitness is mandatory, as is the ability to withstand rough conditions. If you change your mind and decide to bow out, the only way back is by hiking or on horseback. With all this in mind, the trek is rewarding, as it travels through almost pristine jungle and mountains. You can’t do this hike independently; you must go as part of a tour.

sport vacation

Photo: Expotur

Afterwards, you can continue on to hike other nearby interest spots, like Tayrona National Park, or rest awhile in the dropoff city of Santa Marta.

7. Coasteering, United Kingdom

If you’re a fan of water-related adventure, you might enjoy coasteering: the art of scrambling around rocky coastlines without any boat or flotation assistance. Halfway between rock climbing and ocean swimming, you can go coasteering anywhere, but the cliff-heavy coastlines of western UK are some of the most popular destinations in the world.

sport vacation

Photo: Helen Hotson/Shutterstock

You can go for a quick scramble on your own or you can go with an organized trip or group.

Coasteering Wales has some fun year-round trips, and encourages cliff jumping and exploration, as well as providing you with wetsuits, since the North Atlantic sea gets cold.

8. CrossFit, Caribbean

A customizable vacation to the Caribbean, The Tour Fitness and Travel, allows clients to choose between a 5 to 7-day itinerary that includes beach workout sessions with CrossFit Games athletes, water activities at Aquaworld Cancun, nights out at Coco Bongo, and a day trip to the gorgeous island of Isla Mujeres.

Kicking off on August 26, 2018, the event will feature athletes including James Hobart and Bethany Shadburne. There will also be an evening session where the athletes will share their experiences and knowledge on everything CrossFit. Prices are quoted per couple and start from $2399 to $3599 depending on the length of the program and choice of all-inclusive accommodation.

Discover Matador