Discovering a city, region, or country while indulging in your favorite sport is for you the very essence of a successful stay? Here is a selection of destinations for a sporting holiday. So alone, with friends or family, in France or beyond, plan your next sporting trip now!
Sports holidays for hiking enthusiasts
In France: the tour of Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie
Departing from Chamonix, this hike will take you to discover the Swiss, Italian, and French slopes of the famous massif. So many opportunities to explore the villages and living traditions of the mountain while admiring the majestic surrounding glaciers. About 170 km long, the Tour du Mont Blanc can be done both independently and accompanied by a specialized guide. Most of the huts are open from mid-June to September, but it is better to reserve your bed during the high season or bring your camping equipment.
Several options are available, some more sporty than others, such as the one following the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc route, reserved for seasoned walkers. You will complete this route in 4 days, or 7 days if you take your time and go through different passes and lakes, all offering breathtaking views and amazing flora and fauna.
In Europe: Laugavegurinn in Iceland
The Laugavegurinn, or “hot springs route” in Icelandic, links the Landmannalaugar with Þórsmörk, in the south of Iceland. This 70 km trek is relatively easy and offers superb views of some of the most beautiful sites in the country. Spectacular canyons, highlands, multicolored mountains: the scenery changes every day! Huts and camping areas are available all along this route that can be completed in four days.
The difficulty of this hike lies less in its typology than in the weather conditions that you will encounter. It is not uncommon to experience a few strong winds or fog, even during the warmest period which is usually mid-June to mid-September. Put on your shoes so that you can cross any fords and always equip yourself with an electronic positioning system in order to leave in complete safety.
Elsewhere: Inca Trail Trek in Peru
Contrary to what we often imagine, there is not one but several hiking routes that lead to the famous site of Machu Picchu, all grouped under the name “Inca Trail”. The Camino Inka is surely the most famous, but also the most popular, so if you are interested in a sporting holiday in the footsteps of the Incas, it is better to plan ahead and check availability well before arriving there. This 4-day, 3-night trek must be accompanied by a guide, in order to ensure the preservation of the site, and camping equipment is generally provided, with the exception of the sleeping bag. If you are an occasional walker, be sure to train well before setting out and choose your equipment (especially shoes) carefully. Other less frequented routes provide access to the site, such as the Salkantay trek or the Lares trek, find out more!
Sports stay for diving enthusiasts
In France: The Golden Islands, Var
Located off Hyères, the Golden Islands, with Port-Cros and Porquerolles, are surely one of the most beautiful diving spots in the country and perhaps even in Europe. To access the sites, go to one of the centers on the coast (Hyères, Bormes Les Mimosas, or Lavandou). You will thus discover a formidable underwater park, breathtaking cliffs, shipwrecks, and unsuspected biodiversity. During your underwater session, do not miss a passage off Port-Cros, to the La Gabinière dive site, one of the best-preserved in the region. The area is generally absolutely superb, whether on land or underwater and offers a total change of scenery for anyone who comes to spend a sporting holiday with family or alone.
In Europe: Gozo, Maltese Archipelago
Full of charm and serenity, Gozo, Malta’s little sister, is one of the best options for anyone who enjoys diving in Europe. The clarity and the ideal temperature of the water make it possible to explore the seabed all year round and you will find many centers on site ready to take you to explore the fifty sites available. An unforgettable experience, that of exploring a ship, several of which were sunk in the south of the island. Some sites, such as Blue Hole, Reqqa Point, or Inland Sea, are accessible from the shore, so you just need to equip yourself and move into the Mediterranean, to discover the treasures it conceals.
Elsewhere: the Similan Islands in Thailand
With its crystal clear waters, this spot is known to divers for being one of the most beautiful in the world. Located 50 km west of Khao Lak, the nine islands form an archipelago and a marine reserve famous for its heavenly beaches and unsuspectedly beautiful dive sites. The fauna is incredibly dense, you can also see blacktip reef sharks, dogtooth tuna, triggerfish, unicornfish, and barracudas. The sites are accessed only by diving cruise ships, most of which depart from Khao Lak port, north of Phuket.
It is sometimes possible to camp on the islands, in which case it is first necessary to request authorization from the headquarters of the national park which is located in Tap Lamu. Finally, plan your sports vacation properly: although accessible from October to May, the best time to travel to the Similan Islands is in March, when visibility is at its highest.
Active holidays for surf lovers
In France: Hossegor, Landes
In the Landes, Hossegor, the European capital of surfing, gives pride of place to board sports enthusiasts between April and October. Few of the regions can claim so many favorable conditions for surfing in Europe and its gigantic waves, sometimes reaching five meters high, are acclaimed by sportsmen around the world. La Gravière, which hosts the Quiksilver pro France every year in September, is certainly the most famous site, but also the most dangerous, to be reserved for the most experienced. For beginners or families, Lacanau offers a good alternative and has many surf schools and excellent conditions to start.
In Europe: Hoddevik in Norway
We could have cited the Portuguese spots or those located on the Canary Islands, and we don’t really imagine Norway as a prime destination for surfing. And yet, the Hoddevik site is a true Scandinavian surfing paradise in a breathtaking setting. If cold water does not scare you, then join this unusual spot located on the west coast of Norway, in the heart of the high mountains.
Lapoint Surf Camps offers packages including accommodation, equipment, and lessons for beginners or intermediates.
Besides surfing, the area is also ideal for hiking and you will, of course, find the famous houses painted in red, so typical of Norway!
Elsewhere: Canggu, Bali in Indonesia
In Indonesia, the island of Bali is renowned the world over for surfing, and the sites of Kuta or Seminyak are unfortunately very often crowded. With their powerful rollers, the beaches of Canggu are rather reserved for experienced surfers but they still offer a great alternative where to spend a holiday that is both sporty and peaceful. Batu Bolong Beach has waves that can sometimes reach 3 meters high, but this is rare. It is therefore the perfect place to start and then bask in the sun before settling down at Old Man’s, a bar located on the beach, perfect to start the evening!
In the surrounding area, there are many possibilities for excursions, whether on the Bukit peninsula, where the Uluwatu temple is located as well as superb beaches, or towards Jatiluwih and its rice fields classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Top destinations for cycling enthusiasts
In France: the Canal des Deux Mers in the South West
Greenways are not what is lacking in France and the Deux-Mers canal, made up of the Garonne canal and the Midi canal offers nearly 800 km of fitted out trails, ideal for sporting family holidays. Linking Bordeaux to Toulouse, the Garonne canal crosses exceptional sites and renowned vineyards before handing over to the Canal du Midi which connects the Mediterranean.
Crossing the majestic medieval cities of Bordeaux, the beautiful city of Moissac, the city of Carcassonne as well as a whole host of small villages with typical charm, this greenway is one of the longest in France. It requires a good ten days to be covered and can quite be cut into several sections.
In Europe: the Dolomites in Italy
Italy is a prime destination for cycling and the Dolomites region has a number of routes of varying difficulty. Mostly accessible to everyone, the cycle paths are clear and well laid out, they cross pretty little villages, run alongside majestic lakes and superb passes.
The Tour of the Dolomites passes through some of the stages of the Giro before continuing on the roads of South Tyrol. Some sections are more difficult, especially in Bormio where the drop is likely to mark your calves. But the efforts are rewarded at the top with a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Ortler mountain and the Zillertal Alps, without forgetting of course a passage through the charming village of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Elsewhere: Kerala in India
Discover the wonders of Kerala, in the south of India, during an epic sporting stay full of surprises! India is not really a relaxing destination, and exploring it by bike allows you to discover a whole other side of it, through local traditions and a welcoming population. Compose your own itinerary or call an agency and explore the landscapes and extraordinary sites of this sunny region from October to April. From Kochi, take the coastal road to Marari then Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Thattekkad. Along the way, you will pass through fishing villages, rice fields, and coconut plantations as well as temples, spice gardens, and other very pleasant beaches. Change of scenery guaranteed!
Written by Julien Chbib.