From luxury fitness breaks to hard-core athletic challenges, add some adventure to your next holiday with The Lesiure Lounge’s list of the 14 most intriguing and invigorating resorts, retreats, camps, and excursions around the world.
Sprawling along the shores of Lake Austin, Texas, one of the world’s top wellness destinations offers a unique hydro-powered approach to fitness. Fuelled by delicious organic cuisine, immerse yourself in everything water has to offer in the form of low-impact, high-octane exercise. In the sparkling pool, an expert swim clinic helps you perfect your stroke, aqua stretch classes tone and relax your muscles, and churning hydro-biking sessions get your heart pounding. Meanwhile, a 25,000-square-foot spa beckons with more than 100 ways to pamper yourself afterwards. Out on the lake, try your feet at standing paddleboarding, paddleboard yoga, kayaking, and canoeing.
Spend a weekend surfing and glamping in style. Fill your days with the invigorating challenge of mastering Abersoch breakers under the tutelage of expert instructors, and while away your nights comfortably in an unusual eco-dome consisting of fancy tents with wood-burning stoves and plush beds.
Head off the beaten path to the surfers’ paradise of Dominical along the southern coast of Costa Rica. Your week of surfing education begins with baby steps in the pool, where you’ll learn to master the basics of balance and timing. The comprehensive course integrates Pilates for core strength, video review to perfect your pose, and several hours of surf coaching on the stunning beach. Recover by enjoying the fresh local fare provided by the chef in residence.
Embark on the sea voyage of a lifetime by kayaking between the islands scattered along the north-west coast of Ireland. Gape at some of the most jaw-dropping cliffs in Western Europe and camp at night immersed in the pristine wilderness of these remote locations – with climbing and coasteering to boot!
Turn the rainforest into your gym with this adventurous programme on the Caribbean island of Dominica. A few times a year, this luxury resort creates a unique boot camp that plunges into the jungle for an intense fitness challenge. Earn your hours lounging on the beach, and complement the fun with hiking, snorkelling, and ocean kayaking.
Embrace outdoor adventures amidst the otherworldly landscape of red rock canyons, caves carved into lava fields, ancient volcanic cones, and surreal rock formations. With one of the highest-rated fitness resorts in the US as your base camp, explore the geological wonders of Utah with canyoneering, horseback riding, kayaking, and climbing excursions.
Journey to paradise, literally, with this budget-friendly yoga holiday on the aptly named Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The low-key approach mixes yoga with massage and offers delicious meals inclusive of the nightly rate.
Get your ‘ommm’ on at this tranquil yoga retreat in south-west Turkey. Translated as “peaceful valley”, Huzur Vadisi challenges visitors with six hours of classes each day, bookended by nights spent admiring the stars through the skylights of your yurt.
If walking across a glacier surrounded by remote high-altitude mountain scenery isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights, this epic trek is punctuated by nights in mountain huts accessible via daunting ladders, days grappling with thin air, constant struggling to keep your footing on the snow despite your crampons and ice axe, and holding your breath as you hop over crevasses. But the adrenalin and exhilaration of feeling like you are walking in the sky itself, at the very top of the world, is worth it.
Hit the Sonoran desert for a versatile but luxurious fitness break endorsed by luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey. Traditional abode meets modern design in the sleek casitas dotted across the 400-acre property, which boasts an extensive trail system for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. More than 165 classes are on offer and include staples like tennis, spinning, yoga, Pilates, and golf, along with more creative feats of physicality in the form of elaborate outdoor circuit training involving a ropes course and zip-line.
Put on the cycling map by champion cyclists like Bradley Wiggins, Mallorca has become a hotbed of activity for riders of all ability levels. The sunny Balearic Island also offers brilliant weather, a vibrant nightlife, inventive cuisine, and pristine beaches to enjoy after your rides. Several companies run cycling breaks, including Cycle Holidays, Human Race, and Sport Active.
Offering perhaps the world’s best way to make an entrance, this desert oasis gives you the opportunity to paraglide in from the top of a craggy peak nearby. Balancing arid mountain and desert escapades with beach and water activities, this eco-resort offers an enticing list of adventures, including hikes exploring the starkly stunning landscape, scuba diving and snorkelling, sea kayaking, mountain biking, water skiing and wake boarding, rock climbing, volleyball, tennis, and Pétanque, naturally. Recuperate by watching movies under a perfectly clear night sky in the lounge-like outdoor cinema.
If you’re not afraid to get a little, scratch that, a lot muddy in the rugged Welsh mountains, go for the rough-and-ready mountain biking fun offered by this friendly, award-winning tour company. All-inclusive packages take care of accommodation, hearty meals, and bike schlepping between sites.
Hailed as the first hotel in Maui, this retro gem delivers eclectic workouts in the form of hula lessons, yoga, circuit training al fresco, beach runs, paddleboarding, and a mysterious offering called the “Bosu Workout”. After your exertions, soak in the warmth of the lemony Hawaiian sunshine while you relax for a bit in the lava-rock whirlpool, then rinse off in your private outdoor shower.