Fitness vacations travel guide

2 minute summary

Our fitness vacations are not about pushing yourself to your limits; they’re about having a happy, healthy vacation that leaves you feeling revitalised in body and mind. While you will be encouraged to try new activities and go a little step further each day, nudging into the boundaries of your comfort zone, your instructors are there to support you, not to drill, and nothing is obligatory.
Taking place in some of Europe’s most beautiful natural settings, you’ll likely push yourself more than you think – with each step, pedal or paddle taking you to yet another stunning viewpoint or valley; and there’s nothing like a yoga session on a Mediterranean beach to really make you put your all into that sun salutation. As our fitness vacations travel guide explains, these are retreats where you can work on existing skills – such as swimming or cycling – or perhaps try something completely new, such as trail running or meditation. You’ll eat well, sleep well, and even make new friends into the bargain.

Fitness vacations abroad

what does this trip entail?

While fitness vacations vary hugely in terms of activities, location and exertion, they still tend to have some important things in common. Most are small group vacations, with “small” being the key word – the largest groups have a maximum of 16 people (although these may be split into smaller groups for training sessions), while the smallest have just four. The nature of these vacations means that they attract many solo travelers; as a result, there is often no single supplement for your own room. Some vacations also offer options for partners who prefer a more sedate break – such as the trail running vacation, which also offers daily guided hikes instead of runs with both runners and hikers meeting up for lunch where possible.

What will I be eating and drinking?

Many vacations include all meals – in part to keep with the “retreat”-type feel of many of these breaks, but also to ensure a diet which is both healthy but filling and nutritious – and geared towards the high amount of exercise you are doing each day. Meals are often vegetarian (with various dietary requirements able to be catered for), and while retreats some serve up wine with dinner, others do not provide caffeine or alcohol; if you’re a coffee fiend, consider cutting down a few days before departure to avoid going cold turkey once you arrive!

What about the fitness part?

Some fitness vacations are very focused on one particular activity – this may be outdoor swimming, cycling or trail running, for example. These will have much more fixed itineraries, with a different run or swim planned each day. Likewise with yoga and Pilates retreats, where your days will revolve around set sessions – although you are always free to skip them if you are tired or would like to explore your surroundings, and there is also plenty of free time between classes to enjoy walks, the swimming pool, spa treatments or horseback rides, for example.
Multi activity fitness vacations tend to be more flexible. Personal trainers can meet with you on arrival to discuss what you want to get out of the break, and compile your own training plan, with everything from yoga to beach circuit training, meditation to hardcore HIIT sessions. Again, free time can be factored in for sunbathing, reading by the pool or sweating it out in a sauna.

And… do I need to be fit?

No! Many of our fitness vacations are suitable for people of all fitness levels and skills – others are specifically tailored for absolute beginners. These are fitness vacations, remember, not boot camps or athletes’’ retreats, so by their very nature they will appeal to people with a somewhat more laid back approach to fitness. Nothing is compulsory, although of course, it’s always worth trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone just a little, to really make the most of your break and the expert coaching you are receiving. And multi activity fitness vacations are the perfect space to try out something you’ve never done before – from HIIT (high intensity interval training) and surfing to meditation and dance fitness workshops. If you don’t enjoy it, there’s no need to try again. And if you do – then you’ve found a healthy and fun new hobby!

Best time to go on a fitness vacation

When are these trips available?

As most of our fitness vacations are small group trips, they will takes place on fixed dates and with fixed durations. Taking place largely across the Mediterranean region, the aim is to avoid the extreme summer heat, with June and – particularly – September the best time to go on a fitness vacation. This also has the benefit of dodging the summer beach crowds, and you can snag cheaper flights, too. Some vacations along warmer Spanish coastal regions continue through ‘til October or early November, taking advantage of late autumn sunshine, at a time when those living at more northerly latitudes are less focused on fitness and entering hibernation mode. The exception is Slovakia – where swimming vacations make the most of midsummer sun to make you appreciate those glacial lakes even more.
Photo credits: [Top box: Marion Michele] [Fitness vacation abroad: Phil Coffman] [What about the fitness entile: meridican] [Help desk: Jesper Stechmann] [Best time to go on a fitness vacation: Bernd Thaller]
Written by Vicki Brown
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