Inntravel has a new three-centre, self-guided walking holiday to Senja, an island sometimes called Norway in miniature, north of the Lofotens. The trip starts with two nights on the smaller island of Sommarøy in the “Arctic Caribbean”, so-called because of its white beaches and azure sea. The next stop is the fishing village of Mefjordvær, for coastal walks and an ascent of Segla, the island’s sail-shaped peak. The final three nights are based in a waterside wooden cabin at Hamn i Senja, on a spit of land further west, a great spot for viewing the northern lights or midnight sun.
• From £1,345pp for seven nights’ half-board, including car hire, route notes and maps, flights to Tromsø extra, inntravel.co.uk
Family adventure, Montenegro
The whole family can get fit together on an active tour of Montenegro, which includes hiking, cycling, swimming, rafting and kayaking. Accommodation is mainly in simple mountain huts (with private rooms) amid spectacular scenery, including three national parks, mountains, canyons, lakes and beaches.
• Eight days from £1,299 adult, £1,099 child, including all meals and activities, flights extra, familiesworldwide.co.uk
Swimming, Formentera, Spain
Three-times Olympic swimmer James Goddard is the head coach on SwimQuest’s technique trip to Formentera, the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands. The holiday is designed for swimmers of all abilities who want to improve their stroke and become more efficient in open water. Each day includes a morning skills session and an afternoon sea swim, plus talks and video analysis. Accommodation is at the four-star, beachfront Hotel Roca Bella in Es Pujols (pictured).
• From £1,290 half-board, flights to Ibiza and transfers to Formentera harbour extra, 18-24 May and 19-25 October, swimquest.uk.com
Cycling, The Balkans
Intrepid has a new cycling trip from Dubrovnik in Croatia to Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina via Montenegro, suitable for any cyclist with a reasonable level of fitness. The longest ride is about 40 miles, and highlights include cycling a section of the Ciro Trail, a scenic path that follows an old Austro-Hungarian railway track; a stiff climb to the spectacular Ostrong Monastery, carved into a cliff in Montenegro; and a downhill ride to Mostar, with its 16th-century bridge. Accommodation is in basic but comfortable hotels.
• Eight days from £988 B&B, including bike hire and support vehicle, flights extra, various dates from May to September, intrepidtravel.com
Much Better Adventures offers a host of active trips in Europe and further afield, including hiking, rafting, kayaking, climbing and paddleboarding. One recent addition is snowshoeing in the Apuseni Mountains – part of the Carpathians – in Romania. The trips includes two full days of snowshoeing (up to seven hours a day), a shorter hike and some cave exploration. The guesthouse is in a hamlet reached by horse-drawn sledge; there is also a visit to a local family to learn about life in the mountains.
• From £369 for three nights full-board, flights extra, next departures 7 and 21 February, muchbetteradventures.com
Women’s training and weight loss, Portugal
This fitness holiday in Albufeira on the Algarve squeezes in six hours of training a day, but still leaves afternoons free to relax around the pool, have a massage or explore Albufeira old town. A typical day starts at 7am with a walk or run, before a wellness workshop at 9am, fitness sessions such as beach circuits, core and weights from 10am-1pm (there are 20 different classes over the week), and yoga or pilates at 5pm. The villa is 15 minutes’ walk from two beaches and 30 minutes from town; breakfast, lunch and dinner (including one in town) plus healthy snacks are provided.
• Eight days from £799, flights extra, next departures 18 May and 5 October, golearnto.com
Skiing and more, France
London company Our Retreat runs yoga and fitness breaks in Somerset, Ibiza and Sardinia. This year, it is launching a six-night winter retreat in a luxury chalet in Chamonix. Each day includes a 60-minute morning meditation and yoga class, an après-ski stretch, strength and conditioning class, and a pre-bed yin yoga session or sound bath. There are optional hikes, plus a trip to the Aiguille du Midi mountain and an afternoon at a thermal spa. The retreat is fully catered, including hot breakfasts, healthy packed lunches, afternoon tea and three-course dinners with wine. The chalet has a log fire and a hot tub.
• From £1,150, flights extra, 10 Feb and 3 & 10 March, ourretreat.co.uk
Triathlon for beginners, Spain
Triathlons can be daunting, but this eight-day small group break in north-east Spain will help first-timers prepare. There is a maximum of four athletes per coach, and the price includes one-to-one training in all three disciplines, as well as video analysis, cycling skills and bike maintenance sessions, and massages. The hotel is a converted Catalan country house with a 25-metre pool, gym, sauna and hot tub, about half an hour from the lovely city of Girona.
• From €999 for eight days’ full-board, flights extra, next departure 23 February, responsibletravel.com
Surfing and yoga, Portugal
Soul & Surf, which runs surfing and yoga breaks in Sri Lanka and Kerala, southern India, is opening its first permanent European base – a farmhouse in the hills near Lagos in the Algarve – in April. The house is a short drive from the beach, and a typical week’s stay includes five three-hour surf lessons, one video feedback session and one surf theory lesson, five vinyasa flow yoga classes and two yin yoga classes, plus breathing and meditation sessions. There are three-night weekend and four-night midweek options, too.
• From €790 for a week, €410 for short breaks, including activities and meals, flights extra, soulandsurf.com
The Rafa Nadal Academy opened in Mallorca in 2016, offering full-time courses for promising youngsters and fitness breaks for adults. Now the first Nadal Tennis Centre is opening at the Sani Resort in Halkidiki, Greece. The resort’s existing sports facilities include Chelsea FC football coaching (children only), a waterski and sailing academy and a diving centre. The resort also runs mountain bike tours and fat bike beach tours, free SUP lessons, guided jogs and forest walks, and daily fitness classes. There are five hotels on the site, and dozens of bars and restaurants.
• Doubles from £90 half-board, tennis coaching from £218 for five days, sani-resort.com
Undiscovered Mountains specialises in active holidays in the southern French Alps, such as canyoning in the summer and husky sledding in the winter. One of the more challenging trips is an intensive weekend of ice-climbing. Over three days, complete beginners can learn to scale a frozen waterfall, while more advanced climbers can tackle technical ice cliffs. If that sounds too tough, the winter multi-activity holiday offers a taster of ice-climbing, plus other activities including skiing, sledding and sleeping in an igloo.
• From £627 for seven nights multi-activity or from £829 for 4 nights ice-climbing, half board, undiscoveredmountains.com
Spend four nights in the Croatian countryside trying a different activity each day, from cycling to river rafting. Based at the Heart of Nature hotel in the tiny village of Ribnik, near the Slovenian border, there’s a swimming pool, river beach, good fishing and hiking, too. Entry to a local adventure park with ziplinging, rope climbing and BMX biking is included.
• From €338pp, including activities, bike rental with GPS, two nights half-board and two nights B&B, but excluding flights and transfers, (Ribnik is one hour from Zagreb airport), available from April to October, activitybreaks.com
Horse riding, Spain
Follow old bridle paths through chestnut and pine forests high in Andalucía’s Sierra Nevada mountains, with views of the Mediterranean on one side and soaring peaks on the other, on a horse-riding holiday with In the Saddle. One of many options in Spain, the Sulayr short break includes three nights in the pretty village of Bubión and one in Trevélez, the highest village in the country. There are up to six hours of riding a day, with picnics in pastures and evening meals in local restaurants or hotels.
• From £597 for a four-night break, with most meals, excluding flights (to Malaga, the nearest airport), dates are flexible, longer itineraries also available, inthesaddle.com
Activity break, Gozo, Malta
On this new action-packed short break guests choose three half-day activities from: climbing and abseiling, sea kayaking, cycling, hiking, a Segway tour (£25 supplement) or diving (£56 supplement, full day). There is plenty of spare time to explore Gozo’s Ġgantija temples, its capital Victoria, and watch the sunset from dramatic Dwejra Bay. Guests can upgrade to the Ta’ Cenc Spa on the south coast, which has more fitness and wellness facilities, and views to Malta and Comino.
• Four nights from £775 B&B (and one dinner) including flights, various spring and autumn dates, artisantravel.co.uk
KiteWorldWide runs kitesurfing holidays in Spain, Italy and Greece, as well as long-haul destinations. Its base in Italy is Lo Stagnone nature reserve near Marsala in Sicily, a huge, flat, shallow lagoon that is the perfect place to learn. The beginner package includes 12 hours of lessons, equipment hire and accommodation in the Santa Maria Hotel, which has a pool. There is a cheaper basic package for those who don’t need instruction, and improver lessons for intermediate and advanced kitesurfers. All packages include a kitepass for access to the launch and landing areas, showers, storage and a weekly barbecue.
• From £598 B&B (and one dinner) for basic package or £979 for beginners, including flights, March-October, kiteworldwide.com
Beginners’ sea kayaking, the Highlands
The first couple of days on this short break are spent on a sheltered sea loch, practising kayak strokes, before the group ventures out along the coastline. For the last couple of days, kayakers paddle out to seal colonies on Shieldaig and Kishorn lochs. The base is a bunkhouse in Torridon, and includes all meals – dinner on the last night is at the local pub. Wilderness Scotland also runs trips for more experienced kayakers, such as a new wild camping expedition to the Outer Hebrides.
• From £865 for five days, next departures 4 May (women only) and 22 June (mixed), wildernessscotland.com
Paddleboarding, County Derry
Gutsy Girls is a new company running day events, weekend retreats and holidays for women who want to try out sports in a fun, non-competitive way. ne of its specialities is SUP, or paddleboarding. Beginners can take a lesson on a London canal; more experienced paddleboarders can island-hop in Croatia or explore the Norwegian fjords. Bridging the gap is a weekend in Northern Ireland for all levels, including first-timers. The trips includes SUP tours of the rivers Roe and Bann, and an SUP surf lesson at Benone Strand, a seven-mile beach. Guests stay in two cosy cottages near Bellarena village.
• From £409 for three days full-board, next departures 5 April and 16 June, gutsygirls.co.uk
Preseli Venture runs outdoor fitness weekends and short breaks on the Pembrokeshire coast, with activities that make the most of the location: sea swimming, coasteering, kayaking, surfing, trail running … Guests stay in an eco-lodge in Abermawr valley in the Pembrokeshire Coast national park, eat healthy, home-cooked food, and relax around the woodburner in the bar in the evenings.
• Weekend £275, next trip 31 May; four nights midweek £595, next trip 16 November; both include meals, coaching and local transport, preseliventure.co.uk
Trail running, Yorkshire Dales
Jelley Legs offers bespoke guided trail runs for individuals, couples or friends (maximum three people, dogs welcome). This year, owner Dave Jelley is focusing on building the confidence of those new to off-road running. Packages include one or two personalised trail runs with advice on technique, training, kit, navigation and pacing. B&B accommodation is in Studley Roger, a small village between Ripon and Fountains Abbey – home to one of England’s most scenic park runs, where runners can camp or stay in a garden room, shepherd’s hut or treehouse.
• £199/£249 for one/two guided trail runs and two nights’ B&B, discounts for more than one person, jelleylegs.co.uk
Beyonk is a new adventure travel website connecting customers with guides across the UK and further afield. It offers day trips and short breaks in five categories: biking, hiking, climbing, paddling and multi-activity. For example, on a canoeing and wild camping trip along the River Medway in Kent, participants paddle 15km a day, cook over an open fire and sleep in a tipi. Other breaks include navigation skills and wild camping in the Peak District (2 June, £140).
• £150 for two-day River Medway trip with food and equipment, next departure 18 May, beyonk.com
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