I’ve noticed a big swing in the past few years from the “fly and flop” vacation mentality, to the “active and sporty” approach to vacation. I even see this, more frequently than not, in honeymoon travel – the very trip where you’re expected to stay in bed (wink, wink).
I think overall discerning travelers are more aware that there are amazing experiences waiting for them at their destination. They work hard and they want to play hard but that doesn’t always mean gaining a million pounds and sitting around drinking frozen drinks. Our clients tend to want to experience things and pack as much action into their time away as possible!
With that in mind, here is my short list of travel styles and a complimenting destination where you can eat, drink, experience, shop, be pampered AND be active.
1. Italy by Bike – There are at least million or more reasons to keep climbing off the bike on a gourmet biking tour of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. This is truly a food & wine lovers paradise! Drink the region’s best-known wine, meet a truffle hunter and his dog, and ride through vineyards that grow dolcetto, cortese and barbera grapes. Along the way, try the hazelnut cake from Cortemilia; the robiola di roccaverano cheese made from goat, sheep and cow’s milk; and visit a wine cellar in a deconsecrated church. Add to that the rolling hills, quiet hamlets and postcard-like scenery and you have the perfect destination for the traveling cyclist from beginner to advanced! (I love to use Gourmet Cycling Travel & Ciclismo Classico for my pedal pushing clients!)
2. Tennis Anyone? – Breathe in the mountain air on one of Gstaad Palace’s courts, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Swiss Alps. This 1913 hotel has 104 bedrooms, a spa and a huge outdoor swimming pool, as well as four tennis courts. The Gstaad Palace runs highly acclaimed ‘Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks’, one of the leading tennis camps in the world. Guests can receive intensive personal coaching from Emerson himself, assisted by his son and a selection of other professional instructors.3. Run this Place – Running a marathon is a refreshing way to go off-the-beaten track in a destination you may otherwise see only as a tourist. Wine-tasting isn’t something most people would associate with running, but one marathon in France proves that they can go hand-in-hand. The Marathon du Medoc route takes thirsty runners through Bordeaux’s vineyards and châteaux. As well as the usual water stations, runners can pick up high-calorie snacks – foie gras, cheese, oysters – and sample the region’s wines en route.
4. Kitesurfing in Mauritius – Ask any kitesurfing pro where the best where the best kitesurf destination in the world is and you’ll probably hear the same thing over and over: Mauritius. It is a combination of incredibly reliable wind, perfect flat water kitesurf lagoons with world class waves at the same spot and stunning luxury resorts. After a day on the water, waves and wind you’ll find some of the most incredible food in the world! Mauritius has a rich and diverse food culture that has absorbed influences from three continents. Indian, Chinese, French and African elements have made their way into the island’s dishes, along with delicious local ingredients, to form a unique (and delicious) cuisine.
5. Ski, Eat, Drink, Ski – Whistler village has more good dining and nightlife options than any ski destination in North America. Voted the best ski resort in North America 8 years in a row, Whistler lies about 75 miles from Vancouver and is home to two spectacular mountains: Whistler and Blackcomb. There is no shortage of luxurious accommodations either – our favorites are Four Seasons Resort Whistler and Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Both will place you in the lap of extreme luxury, creating the perfect setting for your winter wonderland ski holiday. Hit the slopes all day then wine and dine all night. Here is a place where almost everyone can agree…Let it Snow!