1. Submerge yourself in Canadian canoe culture
Discover the beauty of Canada by water on an organised single-day outing or fully switch off on a month-long epic canoe trip. The state of Ontario alone boasts half a million lakes and rivers, plus thousands of kilometres of coastline, making it one of the most popular places in the world for on-water pursuits. A triathletes paradise, you should also find plenty of open water swimming venues to explore. If you fancy a city break alongside your active pursuits, check out the best that Montreal has to offer.
2. Paraglide over Rio de Janerio
Paraglide flights typically begin from the wilderness of Pedra Bonita rainforest before swooping over the imposing Christ the Redeemer statue and the vibrant city of Rio, finally ending up on the soft sands of Pepino Beach. The best way to appreciate Rio in all her glory.
3. Snorkel the Ambergris Caye, Belize
The lesser known but equally as beautiful Belize reef is the largest barrier reef outside of Australia and is situated close to Ambergris Caye, a low-level sand island on the surface of the reef. Its proximity to Hol Chan Marine Reserve makes it an ideal spot for keen snorkelers.
4. Sandboard in Peru
Huacachina is home to the biggest sand dunes in South America, and can be challenging even for expert sandboarders. But it’s still one of the best, if not the best, places to try out a warmer version of your favourite winter sport. A must if you’re in the area, if only for the cool holiday snaps.
5. Canyeon in the Sierra de Guara, Spain
In the heart of the Spanish pyrenees, the Sierra de Guara is a mecca for water lovers and often heralded as the birthplace of canyoning. If you’re not familiar with canyeoning, it involves sliding down natural water slides made from moss-covered waterfalls and ravines into deep turquoise pools and through cooling natural water jets – a must activity for any water-loving adventurer. There’s lots of watersports companies to choose from which will transfer you from A to B and kit you out in wetsuits and bottom-saving nappy slide harnesses for the waterfall skimming, you may also get refreshemnts if you’re lucky!
6. Bikepack the French Atlantic Coast
Also known as the Eurovélo1, La Velodyssée is one of the most well-sign posted bike touring routes in Europe. Traverse the country from Roscoff in the north to Hendaye at the Spanish border. Along the way, be prepared for stunning pine-clad paths, sandy coastal trails, and meandering canal paths. This route takes you through the historic city of La Rochelle and past the towering Dune of Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune. Bikepacking has really taken off in recent years, especially during the global pandemic when restrictions limited cyclists to local travel, thankfully the UK has a rich offering when it comes to off-road bikepacking adventures.
7. Ski under the Northern Lights, Finland
Explore the unspoilt forests and lakes of Finland, where reindeers outnumber people. The lack of light pollution increases the chance of seeing the aurora borealis, a scientific wonder of light and colour. Cross-country skiing is a way of life here and traditionally used as a means of transport between villages. Visit the Ylläs Ski Resort to find Finland’s largest ski network with over 330km of ski tracks. Nordic skiing hugely increases endurance and cardiovascular health, burns more calories than any other sport and is known as the best form of cross-training. If skiing is your thing, why not hop across to Iceland for the popular, annual cross-country skiing marathon race in Blafjallagangan.
8. Take a dip in Iceland’s natural hotsprings
A less-active option but a great way to recover after a heavy season of racing. Here you can appreciate Iceland’s natural beauty and bathe in its plentiful natural geothermal hot springs, which can be found throughout the country. Stop on the roadside for a rustic dip, or splash out and experience the famous Blue Lagoon (above), which offers silt masks, saunas and geothermal pools. Discover another world in the stunningly desolate landscape of igneous rock and snow-capped looming mountains.
9. Climb Boulder Canyon, Colorado
Boulder is known as the climbing capital of the world with the best natural, outdoor climbing spots, this includes an immense 12-mile canyon offering climbs of a variety of durations and difficulties. Enjoy a spot of bouldering on the textured granite rocks, or aim for the higher crags and appreciate stunning views of the canyon around you.
10. Race the Maki Run on ‘lemur island’, Madagascar
Time your visit to the untouched volcanic island of Nosy Komba to take part in the challenging Maki Run (June), which offers four different races: 30km, 20km and four kids’ races. While there, discover the beautiful red and black lemurs that run wild on this incredible island just off the north west coast of Madagascar. As the island has no roads, you must hike along rustic trails and clamber over boulders to reach Ampang, the main village. Here, the locals imitate the lemurs with the traditional call of ‘maki maki maki’, and welcome visitors to feed them bananas and experience their inquisitive nature.