Top 8: Fitness escapes

From dressage in Andalucia to triathlon training in the Caribbean, add a sporting edge to your next break

By Sam Lewis
Published 23 Nov 2015, 08:00 GMT, Updated 5 Jul 2021, 12:41 BST

1. Snowboarding in Italy
Hit the snow with a pro — head to Hotel Rosa Alpina in the Italian Dolomites to ski under the expert guidance of former snowboarding world-champion Ivo Rudiferia. Ivo offers snowboarding and ski lessons on pistes perfect for all levels, and will guide you around the resort while helping you hone your technique. After a day on the slopes, head to the spa for a post-ski massage, before dining at the hotel's two-Michelin-star restaurant, St. Hubertus.
Details: Prices for a double room at the Rosa Alpina start at €450 (£328) per night, including breakfast. One day of instruction (9am-4pm) with Ivo Rudiferia costs from €460 (£356), excluding ski pass and equipment hire.

2. Football, rugby and cricket in the Caribbean
Every summer, the luxury resort Buccament Bay Resort in St Vincent and the Grenadines runs a children's football academy affiliated to Liverpool FC, attracting sporting names such as John Barnes. Rugby, netball and tennis bootcamps are also on the agenda but, for parents who don't want to just sit back and watch their kids have all the fun, the resort also offers a cricket academy affiliated to the West Indies Cricket Team. For those who simply want to get fit, guest athletes such as Sally Gunnell often run bootcamps.
Details: Prices for a 10-night all-inclusive stay in a deluxe one-bedroom, garden-view villa start at £6,499 for two adults and a child, including flights, with

3. Surf's up in Cornwall
Catch Cornwall's best waves alongside Britain's top male surfer, Sam Lamiroy. Sam offers coaching at his surf academies in Perranporth and Newquay, where he claims to have the finest equipment, best coaches and a perfect beach. Sessions with this seasoned pro are for intermediate, advanced and expert surfers only. Beginners will have to book one of the numerous sessions with other coaches.
Details: Coaching costs £120 for 1:1 sessions; £60 for 2:1 or 3:1 sessions; and £40 per person for groups of up to six people.

4. Dressage in Andalucia, Spain
Head to Seville to ride professionally-trained Andalusian horses and learn how to perform movements — canter pirouette, piaffe, passage — as seen in world-class dressage competitions. The week-long clinic at the Epona equestrian centre culminates in four intensive, individual lessons with charismatic Spanish Olympic team silver medalist, Rafael Soto. With just four riders per holiday and a limited number of packages offered each year, you need to book early.
Details: Prices start at $2,175 per person (£1,685) for seven nights (7-14 Feb and 13-20 March), including accommodation at the charming four-star Hotel Alcazar de la Reina.

The 2013 Digicel St Lucia International Triathlon. Image: Josh Parker

5. Triathlon training in the Caribbean
Competitors taking part in the Digicel St Lucia International Triathlon on 19 November (2016) can take master classes in running and swimming with three Olympic stars in the week leading up to the event. Daley Thompson, Steve Cram and Jamie Peterkin will pass on their personal expertise and tips every morning on the golden sands of The Landings, the official race hotel and event headquarters. The sporting heroes will mingle with participants at a number of island receptions, including a pre-race party, a post-event barbecue and a party with prize-giving ceremony on the beach. Designed with all ages and fitness levels in mind, there are three different race lengths on offer.
Details: Prices for the seven-night packages start at £1,619 per person and include entry fees to Tri St Lucia (based on 2015 prices).

6. Boxing in Sardinia
Forte Village Resort is best known for its sporting academies for children, with stars such as Will Greenwood running rugby camps in the summer holidays. For adults who want to pack a punch, this Sardinian luxury beach resort also offers boxing academies. Sessions are coached by pros including Johnny Nelson, WBO Cruiserweight champion for over seven years, and Frank Buglioni, current holder of the WBO European Super Middleweight belt.
Details: Daily boxing sessions (morning and afternoon options are available) cost €450 (£323) and include boxing gloves and a t-shirt. Book seven nights with a family of four on a half-board basis from £5,959, including flights.

7. Kickboxing in Ibiza
Kick-start your fitness journey and train with world-class boxing gurus at this active retreat on the quieter, northern shores of Ibiza. Tailor your escape with a range of activities, sports and fitness classes, and be sure to make the most of a one-on-one kickboxing session with two-time British gold medallist, Faye Maloney. There are group hikes and adventurous mountain-biking tours, TRX suspension training and relaxing Ashtanga yoga.
Details: Health and Fitness Travel offers six nights in Ibiza on the Group Fitness Retreat at 38 Degrees North (September and October 2016) from £1,580 per person. Price is based on two sharing and includes half-board, the retreat and return flights.

8. Ski in France
Emma Carrick Anderson — four-time Winter Olympic skier, Britain's most successful female slalom skier and BBC Sports commentator — trains skiers of all levels through her company Snoworks in Tignes. Emma specialises in teaching all-terrain skiing (skiing the whole mountain both on and off-piste), race carve courses (for recreational skiers who want to improve their performance and try slalom gates) and race-coaching clinics (mainly for aspirant ski instructors going through the grading system). Emma says, "I love skiing and working with all levels — so if you're just starting out, there's no need to be worried about skiing with an ex-Olympian. I can ski slowly as well!"
Details: Race camps start at around £300 per person for five half-days, and one-to-one tuition starts at £1,200 for five three-hour sessions.

Published in the December 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2023 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved