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The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Cover Story -

1 KICK-START YOUR SEA­SON – POR­TU­GAL

Brace your­self: a week-long boot camp at the clifftop, con­tem­po­rary-styled Epic Sana re­sort in­cludes a fitness eval­u­a­tion and five hours of in­tense ex­er­cise daily – from cir­cuits, cy­cle rides and beach runs to Pi­lates and aqua fit. Go now (Fe­bru­ary: Algarve av­er­age highs of 64F/18C) to get piste-ready in the warm. In­struc­tors can tai­lor work­outs to tar­get spe­cific ski mus­cles.

The seven-night boot camp costs from £2,635pp, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor­made. The Healthy Hol­i­day Com­pany (020 8968 0501; the­healthy­hol­i­day­company.co.uk).

2 EX­ER­CISE MIND AND BODY – IN­DIA

Opened in 2016 amid the cool, green Sahyadri Moun­tains, At­man­tan is a lux­u­ri­ous well­ness retreat with an ath­letic edge – un­sur­pris­ing as its co-founder is an In­dian Iron­man triath­lete. The Fitness Chal­lenge pro­gramme in­cludes body com­po­si­tion anal­y­sis and cleans­ing Yogic Kriyas, but also high-tempo ac­tiv­i­ties in the hi-tech gym, from spin­ning and ab blasts to Bol­ly­ro­bics, plus treks into the sur­round­ing hills.

The seven-night Fitness Chal­lenge costs from £2,500pp in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor­made. Well­be­ing Es­capes (020 3735 7555; well­beingescapes.com).

3 RE-WILD YOUR­SELF – SPAIN

Wild­fit­ness re­treats seek to boost your heath via “wild mov­ing, wild eat­ing and wild liv­ing”. New for 2018 is Wild­fit­ness Menorca, where that nat­u­ral re­con­nec­tion is en­cour­aged amid the Balearics’ olive groves and cit­rus trees. Join up to four ex­er­cise ses­sions a day, ex­plore by kayak and bi­cy­cle, and learn how get fit in a more sus­tain­able way.

The seven-day Menorca retreat costs from £1,300pp in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures April and May 2018. Wild­fit­ness (07415 884312; wild­fit­ness.com).

4 WORK OUT ON BOARD – GER­MANY

You can stay fit aboard a cruise. AmaWater­ways has a new fleet-wide Well­ness Pro­gramme that in­cludes core strength classes, cir­cuits, jogs and nu­tri­tion work­shops; ves­sels are also equipped with bikes and Nordic walking sticks. Use them on a Rhine voy­age, hop­ping off for hikes and cy­cles around Cologne’s cathe­dral and baroque Hei­del­berg.

The seven-night Cap­ti­vat­ing Rhine cruise costs from £1,599 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures March 24, May 5, Sept 15 and 29, Nov 17 2018. Planet Cruise (0808 278 8504; plan­etcruise.com).

5 FIND FITNESS IN FAM­ILY FUN – IRELAND

This fam­ily ad­ven­ture is so var­ied you won’t even no­tice you’re exercising. Bike along Ireland’s long­est off-road cy­cle trail, make a pil­grim­age up holy Croagh Pa­trick (doable for even lit­tle legs), dis­cover a pi­rate queen’s is­land strong­hold by stand-up pad­dle-board, tackle tree-top ob­sta­cles, help a sheep farmer, learn beach bushcraft and fin­ish with a dar­ing At­lantic dip.

The seven-day Pad­dling and Pi­rates trip costs from €1,850 (£1,613) for adults and €1,520 for chil­dren (ages 6-15) in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and some meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Wilder­ness Ireland (00353 0 91 457 898; wilder­nes­sire­land.com).

6 GET TRI-FIT – THAI­LAND

Seek warm weather for win­ter triathlon train­ing – Phuket is per­fect Jan­uary to April, and the is­land’s Thanya­pura Re­sort is geared up for multi-sporters. The Triathlon Pro­gramme in­cludes coach­ing in swim­ming, cy­cling, run­ning and tran­si­tions, mas­sages and ac­cess to forest-lined roads for scenic train­ing. Fancy some lo­cally flavoured crosstrain­ing? Muay Thai classes are free, too.

The seven-night Thanya­pura Triathlon Pro­gramme costs from £1,480 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Health and Fitness Travel (020 3397 8891; healthand­fit­nesstravel.com).

7 GO BUSHWALKING – AUS­TRALIA

Test your fitness by pit­ting your­self against the Tas­ma­nian bush for five weeks. New for 2018, World Ex­pe­di­tions “most am­bi­tious wilder­ness ad­ven­ture ever” crosses the length of Tas­ma­nia by way of the is­land’s four great­est multi-day treks (in­clud­ing the Over­land Track) and an eight-day raft­ing ad­ven­ture along the rapid-raged Franklin river.

The 39-day Great Tas­ma­nian Tra­verse costs from £7,990

in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures Feb 17 2018, Feb 9 2019. World Ex­pe­di­tions (0800 0744 135; world­ex­pe­di­tions.com).

BIKE BREAKS 8 GET STARTED WITH CY­CLING – DEN­MARK

Ease into a new fitness regime on a self-guided pedal through cy­cle­friendly, largely flat North Zealand – good for bik­ing begin­ners. The area is set to be­come Den­mark’s new­est na­tional park in early 2018, and is rich in cas­tles (in­clud­ing Kron­borg, of Ham­let fame), an­cient wood­land, bird-flocked lakes, pris­tine coast­line, quiet lanes and ded­i­cated cy­cle paths.

The six-night Dan­ish Riviera and North Zealand Cas­tles trip costs from £1,195 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and some meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures May to Septem­ber 2018. In­ntravel (01653 617000; in­ntravel.co.uk).

9 PEDAL LIKE A PRO – ITALY

The Giro d’Italia – Italy’s Grand Tour bike race – re­turns to Si­cily for three stages of its 101st edi­tion in 2018, and Sad­dle Skedad­dle’s guided road-cy­cling trip fol­lows the ac­tion. Watch the pro rid­ers pass and soak up the at­mos­phere while tack­ling some of the race sec­tions your­self, in­clud­ing the as­cent up Mount Etna.

The eight-day Giro d’Italia 2018 Spe­cial costs from £1,990 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and most meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­ture May 6 2018. Sad­dle Skedad­dle (0191 265 1110; skedad­dle.co.uk).

10 SEE THREE COUN­TRIES ON TWO WHEELS – AMER­ICA

You’ll cy­cle more than 174 miles (280km) on this ride from Nicaragua to Panama City, via jungly Costa Rica. But days are well-paced, roads mostly good, the sup­port ve­hi­cle al­ways on hand and the route al­ways di­vert­ing: around Ome­tepe Is­land, along­side Lake Are­nal, across the Bo­cas del Toro archipelago and be­side the Panama Canal.

The 14-day Cy­cle Nicaragua to the Panama Canal trip costs from £2,735 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures Aug 11, Oct 27, Nov 9 and 25 2018. Ex­plore (01252 884723; ex­plore.co.uk).

ON-FOOT FITNESS 11 WALK WITH THE KIDS – ENG­LAND

Ev­ery­one can hike on a HF Holidays Fam­ily Ad­ven­ture. Based at coun­try houses UK wide, they have up to four guided walks daily, from easy to teenager-test­ing. Plus, un­der 11s go free. Try beach­side Fresh­wa­ter Bay House on the Isle of Wight, where hikes – from three miles (5km) to 13 miles (21km) – take in cas­tles, clifftops, don­keys and di­nosaurs.

The seven-night Fam­ily Walking Ad­ven­ture at Fresh­wa­ter Bay costs from £899 for adults, un­der-11s free, 50 per cent dis­count for chil­dren aged 7-11, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. De­par­tures May to Au­gust 2018. HF Holidays (0345 470 8558; hfhol­i­days.co.uk).

12 HIKE A HOT RE­GION – JA­PAN

Ja­pan’s main is­land of Hon­shu has a va­ri­ety of hiking trails, which can be pieced to­gether for a body-and-soul stir­ring stroll. This in­cludes a five-day walk along the Ku­mano Kodo – one of only two Unesco-listed pil­grim­age

trails, which wends across the moun­tain­ous, tem­ple-dot­ted Kii Penin­sula, named by Lonely Planet as a Top 10 Re­gion for 2018.

The 16-night self-guided Hon­shu Hiking trip costs from £2,630 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and some meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. In­sid­eJa­pan Tours (0117 370 9730; in­sid­e­japan­tours.com).

13 BLAZE A NEW TRAIL – TAN­ZA­NIA

Tackle the high­est fitness chal­lenge an al­ter­na­tive way. Gane and Mar­shall has pi­o­neered a new route up 19,340ft Kil­i­man­jaro via the re­mote north­ern flank. This of­fers views over Kenya (rather than Tan­za­nia) and a more civilised as­sault on the sum­mit – you set off at 4am (rather than mid­night), climb­ing mostly in day­light to bet­ter en­joy the other-worldly ter­rain.

The 10-day North Face of Kil­i­man­jaro climb costs from £2,700 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures Feb 11 and July 6 2018, and tai­lor-made. Gane and Mar­shall (01822 600600; gane­and­mar­shall.com).

14 SPEED UP – ENG­LAND & WALES

Get fit­ter by go­ing faster. While its classic hike along the Offa’s Dyke Path takes two weeks, Celtic Trails’ new “Ex­press” op­tion cov­ers the en­tire 176 miles (283km) be­tween Chep­stow and Prestatyn in just 10 days. That’s an av­er­age of 18 miles (29km) a day, with Nor­man cas­tles, me­dieval abbeys, book towns and Black Moun­tains com­ing thick and fast, and all those B&B break­fasts well earned.

The 11-night self-guided Offa’s Dyke Ex­press trip costs from £935 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Celtic Trails (01291 689774; celtic­trail­swalk­ing holidays.co.uk).

15 AIM HIGH – ECUADOR

Closed fol­low­ing an erup­tion in 2016, Co­topaxi Na­tional Park was re­opened last Novem­ber, once again pro­vid­ing an ac­ces­si­ble play­ground for lit­er­ally breath­tak­ing high-al­ti­tude hiking. Give your car­dio­vas­cu­lar system a work­out on ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion walks around Quilo­toa crater lake (12,795ft) and up Paso­choa vol­cano (13,780ft); the goal is to trek up to Co­topaxi’s snow line at around 16,732ft.

The nine-day Ac­tive Ecuador trip costs from £3,474 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and most meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Jour­ney Latin Amer­ica (020 8600 1881; jour­ney­lati­namer­ica.co.uk).

16 GO NORDIC BY THE MED – GREECE

Nordic walking (us­ing poles) re­put­edly burns up to 46 per cent more calo­ries than or­di­nary walking. Test this the­ory while ex­plor­ing the spec­tac­u­larly un-Nordic Halkidiki Penin­sula, where the Mi­rag­gio Ther­mal Spa Re­sort has launched 30 routes. Guides can ad­vise or lead you on yomps via hills, olive groves, quiet bays; there are also gorge trails along the flanks of Mount Olym­pus.

A five-night stay at Mi­rag­gio Ther­mal Spa Re­sort costs from £822 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Des­ti­nol­ogy (01204 821977; des­ti­nol­ogy.co.uk).

17 RUN, DON’T WALK – ENG­LAND

The 87-mile (140km) long Ridge­way fol­lows Eng­land’s old­est road, link­ing Ave­bury and Iv­inghoe Bea­con via pre­his­toric relics, open down­land and wooded Chilterns. Its gen­tle

un­du­la­tions make it a good place to try trail run­ning. Novices can opt for a six-day trip (graded “Easy”), which al­lows time for stops and walking breaks. The “Stren­u­ous” op­tion is to run it in two.

A seven-night self-guided Ridge­way run costs from £595 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Con­tours Trail Run­ning Holidays (01629 821900; con­toursrun.co.uk).

18 RACE IN STYLE – MAU­RI­TIUS

En­ter­ing an over­seas race will fo­cus both your fitness and travel goals. A par­a­disi­a­cal op­tion is Beach­comber’s Ul­tra Trail Raid­light (July 28 and 29), com­pris­ing four events across Mau­ri­tius. The eas­i­est is the six-mile ver­sion (10km), while a new 62-mile (100km) course takes in the is­land’s high­est peak, wa­ter­falls, clifftops and ar­eas usu­ally off-limits. Races fin­ish at Shan­drani Beach­comber Re­sort, which caters to fitness fiends year-round – tennis, aer­o­bics, wind­surf­ing and sail­ing lessons are al­ways free here.

A seven-night stay at Shan­drani costs from £1,995 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Beach­comber Tours (01483 445685; beach­comber­tours.uk).

WA­TER WORK­OUTS 19 MAS­TER THE MED – SPAIN

If the idea of grad­u­at­ing from pool swim­ming to open wa­ter isn’t that appealing in Bri­tish seas, per­haps the se­cluded coves of Mal­lorca will prove more mo­ti­vat­ing. Swimtrek’s in­tro­duc­tory course teaches tech­nique via one-to-one and group ses­sions, in both a pur­pose-built pool (with un­der­wa­ter view­ing area, for de­tailed anal­y­sis) and the sparkling-blue Med.

A six-day In­tro­duc­tion to Open Wa­ter trip costs from £890 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and some meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures June 10 and 22, Sept 4 and 22 2018. SwimTrek (01273 739713; swimtrek.com). 20 SWIM WITH OLYMPIANS – ST KITTS AND NEVIS Caribbean waters, two Olympians, a his­toric inn, an iconic event – even the most re­luc­tant swim­mer may be tempted by a Swim Retreat at Nevis’s Nis­bet Plan­ta­tion. The GB stars Keri-Anne Payne and David Carry will lead pool and open-wa­ter ses­sions for all abil­i­ties. Then you’ll test out the tech­niques at the an­nual two-and-a-half mile (4km) Nevis to St Kitts Cross Chan­nel Swim.

The eight-day Swim Retreat costs from £2,460 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and some meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­ture March 21 2018. Tropic Breeze (01752 880880; trop­icbreeze.co.uk).

21WORKOUT ON THE WA­TER – AN­TIGUA

Elite Re­sorts’ Caribbean prop­er­ties of­fer a menu of free ac­tiv­i­ties – from yoga and aer­o­bics to hikes and kayak­ing. The lat­est is FloatFit, high-in­ten­sity work­outs per­formed on a mod­i­fied surf­board. An­tigua’s all-in­clu­sive St James’ Club, on a pri­vate penin­sula near his­toric English Har­bour, has six pools and two beaches where you can give it a try.

A seven-night stay at St James’ Club and Vil­las costs from £1,590 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Travel Repub­lic (020 8974 7200; trav­el­re­pub­lic.co.uk).

22 PAD­DLE WITH HIP­POS – BOTSWANA

Stand-up pad­dle-board­ing is the UK’s fastest grow­ing wa­ter­sport. But why not take the trend to Botswana, to join the mokoro pun­ters for a core­strength­en­ing, nerve-jan­gling nav­i­ga­tion of the Oka­vango? On Black Tomato’s in­trepid sa­fari, learn ba­sic tech­niques in Cape Town be­fore spend­ing three days pad­dling the delta, scout­ing for wildlife, swim­ming in (safe) pools and stop­ping for walks in the bush.

A 10-night Pad­dle-board­ing Botswana sa­fari costs from £7,450 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Black Tomato (020 7426 9888; black­tomato.com).

23 MAKE WAVES – MOROCCO

Surf­ing makes its Olympic de­but at Tokyo 2020, so there’s still time to get up to speed. Morocco’s small, lux­u­ri­ous Sul­tana Oua­lidia ho­tel is ideal. Begin­ners and chil­dren can learn in pro­tected Oua­lidia La­goon, where gen­tle swells break into neat waves. Ex­pe­ri­enced surfers can go be­yond the la­goon for big breaks.

Red Sa­van­nah (01242 787800; red­sa­van­nah.com) of­fers a fournight surf ther­apy pack­age at La Sul­tana Oua­lidia from £2,755 for adults and £984 for chil­dren, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion on B&B ba­sis, re­turn flights with easyJet from Lon­don Gatwick to Mar­rakech and air­port trans­fers (wet­suit, surf board and surf in­struc­tor in­cluded).

SNOW SPORT 24 SKATE AND STEAM – FIN­LAND

The speed­skat­ing stars at Fe­bru­ary’s Win­ter Olympics will reach al­most 40mph. You might not hit that pace, but you can learn the tech­nique amid snow-sparkled wilder­ness on a short break to Lake Saimaa. The trip in­cludes skate rental and tu­ition, ac­cess to myr­iad frozen wa­ter­ways and Fin­nish sauna ses­sions, to re­lieve any aches and pains.

A four-day ice skat­ing trip costs from £870 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion and most meals. Flights in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. Best Served Scan­di­navia (020 7664 2241; best-served.co.uk).

25 NORDIC SKI ON WORLD­CLASS SLOPES – AUS­TRIA

In Fe­bru­ary 2019, the Nordic World Ski Cham­pi­onships will take over Seefeld, home to some of the best cross-coun­try ski­ing in the Alps, with 173 miles (279km) of var­ied, well-groomed trails, suitable for all lev­els. Sam­ple them now from the five-star As­to­ria, which of­fers maps, passes and shut­tle buses to the tracks, and has just opened a huge new spa for sooth­ing skied-out legs.

A three-night As­to­ria Cross­Coun­try Ski­ing pack­age costs from €581 in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion. Flights not in­cluded. De­par­tures tai­lor-made. As­to­ria Seefeld (0043 5212 22720; as­to­ria-seefeld.com).

JOG ON Trekking in Mau­ri­tius, left, cy­cling in Italy, be­low left; Nordic walking, be­low

SKATE ON Lake Saimaa, Fin­land, left; swim in Phuket, above; work­out and see wildlife in Tan­za­nia, be­low

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