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