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The 50 best fitness holidays

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Life is short, and holidays are even shorter. Reject the limits of the mini-break and invest in a holiday that'll leave you invigorated - and in better shape than ever. We've searched far and wide to find the greatest escapes money can buy. Here are the 50 best fitness hoidays in the world.

1. Go Snowbombing

WHERE Austria


PRICE From £404

If you enjoy snowboarding with a hangover then Snowbombing, a week-long festival with world-class DJs and bands, is for you. Shake off the beer haze by hitting the Penken Park – as MF’s Max Anderton is pictured doing here. Read Max's review of this year's festival.

snowbombing.com (opens in new tab)

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2. Ice swim in Yllas

WHERE Finland

PRICE From £56

Fancy swimming in icy fjords after a day on the ski slopes of Yllas? Such is its powers of invigoration, this has become a weekly social event for locals. ‘Bring courage… and spare socks’ is the official line.

yllas.fi (opens in new tab)

3. Take a heli-bike tour of Queenstown

WHERE New Zealand

PRICE From £200

Experience the Kiwi wilderness from the ground and the air with a Fat Tyres heli-bike trip. This doesn’t mean James Bond-esque flying bikes – you get to goggle at mountainous vistas from a conventional chopper, before you’re dropped off with your mountain bike for a three-hour trail ride.

fat-tyre.co.nz (opens in new tab)

4. Cycle and camp in Utah

WHERE USA

PRICE From £3,825

Cycle across southern Utah over a week, taking in the arches, canyons and hoodoo rock formations that’ll make you feel like you’re on the set of a Western before setting up camp each night. The company also does a ‘glamping’ version for, you know, massive babies.

terravelotours.com (opens in new tab)

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5. Raft Rio Futaleufú

WHERE Chile

PRICE From £2,138

You’ll need a strong heart to handle the adrenaline-gasm that comes with nine days of white-knuckle white-water rafting. The landscapes range from snow capped mountains to lush rainforests, although we’ll forgive if you don’t notice them as you cling to your raft for dear life.

responsibletravel.com (opens in new tab)

6. Run with a champion in Monte Carlo

WHERE Monaco

PRICE From £317

Only the best is good enough in the home of Europe’s old-school mega-rich – and that goes for the personal trainers, too. French 400m champion Marc Raquil runs sessions at the plush Metropole Hotel, so you can train to Olympic standard between gambling sessions.

metropole.com (opens in new tab)

7. Dive in the Red Sea

WHERE Egypt

PRICE From £995

Set sail in the northern Red Sea, then jump off to explore wrecks, each of which hauntingly captures a long-gone moment in time. The eerie calmness beneath the water is juxtaposed by the glorious sunshine above. Due to the advanced nature of the dives this isn’t a trip that should be taken on by scuba novices – you don’t want to be that guy who’s paid a grand just to sit on his own on deck while everyone else explores the depths.

scubatravel.com (opens in new tab)

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8. Conquer the Alps

WHERE France

PRICE From £600

Adventures In The Alps lets you use the mountains around Lake Annecy as your personal playground, whether you’re attempting the via ferrata – routes made of cables and ladders fixed to the rock face – mountain biking, canyoning, climbing or trail running. There are plenty of other activities to choose from, including paragliding and open-water swimming.

summer.adventuresinthealps.com (opens in new tab)

9. Ice climb in Val d’Isère

WHERE France

PRICE From £679

Why settle for going down a mountain when you can heave yourself up it using a pickaxe? Tough as it sounds, the guidance available means this is open to the rawest novice – although doing some pull-ups first would be helpful.

powderwhite.com (opens in new tab)

10. Go bouldering in Fontainebleau

WHERE France

PRICE From £515

Fancy climbing a variety of rock faces rope-free? Fontainebleau, or Font for short, has some of France’s best. This week-long supervised holiday will have you scrambling Spider-Man-style over obstacles of all sizes in a forest that’s only an hour from Paris.

rockandsun.com (opens in new tab)

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11. Parapent in Val d’Isère

WHERE France

PRICE From £679

Throw caution (and yourself) to the wind with Parapenting – a not-for-the-faint-hearted pursuit that involves strapping yourself to a giant parachute and running off the side of a mountain.

powderwhite.com (opens in new tab)

12. Surf with a legend in Cascais

WHERE Portugal

PRICE From £893

The luxury Oitavos Hotel in the extreme southwest of Portugal offers a workout programme devised especially for surfers. It’s located near some of Europe’s finest surf spots – and they’ve roped in Portuguese champ Ruben Gonzales to give private lessons.

theoitavos.com (opens in new tab)

13. Cycle the Dolomites

WHERE Italy

PRICE From £4,800

Ride some of the routes of the classic Giro d’Italia race, powering along on a Pinarello bike with the support of the resident mechanic who’ll follow you in the team car. And no, you can’t swap places when the hills get tough.

leadingbike.hotel-laperla.it (opens in new tab)

14. Run the Spartathlon

WHERE Greece

PRICE From £350

Before the Ancient Greek Pheidippides ran the 42km distance between Marathon and Athens, he ran 246km from Athens to Sparta. Follow his footsteps in the Spartathlon race, but don’t celebrate too smugly when you finish – he ran holding a shield and didn’t have energy gels to help him.

spartathlon.gr (opens in new tab)

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15. Ride from Manali to Leh

WHERE India

PRICE From £2,099

Cycle across six Himalayan passes at an average altitude of 4,000m. The reward? Aching legs, and some of the planet’s most breathtaking scenery.

exodus.co.uk (opens in new tab)

16. Train at Club La Santa

WHERE Spain

PRICE From £1,000

This a dedicated sports resort in Lanzarote has cutting-edge facilities for 30 sports including cycling and diving.

clublasanta.co.uk (opens in new tab)

17. Go packrafting in Middle-Earth country

WHERE New Zealand

PRICE From £190

No idea what packrafting is? Not surprising - it’s still a relatively new concept. It involves heading off to a remote location with an ultra-lightweight inflatable dinghy and having a whale of a time paddling, hiking, wading and scrambling across a variety of terrain. Because the dinghy weighs just 3kg, is small enough to be stored in your backpack and inflates in ten minutes, you can easily cover distances and travel through areas you’d otherwise never be able to. The landscape will give you ample opportunity to pretend you’re in a scene from The Lord Of The Rings, even if there is a distinct lack of orcs. ‘Make sure you know the grades of the rivers on your route,’ says Arno Marten, founder of Packrafting New Zealand. ‘A packraft is designed to be very durable but it’s easy to get in over your head. A grade 3+ is a challenge even for experienced paddlers – be prepared for a swim!’

packraftingnz.com (opens in new tab)

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18. Go coasteering in Pembrokeshire

WHERE UK

PRICE From £225

Coasteering combines sea level traversing, rock climbing, cliff jumping and swimming into sea caves – and, here, gives you access to National Trust-protected coastlines that are off limits to the public. A word of warning: it’s as cold as it is exhilarating.

preseliventure.co.uk (opens in new tab)

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19. Become a ninja

WHERE Japan

PRICE From £4,599

It’s not the most in-demand skillset, but you really owe it to your 11-year-old self. Immerse yourself in Japanese archery and, uh, ‘sword dancing’ before receiving martial arts lessons from a sensei famous for taking on 13 Yakuza at once. He won, in case you’re wondering.

blacktomato.com (opens in new tab)

20. Train for a triathlon at Thanyapura

WHERE Thailand

PRICE from £867

Those brick transition sessions seem so much more bleak when you’re climbing out of a municipal pool. Thanyapura Phuket has a state-of-the-art triathlon programme headed up by Ironman legend Jürgen Zäck. Just try not to get distracted by the raucous nightlife.

thanyapura.com (opens in new tab)

21. Surf the pipeline in Oaxaca

WHERE Mexico

PRICE From £173

Boutique hotels have landed in Mexico with the Hotel Escondido leading the way. Its collection of minimalist thatched cabañas line Zicatela Beach, which is home to the famed Mexican Pipeline wave. If it’s too big, ride the white water closer to shore.

hotelescondido.com (opens in new tab)

22. Run in the Brecon Beacons

WHERE UK

PRICE From £10

You don’t need to head to far-flung corners of the earth to run amid spectacular scenery. A Brecon Beacons running guide will plot a route of sheer beauty that’ll also fit your pace and ability. ‘Running 10km on a hill will feel very different than 10km on the road,’ says Steve Booker of runwales.net. ‘Typically you’ll cover two-thirds of the distance of your normal running. So if you can comfortably run 20km on the road, start your mountain running at 10-12km – we can extend that if you’re feeling strong.’

runwales.net (opens in new tab)

23. Hike from Lhasa to Kashgar via Mount Kailash

WHERE China

PRICE From £4,795

Your fitness levels and tolerance for harsh conditions will be tested on this 22-day Tibetan hike, which takes you into Lhasa, at 3,490m one of the highest cities in the world. It’s tipped to be a tourist hotspot by 2020 so get there before everyone and their parents are showing you their photos.

wildfrontierstravel.com (opens in new tab)

24. Get a sweat on in the Balinese jungle

WHERE Indonesia

PRICE From £3,250

For some, it’s not a real holiday if it’s not sweltering . If that’s you, try this tropical getaway for total relaxation. The Como Shambhala Estate offers tai chi, yoga, Pilates and watersports, while its jungle gym – the name is slightly more truthful here than when used to describe the one in your local park – features a climbing wall that enables you to get a parrot’s-eye view of the rainforest.

comoshambhala.com (opens in new tab)

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25. Trek up Gran Paradiso

WHERE Italy

PRICE From £1,195

Zipping down mountains is easy. Give yourself a challenge and tackle the six-day trek up Gran Paradiso, the highest mountain entirely within Italy, ascending to a height of 3,338m.

mountaintracks.co.uk (opens in new tab)

26. Sail and ski Scandinavia

WHERE Norway

PRICE From £1,400

Embark on the spa boat Vulkana as it cruises along the northern coast of Norway – you can spend your days skiing and your evenings relaxing under the stars away from any light pollution.

magneticnorthtravel.com (opens in new tab)

27. Go heli-surfing

WHERE New Zealand

PRICE From £11,122

Expert local knowledge plus private land access and a helicopter equals the perfect surfing opportunity. Don’t sit around waiting for a perfect wave – just strap in and get flown to where the action is.

blacktomato.com (opens in new tab)

28. Trek from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

WHERE France/Switzerland

PRICE From £1,779

Make your way along the classic Haute Route ski touring path, covering roughly 100km between Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. You’ll be trekking at an average of 1,525m, hitting 2,965m at the highest point, and you’ll pass beneath ten of the 12 highest mountains in the Alps. ‘Before you travel, make sure you can do two six-hour walks in a weekend,’ says Chloe Knott of Exodus. ‘Get in a good mix of ascents and descents to get you prepared.’ Think of it earning your holiday.

exodus.co.uk (opens in new tab)

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29. Try a quadrathlon

WHERE St Lucia

PRICE From £80 plus cost of BodyHoliday hotel

Cycle, run, abseil and kayak across the island, while taking in views of both the Atlantic and Caribbean coastlines before treating yourself to a fruity rum at the BodyHoliday resort.

thebodyholiday.com (opens in new tab)

30. Cycle across Central America

RPICE From £1,675

Journey through Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama on this 435km ride which takes you through wildly varying environments – banana and pineapple plantations, along Caribbean coastlines, over volcanoes and through rainforests.

discoveradventure.com (opens in new tab)

31. Burn fat in Ibiza

WHERE Spain

PRICE From £1,685

You don’t have to choose between mega-clubs and fat-loss circuits in the sun – this weight loss-focused holiday is based in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza, which is only half an hour away from the big clubs.

rfhfitness.com (opens in new tab)

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32. Sail around the world

PRICE £40,000 or £5,000 for a single leg

Twelve amateur racing-yacht crews battle for first place in the Clipper Round The World, an eight-stage planet-spanning race. While no experience is necessary it is a huge commitment – physically, mentally and financially.

clipperroundtheworld.com (opens in new tab)

33. Ski cross-country

WHERE Norway

PRICE From £1,099

Head out on any one of the Espedalen Valley’s numerous trails. Beginners can learn on the flat areas around Lake Espedalen, while more experienced skiers will find the views above the tree line a fitting reward for the 1,500m climb.

exodus.co.uk (opens in new tab)

34. Tailored training in the Himalayas

WHERE India

PRICE From £2,645

Not sure of your fitness level? The Active package at Ananda Spa starts with a fitness consultation, which is used to plan activities such as white-water rafting on the Ganges.

anandaspa.com (opens in new tab)

35. Go island-hopping in the Adriatic

WHERE Croatia

PRICE From £730

Feel at home in open water? Then take your aquatic skills to Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Over a week you’ll swim between the islands in the Sibenik archipelago, covering an average of 4km a day in the water. The route is organised by Strel Swimming, co-founded by Martin Strel, who is famous for swimming the length of the Amazon, Yangtze, Paraná, Mississippi and Danube rivers. Unlike those rivers, the sea around the Dalmatian coast has some of the cleanest water in the Mediterranean so you just have to worry about stroke efficiency. ‘We expect you to be able to swim at least 2km per hour,’ says Martin’s brother Borut. ‘To prepare you should swim up to three times a week covering 2-3km each session.’ There are escort boats that can break away with faster or slower swimmers so you won’t get left alone.

strel-swimming.com (opens in new tab)

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36. Take on the Watumu Beach boot camp

WHERE Kenya

PRICE From £3,335 The location for this Wildfitness training trip regularly features in ‘best beaches in the world’ lists. Learn to run on secluded beaches and swim in undisturbed creeks.

healthandfitnesstravel.com (opens in new tab)

37. Do a Canary Island boot camp

WHERE Spain

PRICE From £780

This week-long British Military Fitness camp at Playitas Resort in Fuerteventura – where the Brownlee brothers have trained – is a more sun-kissed affair than BMF classes in the UK, but you’ll still burn over 2,000 calories a day.

sunfit.co.uk (opens in new tab)

38. Go open canoeing in the Highlands

WHERE UK

PRICE From £795

Explore the remote lochs in the northwest of Scotland. While you don’t need paddling experience to take part in the holiday, ‘upper-body fitness is important because you may be paddling for up to seven hours a day for six days,’ says Rupert Shanks of Wilderness Scotland.

wildernessscotland.com (opens in new tab)

39. Train in a Muay Thai gym

WHERE Thailand

PRICE From £310

Get schooled in Thailand’s national sport at Tiger Muay Thai, which is geared towards tourists who want to train while they’re away from home. Whether you’re a serious martial artist preparing for a fight or a total novice who doesn’t know how to throw a punch, you’ll be in good hands.

tigermuaythai.com (opens in new tab)

40. Survive the Dartmoor lowlands

WHERE UK

PRICE from £999

Mercifully, this four-day survival course founded by Bear Grylls doesn’t involve ingesting your own fluids. Instead, you’ll learn to look after yourself in some of the harshest terrain in the UK.

beargryllssurvivalacademy.com (opens in new tab)

41. Get DNA Fit in Ibiza

WHERE Spain

PRICE From £1,493

Before visiting the Balearic island you’ll have your DNA tested, which will then be used by the team at Aguas de Ibiza Hotel to tailor a diet and exercise regime unique to you. It also has a venue in Cornwall in case you dislike nice weather.

thirtyeightdegreesnorth.com (opens in new tab)

42. Trek in Helambu

WHERE Nepal

PRICE From £880

Get away from established trekking routes and cut a path through parts of Nepal so remote you’ll wonder if your life back home was a dream. Over 14 days you’ll encounter remote mountain communities and the Holy Gosainkunda lakes and have the chance to climb a 4,500m peak.

lostearthadventures.co.uk (opens in new tab)

43. Ski safari in the Dolomites

WHERE Italy

PRICE From £2,220

This hut-to-hut tour of the Dolomites takes you in a loop, starting and ending in Alta Badia. As well as a different skiing challenge every day, the constant changing of hotels means you don’t have to worry about making enemies of the staff if you over-indulge in après-ski.

thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk (opens in new tab)

44. Walk the Simien Mountains

WHERE Ethiopia

PRICE From £1,890

The geological conditions that formed these spectacular mountains occur in only two places in the world. This hike takes you across the ‘spine’ of the mountains, and over the course of the eight-day trip you’ll see three UNESCO heritage sites. Make sure your camera batteries are charged.

wildfrontierstravel.com (opens in new tab)

45. Train to run at altitude

WHERE Kenya

PRICE From £949

Immerse yourself in the culture of the world’s elite endurance runners at the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten, which is 2,400m above sea level. Don’t expect hours gazing at views of the Great Rift valley – the training is merciless.

traininkenya.com (opens in new tab)

46. Explore the western USA

PRICE From £2,145

Start in Montana and make your way through six of America’s most famous national parks, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde. The two-week trek ends in Las Vegas, so bring enough cash for a blackjack session.

keadventure.com (opens in new tab)

47. Paddleboard in Peniche

WHERE Portugal

PRICE From £377

Stand-up paddleboarding lets you ride waves and work your core and legs, but there’s not nearly as much falling in as with surfing – and because you’re standing, the views are better. It originates in Hawaii but you can spend a week learning it at this beach near Lisbon.

supxscape.com (opens in new tab)

48. Visit the Arnold Fitness Expo

WHERE USA

PRICE From £21

This three-day Schwarzenegger-fest in Columbus, Ohio, could set a record for the most bulging biceps in one room. Watch the entrants of the Classic 212 bodybuilding contest line-up, or try to meet the man himself – he’s usually there to congratulate the competition winners.

arnoldsportsfestival.com (opens in new tab)

49. Ride through the Mountains of Heaven

WHERE Kyrgyzstan

PRICE From £2,675 Mount up and spend a fortnight following the route thousands of Silk Road traders have taken before you. The vast wilderness will make any job worries seem very far away indeed, and not just because you can’t get a phone signal.

wildfrontierstravel.com (opens in new tab)

50. Train like a Navy Seal in San Diego

WHERE USA

PRICE From £1,080

Think you’d make it as a SEAL, the US Navy’s most elite soldiers? Put your money where your mouth is and enrol for Camp Kokoro, the San Diego facility that’s used to get special ops candidates ready for the gruelling life. Absolutely no cocktails by the pool here.

sealfit.com (opens in new tab)

 

Matt Huckle

Matt joined Men’s Fitness in April 2014 as features writer after spending several years writing for a luxury lifestyle magazine, swapping champagne and canapés for cardio and leg days.

Matt is a keen Thai boxer and his interest in fitness took off when he made the decision to compete semi-professionally and had to get in shape. Training aside, he says the worst thing about fighting is resisting the urge to apologise all the time. 

Oh, and he’s still on the look out for a decent fight nickname after being told ‘The Best’ was reaching a little bit…

Favourite move: Any kind of squat variation

Favourite sport: MMA and Muay Thai kickboxing

Personal best: Competing in a semi-pro K1 bout

Targets: Sub-1hr 40m half marathon and winning a fight by KO

Scariest MF moment: Writing about myself in the third-person for this profile

Favourite MF website story: Spider-Man workout (opens in new tab)

Favourite trainer quote: ‘Hands up, chin down’ – every striking coach ever

Biggest gym crime: Avoiding the weights and sticking to the treadmill