Friday, June 14, 2024
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Playing it cool!

Travel Editor Frank Baldwin takes us on a whistle-stop tour of some of the ‘cool’ places for sports lovers to take a holiday.

July 2023 was the planet’s hottest month on record and headlines from around the world highlighted how climate change has turned popular tourist destinations into ‘hot spots’ in an unwelcome way.

In some countries, holiday makers had to be evacuated when forest fires broke out, and elsewhere high temperatures made it almost unbearable for sunbathing, let alone attempting any sporting activities.

For those of you who prefer to take part in some kind of activity during your well-earned breaks, here are a few suggestions for off-the-beaten-path summer holidays where you can still stay cool.

Alpine activities: Head for the shaded forests, alpine meadows, dramatic peaks, and scintillating glaciers of Best of the Alps destination Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. During the summer season, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountaineering, and paragliding. You can hike to the impressive Mer de Glace – ‘Sea of Ice’ – of if you prefer, take the cog railway, tram, or cable car.

Backpacking: Hike over high mountain passes and through pristine wilderness during a five-day backpacking trip through America’s North Cascades National Park in Washington State. It is a chance to get away from it all staying in a remote lodge on Lake Chelan with no road access and then return to civilisation by boat.

Big Sky adventures: In Big Sky, Montana, visitors can hike to the stunning Ousel Falls or glacially carved Beehive Basin, raft or fly fish the clear waters of the Gallatin River and experience the adrenaline rush of lift-served mountain biking on 11,166-foot Lone Peak. The Wilson Hotel can be used as a basecamp from where to start your adventures.

A taste of Italy: The Langa and Monferrato regions of Piedmont are in one of the most important wine production areas in Italy and received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. Tourissimo’s Piedmont Barolo cycling tour will take you to the heart of these regions, over rolling hills covered with endless vineyards and past ancient castles and hidden hilltop hamlets.

Cycle across Japan: Ride & Seek offers a Samurai cycling tour that covers Shikoku Island, Noto and Mt. Fuji. Throughout the tour, guests will stay in a mix of Western-style hotels and traditional Japanese inns, known as Ryokans. Most of them have natural hot spring baths, perfect for relaxing your muscles after a day of cycling.

Glamping adventure: Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting and enjoy beautiful American scenery and wildlife while hiking through the Tetons mountain range in Wyoming. Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole offers luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units which are a short distance from Grand Teton National Park. An ideal basecamp for summer adventures.

Family rafting and riding: A three-day whitewater rafting and horseback-riding package from Montana-based Flying Pig Adventures offers families the opportunity to experience America’s famous Yellowstone National Park area like never before. Together you can enjoy the thrill of witnessing one of nature’s most iconic environments, while tackling rough terrain on horseback and running class III rapids.

Vinyard cycling tour: Escape Adventure’s 6-day Napa Valley cycling tour embraces the romantic landscape just north of San Francisco where the winding Russian River meets America’s dramatic Pacific coastline. Tours can be customised to take in a variety of wine tasting at vineyards and farms, while staying at old world-style hotels where you can unwind in the spas.



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