Going for Gold on Holiday
It’s hard to get away from the hype for the biggest event of the British summer. So if you didn’t manage to get tickets and have settled on taking a holiday instead, why not have your own Olympic experience abroad? Some of the most popular holiday spots double up as the go-to places for athletes preparing for big events. So when the Games take over Britain you can still have your very own slice of the action.
Cycling in Tenerife
Mountainous Tenerife is a popular training spot for cycling teams preparing for competitions throughout the year. The higher climbs of Mount Teide National Park are perfect for altitude training, allowing athletes to squeeze every ounce of performance when competing at sea level. Whilst you may not be up to the standards of Bradley Wiggins and co., you can still enjoy a leisurely outing on the same routes they train on. Start the ascent to the base of El Teide in Puerto de la Cruz, from here cycle through ever changing scenery and picturesque mountain villages of the La Orotava Valley. The journey takes you through the lunar-esqe lava fields. When it’s finally time to head home, you’ll be delighted to hear it’s all downhill.
After a long day cycling up Mount Teide having somewhere to relax and unwind is essential. With the choice of eight swimming pools and a variety of plush spa facilities the Sandos San Blas Hotel in Golf del Sur will fit the bill. The hotel has a choice of gourmet restaurants to indulge in and direct access to the beach.
Sailing in Malta
The small Mediterranean island of Malta plays a major role in the sailing community and is a great holiday destination for any boating enthusiast. There are a number of harbours and marinas in Malta and its sister island Gozo, with many yacht owners using Malta as a place to berth in winter. Whether you take part or enjoy it as a spectator sport, you’ll find many sailing races and regattas taking place in Malta between April and November each year. The biggest offshore race is the Rolex Middle Sea Race which takes place in October –606 nautical miles, with boats starting at the Grand Harbour in Valetta on the central east coast, then sailing around the island of Sicily and returning back to Malta at sundown.
Where to Anchor
Stay at the nearby four star Cavalieri Hotel Malta in St Julian’s for amazing views of Spinola Bay (among the best places to eat out in Malta). The Cavalieri is just a short walk from the swish Portomaso harbour – one of Malta’s most modern and slick marinas.
Tennis in Majorca
Boasting two home-grown tennis legends, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya, it’s fair to say that Majorca is one of the world’s best places for fans of the sport. Pick up your racquet and head to one of its many public courts to soak up the Mediterranean sun and enjoy a few games. Visit the Paguera Tennis Centre, with its top-notch facilities; in the past it has seen Boris Becker and Steffi Graf visit for training. Or head to Manacor to try and catch a glimpse of Nadal practising in his home town. Try the Spanish variation of the sport known as padel tennis, just as much fun and adds a bit more variety to your trip (as well as impressing your friends back home!). Holidays to Majorca won’t disappoint if you’re looking to keep active with the family.
After the Match
The Bluebay Galatzo Hotel in Paguera is the ideal base for your sporty holiday, with its own tennis centre, wellness area and spa. There’s also a gym and a couple of pools to keep you in peak condition and massage services for aches and pains.
Football in Egypt
Not the first place that comes to mind when you think of Olympic football, yet football is one of the most played and watched sports amongst Egyptians. As a result many of the Red Sea’s resorts boast both private indoor and outdoor pitches. Sharm El Sheikh is home to a number of hard surface pitches within hotels, a public pitch can also be found close to town in the Na’ama Bay area. Play on the Sultan Gardens resort’s floodlit pitch and then head to the hotel’s Health Club afterwards, where they recommend a 15 minute post-football steam or sauna.
Stay and Play
The Sultan Gardens Resort has sporting facilities extensive enough to make most sports clubs envious. Stay here and enjoy the football on offer, but also treat yourself to learning to dive, play golf, tennis and volley ball. Of course the resort has excellent spa facilities for the post game warm down.
Windsufing in Lanzarote
Known as the island of eternal spring, in Lanzarote you won’t be able to use the excuse of the rain to stop you from training. Even if it did rain, it wouldn’t matter too much if you were perfecting your skills at one of the islands most popular sports – windsurfing. Las Cucharas in Costa Teguise is one of the best spots for windsurfing in Lanzarote, so much so that it plays host to the world championships. The beach is sheltered by jetties that provide excellent conditions for beginners, whilst advanced windsurfers will enjoy the shallow reef further out where waves can reach two or three metres high.
The Blue Sea Costa Teguise Gardens is only 800m from the beach so you won’t have far to walk after a hard day’s windsurfing. These large modern apartments have all you need to recuperate and are close to the town, which has some amazing restaurants to re-build your energy.
Beach Volleyball in the Algarve
When planning a holiday with sport in mind, being as close to the beach as possible offers a great many ways to get out and be active. Luckily beach volleyball mixes all the fun of the beach with a healthy dose of competitive exercise, and where better to try your hand at volleyball than on one of the 76 blue flag beaches in the Algarve? With 155km of coastline and more annual days of sunshine than California, the Algarve is the perfect backdrop for a game of Volleyball. The beauty of beach volleyball is that you don’t necessarily need a court to play. However if you do require a court head to the beaches of Praia do Carvoeiro, Praia da Rocha and Praia Da Falesia, where there are some excellent courts and surroundings to choose from.
Ball on the Beach
The Hotel Algarve Casino offers a beach side location in the heart of lively Praia Da Rocha and also has its own private volleyball court. The hotel is also perfectly located to get out on the golf course with several to choose from in the area.
Emma Frost Temp, Contributing author
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