Health and fitness holiday ideas

By Mark Hodson, Sunday Times Travel Writer

If you’ve spent a lot of time recently cooped up at home (as most of us have), you may be craving a healthy holiday in the outdoors. Fitness, wellness, healthy eating, cycling and walking, yoga and mindfulness might all be part of what you’re seeking. Here are some of the best options, whether you’re travelling as a couple, alone, with friends or family.

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Active holidaysWellness retreatsSinglesFamilyPersonal development

Active holidays for couples

One of the most pleasant ways to do a cycling break is to have your luggage transferred between hotels while you freewheel through the countryside. Inntravel offers self-guided itineraries across Europe, from Denmark to Tuscany, or the chateaux-dotted hillsides of the Loire Valley. See more cycling holidays.

The Healthy Holiday Company has some great holidays for couples including gorgeous hotels in Europe and resorts where you can explore nature and indulge in luxury spa treatments.

Medical research has found that being by the sea brings major restorative benefits. For the ultimate seaside escape, combining peace and tranquility with blistering views, stay in a lighthouse, and let the sand between your toes and salty sea air work their magic.

The Greece specialists Sunvil suggest this gentle Activity and experience holiday on the island of Lemnos. The group size is limited to just six. Or enjoy a relaxing ski holiday staying at a catered chalet in the Alps.

In America, Scottsdale, Arizona is an exciting destination set in the beautiful Sonora desert, offering year-round sunshine along with endless opportunities for hiking, biking, golf and high-adrenalin sports such as canyoneering on the Salt River.

Wellness holidays

i-escape has a wonderful collection of spa hotels including Haus Hirt in the Austrian Alps and Euphoria Retreat in the Greek Peloponnese.

Yoga is a great way to train up your mind and body, without ending up exhausted and unable to enjoy the place you’re visiting. The warm sunshine of the Mediterranean makes a great location for a yoga break; try one of these yoga holidays.

The Healthy Holiday Company offers weight loss holidays while Fitscape will give you a personalised programme packed full of different outdoor pursuits. For high end pampering, try in:spa retreats which matches treatments and therapies with yoga and a personalised exercise programme.

You can really treat yourself with a wellness programme at some of the world’s most desirable hotels, including Chiva Som in Thailand and Niyama Private Islands in the Maldives.

Italy also has some wonderful spa hotels including Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa near Siena.

See our round-up of spa and wellness holidays for solo travellers.

Active trips for singles

If you’re single or just travelling solo, you’ll find loads of options. Check out these active holidays for single travellers by my colleague Cathy Winston.

You could climb Kilimanjaro in Africa. The Healthy Holiday Company has put together some exciting single-friendly experiences while the specialist operator Just You has some suggestions for active solo trips.

Family activity holidays

My colleague Amanda Statham is the expert on travel with kids and has put together this amazing collection of family activity holidays. You’ll find everything from an Aquadome in Jersey to wilderness skills in Swedish Lapland and a stay on a small working ranch in the American West.

Personal development holidays

Cortijo Romero offers week-long courses in mindfulness, tai chi and dance, set in a beautiful converted farmhouse in Andalucia.

Skyros has life-changing holidays in the Isle of Wight and at its original centre on the Greek Island of Skyros where it offers a range of ideas including creative writing holidays. See its month by month guide. Getting to the Isle of Wight is easy and fun: Wightlink operates more than 100 daily ferry crossings from Portsmouth and Lymington with journey times from 22 minutes.

Last updated: 7 June 2022

Before you book

Travel restrictions have been lifted by the UK, but some other countries still have measures in place. Check the latest government travel advice.