Escapes with a side of sport

Four relaxing breaks that are good for players and spectators alike...

Even if your interest in sport is fleeting at most, you’re probably aware that the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to start this summer (23rd July, to be exact).

While we’d describe our own athletic abilities as similar to Homer Simpson (we, too, are happiest on the couch with a doughnut), all this sports talk has left us feeling inspired to get out there and try something new – and preferably somewhere out of the UK.

Our solution? Four holidays that scratch that sporting itch while still providing all the trademarks of a brilliant break: relaxing surroundings, mouth-watering food and ample sundowner opportunities. We hate to mention The List That Will Not Be Named, but make sure to take into account the most up to date travel advice before booking any of the below. 

So, whether you fancy surfing in Morocco, cycling through the Tuscan countryside, or waving a racket around in the French mountains, let us indulge your sporting side with our list of active escapes. All you need to supply is the up-and-go.

Cycling holiday: Fontelunga Hotel and Villas, Italy

Images by Mason Rose Photography

There are loads of reasons why Tuscany tops many travellers’ bucket lists – and at least five of them can be found at Fontelunga. The 19th century red-brick villa looks over Cortona (yep, the one from 2003’s Under the Tuscan Sun) and offers a beautiful blend of traditional Tuscan details with airy, modern fittings. So far, so dreamy. Tuscany is, of course, all about the countryside. So, while you can get your sporty fix on the olive-lined tennis courts or splashing out a few laps in the sun-warmed pool, by far the best way to explore the surrounding valley is by mountain bike – which you can rent from the hotel’s reception. We’ll leave the route up to you, but make sure to wheel into some of the incredible local wineries (Cantina is one that immediately springs to mind) to sample the local produce – in the name of research, of course. Doubles from £175 per night.

Tennis holiday: Maison Françoise, France

If Wimbledon has left you feeling inspired to pick up a racket (or Matteo Berrettini, we’re not fussy), a tennis holiday might be right up your street – or montagne, as is the case at Maison Françoise. It’s an ancient wine barn that’s been converted into a large, stonewalled villa – and the views of the surrounding lavender-lined Languedoc Valley are nothing shy of incredible. Take your tennis to the courts or the tables – both are provided for onsite – and once you’ve perfected your backhand, you can collapse onto the long table looking out over the lavender with un verre (ou une bouteille) de vin. On Saturdays, make sure to head to nearby Carcassonne to graze on bread and cheese at the Medieval city’s weekly food market. From £5000 for the week.

Watersports Holiday: Peligoni Club, Greece

No, you haven’t stumbled onto the filming set for Mamma Mia: this is the Peligoni Club, a family-friendly resort that’s anything but uncool. There’s a clubhouse vibe thanks to the Caribbean beach bar and blue-and-white striped details, but instead of individual rooms, each guest stays in their own honey stoned villa – some of which are a 15-minute, head-noddingly bumpy drive from the club’s main hub. To get your heart rate up, team Peligoni offer pretty much any watersport beginning with W – wakeboarding, windsurfing, waterskiing and the like – while the more relaxed among the party can slink off to neighbouring Agios Nikolais for a coffee or beer, depending on the time of day. Plus, its location on the un-touristy north side of the island means it’s surprisingly peaceful, too. Villas from £2500 per week.

Surfing Holiday: Surf Maroc, Morocco

Images by Surf Maroc

If surfing is even vaguely your thing, head to Morocco. The country’s curvy coastline means that it gets decent waves year-round – something that Surf Maroc takes full advantage of. The surf school and lifestyle destination is made up of four sites dotted around Taghazout – which is known for being Morocco’s surf capital. Beginners and experts are catered for, as are yogis, thanks to the school’s extensive yoga programme (Vinyasa on the beach? Sign us up). To stay, we’re fans of Amouage’s eclectic interiors and infinity pool looking out over the waves… ok, and the cocktail menu at the in-house bar is pretty brilliant, too. From £245.