10 of the best activity holidays worldwide: readers’ travel tips


Winning tip: Via ferrata and more, French Alps

For climbing and scrambling with a twist head to Le Bourg-d’Oisans in the French Alps south-east of Grenoble. Stay in one of the many campsites (Le Château de Rochetaillée is excellent) before finding La Montagne Sports shop in town who will kit you out for €10 per day with everything you need for the area’s seven spectacular via ferrata routes. On another day, head an hour’s drive west to Alpes du Grand Serre and experience the thrill of scrambling, climbing and traversing along rock, over a raging river and coming out at the top into a beautiful alpine meadow with rosy cheeks and a spring in your tired step. If you enjoyed this, head next to Cascade de la Fare in Vaujany, just half an hour north of Le Bourg. This is a step up and includes two long bridges over a ravine and an ascent to a waterfall with sensational views.
Karen Abell

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print, and the best entry each week (as chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet) wins a £200 voucher from hotels.com. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Peru with altitude

Hikers looking at lake, Ausangate, Willkanuta mountain range, Andes, Peru



Photograph: Matt Dutile/Getty Images

The Ausangate Circuit in Peru is no small undertaking. The circular trek peaks three times – each at over 5,000 metres – and is regarded as the highest trek in Peru. I completed the circuit at 16 and while fit, I was hardly a finely tuned athlete. But acclimatising to altitude is essential. You are rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery in the world – with plenty of glaciers and cobalt-blue lakes. It’s a five-night camping trip so it’s handy there are several hot springs en route for bathing. We travelled from Cusco having spent three days acclimatising there, taking a three-hour drive to the start of the trek (4,000 metres) in Tinqui. We went with Outlook Expeditions, who put us in touch with a local guide.
Freya

Cave-rafting with glow-worms, New Zealand

Couple standing underneath Glow Worm Sky in Waipu Cave, New Zealand



Photograph: Marcel Strelow/Getty Images

Lie back and enjoy the glow-worms, they said, and they were right. Black water rafting in the underground cave system in Waitomo, North Island, is such fun that once won’t feel like enough. We were guided through the caves in provided wetsuits, holding onto our rubber tyres as we zip-wired from one cave system to another. We then plunged into pools to float and glide effortlessly along the subterranean stream. And to top it off, looking up, it’s not stars that you see but hundreds of glow-worms shining brightly on the cave roof.
Tour from NZ$125 (around £65), waitomo.com
Paul

Iran desert trek

Stars Valley. Mountain range at Qeshm Island, Iran



Qeshm Island, Iran. Photograph: Getty Images

Last April, I enjoyed a trek in the central desert in Iran (Dasht-e Kavir) where, with a local guide, I encountered amazing scenery, lots of wild camels, lizards and mindblowingly stark, empty salt flats. I camped and stayed in local hotels in the oases with their pistachio nut shrubs and roses and have never met such friendly people. I finished off the trip with a few days amid the empty beaches, mangroves, salt caves and gorges of Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz. The cost of the trip, through Tehran-based Adventure Iran, was £495pp for six days, food, guide and transfers. I am going back soon, further south, to visit the Lut desert, which has a claim to be the hottest place on Earth, having recorded over 70C.
Bernard Phelan

Canoeing in the Adirondacks, US

Canoeing in the St Regis Canoe Area of Adirondack State Park



Photograph: Leon Werdinger/Alamy

Last summer, with my husband, I went on a road trip in the States. We had hoped to do lots of hiking, but we arrived in the middle of a 35C heatwave, so we changed our plans. We contacted Regis Canoe Outfitters, on the Saranac River (New York state), and spent the next three days canoeing around lakes and creeks, interspersed with lengthy dips to cool ourselves down. At night, we listened to the croaking of frogs from one of the many free wild camping spots. The camping sites are free, but designated, and are generally first come, first served. If you get lucky, you can have your own private island for the night, at zero cost. True bliss and so much better than hiking in the stifling heat.
Canoe hire for three days $52, canoeoutfitters.com
Bree

Running in the Azores

Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro, Flores island.



Poço Ribeira do Ferreiro, Flores island. Photograph: Sara

Last November, I ran the Extreme West Atlantic Trail race in Flores island in the Azores. The route, on a hard hiking trail, stretches 36km through mountainous terrain. The morning mist lifting in the volcanic crater lakes, the spectacular waterfalls, the dense forest and the old brick walkways and dry-stone walls gave the sense of a place lost in time. I stayed on the west coast of the island (the most western point in Europe), in Casas da Cascata (doubles from €70), a beautiful stone house under a waterfall.
Sara

Cycling in South Korea

Cycling by the Seongsudaegyo Bridge Hangang river, Seoul, South Korea



Photograph: Getty Images

Cycling the Four Rivers route from Seoul to Busan is a glorious trip along 600km of generally flat cycle path and quiet country roads covering the length of the country. Accommodation is cheap and plentiful with options from camping to hotels. We found local people to be extremely welcoming, even if you can’t speak Korean. Food was cheap and plentiful and the mountainous scenery was stunning. Taken at your own pace it’s as painful or relaxing as you want it to be, and the best way to see this gem of a country. Summer mosquitos mean autumn and spring are the best times to make the trip, excellent for foliage and wild flowers, too.
Ben

Swimming off Montenegro

Woman swimming in Kotor Bay on sunny day



Photograph: Getty Images

I took a six-night swim trip with Strel in warm turquoise waters taking in the Gulf of Kotor, the stunning Plava Spilja (Blue Grotto) and in Yugoslavian submarine tunnels. Between swims there is the chance to do some great walks through historical towns (brilliant bay views from Vrmac hill town) and small islands. There was boat escort, swimming guides and coaches and breakfast and lunch included.
From €860, strel-swimming.com
Jenny Mayne

Kayaking off Crete’s west coast

A sea kayaker off Elafonisi, south-west Crete



Photograph: Alamy

We spent 10 days kayaking around the rugged western shores of this beautiful island. Viglia beach, just west of Kissamos town, was our starting point and we finished 110 miles later at Agia Galini (near Matala on the south coast). We were totally self-sufficient for food and water and wild-camped on beaches. Marble-like majestic rocks rose vertically above us as we cut through the vivid deep blue waters. Occasional strong winds and choppy waters added to our sense of adventure as we paddled along this dramatic coastline with its secluded coves and serene beaches. We hired kayaks from Stelios through Enjoy Crete. He does a drop-off and pick-up service (wherever you end up).
€1,100 with guide and all transport and equipment. Without a guide, 10 days’ rental is €250 but to do this trip equivalent to British Canoe level 4 is required, enjoy-crete.com
Ruth E

Mountain boarding, Gower peninsula

Mountain boarding in the Gower Peninsula with BRD Sports


We took 10 family members aged five to 60 mountain boarding, which is a bit like snowboarding but with four wheels, next to the 14th-century ruins of Weobley Castle and the famous Llanrhidian salt marsh. Here, the 200 metres of sloping grassland overlooking Loughor estuary are ideal terrain. It was so exhilarating and breathtaking – fun but physical! Lessons and sessions offered for all; from beginners to advanced. Next on the agenda was surfing at Caswell Bay. Magical. BRD Sports offers mountain boarding lessons on the Gower from £25 each, or £40 for small groups.
brdsports.co.uk
Anna



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