John hernandez IL f B Bn F GU unsplash

A Piece of the Action - Great Ideas For Active Breaks - Inspiration

There's nothing better than engaging in your favourite activity in an idyllic setting. If you fancy jumping into the saddle (either on wheels or on the hoof), teeing off for a challenge or taking the helm on the high seas, we've got you covered. By Megan Dickson


East of Puerto Rico, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, you’ll find the 60 islands, cays and islets of the British Virgin Islands, lined with idyllic coves and bays, and simply pure nirvana when it comes to sailing. Even by the incredibly high Caribbean standards, British Virgin Islands (BVI) is next level: crystalclear seas and golden sands are backed up with a spectacular landscape (despite only covering 150sq km, BVI has just short of 30 National Parks). So, it’s easy to why the archipelago is a hotspot for nautical explorers wanting to combine a life on the ocean wave with a chance to hop off at interesting places.

You need only glance at the picturesque harbour in Tortola, the largest island, to realise BVI is a sailor’s paradise. In any given month, the seafront is awash with bopping white yachts, the BVIs’ popularity accredited to the year-round sun, steady winds and the relatively easy-to-navigate waters.

If experience is on your side, hop aboard a Sunsail bareboat charter. You can choose from five to 14 nights, with the option to hire a skipper if you prefer, and set sail to some of those national parks – one of the best is The Baths on Virgin Gorda, where geological wonders include the likes of house-sized granite boulders dotted across the sandy shoreline. Next, take anchor at Tortola’s Trunk Bay for a spot of snorkelling, where a 3m-long, 600kg leatherback turtle may well join you for a dip.

For total novices, a crewed, tailor-made charter with Helm is a solid choice. Map out Treasure Point Caves, Smuggler’s Cove, Deadman’s Bay and Dead Chest Island for a pirate-inspired sail – all of which add to the atmosphere of historic skulduggery that prevails here, helped along by the fact the infamous pirate Blackbeard is linked to the BVIs (and no matter whether he actually set foot here, the association captures the imagination). Back on land, take advantage of traditional flavours at Jost Van Dyke island, where fresh Anegada lobster – famed for being the best in the Caribbean – is washed down with plenty of rum.

If you want to round off your sunshine escape with a few days on terra firma, head to Long Bay Beach Resort, where you can admire the view from your waterfront room. There’s a seafood-forward restaurant housed inside a former 18th-century rum distillery that is worth a visit too. Or sleep directly over the water in one of the Marina Lofts at Bitter End Yacht Club – a haven for water sports fans and sun worshippers alike.


Travel Details


When it comes to the Danish capital, the terracotta roofs and vibrant facades of 17th-century houses that line the waterfront are as iconic as the superlative fresh ingredients and muchvaunted restaurants, so why not combine the two?

Considered the birthplace of the New Nordic movement, the culinary ideas that were brought to life here quickly became widely influential, and none more so than Noma’s. And even though it’s closing next year, its legacy will live on. With chefs Claus Meyer and René Redzepi at the helm, Noma honed in on local produce, hyper seasonality, sustainability and simplicity, leaving a three-Michelin star legacy and a fresh perspective on fine dining. Other restaurants – Høst, Jatak, Kadeau and the likes – followed suit, calling on fresh ingredients and old methods of baking, foraging, curing, smoking and pickling, to unite traditional practices and a forward-thinking mindset.

‘Considered the birthpalce of the New Nordic movement, the culinary ideas that were brought to life in Copenhagen quickly became widely influential. with all this expertise to call on, it make sense when visiting the city to try your hand at local kitchen skills'

With all this expertise to call on, anyone looking to visit the city to try their hand at local kitchen skills should set their sights on Hahnemanns Køkken, a bakery, emporium and cookery school in Copenhagen’s Østerbro district. Focusing on organic produce and sustainable-first food, owner Trine Hahnemann, who has penned 10 Nordic-leaning cookbooks, shares her passion for the Scandi kitchen and farm-to-table ethos during her classes (in English). Bake organic sourdough loafs, make crispy rye bread and craft flaky pastries under her guidance.

Meanwhile, award-winning Copenhagen Cooking Class pays tribute to Denmark’s northern region. Situated in the heart of the city, in a sleek and modern kitchen space, pick from a trio of the most popular classes – baking, smørrebrød making and the Nordic dinner class. Take specialist fish and meat masterclasses that will take your knife prowess up a notch, or try the Eat More Greens class that puts vegetable mainstays in the spotlight. The lesson finishes with a brief history of Denmark’s gastronomy and guidance on key restaurants to visit during your stay – start with Selma, whose daily-changing smørrebrød menu is dubbed the best in the city.

After, check in to boutique-inspired Brøchner Hotel SP34 in the Latin Quarter for minimalistic luxury – perfect for creatives and early risers alike. Or if you’re looking for Copenhagen’s only heated rooftop pool, the understated Villa Copenhagen has contemporary, art-filled spaces and great central location.

Ava coploff tc E9z Sc2 SU8 unsplash

Travel Details


Known for white-sand beaches, gemstone lagoons and mountainous volcanoes, natural beauty is a given in the Philippines. Yet, below the surface, warm tropical waters yield to reveal colourful reefs and huge shoals of shimmering fish that rival even the most luscious of landscapes.

Second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Apo Reef is a continuous atoll that covers around 34sq km and offers some of the best visibility (with reported depths of 50m). While there is debate among scientists as to exact numbers, there are an estimated 400 different coral species and over 400 variations of aquatic life here, including the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, green turtle, dugong and whale shark. The latter can reach lengths of 18m, and spotting the speckled backs of these gentle giants is a remarkable sight for any diver to behold.

While whale shark populations are largely under threat, coming face to fin with whitetip and blacktip reef sharks is quite common here, as is the sight of the ever-imposing rays that come hurtling overhead. The shallow waters remain a relatively untouched playground for fish and lionfish, clownfish, striped surgeonfish, fivestripe wrasse and Bleeker’s parrotfish, which form a brightly coloured patchwork over the corals. To top it all, the dramatic drop-off point at the edge of the reef, plunging to a 30m channel, is enough to stop even a seasoned diver in their tracks.

The adjacent Coron Bay – an underwater graveyard for ship wrecks – is guaranteed to excite history buffs too. Cited as the best site for wreck diving in Southeast Asia, the skeletal remains of at least ten well-preserved Second World War Japanese ships are littered across the ocean floor in almost-unbelievable close proximity. For those who dare, making your way through the
sunken passageways, boiler rooms and cabins of these vessels of war is a thrill not easy to forget. Among the most popular sites, Irako, Akitsushima and Okikawa Maru are standout wrecks.

Pair a PADI-approved excursion from the Filipino-owned Umali Dive Center Corporation, who will cover trips both to Coron and Apo Reef with a stay at Aman’s, the jungle-fringed private island resort of Amanpulo.

A little further afield, on the teardrop-shaped Apo Island, check in to Atmosphere Resort & Spa – a PADI diving resort – for uninterrupted beachfront views, premium pool suites and a seafood-centric menu.

John hernandez IL f B Bn F GU unsplash

Travel Details


The choppy waves, rugged coastline and dramatic cliffs of Ireland’s west coast have served as muse to painters, poets and everyone in between – for millennia. Known as the Wild Atlantic Way, this jagged passage of untamed beauty stretches 2,500km, from Inishowen Peninsula in the northern county of Donegal and wrapping around to the south-westerly point of Kinsale in County Cork, enveloping grasslands, limestone cliffs and fishing villages.

While the centre of The Wild Atlantic Way may not be an obvious starting point, a seven-day biking tour with West Ireland Cycling compresses a vast amount of unspoilt scenery into the itinerary. Skip the transfer from Dublin and, instead, spend a few days in the lively coastal town of Galway. From traditional pubs, vibrant markets and artisan producers, fine produce is on the doorstep. With a name that translates to ‘from the west’, Aniar restaurant, in Galway’s West End, looks to foraged ingredients and local farms to fashion their contemporary Irish table (pictured, above). Aniar uses what is fresh that day, so expect to be served the likes of – surprisingly delicious – seaweed-infused desserts.

Pitstop complete, put pedal to power north out of Galway and head past fields of grazing sheep, historic castles and ancient forests to the wilds of Connemara. Marvel at Ireland’s only fjord, Killary Harbour, before catching a ferry to the Aran Islands for some serious off-grid cycling. Back on the mainland, complete the trail, passing iconic sites such as the Cliffs of Moher, the fossil-covered Burren and 3,000-yearold Poulnabrone Dolmen monument.

For a point-to-point journey, look to Wilderness Ireland’s 14-day programme. Crossing eight counties and three national parks, the 875km tour begins down south at Mizen Head and zig-zagsnorth to Malin Head. En route, expect to take miles of beautiful countryside, secret beaches, sea stacks and natural archways in your stride – and keep an eye out for seals, dolphins and puffins. On the food front, with the fresh North Atlantic Sea to your left and lush green pastures to your right, there’s plenty of opportunity to sample the very best of Ireland along the way: shuck oysters, try hand-dived scallops and savour pan-fried hake – you’ll never be too far from a friendly pub either.

Great Western Greenway Blacksod Bay Co Mayo master1

Travel Details


As the home of the European Tour, the season-ending DP World Tour Championship and the famed Dubai Desert Classic, Dubai has been making its way onto golf bucket lists for some time.

The biggest names in golf from Seve Ballesteros to Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy have not only played here, but many more also have courses. Ernie Els, Sir Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjørn and even Woods is adding his name to the list. Best of all, the compact nature of Dubai, means you can easily fit several rounds at different courses into one stay.

For all-in-one packages, try Address Montgomerie. This 107-hectare estate not only features great golf but also houses sleek suites, a palm-fringed pool and indulgent spa. Time saved from slumber to green is best spent admiring Dubai’s imposing skyscrapers, which frame the horizon.

Across the city, you’ll find one of the ‘top places in the world to golf’, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club is a draw for golfers in the know, created in collaboration with golfing expert Thomas Bjørn. Dock here for lush fairways, a sail-shaped club house, exceptional 18-hole, par-71 course, plus six on-site restaurants serving international cuisine. Delve deeper into Emirati flavours with Al-Fanar Restaurant & Café across three locations.

Those looking to test their skills can tee off at Jumeirah Golf Estates and Country Club, where two courses are the brainchild of Greg Norman. The Earth Course has been the setting for the DP World Tour Championship since 2009, while the Fire Course battles against the elevated desert terrain fora challenging yet rewarding round.

10th Hole 4

Travel Details


France is not the first place that springs to mind when you picture flamingos – or bulls, for that matter – yet you’ll find both in the Camargue Regional Natural Park, just south of the Roman city of Arles. A Unesco Biosphere Reserve, the park sits above the Mediterranean basin, between two arms of the Rhône River Delta, stretching for over 85,000 hectares. From salt marshes to lagoons and moors, the varied terrain makes for unique wildlife encounters – including flamingos, bulls and white Camargue horses, some of which still gallop freely across the wetlands. Others are domesticated, offering the chance to ride across the plains with reallife ‘cowboys’. Cue the Bon family, ranchers who have occupied Le Mas de Peint Estate for generations. In their honey-hued farmhouse turned hotel, 18th-century details can be traced in exposed beams, sandstone floors and restored furniture across the eight rooms, with a pool and 500 hectares of land to explore beyond. With expert guides, you’ll hack through the salt marshes on a Camargue horse to encounter the bulls – more skilled riders can join the ranchers for a traditional bull round-up. After, three courses at the restaurant are a must: feast on local beef, red, slightly nutty Camargue rice and fresh seafood plucked off the nearby shoreline.

No experience? Escape to family-owned Auberge Cavalière du Pont des Bannes, where help is on hand to put boot to stirrup, riding through lagoons into the sunset. Back at base, you’ll share your private terrace with grey herons – be sure to pack your binoculars to spot the millions of migrating birds that flock here in spring too.

Balade cheval plage camargue auberge cavaliere du pont des bannes 43

Travel Details

Get Premium access to all the latest content online

Subscribe and view full print editions online... Subscribe