I’m not a skier. I actually fall over fairly often when I’m on dry land, so the thought of hurtling down a mountain on two planks with a pair of poles for balance really sounds pretty treacherous. However, nor am I one to shy away from a bit of fresh air, so as the snow eventually melts across Europe, we’ve started to turn our focus to activity-based trips in the great outdoors.
Last year, the Travelzoo team visited Kitzbühel, Austria, during the late summer and although we were far too busy thrashing around ideas in a conference room, the hills called to us through the picture windows. There are more than 1000 kilometres of hiking trails, making this by far the most popular sport in the area. Start with a gentle stroll around Lake Schwarzsee or tackle the Kitzbüheler Horn climb (taking comfort in the fact that there’s a cable car if it all looks a bit too much). The tourist board even offers free guided tours of the area and beyond -- including the craggy Wilder Kaiser mountain range. There are also 800 kilometres of mountain bike trails in the area and the KitzAlpBike mountain festival of cycling and marathons is taking place on 26 June for the serious lycra junkie.
For something slightly more sedate, the Italian lakes should be high on your hitlist. The gentle foothills around Lake Como are perfect for leisurely strolls around the shore, or you can splash around in the shallows. Head to lakeside hub Menaggio for watersports, golf or horse riding. All of this and more is possible at Lake Garda, where you’ll also be able to windsurf around Torbole’s rocky harbour and walk or take the cable car up to Monte Baldo to survey the scene.
Closer to home, the Lake District is the UK’s second most popular tourist destination after London and covers 885 square miles across Cumbria. It is home to 16 lakes and England’s five tallest mountains and there are plenty of activities, ranging from extensive hiking trails and assault courses to open-water swimming, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing on Lake Windermere.
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