The Mediterranean region is renowned for its warming sunshine, sleepy siestas and belt-busting meals, but did you know that many of the islands in the area boast a huge array of sporting activities? If you prefer your holidays to come with a dose of adrenaline, read on to see where you could be heading this summer in pursuit of a fun activity break.
People who are not afraid to try something new on holiday will be welcome in Malta, as the country provides activities from the air-based to the underwater. Rock climbing and caving are particularly popular among visitors and locals alike, and you can test out your skills one some of the 1,300 climbing routes dotted around the Maltese archipelago, which comprises the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.
As well as traditional rock climbing, you could also give bouldering a go. This is a type of climbing that is done without a rope for very short ascents with a bouldering mat placed underneath for safety. There is also deep water soloing practised on sea cliffs at high tide, sea level traversing – the act of getting from one part of a cliff to another by way of a horizontal wire – and abseiling, all of which are popular in Malta.
The Balearic Islands – Ibiza, Menorca, Formentera and Majorca are home to some thrilling sporting activities, including horse riding. Hire a car in Mallorca to explore the mountainous terrain and stop off at one of the many stables to go out on a hack with a four-legged companion.
Canter along the white sandy beaches first thing in the morning and watch the sun rise on the horizon, or trek through the hazy forests with your horse. If the heat is getting too much, ride up through the Tramuntana mountains for a cool, refreshing way to see Mallorca’s beautiful scenery. Stop for a large plate of sizzling paella at one of the isolated restaurants way up in the hills.
On this large Greek island of Kefalonia or Cephalonia, it is all about the watersports. But you can get away from the ‘rubber doughnut’ and ‘banana boat’ end of the scale with a chilled sea kayaking session. This is a low-stress way of exploring Kefalonia’s gorgeous coastline and azure waters, and once you progress from beginner level you will be ready to go out on an expedition.
Paddle for around 25km a day and you can check out tiny coves, complex limestone cave networks and isolated beaches. Make sure you bring your snorkel with you so that you can have a quick dip in the shallows and look for the myriad colourful creatures that live beneath the waves.
Hiking is the name of the game here in Sicily, and with good reason – the island contains a lush patchwork quilt of national parks, majestic mountains and cool beech forests.
The best time to go is in spring, when the weather is cool and wild flowers start to cover the meadows. Head to the Parco Regionale dei Nebrodi for unspoilt beauty and a lovely walk around the lake.