Explore the great outdoors on an active holiday

Touring holidays are often seen as a purely sedentary activity, travelling around by coach from place to place with little in the way of physical exertion. But there are a host of active tours and adventure holidays that challenge this perception, exploring the world by bicycle, on foot or by any number of other land or water-based modes of transport.

An active tour is a great way to experience the great outdoors while keeping fit, with an emphasis on fresh air, off-the-beaten-track adventure and spectacular scenery. And you’re not limited to travelling in an escorted group, with a number of tour operators that specialise in self-guided holidays. Here are just a few of our favourites...

Self-guided walking tours

A self-guided walking tour is a great way to travel the world at your own pace, while still enjoying the benefits of having your route planned out and your accommodation arranged in advance. You'll be provided with maps, insider tips and the financial protection of a package tour, with the freedom to linger longer in the places that interest you, and skip the ones that don’t. Headwater are specialists in self-guided tours, with options ranging from UK short breaks exploring the Jurassic Coast to a week-long walk along Spain’s famous Camino de Santiago. Adventure experts Explore! also have a great choice of self-guided tours, including trips to Portugal’s unspoilt south west and Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast.

Cycling tours

Travelling on two wheels allows you to cover more ground than a walking tour, and the level of exercise can be as vigorous or as gentle as you like. Headwaters self-guided itineraries are a popular choice, with tours such as a 6-night jaunt around Norway’s scenic Oslofjord, visiting quaint villages and picturesque little harbours en route. For something a little more exotic, how about a two-week trip to Mongolia with Exodus, cycling across the starkly beautiful steppe and spending your nights camped in a traditional ger. Or if you’re feeling really brave, why not take on the challenge of the ‘world’s most dangerous road’ in Bolivia on Bamba Experience’s adrenaline-pumping Death Road Adventure.

Hiking and trekking tours

While a walking tour is plenty of exercise for some, there are many travellers who seek something a little more challenging. Our partners offer a whole host of hiking and trekking holidays, taking on famous peaks such as Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc. If you’ve always dreamed of exploring the Himalayas then G Adventures have the perfect trip for you, with a 17-night trek around Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, visiting remote villages amongst some of the world’s highest mountains. And even well-known trekking destinations have less explored routes, such as Bamba Experience’s Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, said by many travellers to be even more spectacular than the Inca Trail.

Kayaking tours

Take to the water and you’ll gain a different perspective on the world’s top adventure destinations, paddling along dramatic rivers and exploring secluded coastlines. Budget-focused group tour specialist Intrepid have a range of ‘Hike, Bike & Kayak’ tours, including a 9-night Borneo adventure where you’ll cycle between local homestays, climb mighty Mount Kinabalu and kayak amongst the stunning surroundings of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. On the other side of the globe, G Adventures offer a unique way of exploring the vibrant ecosystems of Costa Rica, on an 8-night kayaking adventure that takes you along the canals of Tortuguero National Park in search of monkeys, sloths and turtles.

Winter activity tours

Winter in the world’s more northerly latitudes provides the backdrop to a gamut of snow-based activities, exploring thick forests and bleak tundra in search of Arctic wildlife and the shimmering Northern Lights. Exodus have an extensive programme of tours to Finland, including trips that focus on activities such as snowshoeing, dog-sledding and cross-country skiing. A trip to a wintry destination is particularly appealing for families, and Explore!’s portfolio includes a fantastic Family Slovakia Winter Adventure where you’ll get to experience winter pursuits including snow tubing, night sledging and ice skating.

With such a range of innovative and exciting trips on offer, there really is a touring holiday to suit everyone, however active you like to be on your travels. Spend some time exploring the TourHound website and you’re guaranteed to find an active holiday that fits the bill - simply Search, Compare, Select.

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