Like to work up a sweat when you’re on holiday? Opt for one of these exciting destinations where you can combine beautiful sights with some of the world’s most adrenaline-pumping experiences.
Instead of turning to a boring old hotel gym or doing as most do and just forgoing fitness entirely, why not kill two birds with one stone on your next holiday? The Bucket List Burner pinpoints twelve destinations – one for each month of the year – that will not only scratch your itch to travel but showcase activities that represent fun ways to burn calories.
The Polar Night half marathon in Tromsø, Norway
Best time to visit: January – The Polar Night half marathon will next take place on January 4, 2020
Steps in the journey: 39,996
Local food or drink to try: Krumkake
This half marathon takes place every January, when northern Norway is met with perpetual darkness around the clock. Under a blanket of black sky, the race occurs in the middle of the day and follows a 13.1 mile course starting in Storgata and winding around the island. The highlight, however, is the opportunity to watch the spectacular Northern Lights throughout the run.
Ski in the Vallée Blanche in Chamonix, France
Best time to visit: February – For guaranteed excellent snow conditions
Steps in the journey: 54,000
Local delicacy to try: Raclette
Famed as the home to one of the longest ski runs in the world, The Vallée Blanche (White Valley) is a route situated on the Mont Blanc range within the French Alps. Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak and proceed through the ice gate. Once on the slopes, travellers will be gifted fantastic views of Mont Blanc and beyond into Italy, France and Switzerland. The journey ends in the town centre of Chamonix, which is packed with cosy spots where you can re-energise.
Walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Best time to visit: March – For mild weather and to beat the heavy summer crowds
Steps in the journey: 960,000
Local delicacy to try: Tortilla Española
Stretching hundreds of miles across the top of Spain and concluding at the tomb of the apostle St. James, the Camino de Santiago is a famous pilgrimage that attracts thousands of visitors each year. One of the most popular routes is the Camino Frances, which takes people on an epic 772-kilometre journey from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago. This particular route takes approximately one month to walk, requiring some itinerary time to be set aside. An especially popular adventure for those looking to do some soul-searching.
Hike Italy’s Cinque Terre
Best time to visit: April – For warm weather and quieter routes than during mid-summer, when the towns are swarming with crowds
Steps in the journey: 8,448
Local delicacy to try: Focaccia
Italy’s Cinque Terre on the north-western coast boasts one of the most picturesque coastlines the globe has to offer. Embark on a hike through five seaside, multi-coloured towns and miles of walking trails along narrow stone paths, beginning in the tiny commune of Corniglia and finishing in the ancient village of Vernazza. Filled with up-and-down climbs along the hilly coastal path, some portions of the hike are quite steep.
Hike the Perimeter of Uluru in Alice Springs, Australia
Best time to visit: May – It’s no surprise it can get very hot in Uluru – this is the desert after all – so visit during the autumn for temperatures in the mid-20s
Steps in the journey: 13,728
Local delicacy to try: Tim Tams
Also known as Ayer’s Rock, Uluru in Australia’s ‘Red Centre’ is an enormous red rock that gives the illusion it has erupted from the middle of the Australian desert. The Uluru Base Walk takes you on a 10.5-kilometre path around the full perimeter of the rock. Hikers will learn about the history of the site and the significance of Uluru to the local Anangu people as they walk. One of the world’s natural wonders, Uluru has been featured in Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions to visit in 2019.
Hike Through Yosemite National Park in California, USA
Best time to visit: June – The waterfall is at peak runoff
Steps in the journey: 15,206
Local delicacy to try: Trail Blazer
The United States west coast site is nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains and home to towering sequoia trees, waterfalls and abundant wilderness. Opt for the Yosemite Falls Hiking Trail and embark along the zigzagging path that scales 822 metres to the top of America’s tallest waterfall outside of Hawaii.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Best time to visit: July – it is best to visit outside of the rainy season
Steps in the journey: 103,448
Local delicacy to try: Nyoma Choma
Africa’s largest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is a dormant freestanding volcano in Tanzania that hits over 6000 metres at its peak. While there are a few different routes to choose from, the gradual slopes of the Rongai Route make it a popular choice for lesser-experienced hikers. The seven-day excursion begins gradually through corn and potato fields, onto the Lunar Desert and concludes at the summit of Uhuru.
Run a Marathon at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Best time to visit: August – The 6th Khmer Empire Marathon will be taking place on 4th August 2019
Steps in the journey: 52,400
Local delicacy to try: Fish Amok
Buried deep in the Siem Reap jungle is the world’s largest religious structure, Angkor Wat – a treasure trove of surviving Buddhist and Hindu temples. Spanning 400 square kilometres, the temple complex is so vast that there is space for an annual marathon on its holy ground. The 42-kilometre course runs through the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, passing nearly 40 ancient temples and village rice fields along the way, through to flourishing Cambodian forests.
Cycle ‘Death Road’ in Yungas, Bolivia
Best time to visit: September – This is the warmer end of Bolivia’s dry season
Steps in the journey: 711,480
Local delicacy to try: Silpancho
Accurately titled, ‘Death Road’ is a narrow single-track bordered by mountain on one side and sheer cliff-faces on the other. Sparse barricades are the only thing preventing one from going over the edge, making the excursion ideal for thrill-seekers. Cycling the Yungas route entails a 4,650-metre climb above sea level, followed by a 1,000-metre descent. Fortunately, the notorious route is not as dangerous as its reputation suggests now, thanks to an alternative route being opened for trucks to use.
Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains, Peru
Best time to visit: October – For dry conditions and comfortable temperatures
Steps in the journey: 54,912
Local delicacy to try: Cuy al Horno
Inca citadel Machu Picchu is set high in the Andes mountains, shrouded by mist and lush vegetation. While there are other ways to get to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail is by far the most spectacular. The four-day excursion is one of the most iconic treks in the world and takes hikers on a four-day excursion through the Andes mountains, the Amazonian cloud forest and past other historic ruins.
Hike the Great Wall of China from Jiayuguan to Shanhaiguan
Best time to visit: November – To avoid the exhausting heat of the summer and cold of the winter
Steps in the journey: 47,000
Local delicacy to try: Xiaolongbao
A non-continuous structure, the Great Wall of China breaks off into different empires, extending as far south as Henan. While it is possible to walk the entire stretch, it will take approximately ten months to complete. There are, however, a number of different – shorter – hikes to choose from. The two-day walk from Hexi Village to Gubeikou and Panlong is a great option for those who enjoy country hiking, spanning an appealingly-rugged section of the wall. On day one, head up Wohu Mountain to the guard towers to admire the view before spending the night in Hexi and setting out along the Panlong stretch on day two.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Best time to visit: December – This is Rwanda’s dry season
Steps taken: 10,560
Local delicacy to try: Ubugali
Listed as one of Luxury Travel‘s top places to visit in 2019, Volcanoes National Park is one of the last remaining places on earth where visitors can sight mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The magnificent animals are located close to the entrance of the park, meaning trekkers do not need to go very far to catch a glimpse. However, the entire walk is around 8 kilometres, with trekking poles in place to help tourists navigate the muddy, sometimes steep, terrain.
For more information on these adventures including how many calories each burns, see the Bucket List Burner.