I’m not averse to exercise, but the thought of a full-on activities holiday daunted me. I was petrified every one else was going to be a hardcore sports nut and it would be impossible for me to keep up. Contrary to my fears, it really was enjoyable, proving you don’t need to be an Olympian to have a good time. So stop making excuses.
I tried a handful of adventures on offer to get the adrenaline flowing!
I hiked and mountain biked on both Malta and Gozo, and I make absolutely no apologies for preferring Gozo for both activities. There are fewer cars, better ocean views, and easier routes. Cycling on Gozo was pretty straight forward, even for a nervous cyclist like me. You can make it up to the top of the cliffs and down across the saltpans. It’s got to be one of the best ways to see the island.
Make sure you visit the Azure Window: a natural window on the west side of Gozo, the last remnant of ancient underwater caves and currently nominated for one of the 8 Wonders of the World by VirtualTourist.com. If you’re an about-town cyclist like me, then I’d make sure you check your route carefully before cycling on Malta. We went on a 2-3 hour trip, which although promised as ‘mostly downhill’ took us up to the highest point on the island. Getting down from there involves an incredibly steep hill, which maxed out my brakes and lead me to crash into a wall in order to stop. Whilst my lack of cycling knowledge is entirely to blame, I was pretty shaken up and it spoiled the rest of the route for me. If, like me, you’re a bit nervous, just make sure you know where you’re going before you set off and jump off and push if things get too hairy to handle.
My favourite activity of the entire trip had to be the sea kayaking. I am an absolute sea virgin: I had never swum in the sea before (beach holidays aren’t the best if you have the attention span of a goldfish). Add this to my pitiful upper body strength and no one could have predicted that an inflatable kayak on a windy day would be my idea of a good time.
We were taken out by Andrew from MC Adventure and driven to a sheltered part of Malta where we inflated two person kayaks (sturdier than they sound) and spent an hour trying to navigate around the bay. I’m not going to admit to quite how many times there was an incident between us and a bigger, sturdier, anchored boat. It was the most fun I had on the whole trip, and laughed so hard that my ribs hurt far more than my arms. I recommend it whole-heartedly, and would go back just to do it again. If you don’t fancy kayaking, then there are a host of other water-based options including snorkelling, sea-level traversing, soloing, as well as rock-climbing and abseiling.
In the interests of full disclosure, I wouldn’t pay to go on an active holiday just to go exercise mad. But I’ve never considered seeking out these kinds of activities before and I definitely would now. Who knows what activities lay just around the corner in my usual holiday spots?
If you’re looking for a place with sunshine and beaches, but like me, you’ve got a low boredom threshold for being still-like-broccoli then this is something certainly worth looking out for. If I haven’t managed to persuade you that endorphins are your friend, then hand on for my next feature where I’ll tell you all about the less physically challenging options.