If you enjoy an active lifestyle, have been working hard to get into shape for your holiday or simply aren’t the sort of person who enjoys relaxing on a beach, don’t despair. A family holiday in Aquitaine, on France’s West Coast, offers plenty of opportunity to keep yourself fit, healthy and active.
One of the benefits of a holiday is that we can enjoy things at a slower pace. This allows us more time to acknowledge our surroundings and appreciate the simple things. In Aquitaine there are 3,730 miles of marked footpaths that cross a diverse range of walking routes. These include the Sentiers d’ Emilie and you can buy guides for these routes in bookshops and some tourist Information shops. A day of walking might take you along coastal paths, through vineyards and forests or even into the Pyrenees Mountains.
Cycling is popular across France and there have been considerable efforts to make it easier for people to explore France using pedal power. In Aquitaine there are 1,240 miles of cycle tracks and mountain bike trails, which are graded in terms of difficulty. Around the Arcachon Basin, disused railway lines have been converted into smooth, flat cycle routes which are great for family cycling. More passionate cyclists should look out for Velo Cycling Circuits which are longer routes.
The Dune du Pyla is Europe’s largest sand dune and an impressive landmark on France’s south west coast. One of the best ways to experience this dune is to run and jump off the top, then get a bird’s eye view, as you float above the sands and sea on a hand glider.
Another enjoyable way to explore the Aquitaine region is on horseback. There are lots of riding schools offering treks in Aquitaine, along with bridleways that mean you can avoid riding on public roads. One of the most popular areas for horse riding is the forests of Landes.
Home to some of Europe’s finest golf courses, Aquitaine is ideal for golf enthusiasts. There are around 50 golf courses in the region, many of which offer the opportunity to pay and play. Depending on the course you pick, you could be teeing off with impressive views of the Atlantic, putting close to vineyards or scoring a hole in one in the shade of a woodland.
If you’ve been inspired by the summer Tennis events, you may be keen to practice your volley and serve. Many of the Carisma campsites //www.carisma.co.uk/campsites.html include tennis courts, which can be reserved for set periods of time. You can often hire racquets and balls on-site too, although you may choose to bring your own.
All ages and abilities are encouraged to take part in sports. In France, the Handisport.org website gives details on accessibility, specialist equipment and instructors that make it possible for people with disabilities to take part. You can also contact individual activity centres to find out about specific activities for different age groups.
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