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5 Unconventional Ideas for an Active Beach Holiday in Europe

June 18, 2021

Beach holidays don’t have to include watersports. From cycling along the coast in southern Italy to canyoning in Croatia and Sardinia, here are some great ideas for mixing an activity holiday with some beach time.



Adventure on the Croatian coast

Ideal for: families with children aged 10 and up, small groups of friends

This 4-night adventure holiday is one of our summer bestsellers and for good reason: great value, easy to reach from Split airport and fun activities that won’t take up the whole day, leaving you some downtime on the beach.

Omis is one of the best coastal locations for adventure activities in Europe, thanks to the impressive gorge where the Cetina river flows into the Mediterranean. Here at different sections along the canyon you can go white water rafting, canyoning, kayaking and even zipline from one side to the other while enjoying the spectacular views. The area is also popular with rock climbers and hikers.

What is the beach like?

Within easy walking distance of the hotel and town centre, the sandy beach is not as picturesque as some in Croatia, but is well-kept and clean, with views of Brac island opposite (whose more renowned beaches can be reached by ferry from Split)

Short adventure holiday on the Croatian coast


Cycling in Salento

Ideal for: foodies and Sunday cyclists

A 5 or 7-night tour of Salento starting and ending in the beautiful city of Lecce, with stops in the coastal towns of Gallipoli, Leuca and Otranto. Around 50kms of pedalling per day over mostly flat terrain on quiet roads means that you can reach your destination in a morning or make lots of stops on the way along the coast.

Enjoy an aperitivo at sunset in Gallipoli, check out the crumbling 19th century mansions of Leuca and take a walk around the old town and fortress of Otranto. If food is one of your top reasons for travelling you won't be disappointed, the seafood is excellent and Puglia has some very good sparkling wines to accompany it (as well as some superb reds).

This trip is best enjoyed in shoulder season (avoid July and August if possible) when the milder temperatures make cycling a breeze and the beaches are less crowded.

What are the beaches like?

Salento rivals Sardinia for the best beaches in Italy (and indeed Europe). The crystal-clear water is a deep turquoise colour, often compared to far-flung destinations like the Caribbean or the Maldives (in fact many of the ‘lidos’ or beach clubs along the coast are named after tropical locations).

Highlights include Porto Selvaggio north of Gallipoli (leave your bike at the top of the hill and walk down) – its rocky shore is not ideal for sunbathing, but it is a beautiful spot. Baia Verde just south of Gallipoli is a long stretch of sand dotted with a few private beach clubs. The stretch between Leuca and Otranto has plenty of places to stop on the way but perhaps the best is the Baia dei Turchi just north of Otranto. A panoramic clifftop walk takes you down to the sandy beach, free of beach clubs (there is a kiosk open in high season, otherwise you would be advised to take drinks and snacks if staying for long).

Self-guided cycling holiday in Salento



Coasteering and canyoning in Sardinia

Ideal for: adventurous types

Explore the beautiful beaches of southern Sardinia, less well-known than their famous cousins on the north of the island around the glamourous Costa Smeralda, but no less impressive. Kayak between rocky coves and secluded beaches that can’t be reached by land, scramble across cliffs on a coasteering excursion and head inland for an adrenaline-filled canyoning trip. This package includes two free days so you can get some beach time, and there are many to explore. If sunbathing really isn’t for you then windsurfing and kitesurfing lessons are also available.

What are the beaches like?

A mix of rocky/shingle beaches and long stretches of golden sand. There are so many to choose from. Tuerredda is a must visit; Piscinnì, Su Giudeu, Porto Pino and Cala Cipolla are all easily reached by car or e-bike from the accommodation.

Multi-activity holiday in Sardinia



Island-hopping near Dubrovnik

Ideal for: socialising and exploring

A group tour for 4-16 people exploring the Elafiti islands just off the coast of Dubrovnik. The main islands of Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep are great fun to explore by bike, on foot or by kayak. Popular with day-trippers, there isn’t much accommodation here so you can really relax in the afternoon and evening, take a wonder around, eat super fresh seafood at a small restaurant and enjoy the beautiful sunsets.

What are the beaches like?

Lopud is famous for its sandy beaches, while Kolocep is the best place for kayaking thanks to its interesting coastline and secluded coves.

Elafiti islands multi-activity holiday



Eco-resort in Croatia

Ideal for: young families and getting off grid

Stay a few days at this unique beach resort and reduce your screen time to zero (or thereabouts). The spartan, reed-thatched huts have no electricity, just a tiled floor, bed and some shelves. No a/c necessary thanks to the shade of the pine trees and the sea breeze. Think of it as somewhere between camping and glamping. Don’t worry, you can recharge devices at reception during the day should you wish and there is a safe at reception.

Kids will love the organised activities but there is plenty for adults too. Sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, adventure park, tennis courts, mini golf, aerobics, archery and water polo are just some of the activities available. Almost everything is included except sailing, windsurfing and tennis lessons which can be booked and paid for locally.

What is the beach like?

A sheltered bay with a golden sandy beach backed by pine trees. The huts blend in so seamlessly that you could forget you are staying at a resort.

All-inclusive eco-resort holiday in Croatia 

Take a look at more of our multi-activity holidays available to book online now. 


Main photo by Elisa Locci -


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