Design your own summer camp for an active and relaxing break

This summer follow the latest trend from the US with your own grown-up summer camp. American adults can join wine camps, craft camps, mind/body/spirit camps or even train to be an astronaut (although not in space).

What will your summer camp be? You may not want (or be able) to go off to organised summer camp. But you can create your own, at home or away. Choose activities and a location to fit the theme of your holiday. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:


Destination: France
France will be busy with football fans during June and July, as well as the usual influx of tourists. So head for la diagonale du vide (the diagonal of emptiness) that runs from the Belgian border in the northeast to the Pyrenees in the southwest. You’ll find some of the least populated areas of France and lots of open space for walking and cycling as well as for your EURO2016-style training.

Activities: Train like a footballer
Footballers are all-round athletes these days. Match their routine with full on cross-training. Include distance running for stamina; squats, bench-presses, stomach crunches for strength (check you work on all your muscle groups); sprints or cycling for speed plus ball skills for agility. Remember to find a local bar for an energetic game of foosball (table football) in the evening.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Destination: Portugal
If Brazil’s too far, visit the homeland of Brazil’s European discoverers – Portugal. The Western Algarve and the Alentejo areas have beautiful, empty beaches, rocky cliffs and inland cork oak forests. Get a true taste of Brazil from one of the many local restaurants serving Brazilian barbecues and steaks.

Activities: Enjoy Olympic sports
Try the very newest Olympic sport of golf here and avoid the more famous (and busy) courses further south in the main Algarve. And these deserted beaches are perfect for some beach volleyball. Or try the reprieved Olympic sport of windsurfing or its proposed replacement kitesurfing.

Music festival

Destination: All over Europe
You can find a festival to suit any musical taste in almost any location in Europe, from Finland to Crete. Wherever you choose, you’ll be able to keep active while you’re there.

Activities: Music for your whole body
First and foremost you’ll be dancing, and recent research in Germany says that dancing to music is the best exercise for staying fit and feeling young. To capture the Finnish spirit mix in some saunas and chilly lake swimming. In Crete trek or climb in the local gorges or take a horseback ride – easier on the legs but great for your core.

Back to nature

Destination: Into the woods
Take a hike with all your kit and pitch camp in your nearest campsite – even close to home it will feel like a complete change. Or choose the forests, mountains and lakes of Central Europe. Triglav National Park in Slovenia, Kalkalpen National Park in Austria or Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz) in East Germany are all great for campers (or stay in lodges or huts). Enjoy cooking, bathing and sleeping in the great outdoors.

Activities: Out there
Now’s the time for wild swimming, outdoor yoga (or your usual morning stretches outdoors) and mountain biking. Get a different perspective on the landscape, and a big rush of adrenalin, with white water rafting, river tubing (in huge inner tubes tied behind a motor boat) or ziplining.

Relax in luxury

Destination: City break
Avoid the capitals and crowds. For a more relaxed pace think about Segovia in Spain, Gothenburg in Sweden, Turin in Italy, Roman spa town Bath in England or the original Spa in Belgium. Great culture, hotels and restaurants, without capital city prices.

Activities: Not just pampering
Head to city parks for inline skating, jogging and tai chi. Swim in the hotel pool – and book yourself plenty of massages and treatments. Walking counts as exercise, even when you’re sightseeing, and perhaps you’ll get a chance for some retail therapy too.

Top tips for your active summer

Wherever you choose to have your own personal summer camp this year:

    Give your mind a holiday

  • switch off your phone, your laptop and your tablet
  • unplug from social media
  • free your mind and your day by dropping your normal schedule
  • spend time each day counting your blessings and giving thanks.
    Give your body a break

  • take a vacation from alcohol, cigarettes and highly-processed food
  • increase your intake of fruit, vegetables and water
  • make time for exercise every day
  • get plenty of outdoor time, whatever the weather.
    Keep yourself motivated

  • exercise early or late so it’s cooler, or find shady spots
  • take to the water (swimming, canoeing, rafting) whenever you can and always carry water with you
  • vary your routine and your route each day
  • be at one with your surroundings – look around you, and ditch the earbuds to listen to the soundscape.