Olympic Secrets: Best Destinations For Watersport & Outdoor Adventures

by Travelling Peach

 

 

 

 

1. SOCA VALLEY, SLOVENIA 
Recommended by: Hannah Brown, Team GB Kayaker
Hannah saysSlovenia is one of my favourite places to kayak. It has the most beautiful, crystal clear waters and you never have to look far to see a beautiful backdrop of mountains and forests. One of the prettiest places is the Basotho river, which travels down through a little town and gorge called Bovec.’ 

2. SZEGED, HUNGARY 
Recommended by: Hannah Brown, Team GB Kayaker

Hannah says ‘If you’re planning on sprint canoeing, the best place to go and race is Hungary. Not only is it geographically stunning with an incredible sense of freedom, but canoeing is one of their biggest national sports so the atmosphere is second-to-none. Being out on the water, supported by the large crowds with all of their support and passion for the sport… it’s amazing. If you’re there during the racing season, I’d definitely spend the day attending one of the races. Great food, great atmosphere and a lot of fun.

3. NEW ZEALAND 
Recommended by: Cate Campbell, Team Australia Swimmer
Cate says
‘New Zealand is spectacular. It’s a really undiscovered part of the world and the one place I would definitely go and explore again and again. They have these incredible tiny islands where the entire population is 4million people and the whole environment is so pristine - almost untouched - because the New Zealand citizens take such good care of it. It’s so nice to see and there’s so much to do. Whether you want to relax and look at the scenery or go hiking, skiing, skydiving… it has everything. I went on holiday there last year after the Olympics and did all of those things. I’m a massive fan. Everyone should go there.’  

4. LAKE BARRINGTON, TASMANIA
Recommended by: Hannah Brown, Team GB Kayaker
Hannah says
‘Paddling on the rivers and the lakes out there; there’s nothing like it. Not only can you bask in the gorgeously warm weather, but it’s one of the most beautiful places and you’re completely surrounded by nature so it completely revitalizes you - you can’t wait to get out onto the water. My favourite places to kayak are the River Mersey (north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia) and Lake Barrington. That’s particularly beautiful because it’s a secluded regatta lake up in the mountains. You feel like you’re driving into the middle of nowhere to get to it so the feeling of freedom and adventure is incredible.’


5. BOLZANO, ITALY 
Recommended by: Natalie Coughlin, Team USA Swimmer
Natalie says
‘I love the food and wine in Italy so much, especially in Bolzano, which is in the Alto Adige region of Italy (right next to the Northern border). At this time of year, it’s one of my favourite places to visit. The people are so welcoming. They love to show off how great Italy is so you always end up having an amazing time and the most wonderful meals. I love exploring the vineyards too. It’s something that I’m getting more and more into, especially since starting my own label and there’s so much to discover.’ 

… And Team GB Multi-Sport Paralympian, David Smith (MBE), agrees. He says ‘I love Italy. Whether you’re rowing, cycling or exploring, it’s absolutely beautiful and racing there always feels very special. My first race after my second surgery was a closed-road time trial in Maniago with Zanardi. Paralympic cycling in is massive in Italy, largely because of him. The Italians love him so everyone had come out to watch and, every time we passed through a village, the locals would line the streets.’


6. SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA 
Recommended by: Natalie Coughlin, Team USA Swimmer
Natalie says
‘Australia is fantastic for swimming. There are so many incredible beaches – they’re absolutely everywhere – and the Australians are so into their swimming and healthy living (healthy eating, lots of fun and sociable water sports, yoga on the beach and more) so, as a swimmer, it’s a fantastic environment to be in. It’s amazing and a beautiful country. One of my best memories was of racing at the Sydney Olympics. It’s such a great pool and the atmosphere was phenomenal. I loved it. ’

… And Team Australia Swimmer Cate Campbell agrees. She saysIf you love swimming and beaches, Australia has it all (and the best!) The whole country is surrounded by water and hundreds of stunningly clean beaches so, wherever you go, you can enjoy water-based activities… swimming, sailing, fishing, watersports… It’s easy to take for granted living here but when I go to other beaches I think ‘Ahhh this is terrible. I should have just stayed at home.’ We’re really lucky.’



Did you know… If you visited a new beach in Australia every day, it would take you 13 years to visit all of our beaches?



7. SANTA CLARA, USA
Recommended by: Natalie Coughlin, Team USA Swimmer
Natalie says
‘There’s nothing like swimming back home in the USA. The Americans, more than any other nation, are all about team spirit so the home meets are always the most fun because you’re surrounded by people you know and who want you to do well. Swimming is definitely a sport that’s been growing in the US and, with so many of our athletes doing so well, there’s a lot of pride surrounding it. The meet that I attended most in my career was the Santa Clara International Meet. I started competing in it at 12 years old and went to it almost every year until I was 34 so it holds a special place in my heart. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth watching.’


8. THE MOUNTAINS (ALMOST ANY & EVERY MOUNTAIN!) 
Recommended by: David Smith (MBE), Team GB Multi-Sport Paralympian
David says
‘I love cycling in the mountains; it’s such a beautiful experience. I recently climbed Mont Ventoux, which was amazing, and I’m hoping to ride Grandes Deux Alpes soon. That’s brilliant because you cycle through 17 mountain passes down to Monaco. I like racing on the flats but when it comes to riding, the mountains are such a spiritual place to me. There’s a real reverence and energy about them - something to fear but be awestruck by. Standing at the bottom of the mountain, about to climb it, whether it’s on bike, skis or foot, you can’t help but be taken aback with respect for it. The mountain will always win but going up it, especially cycling, is a real test of mental performance. There’s nothing like it.’


9. LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND
Recommended by: Annamarie Phelps (CBE), Chairwoman of British Rowing; Vice President of the British Olympic Committee
Annamarie says:
I love travelling. One of my favourite things to do is going to airports, looking at the destination signs and seeing where in the world you could go to. There are so many opportunities for adventure and so many varieties. It’s very exciting. For rowing, Lucerne is my favourite place to visit. The Rotsee is the most beautiful lake to race on – it’s so fair, with such clean air and stunningly natural surroundings. A really beautiful lake.’ 

‘Other fantastic places to row include Bled, Slovenia, which has the most divine setting and backdrop; Bagnoles (south western France); and the south of France, where they have the most glorious blue water surrounded by mountains.’




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