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Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

12 Destinations for Active Travellers: From Walking the Great Wall of China to Spinning Down ‘Death Road’

ByAnne Willis

Mar 17, 2019
  • Hiking the Rongai Route up Mount Kilimanjaro will burn a whopping 13,549 calories
  • The Polar Night marathon in Tromsø, Norway is run in complete darkness and sub-zero temperatures, but sightings of the Northern Lights are possible
  • You could eat 2.6 delicious servings of Raclette for the calories burned during 5 hours of skiing on the Aiguille du Midi slopes in Chamonix, France.

Active holidays can range from long walks around European cities, to adrenaline-filled water sports near beach destinations. The Bucket List Burner pinpoints twelve exciting destinations around the globe – one for each month of the year – that will scratch your itch to travel. Not only that, the list has hand selected activities that will burn some serious calories while you’re at it.

The Polar Night half marathon in Tromsø, Norway

The Polar Night half marathon takes place in Tromsø every January, when northern Norway is met with perpetual darkness around the clock. Adding a sense of eeriness to the experience, the race takes place in the middle of the day under a blanket of black sky and follows a 13.1 mile course starting in Storgata and winding around the island. The real selling point, however, is the opportunity to sight the spectacular Northern Lights as you complete your run!

Ski in the Vallée Blanche in Chamonix, France

Famed as the home to one of the longest ski runs in the world, The Vallée Blanche (White Valley) is a route situated on the famous Mont Blanc range within the French Alps. Take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak and proceed through the ice gate. Once on the slopes, you’ll be gifted fantastic views of Mont Blanc, and beyond into Italy, France and Switzerland. The route ends in the town centre of Chamonix, which is packed with cosy spots to reenergise at.

Walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain

Stretching hundreds of miles across the top of Spain and concluding at the tomb of the apostle St. James, the Camino de Santiago is a famous pilgrimage that brings thousands of people together from across the world. One of the most popular routes is the Camino Frances, which takes people on an epic 480-mile journey from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to the final destination in Santiago. Generally speaking, it takes approximately one month to walk this particular route, so set some time aside in your 2019 diary.

Hike Italy’s Cinque Terre in Liguria, Italy

Italy’s Cinque Terre on the north-western coast boasts one of the most picturesque coastlines the globe has to offer. Embark on a hike through five unspoilt towns and miles of walking trails along narrow stone paths, beginning in the tiny commune of Corniglia and finishing in the ancient village of Vernazza.

Hike the Perimeter of Uluru in Alice Springs, Australia

Also known as Ayer’s Rock, Uluru is an enormous red rock that gives the illusion it has erupted from the middle of the Australian desert. The Uluru Base Walk takes you on a 6.5-mile path around the full perimeter of the rock. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of the site and the significance of Uluru to the Anangu people.

Hike Through Yosemite National Park in California, USA

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Yosemite National Park is home to towering sequoia trees, waterfalls, and abundant wilderness. Choose the Yosemite Falls Hiking Trail and embark along the zigzagging path that scales 2,700 feet to the top of America’s tallest waterfall outside of Hawaii. Not only do the breath-taking views of the Sierra Valley make it worth the climb, but uphill hiking can do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness and lower body strength.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Africa’s largest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is a dormant freestanding volcano in Tanzania that hits nearly 20,000 feet at its peak. While there are a few different routes to choose from, the gradual slopes of the Rongai Route make it a popular choice for lesser experienced hikers. The seven-day excursion begins gradually through corn and potato fields, onto the Lunar Desert and finally to the summit of Uhuru.

After trekking for seven days, you’re guaranteed to feel improved strength in you lower body and gain a boost to your cardiovascular fitness. Being amongst nature has also been proven to have benefits for your mental wellbeing and mood.

Run a Marathon at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Buried deep in the Siem Reap jungle is the world’s largest religious structure, Angkor Wat – a treasure trove of surviving Buddhist and Hindu temples. The incredible temple complex is so vast – spanning 400 sq. km – that there’s space for an annual marathon on its holy ground. The 26-mile course runs through the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, passing by nearly 40 ancient temples, through flourishing Cambodian forests and past village rice fields.

We all know that running is the ultimate calorie-burning exercise. Add 30-degree heat to the mix and you’ll be burning even more! This is because, in order to cool your body down, your heart is forced to work harder to pump blood to your skin. Just be sure to stay hydrated.

Cycle ‘Death Road’ in Yungas, Bolivia

Yungas Road isn’t nicknamed “Death Road” for nothing. Narrow single-track is bordered by mountain on one side and sheer cliff-faces on the other, with few barricades preventing one from going over the edge. Not for the faint-hearted, cycling ‘Death Road’ will see thrill-seekers climbing to 4,650 metres above sea level before descending to 1,000 metres. The buzz from danger, married with outstanding views of untamed Bolivia stretching as far as the eye can see make it all worthwhile. Fortunately, the notorious route isn’t as dangerous as its reputation suggests now, thanks to an alternative route being opened for trucks to use.

While the adrenaline rush is the true draw of Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’, cycling is a fantastic full body workout, increasing muscle strength in your legs and core, while improving aerobic fitness.


Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains, Peru

Set high in the Andes mountains, shrouded by mist and lush vegetation, sits one of Peru’s most beloved treasures – the enchanting Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic treks in the world, taking you on a four-day excursion through the Andes mountains, the magical Amazonian cloud forest and past other historic ruins.

November – Hike the Great Wall of China from Jiayuguan – Shanhaiguan, China

Estimating the total size of the Great Wall of China is difficult, in part because the wall isn’t a long, continuous structure. Different walls from different empires dot different parts of China, including as far south as Henan. While it is possible to walk the entire stretch, it will take approximately ten months to complete. There are, however, a number of different – shorter – hikes to choose from.

Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

For a life-changing experience, visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and sight mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Listed as one of Travel and Leisure’s top places to visit in 2019, the park has seen a surge in visitors, thanks to being one of the last remaining places on earth that you can glimpse the critically endangered primates.

So what are you waiting for? Make some memories and burn a ton of calories with these once-in-a-lifetime destinations!