Whether You Sail, Ski or Love Grand Prix, Plan a Vacation Based on Your Favorite SportBy Dana Ter
Fancy a game of tennis at a court overlooking the Atlantic Ocean? Or golf in the Sahara? Whether you’re a beach bum or prefer the winter sun, here’s how to plan your next vacation based on your favorite sport. From the snowcapped Alps to the luxurious waters of the Persian Gulf, the choices are endless.
As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.
Sailing in Sardinia and Greece
Along the northeast coast of Sardinia stretches the Costa Smeralda, known for its luxe vibes, fine white sand and Mediterranean access. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Levante Sailing School both offer sailing lessons on the sapphire water, but for those who simply want to relax, book a private boat tour with Orso Diving Club.
Greece, whose dramatic seas have inspired fables galore, is also a sailing paradise. The options are endless: Crete, Santorini, the Ionian Islands. Rent a simple sailboat or a yacht (with crew) at Seven Sails Greece. How about being skipper for a day? Corfu Sea School, on the glistening turquoise waters of Corfu Island, offers classes.
Golf in Cairo and Portugal
Imagine teeing off with the Pyramids and dunes in the background — it’s no wonder that Cairo is a golf-lover’s oasis. Nestled in the Katameya Dunes is The Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa and its sprawling 27-hole golf course and 350-yard driving range. Unwind with a glass of wine at the Dunes Bar, which overlooks the course.
Over in Portugal, the Algarve, with its sun-drenched coastline, is a popular golf destination, but closer to Lisbon lies another gem. Penha Longa Resort in Sintra — a town famous for its fairy-tale castles — boasts a 27-hole championship golf course set in rolling hills. The resort also incorporates a 14th-century monastery, which adds to the exuberant, old-world charm.
Horseback Riding in Ireland
Once a reserve of the nobility, horseback riding has, over the centuries, become a popular pastime in Ireland, and it’s indeed one of the best ways to see the country’s iconic rugged terrain and rolling hills. Mount Juliet Estate, Autograph Collection is a lovely vine-covered country manor in County Kilkenny with a proud equestrian tradition. Here, guests can sign up for lessons at the hotel’s equestrian center and ride through the estate’s 500 acres marked by ancient forests, meadows and rivers.
Skiing in Verbier, Switzerland
For the iconic winter escapade, there’s skiing in Verbier, where Swiss Alpine slopes attract serious skiers and those who prefer cozying up by the window, cup of hot chocolate in hand.
Perched on a mountainside at more than 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) lies W Verbier, a luxe take on the classic log cabin with snazzy guest rooms incorporating balconies that overlook the snowcapped Alps. The hotel, which offers ski lessons, rests at the foot of 400 kilometers of ski slopes for all levels. Should guests need a break, a pint of beer awaits at the outdoor ski bar, the W Off Piste.
Tennis in Bahrain and Spain
Tucked in the stunning green waters of the Persian Gulf, the island nation of Bahrain has a fast-growing reputation as a tennis player’s haven. The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain in Manama houses a world-class tennis academy with internationally qualified coaches for players of all levels. What’s more, the three courts are set along the island’s pink-sand coastline and flanked by palm trees.
The Canary Islands have long been popular for tennis vacations, and The Ritz-Carlton, Abama, with its deep-red facade cutting a striking image in a landscape of blue and green, is a stone’s throw from Tenerife’s best tennis courts. Nearby is the Abama Tennis Academy, with its seven courts and expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Grand Prix Racing in Abu Dhabi
There’s no need to reserve front-row seats to the Grand Prix when W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is at your fingertips. This luxury playground sits half on land and half on water in the heart of Yas Island, known for its theme parks, malls and beaches. It’s also the only hotel integrated into the 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit, with some rooms right above — a dream for motor racing fanatics.
Football in Manchester and Munich
For football (soccer) fans, a jaunt to Manchester, the home of Manchester United, is a serious pilgrimage. Book a museum and stadium tour at Old Trafford, and if that’s not enough, the National Football Museum has old shoes and jerseys worn by football legends, as well as trophies from as early as the 1920s.
If you support Bayern Munich, besides visits to the Allianz Arena and the FC Bayern Museum, be sure to stop at a biergarten. Set in a 40-hectare (99-acre) park, Hirschgarten has Bavarian beer and outdoor screenings of football games, a quintessential Munich experience.