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Workouts around the world: Top 10 scenic spots for exercising

Posted by Melanie Nayer  April 14, 2012 08:39 AM

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With summer just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about breaking in your beach-worthy bod. The good news is that you can combine travel and exercise for an ultimate experience.

Pass up your hour gym date for a weeklong excursion at one of these stunning scenic spots around the world, perfect for burning calories while you xxxx.

To help you find some travel destinations that not only offer excellent views and spacious scenery, but also stimulate the want to workout, the members of travel website VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com) put together a list of the "Top 10 Most Scenic Workouts", and some essential reasons why you should consider an exercise escape:

iStock_womenhiking.jpg1. Hiking Cinque Terre in Italy: Composed of five small villages perched above the Ligurian Sea, the towns date back to the late medieval period and are still unable to be reached by car. Hiking from Riomaggiore, the southernmost village, to the fifth town, Monterosso, is quite a workout (18 km, or 11 miles, and usually takes about five hours, but can take longer depending on how fit you are). Instead, many complete the first leg of the trip, from Riomaggiore to Manarola. This section is commonly called the "Via dell' Amore" and is both paved and level, so it's a great 1 km (about half a mile) stroll for travelers of all ages.

2. Stand up paddle-boarding in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii: Along the island's North Shore, adventurers can find the Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile route along the island's remote Na Pali Coast that is widely considered one of the world's scariest hikes. For a less dangerous athletic pursuit, visitors can try stand up paddle-boarding along the North Shore's gem, Hanalei Bay.

3. Snorkeling in St. John's, US Virgin Islands: Few options are as convenient and cost-efficient for Americans as a quick trip to the US Virgin Islands. St. John's has over 35 beaches to choose from, including Trunk Bay, which has an underwater snorkeling trail that guides swimmers while informing them of the various species of fish. Other notable snorkeling spots on the isle are Hawknest Bay and Cinnamon Bay, which also has outstanding camping facilities. Sea turtles and rays can be found in Waterlemon Cay, accessible by the Leinster Bay Trail from the Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins.

4. Rollerblading along the "Strand" - Los Angeles, CA: "The Strand" is a 22-mile bike path that runs from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, California to Torrance County Beach. The route passes landmarks like the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach's infamous boardwalk.

5. Cycling around Southeast Asia: While many think of floating markets in Bangkok and junk boats in Halong Bay upon hearing "seeing Asia at a leisurely pace," multiple VirtualTourist members said that cycling through Southeast Asia was both a great adventure, and an enjoyable experience no matter your physical shape or endurance. Vietnam's Route 1 is a straight shot from the capital city of Hanoi to the largest city in the southern region, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). This route also allows you to see smaller, seaside towns you might otherwise miss, such as Vinh, Hue, and Hoi An.

6. Golfing at Kauri Cliffs in Northland, New Zealand: Avid golfers and VirtualTourist.com members in the Oceanic area say Kauri Cliffs takes the prize for the most scenic golf course. The course is positioned as close to the water as topographically possible, meaning players are forced to play across gorges and other natural features.

7. Skiing in Niseko, Japan: While not as famous as St. Moritz or Whistler, the town of Niseko, Japan is becoming an increasingly popular skiing destination. Located on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, the town and its mountain, Mount Annupuri, are in a perfect location to receive high pressure systems from Russia's Siberian region. These systems create an amazing powder, making the ski season in Niseko a good six months long.

8. Sailing in Greece: Sailing in Greece is not a new workout or concept, but it is still one of the most beautiful options in all of Europe. One unique aspect to this workout is you can plan the amount of activity you'd like to experience: you can take a cruise, you can sail the boat yourself, or you can charter a boat with a skipper. In addition to being an amazing experience, it is also an opportunity to personalize your trip, choosing the islands you want to visit and focus on.

9. Swimming in Capri: For decades, Capri has been associated with a level of luxury and exclusiveness that few travelers can afford, and a beauty that anyone would be lucky to experience even once. Though rowboats are used to take tourists inside during the day, it is also possible to swim inside the grotto, as the location can be accessed by stairway. If you can't swim in the Grotto due to the tides or wave conditions, a close second is swimming in one of the island's secluded bays.

10. Yoga in India: Yoga-centered "retreats" are one of the fastest growing vacation markets. Rather than doing asanas, venture to the place where the practice originated: India. Only a short trip from Mumbai, the BKS Iyengar Institute in Pune is one of the world's most venerable ashrams (Hindu and/or yoga hermitages). If you don't have the eight years of experience required to practice there, you can also take BKS Iyengar-certified classes at Iyengar Yogashraya in the Lower Parel area of Mumbai. If your interests are more in hatha yoga and ayurvedic programs, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, located on 12 tropical acres in Kerala, specializes in both.

Ready to get your workout on? Pack your exercise gear and wear, and an extra pair of gym shoes, and hit the road.

Original source: Reuters

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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