The only thing better than time spent on vacation is getting healthier when you’re there. The subjects of health and leisure do not always go hand-in-hand, as we often go to an exotic destination only to sit around the pool and drink fruity beverages. However, those who seek to get more out of their trip only need to look for the right destination.
A trip to the Mediterranean Sea could be just the ticket. When you visit great vacation spots like Greece and Portugal, you are transported to a land of amazing sights along with many ways to keep your mind and body in tip-top shape. To help you plan your next sea-based adventure, we have compiled a guide of the best fitness activities, food options, and travel tips that will help you have fun and feel great at the same time.
Hiking and Kayaking
The greatest thing about going on vacation to a new place is the opportunity to see amazing sights that you never imagined, and the seaside areas of Greece and Portugal are simply breathtaking, with many man-made and natural sights to behold. One way to stay healthy while taking in the forests and the hilly cliff sides in either country is by taking a hike, and there are many great notable areas to try.
When traveling among the islands of Greece, one must-see hiking spot is The Menalon Trail, which runs through Arcadia. A hike down this trail will take you through mountains, canyons, and valleys, plus you will see some old and gorgeous villages that will get your heart pumping in more ways than one. There is also the hike on Mount Olympus, which leads you past picturesque vistas on trails for multiple skill levels. On the longer trails, you can even set up camp and sleep under the stars.
In Portugal, there is also a slew of gorgeous hikes, including the Costa Da Caparica Trail, which takes you among awesome white-sand beaches and breathtaking sandstone cliffs. If you love canyons and waterfalls, then the Paiva Walkways are perfect, and you can swim in many of the rivers, which will provide even more exercise.
There are other opportunities for healthy leisure along the coast as well, including kayaking trips, which may be a bit outside of your comfort zone, but once you get used to it, you will experience a relationship with the ocean that you never imagined. The act of kayaking is exceptionally healthy, as it helps to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, in addition to improving muscle strength in your back, arms, shoulders, and chest.
Of course, exercise is only one half of the fitness equation; you also need to eat right, and these travel destinations are known for their tasty and healthy food. There are many ingredients in Mediterranean meals that will keep you in good shape and help fight off sickness. For instance, olive oil is often a common component, and in addition to adding extra flavor, it is said to lower your risk of heart disease. Both countries also use less processed food, which often contains unhealthy levels of sugar and sodium, and instead, they turn to more plant-based ingredients.
These areas are also big on gluten-free food that focuses less on bread and more on vegetables, fruit, and cheese. While some people may need to eat gluten-free food for medical reasons, those who choose the diet often see an increase in energy plus a chance for weight loss as you eat less bread. Some of the best dishes to choose when in the area include risotto, polenta, and rice mixed with vegetables.
While you are on your trip, check your proximity to some of the best restaurants that are famous for their healthy food. In Santorini, there is a great eatery called Falafeland, which is known for its many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Meanwhile, the Katharos Lounge Vegan Meze Bar has received glowing reviews for its affordable dishes and great hummus options.
In Portugal, the area around Lisbon is growing more notable for its many healthy restaurants. The Restaurante PSI has been rated as one of the best vegetarian places in the area, while The Food Temple has many delicious vegan dishes that are very exotic and flavorful. Both destinations are worth the visit if you are looking to try something new.
Try New Things
Whether your destination is Greece, Portugal, or any of the other hundreds of great landing spots of the Mediterranean, you can maximize the health benefits by getting out there and trying something you’ve never done before. This is especially important as you get older because as you see new places and try new things, you keep your mind sharp. Now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and begin knocking things off of your bucket list.
When we say try new things, we mean to make a plan to do it all. Make it a habit to speak to merchants and locals that you meet and try to strike up a conversation. While planning out your activities is a great way to see it all, you should also try to do something spontaneous like coasteering along a cliffside or hike a new trail. When you expand your mind by doing new things in a new place, you diversify your mind and gain fresh insights about the world while sweating the small stuff just a bit less.
If you are eager to see the world and experience all that is out there, but you don’t have the funds or the people with which to enjoy it, consider joining or creating an adventure friend group. Essentially, this is a group of people you gather together to experience the outdoors and new locations and experiences. The beauty of these groups is that you are all a team, so if someone is scared to try an activity, the group can provide positive reassurance. Plus, if you are faced with tough decisions or differing opinions when making an itinerary, working together can improve your teamwork and problem-solving skills.
When planning your next seaside trip, consider these fun and trendy destinations. They are gorgeous, festive, and will help you feel better in your body and mind.