for making the most of your active city visit.
I recommend starting every city visit with a bike tour. This gives you a feel for the city, interesting historical background on important buildings and sites, and ideas for what you want to explore further on your own. Ask your tour guide for insider info. Most places will also rent you a bike (for the rest of the day or the rest of your stay).
I took three teenagers to Berlin, where our bike tour guide Stefan used colored chalk on the sidewalk to provide a captivating and succinct 5-minute history lesson on the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. They were so impressed that when we got back to Munich, they took the Third Reich Bike Tour with Mike’s Bikes.
Decide which activity is your priority and then call the local shop and ask them for recommendations. For example, I wanted to SUP along the Lisbon (Portugal) coast, so I called the local SUP shop to ask about rentals and places to stay nearby. You and the cool people at the shop share a love of SUP so you probably have other priorities in common, e.g., healthy restaurants and markets, running paths, yoga studios, and eclectic accommodations. On the shop’s recommendation, I took my first SUP yoga class and have been enjoying the sport ever since.
In Malaga (Spain), our SUP rental lead us to book a surf lesson. The same guy who rented a SUP to us gave us a surf lesson the next day. He had boards standing up in the sand on the beach.
Does your city have a river, lake, mountains, or other geological feature nearby? Provence (Southern France) is known for biking but where there is a river, there are river sports and we found ourselves whitewater kayaking from Castellane to the Verdon Gorge.
If it’s raining or you find yourself in a city during the off-season, find a yoga or spin (indoor cycling) class. Most studios offer walk-in classes. Many cities also have indoor climbing gyms.
Travel to cities that hold special events, like Munich’s Blade Night. Every Monday night in the summer, 5,000-10,000 blading, inline skating, and skateboarding enthusiasts take over the city. Blading en masse at high speeds through the streets lit up at night is an extraordinary experience.
Other options are to plan your travel to compete in a triathlon, marathon, or radmarathon (bike race), or participate in a yoga workshop. Follow your favorite yogis to their next destination.
For site seeing in any city, you need to be prepared for a lot of walking. The best way to see Venice is to walk the city streets at night. You can rack up a lot of kilometers on your trainers and walking gives you a different perspective.
Klettersteig (aka Via Ferrata) is a relatively new sport and one that’s only available in certain parts of the world. There are hundreds of Klettersteig routes in the Alps and just 1.5 hours from Munich, Salzburg (Austria) has the “City Wall”, which offers 3 routes right in the city.
Many road cycling pros train in Mallorca (Spain) for several reasons—the hills, good roads, climate, and elevation. Mallorca is a lovely island just a short 2-hour flight from Munich.
For a unique experience in Venice (Italy), kayak or SUP the canals instead of riding in a touristy gondola. Lake Garda (Italy) is known for year-round wind- and kite-surfing because of strong and steady winds from the north. But, the Arco region on the north end of the lake is a world-class sport climbing destination.