My Top Fitness World Explorer Travel Experiences of 2017
2017 was another fantastic year of travel, training and exploring, I visited many new places and re-explored a few favourites visited in the past.
A year of creating amazing memories, experiencing new things and enjoying the great feeling of doing what we love.
Along the way I kept very active with unique training experiences in the great outdoors, hikes, trail runs, swims, outdoor bodyweight sessions and challenging training sessions in gyms.
We added some great new travel experiences to the memory box and became so immersed in our adventures that I hardly spent any time to write and document for the blog.(especially in Italy)
That’s good though because I have more to share, I will be catching up and adding some articles, travel tips and stories to the blog over the next few months.
There were no long distance trips this year, instead of travelling far we decided to take an extended break through Italy in the summer months experiencing some of the Italian culture and spending more time in each place.
Check back for future articles on these adventures, tips and ideas in each destination mentioned.
For now, here is a quick overview of just some of the great experiences we captured on our 2017 adventures.
Our year of travel started with a trip to London in January for a relaxing weekend break.
My London trips are usually a flying visit if teaching or with work projects, but this long weekend was an opportunity for some R&R and to explore some of our favourite spots.
We took a walk along the south bank, filled our bellies in Borough market, shopped till we dropped and then spent time relaxing at the Spa in our Hotel.
We attended the Travel show at the ExCel arena for some travel inspiration, and I attended a travel writers workshop with National Geographic UK to learn new skills for the blog.
Even though we were on a relaxing spa weekend the gym facilities in our hotels were so good we made time for training sessions each day.
It actually turned out to be a highly active few days, and as well as the miles of walking we did, we also explored with a run around Hyde Park and the serpentine, another great frosty sunrise fitness session.
We walked miles each day exploring as you do in London, but the Spa break was the perfect antidote for our shopping fatigued bodies and a great way to start the year.
Exploring more of Edinburgh was on the tick list at the start of the year and I visited twice in the first six months of 2017
Keeping things active I took the short hike up to Arthurs Seat, and on my second visit, I spent a day with a more challenging adventure exploring The Pentland Hills Regional Park.
Edinburgh is one of these cities you can explore for days easily on foot, and discover new places on each visit.
If you’re in Europe, Edinburgh is a great weekend trip to combine a city break with the great outdoors, try the hikes featured in these articles when you are visiting.
I loved my time in Scotland in 2017 and we plan to explore further north on a trip this year.
In June we left Ireland on a 90-day travel adventure, our first stop after our voyage across the Irish sea was Wales.
We wanted to start the trip with a challenge, and our first Challenge in Wales was to conquer Snowdon.
Hiking Snowdon was amazing, we took the Miners Trail to the summit and the weather decided to change for us on the day adding thick mist to the challenge, it was quite the adventure.
Blog post coming soon!
Snowdon wasn’t our only hike during our stay in Wales, it was a very active start to our travel tour, we spent 4 days there in total hiking each day and taking in the Epic scenery.
Like Scotland, Wales is too close to my home in Ireland not to explore more frequently, and we have already added Wales to the list again for 2018.
Amalfi Coast and Capri
We decided on Italy as our destination for extended travel during the summer and took 30 days to work our way from the south to the north.
First stop was the Amalfi coast for a week of relaxation and exploring, totally immersed in the Amalfi coastal culture.
We travelled to Italy in July and August, which meant we hit the Italian shores during one of their hottest summers for years.
It was mega relaxed but active, we awoke early each morning for cardio workouts and sea swims, followed by coffee at the local cafes.
During the day we would take a tour to explore, the relax in the afternoons/early evening sipping on cocktails, and tasting the fine Italian cuisine.
We took a day trip along the Amalfi coast, stopping off at the incredible Positano and Amalfi, then another day trip to the Island of Capri.
It was the first time we had re-visited since our time on cruise ships so it was a special travel moment rediscovering places from years earlier.
A new experience whilst in Capri was venturing further up the Isle to Anacapri and taking the ride up in the chairlift to reach the highest point on the Island.
Wow, this is a must do when you visit!
Blog article coming soon.
It was just amazing, early morning runs and bodyweight circuits by the seafront, starting at 5.30am because of the heatwave, followed by fresh fruit and Incredible coffee.
Sea Kayaking, Hiking, Swimming, and sailing, mixed with the well known touristy tours exploring the history and Amalfi coast culture.
The Amalfi coast is an excellent choice for an active break at any time of year but especially summer, you will be spoilt for choice with food options to re-fuel.
I’d actually say Capri is one of my favourite places on earth, it’s just incredibly unique and stunning, the whole coast is remarkable.
The cities of Naples and Rome were the next legs of our Italian summer adventure, so some downtime and relaxation were next on the agenda.
After the incredibly busy tourist attractions of Rome (I still love Rome even when super busy)
we planned some rest and relaxation in the hills of Tuscany.
We stayed in the Renaissance Tuscany II Ciocco Resort and Spa, high up in the hills, an absolute paradise overlooking the valley.
During our time there I experienced my first wine tasting tour ever and loved it.
I was saving this experience for a visit to Tuscany and it was perfect.
Another day we set off on a hike through the valley from the resort to the medieval town of Barga, then scaled the winding streets reaching the church as the bells rang out, amazing!
At the time the whole region was still experiencing an incredible heatwave so we took the opportunity to spend plenty of time around the pool.
The resort was a seriously chilled out location compared to the tourist spots we had just visited in high season, this gave us time to relax by the pool and plan future destinations of our trip.
This resort really is a dream location, it was so great we stayed for an extra day, then decided to stay in Italy for another 10 days, to take in Cinque Terre, Milan, Lake Como, Bologna and Bergamo. All Planned sat by the pool that afternoon sipping cocktails taking in the incredible views.
Another phenomenal destination, I will be writing an article with Travel tips soon.
This spur of the moment next stop turned out to be one of the greatest travel experiences I have ever had.
We only decided the day before that Cinque Terre would be our next stop, we had originally intended just a flying visit to Pisa and then head north.
I had never visited this part of Italy, but it was so incredible that I’m considering returning as early as this year!
We took the train from Tuscany and stayed in Monterosso Al Mare one of the 5 small towns that make up the Cinque Terre region.
I had recently read about the growing popularity of Cinque Terre and seen many spectacular images of the towns on social media.
One of the great features of this area is that you can hike between the towns along the Cinque Terre trail through the valleys and vineyards along the rugged coastline.
Some of the Cinque Terre hiking route is closed at the moment due to landslides, but there is still plenty of trails to explore for the active traveller.
To see the best bits of Cinque Terre take the boat trip between the towns it’s a perfect way to view all from the sea, and then hop on and off to explore each one.
(Here is my own spectacular image approaching Vernazza on our high-temperature coastal-hike)
When you visit try and avoid taking a four-hour hike at the hottest part of the day during a heatwave, that would just be crazy!
Luckily the sea was at the end of the adventure and we could take an early evening dip to cool off.
Cinque Terre is another must visit for active people looking for a ridiculously good hiking destination, there are endless photo opportunities along the way.
Another first-time visit whilst travelling in Northern Italy, we travelled to Lombardy for two days to Lake Como, which was very easy to get to by train from Milan.
As soon as we arrived we were in awe of the surroundings, the dramatic scenery, incredible architecture of the villa’s, and the sheer size of the place.
We took the Ferry to our hotel then went for a bike ride around the lake to explore the local area of Como, taking a bike ride is one of the best ways to get around.
In Como, there is a Funicular that takes you up to the hills surrounding the lake, from here you can hike high above within spectacular scenery.
As we hiked clear blue sky gave us a perfect view below of the towns in the distance, breathtaking views of the lake, ferries winding through and seaplanes landing.
The Highlight was the Ferry trip from Como to Bellagio travelling past huge lakeside villas and mansions, we purposely took the long return trip to see more.
Bristol & Bath
Bristol wouldn’t be at the top of everybody’s list, but this isn’t everybody’s list it’s mine haha, and I absolutely loved my time exploring Bristol again this summer.
I’ve been to Bristol many times, I particularly like Christmas and combined with Bath it’s a great festive break.
This year we combined the two places in the summer and timed it to coincide with our return from Italy, on the special weekend of the world famous Bristol hot air balloon fiesta.
Watching the balloons soar above the city at 6 am, and witnessing the display of over 100 hot air balloons was another new travel adventure for us to add to the list, an incredible summer morning I will never forget.
On another day we took part in a different type of city walking tour, a Blackbeard the pirate-themed tour, visiting all of his pirate hangouts.
The same tour took in the famous street art locations and a very informative story on Bristols most renowned pieces and the artists who created them.
It’s called the Blackbeard to Banksy ultimate Bristol walking tour
Take a boat trip around the city docks area, we boarded the colourful canal boat for an informative and very entertaining tour whilst relaxing on a hot summers evening sipping a local ale from the onboard bar.
The outdoor street food in the summer markets was delicious with many healthy options and worldwide taste sensations, or a cheeky beer in the sunshine.
If you go incorporate Bath into the trip, just walk the city street or visit Bath Spa, you’ll have an excellent weekend break away witnessing some of the best English architecture and chilled south-west city vibes.
Although we live here, we had highly enjoyable new travel experiences and staycations in our home country during 2017.
In September we travelled to County Kerry for my first visit exploring The Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, the Dingle peninsula, and Killarney.
We continue to enjoy hikes in the Wicklow mountains and along Dublin coastal paths, an active travel experience many tourists miss.
We also ventured north again to the natural wonder of Giants Causeway and the County Antrim coast.
I still have so much more I want to see and do in Ireland, but in 2017 I managed to do some excellent trips.
I love exploring Dublin City, even though I’ve done pretty much every tourist experience in Dublin city now and I have plenty of tips and advice for you in Dublin.
The plan is to visit all 32 Counties this year, to explore the best active adventures each county has to offer and explore more of the less famous landmarks.
There were no long haul trips in 2017, the plan was always to stay closer to home and explore.
I returned to my original homeland of Kernow 4 times in 2017 and made the most of the best county in the world.
During the summer we had a chance to spend some extended time in Cornwall rather than a flying visit, staying active for two weeks and making the most of the long summer days.
We took on some lengthy coast path hikes, and explored the great outdoors of the Cornish Coast, a must do if you haven’t been before!
Our stay in Cornwall gave us the opportunity mid-year to re-charge the batteries, enjoy some more training and exercise outdoors, time out just to relax spending time on the beach getting some vitamin sea as they say.
Cornwall is awesome even on a rare rainy day indoors by the fire, looking at the waves crashing on the beach, with a hot chocolate in hand.
As I write this we have just returned from re-visiting and spending new year in Cornwall, I’m biased of course, but even after my worldwide travels I still say the Cornish coastline is still definitely one of the best in the world. Don’t take my word for it, you must visit!
Fortunately, I’ve travelled to many amazing places worldwide over the years, but 2017 proved to me again something I already knew. If you love to travel, have a positive outlook, and look to make the most out of every experience, you can find magical travel experiences in amazing places close to home.
I managed to visit and explore England/Ireland/Northern Ireland/Scotland and Wales in 2017
and our extended break travelling through Italy was better than we could have ever imagined.
I hope you have enjoyed my quick summary of my 2017 Travel highlights, it gives me serious wanderlust re-counting it all.
As I have mentioned, I’m working on some articles with more tips on how to travel, train and explore in these places, so stay tuned.
Bring on the 2018 adventures.
About the author
The Personal Trainer and Worldwide Traveller behind Fitness World Explorer.
He has worked in his passion as a Personal Trainer and coach for 16 years .His travels have taken him worldwide to 78 different countries on many adventures. He offsets his love and neediness for all things health and fitness, with the occasional beer or slice of cake.