With so many Relais & Châteaux properties found in beautiful natural settings, the Great Outdoors offers countless opportunities for physical activity. Rediscover yourself and your loved ones in the fresh air, with kayaking, cycling, golfing, sailing, fishing, yoga, hiking or hot-air ballooning.
Hiking Mount Fuji
Gôra Kadan, Hakone, Japan
Who hasn’t dreamed of climbing Mount Fuji, the famed mountain depicted a hundred times by the artist Hokusai? The admirable traditional Hakone inn, Gôra Kadan, is one of the three gateways to the peak. Summertime is the only authorized period for ascents. A hiker in good physical condition needs about six hours to reach the summit at 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) above sea level. After passing the final torii (a traditional Japanese gate), it is not uncommon to see trekkers overcome with emotion, dazzled by the rising or setting sun.
Kayaking on Nahuel Huapi Lake
Las Balsas, Villa La Angostura, Argentina
Paddling in Patagonia is the ultimate way to reconnect with nature. Nahuel Huapi Lake, on the southern tip of South America, is a breathtaking destination for those who love wide-open spaces. Start from the Las Balsas property and glide slowly over the crystal-clear water, the Andes on the horizon. Not only is this a kayaker’s paradise, but Nahuel Huapi is dotted with small islands covered with lush vegetation, beckoning you to come ashore for even more adventure.
Golfing on exquisite greens
Farlam Hall Hotel & Restaurant, Brampton, United Kingdom
In northern Cumbria, Farlam Hall is an ideal location for any golf lover. Four nearby golf clubs–Slaley Hall, Close House, Brampton and Eden–strive to outdo one another’s challenges, from windswept links to grueling roughs, deep sand dunes to the trickiest bunkers. And don’t miss the Silloth On Solway Golf Club: this superb, 18-hole course, created in 1892 and located between the Scottish Borders and the English Lake District, has an array of unexpected features.
Yoga by the Ocean
Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Picture yourself on the edge of the Indian Ocean, facing the setting sun. Waves lap the shore, and cormorants fly in the distance. Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra, between the sandy beaches and sunny tropics of Kerala, seems to have been created solely for relaxation, meditation and the feeling of being nurtured by nature. The heartbeat slows here, stress evaporates. Yoga at dawn and dusk, Ayurvedic treatments and encounters with Yoga masters help you disconnect from the world and reconnect within.
Sailing on the Wadden Sea
Hotel Seesteg, Norderney, Germany
If you want a sea view even more breathtaking than that enjoyed from the Hotel Seesteg on the island of Norderney, go sailing with skipper Sid Behrend on the little-known Wadden Sea. There, island-hopping means moving through a wonderland of mudflats, sandbanks and endless dunes. It also means watching, from a respectful distance, the seals, porpoises, and countless species of migratory birds that thrive in this area, listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1992.
Hot-air ballooning over ‘fairy chimneys’
Museum Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey
To start, there’s the thrill of climbing into the basket beneath the hot-air balloon. Then, the magic of flying across the landscapes of Cappadocia by the light of dawn. Depending on the whims of the wind, you traverse stunning valleys, flying over fascinating maze-like villages and the region’s mysterious ‘fairy chimney’ geological rock formations. Amid the morning’s silence, you’re surrounded by dozens of other hot-air balloons dotting the skies with color–and countless little fireflies, eagerly glowing to create a uniquely magical moment.
Fly fishing in British Columbia
Sonora Resort, Sonora Island, Canada
British Columbia’s rivers are some of the wildest on the Pacific coast, making it an angler’s paradise. Accompanied by the Sonora Resort’s experienced guides and with all the requisite gear, fans of fly fishing and rainbow trout cast their lines in the streams, rivers and freshwater lakes. From the bank or the riverbed, embraced by vast, ancient forests, you will learn to outsmart the wily local fish.
Dog sledding in the Rockies
Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA
Deep in the mountains of Montana, Triple Creek Ranch offers the matchless thrill of discovering the Bitterroot National Forest pulled by a dog-sled team–a swift and snowy outing beneath the magnificent Big Sky, and between trees cloaked in white and the icy, glittering river. Intoxicated by the speed, and nearly hypnotized by the rhythm of the dogs, you glide through this pristine wonderland beneath a warm blanket or standing on the runners alongside the musher. Long will you remember the boundless energy of the panting huskies.
Cycling on the Italian Grand Tour route
Villa Abbazia, Follina, Italy
Cycling aficionados meet Venetian-palace fans at Villa Abbazia, north of Venice. Not only does the Treviso region frequently host cyclists for the Giro d’Italia (Italian Grand Tour race), it is also home to certain Gran Fondo races–magnificent, long-distance events over radically steep terrain. The popular Pina Granfondo Pinarello (affectionately known as La Pina) is one of these, drawing thousands of serious cycling folk. From Treviso to the Dolomites, the 98-mile (158-kilometer) route is only for highly skilled riders. Less experienced cyclists can enjoy the pleasures of pedaling aided by an electric bike, to savor the mild climate and varied landscapes.
Exploring Māori lands on a gourmet cruise
Ancient fjords and unspoiled islands of southern New Zealand
New Zealand’s South Island and Chatham Islands
In December 2023 and February 2024, two cruises created by Le Ponant and Relais & Châteaux are your chance to see the wild terrain of Aotearoa–the indigenous Māori name for New Zealand that translates as ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’. Hills and cliffs, tropical forests, untamed beaches and unassailable rocks–your guides take you through all the beauty of the Māori lands, stopping on the little-known islands of Te Wharawhara (Ulva Island) and Rangiauria (Pitt Island), sites of rare and endemic flora and fauna. Enjoy unforgettable hikes before returning to your ship to savor meals prepared by Relais & Châteaux Chefs Jimmy McIntyre and Norka Mella Munoz.