Our top eight activity centre holidays

From alpine yoga retreats to sun-drenched beach resorts and mountain paradises, our activity centre holidays will leave you exhausted but happy at the end of every day.
Whether you want a fun family holiday in the summer, a winter getaway for two or a trip suitable for solo travellers to enjoy the company of likeminded adventurers, activity centre holidays are the perfect way to recharge your batteries and create wonderful memories. These trips are designed to have a positive effect on the communities and environments where they’re based, but they can also do wonders for you. You can pursue your passions, or discover new interests amid idyllic landscapes. You can de-stress in the fresh air and tranquility that comes from heading well off the beaten track. And through shared experiences you can become firm friends with people who, until a few hours ago, were total strangers.

1. Lake Skadar, Montenegro

Stay in a beautiful old farmhouse close to Lake Skadar and the coast, with a pool, sun terrace and mountain bikes available to explore the nearby village and countryside. Super-helpful hosts arrange your kayaking, hiking, wild swimming and wine tasting, so no need to hire a car – handy, as Montenegro road conditions leave much to be desired. This centre is well off the beaten track, allowing for particularly deep cultural encounters with local residents.

2. Lycian Way, Turkey

Situated on the ‘Turkish Riviera’, this activity centre is an Anatolian gem. It’s close to the town for restaurants and shops, and there is also the option of staying a night with a local family, or doing some wild camping. Intrepid travellers can eat their hearts out with activities including ziplining, abseiling, canyoning and scuba diving to a sunken city. There is also some interesting Roman ruins nearby to visit on a slower day.

When to go: September
Our top selling trip: Lycian activity holiday
See all our trips: Lycian Coast holidays
Read more: Turkey travel guide

3. Pembrokeshire, Wales

Spend a few days at the only 5-star activity lodge in Wales, and you’ll have coasteering, sea kayaking and surfing right on your doorstep. Or just a short walk away anyway. Wales activity centre holidays can be enjoyed all year-round. The scenery is majestic for hiking in spring, while the sea is warmest in October and the surf is wildest over the winter.

When to go: All year round
Our top selling trip: Pembrokeshire activity weekend in Wales
See all our trips: Short break adventure holidays
Read more: Wales travel guide

4. Val d’Isere, France

You can the kids a treat during the school holidays with an activity centre in beautiful Val d’Isere. A well-equipped and centrally located chalet hotel serves as a base for everything from white water rafting to mountain biking, climbing to summer skiing on a glacier. You can even tackle an adrenaline-charged via ferrata.
When to go: July – August
Our top selling trip: Family activity holiday in the French Alps
See all our trips: European family holidays
Read more: France travel guide

5. Julian Alps, Slovenia

The Soca River flowing through Slovenia’s Julian Alps is among the foremost destinations in the world for white water kayaking, but that’s not even half the fun you can have here amid this glorious alpine scenery. Canyoning, rafting, mountain biking and even tandem paragliding lessons are on the menu for a feast of adrenaline-packed thrills, returning every day to a comfortable family-run hotel.

When to go: June - September
Our top selling trip: Slovenia holiday, multi sport
See all our trips: Slovenia holidays
Read more: Slovenia travel guide

6. Winter in Finnish Lapland

Based on the outskirts of a pristine national park in Finnish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle, this trip immerses you in a true wilderness. A thrilling selection of winter activities can be undertaken, from cross country skiing and snowshoeing, to snowmobile safaris and traditional Finnish saunas. Cold weather clothing is supplied, useful whether you’re mushing your huskies to pull your sled faster, or overnighting in a remote cabin to spy the Northern Lights.

When to go: December to April
Our top selling trip: Winter adventure in Finland
See all our trips: Finland holidays
Read more: Finland travel guides

7. Water sports in Croatia

With over 90 waterfalls, canyons and pools of placid emerald water, the Mreznica River is ideal for water sports such as rafting, swimming and kayaking. Other activities here include hiking in nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park. In the evenings, you’ll dine at your family run hotel on the riverside, pairing a bottle of the local vintage with the catch of the day.

When to go: June - September
Our top selling trip: Water sports activity holiday in Croatia
See all our trips: Croatia multi activity holidays
Read more: Croatia travel guide

8. Winter in the Austria Tyrol

The ethos at this East Tirol mountain retreat is ‘mind, body and soul’, and we’re pretty sure the hot chocolate here benefits all three. Overlooking Hohe Tauern National Park, the centre offers bespoke itineraries that are dictated by weather conditions as much as your interests. Snow shoeing, winter hikes, cross country skiing, tobogganing and daily yoga sessions feature, with plenty of time set aside to relax too.

When to go: December – April
Our top selling trip: Austria activity holiday - hiking, snowshoeing and yoga
See all our trips: Austria winter holidays
Read more: Austria winter holidays guide

Our top Activity centres Holiday

Watersports activity holiday in Croatia

Watersports activity holiday in Croatia

Multi activity adventure: kayak, sup, raft, hike in Croatia

From €670 to €840 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 18 May, 25 May, 1 Jun, 8 Jun, 15 Jun, 22 Jun, 29 Jun, 6 Jul, 13 Jul, 20 Jul, 27 Jul, 3 Aug, 10 Aug, 17 Aug, 24 Aug, 31 Aug, 7 Sep, 14 Sep, 21 Sep, 28 Sep
Helpdesk
Hello. If you'd like to chat about Activity centres or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Activity centres travel advice

Xania, from our supplier Wearactive, explains what to expect from activity centre holidays in Croatia:

Cultural immersion

“As it was closed to the public for so long, Vis still has a sense of authentic island life. It has retained many Croatian, Dalmatian and island traditions, and has a rich history that’s evident in its architecture, as well as Greek and Roman ruins. Then there is the environment! There has been a lot of focus on the bays and beaches of Vis, but it has a wonderful inland with vineyards, olive groves and rugged, rosemary-infused trails. But we believe it is the people of Vis that really make it stand out. There are so many great characters among the locals - spend a while with a coffee or glass of wine in Vis town and you will eventually meet one of them!”

Hand luggage only?

“We send out a packing list to guests, but you could easily travel very light and arrive with a couple of pairs of board shorts and t shirts, a pair of watershoes for the pebble beaches, and trainers. Sunglasses, hat, suncream we think are the essential items!”

Communal living

“Our base in Croatia is a simple old stone property that has been renovated to give us several en-suite guest rooms on the ground floor with shared outdoor sitting/relaxing areas. The first floor is an open plan living space with a large terrace. The rooms are small but comfortable - our focus is to encourage guests to spend as much time as possible outdoors, be that exploring the island, eating out or just relaxing! “
Amy Hope, from our supplier The Artisan Travel Company, on the benefits of an activity centre holiday in Finnish Lapland:

Authentic Finland

“The beauty of Finnish Lapland really speaks for itself and in recent years the hype around the Northern Lights and winter bucket list experiences have meant tourism in some places has become quite commercial. Harriniva and Jeris are the perfect antidotes to this. This is an area of Finnish Lapland still relatively untouched and encapsulates the local culture, everlasting traditions, picture-perfect scenery and the quiet that real Lapland has. This is an exceptional destination for those who want to travel to experience real Lapland.”

Husky safaris

“Husky sledding is on many bucket lists but an overnight husky safari is a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. You take your own team of dogs and travel roughly 25km to a wilderness cabin. Here the group all pitch in with making the fire, preparing food, feeding the huskies and heating the sauna. There may not be electricity or running water in some cabins but there is a wood fired sauna - after all, this is Finland. You’ll be in the wilderness, with no light pollution to interrupt your views of the night sky, meaning it is the perfect time to look up in search of the Aurora Borealis.”

Northern Lights

“One of the most popular things for guests to do in their free time is hire snow shoes and explore the local area under their own steam. From Harriniva it is only a short walk to a bridge which marks the border crossing between Sweden and Finland, which is a great photo opportunity. If you are staying at Jeris there are some great routes around the lake and guests here can also choose to visit the spa afterwards to relax after an action packed few days. Your free time on a night can be spent exactly as you will, but for us, we suggest getting wrapped up and heading to the lakeside for some Northern Lights viewing in complete peace and quiet.”

Tips on activity centres from our holiday reviews

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful activity centre holiday advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your trip – and the space inside your suitcase.
You cannot fail to be impressed at the amazing Montenegrin landscape. I've traveled quite a lot around the world and these views are right up there with the best I've ever seen.
– Gary Caswell
“You’ll need water shoes as well as walking boots for hiking in Montenegro. And don’t bother with smart clothes, it’s all very casual!”- Jennifer Smith

“It was incredible to experience the local food and wine in Montenegro knowing that everything on your plate was sourced within about 2km.” – Anna Brown

“Renting a car in Montenegro is not necessary but it did mean that we could make day trips on our days off. All the hikes and kayaking were very suitable and really enjoyable for both of us as parents and for our kids aged 12 and 18.” – Kyra De Coninck

“You cannot fail to be impressed at the amazing Montenegrin landscape. I've traveled quite a lot around the world and these views are right up there with the best I've ever seen. Make sure to take the correct clothing and equipment with you. In particular if the weather forecast is changeable. A decent camera is a must to try and capture the stunning views.” – Gary Caswell

“Both my husband and myself agree that if we had gone to Montenegro on our own as a family and arranged the trip independently we would have had fun and seen beautiful views but we have learnt that having the knowledge of local guides like Ben and Emma made our visit so much more worthwhile. It has given our children the travel bug which is great because we travelled so much before we had children. It is the perfect trip for previously backpacking parents to introduce their family to the wonder of visiting places off the beaten track” – Steph Bowler

Several things made Turkey memorable. ..the people I met - a real mix of different ages and backgrounds that you wouldn't necessarily meet at home within your normal social circles.
– Susie Everest
“We took many clothes with us to Finland but only ended up wearing a handful. The winter gear provided by the hotel was more than adequate to keep us warm. I would suggest taking some ski goggles especially for the snow mobile tours as the helmets provided often iced up.” – Antonia Taylor-Howe

“The hotel is in a rural location so don't expect shopping or nightlife. If you like to be in a beautiful location by the river, with a variety of activities planned for you, then Croatia is a great holiday.” – Ellen Dhawan

“I feel this holiday is very much what you want to make it and there's no pressure to follow a particular itinerary. The 'relaxingly active' ethos describes our week in Austria perfectly.” – Cornelia Szecsei

“Loved that they tailor your holiday in Austria based around what you decided you want to do the night before. And there's heaps you can do! The communal dining is another plus, allowing you to socialise and get to know your hosts and other guests." – Hannah Moody

“As a professional working long hours in the city I loved how easy it was to book and then get away for some fresh air and exercise in Wales without having to worry about it.” – Alicia Crisp

“Several things made Turkey memorable. ..the people I met - a real mix of different ages and backgrounds that you wouldn't necessarily meet at home within your normal social circles. ..Experiencing new activities... and doing things you wouldn't be able to do as a tourist visiting the country on your own, like having an authentic Turkish lunch at the house of a Turkish family in the middle of the mountains.” – Susie Everest

Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Roberto Nickson] [Lake Skadar: Jeanna Karamazova] [Val d'Isere: Andreas Bjarlestam] [Advice 1: Yacht Rent] [Advice 2: Juris Sennikovs] [Tip 1: Pavlov Hryhorash] [Tip 2: Warren Talbot]
Convert currencies