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How I stayed active during my epic European adventure

An epic European adventure

I recently returned from a trip of a lifetime in Europe. I was away for FIVE WEEKS! Epic.

Extra special because it was a trip that was supposed to happen in 2020. We all know how 2020 turned out.

It was a complete break from the routines and stressors of regular life and a truly unforgettable experience travelling through Switzerland, Rome and Croatia.

A break from regular exercise routines

I did not partake in my regular exercise routines – running and strength training – while I was away.

While some are shocked by this fact, it’s actually a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

And we don’t need to go on a big trip to take breaks from our regular exercise activities, we can incorporate them into our bigger picture every few months.

Advantages of taking a break

Sure, regular exercise is essential for our health and wellbeing but must be balanced with rest and recovery.

Taking a break from our normal activities or changing things up can help with recovery and decrease our risk of getting injured.

When we resume our usual exercise routines after a break, it can be with a renewed sense of motivation and appreciation.

Sometimes the pressure to get our regular exercise done may be a source of stress.

So, a chance to do our physical activity differently or less intensively can also be good for our mental health.

Not a sedentary holiday

It’s not my nature to take sedentary holidays, you know, where you sit on a beach or near a pool and completely relax.

I’m totally open to doing that on occasion but being an exerciser is part of who I am, and reasonably challenging physical activity is a natural part of my travels.

Love a good view

My absolute favourite part of travelling is seeing magnificent landscapes, natural wonders, and elevated views of the cities I visit.

And I’m totally prepared to hike a long way or climb a hill in pursuit of this.

While the hiking and climbing are a physical challenge, for me looking at a view is a totally relaxing experience that is worth the effort to get to the viewpoint.

I take deep breaths while I soak up the vista and wonder at the sights.

Some of my favourites

It’s hard to pick favourites because every view is special, in my opinion, but the images highlight some of my top picks.

We did multiple days of walking in the Swiss alps for wonderful mountain and valley views, including the North Face and Eiger trails, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald valleys.

In Croatia it was amazing to see Dubrovnik old town by walking the city walls and forts, an expansive view of Hvar town from the fort on Hvar Island, the old town of Split from the cathedral bell tower, and the waterfalls and lakes of Plitvice national park.

At the Vatican we did a tour that allowed us to walk up into the dome at St Peter’s Basilica. While I’m not religious, being able to appreciate the grandeur from that vantage point was a moving highlight for me.

Seeing the sights

I’m sure this one applies to most people.

When we’re in a new place we just get out and walk around in it to see the sights and find the things we need, like the supermarket to buy more sunscreen and snacks or the laundromat.

On days like this we might visit a museum or gallery or three, pop into grand churches and make our own walking tour of the parks, landmarks, statues and notable buildings.

We racked up heaps of steps on days like this, even though we usually considered them ‘easier’ days.


As much as I love swimming, it’s not something I do on a regular basis for exercise.

But swimming was another way to stay active on the Croation leg of this epic adventure.

We were on a boat charter island hopping the Adriatic coast for a week and being able to plunge into the sea to swim, snorkel and cool off was an absolute privilege.

Fitness and strength for travelling

I’ve focused here on how I maintained a high level of physical activity on holiday, but there’s something else to highlight about why we might exercise in the first place.

My commitment to regular exercise to maintain fitness and strength means that, in addition to doing what I can for my health and wellbeing, I can easily do the things I love to do while travelling.

I help over 50s stay fit and strong for awesome travel adventures.

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Keep in touch

Please reach out to me if anything in this article resonates with you.

You can email me at or connect via social media.

I’m on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

You can have a read of my previous blogs here 🙂

This blog was written by

Kate Rowen's avatar

Kate Rowen

A photo of Kate Rowen

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I wish to acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional custodians of the land where I live, work and exercise, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation.