All of these months with shelter-in-place guidelines have given us tons of time to imagine where we’ll head to race or train once the global pandemic is over and restrictions are lifted. While that list could go on (and on and on), here’s a trio of dreamy destinations that are both training and travel #goals.
Tucked in the foothills of the Julien Alps some 30 miles from the Italy-Austria border, this tranquil lakeside spot sees mild temperatures between May and September and has a decidedly fitness-focused vibe.
The elegant and old-worldly Grand Hotel Toplice sits directly on the banks of Lake Bled, offering gorgeous views and intimate access to the water. Relax from a perch on the property’s private beach or head out on a traditional wooden row boat, complimentary to all guests.
True to its name, the Bled Castle Restaurant is housed in the 1,000-year-old fortress sitting high on a cliff overlooking the lake. Serving up regional fare like Carnolian sausage and trout caviar soup, the food is as exquisite as the terrace views. Be sure to save room for cream cake, a traditional Bled dessert.
Fed by mild, thermal springs, Lake Bled is surprisingly warm, reaching 80 degrees F in the summer. Between June and September, Grajska Beach has areas cordoned off for lap swimming.
Cyclists seeking epic climbs head to Rudno Polje, a biathlon venue on the Pokljuka plateau. The spot is a starting point for climbing Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak, following a route featuring forest roads and mountain pastures.
For a flat run full of postcard-perfect views, do a loop (or three) of the paved 3.6- mile path around the perimeter of Lake Bled.
Challenge Bled-Slovenia (September); Ironman 70.3 Slovenian Istria (TBD).
Build some spectacular swims into your stay by joining a four-day holiday hosted by Slovenian marathon swimmer Martin Strel. The itinerary includes an escorted tour around Lake Bled’s famous island, home to the 17th century Church of Mary the Queen. Find out more at strel-swimming.com.
Wanaka, New Zealand
The self-proclaimed first “lifestyle reserve” on the planet, this resort town sits in the shadows of the Southern Alps of New Zealand and is home to Mt. Aspiring National Park.
The sprawling–and swimmer-friendly–Oakridge Resort Wanaka has a 25m lap pool plus nine additional heated outdoor pools, ideal for resting weary legs.
Park your bike and grab a bite at any of Wanaka’s lycra-friendly lakefront cafes, like Big Fig, known for its seasonal slow food (think pomegranate beef cheeks and vegan tagine).
Between October and April, local swimmers gather in the western corner of Roy’s Bay in the lake, where there are both 450m and 1,000m buoy lines from which to sight off.
From rolling hills to fast flats to high mountain passes, Wanaka’s got it all. A 50-mile super-scenic roundtrip ride to “The Neck”—a narrow isthmus separating Lakes Wanaka and Hawea—is a hometown favorite.
Hit the lakeside hard-packed dirt path in Wanaka Station Park, making sure to snap a selfie with the famed “That Wanaka Tree” growing out of the water.
Challenge Wanaka (February); Wanaka SwimRun (March)
Head off the beaten path with a guided run organized by RunAways Wanaka. Led by local runners, their small group tours take you to the area’s most iconic–and exclusive–spots. Check it out at run-aways.com/wanaka.
Some 27 miles east of Bali, Lombok has all of the trappings of its more popular sister island with less crowds, a drier climate, and plenty of places to play (and train).
The Pool Villa Club in Senggigi allows you to make yourself at home in a two-story villa with a private sundeck and whirlpool, plus access to an exclusive beach. Bonus: Each of the 16 villas face a winding lagoon pool flocked by bougainvillea gardens.
Snag a seat outside at The Square on the coast of Senggigi and watch a stellar sunset with your meal. The impressive menu includes classic Indonesian dishes served family style.
You can’t beat the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Bali Sea. Traveling between July and October? Look out for the legendary local giant, the car-size mola mola fish.
Local roadies stick to Raya Senggigi Road, which hugs Lombok’s north- west coastline and features the dazzling beauty of the Bali sea and lush landforms at every turn.
For a truly bucket list experience, run the rim of Mount Rinjani, one of Indonesia’s largest and most active volcanoes, some 12,224 feet above sea level. For a milder run, hit Kerandangan Nature Reserve near Senggigi Beach for tranquil trails that lead to waterfalls.
Ironman Lombok 70.3 (July)
Create your own Tour de Lombok with a bike trip traversing the island’s perimeter. Offered by various local outfitters including Lombok Bike Trip, the tour covers some 200 miles over four days. Find out more at lombokbiketrip.com.