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Best Tri Race-cations: Take It International

Want to make your trip a global race-cation? Don’t let travel hassle deter you. These four spots have us dreaming of our next trip.

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There’s no vacation like a race-cation. That trip nominally planned around your favorite triathlon—but really about so much more. For your dream itinerary, we’ve put together ratings and tips on where to bring your friends, family, and training buddies; how to organize your trip; and which races to schedule around. View our race-cation guide to start making plans for your best tri trip yet.

While most of our trips in this year’s Best Race-cations were located in the U.S. (like most of our readers!), we wanted to include a few of the best international spots for your next big trip.

Planning your international race-cation

GIRONA, SPAIN

Athletes running along a beach in Girona
(Photo: Guillem Casanova)

Races

Things for Friends & Family to Do

This is a vacation destination for the active—from hiking (or running) along Costa Brava and exploring the beachside restaurants to trying a Via Ferrata fixed climbing route. This is a trip to bring your training buddies on, stage your own camp, and spot some pro athletes.

Why It’s a Great Race-cation

With the Costa Brava region to the east and the Pyrenees to the north, Girona is both steeped in history and a popular training base. Stay at La Comuna or City Oasis—apartments designed by Olympians Emma and Jan Frodeno. The duo also launched their SGRAIL gravel tri last year as a low-stress hometown event. Only 90 minutes from Barcelona, the key to a great Girona race-cation isn’t the size of the race, it’s living and loving the spirit of the multisport lifestyle. Jump into a local trail race, swimming event, or just make up your own adventure.

Pro Tip

“Rent (or bring) a gravel bike to explore the trails around Costa Brava.” —Laura Siddall, iron-distance champ, and Girona resident

ITALY

XTERRA competitors running through a forest in Italy
(Photo: XTERRA)

Races

Things for Friends & Family to Do

Beaches, villas, and stunning landscapes await those who are willing to explore. And exploring is easy—an extensive network of high-speed trains makes it simple to get from one place to another. After your race, soak up the sunshine on the Amalfi Coast, do a shakeout hike in Cinque Terre, or admire the architecture of Milan and Rome. (And don’t forget to eat and drink—this is Italy, after all.)

Why It’s a Great Race-cation

How do you top paradise? That was the question XTERRA race organizers faced when deciding to move their world championship race from its 25-year home in Maui to a rotating global host. “We wanted to provide a very different, but equally challenging experience,” said J.D. Cousens, vice president of operations at XTERRA. They found it at Italy’s Lake Molveno, where they could design a route that looped past waterfalls, lush green forests, and epic views of the Dolomite mountains. The whole country is full of gorgeous scenery that will almost make you forget you’re redlining in a race (well, almost).

AUSTRIA

Church in Austria
(Photo: Getty Images)

Races

Things for Friends & Family to Do

Most people think of Austria as a winter skiing destination, but don’t overlook its summer appeal—when the mountains are green, locals spend as much time as they can outdoors, swimming in alpine lakes, dancing at folk music festivals, and dining al fresco at sidewalk cafés.

Why It’s a Great Race-cation

There’s no question about it: Austria loves triathlon. From hotel rooms with built-in bike storage and amenities to the enthusiastic turnout of locals who line the racecourse, Austrians want nothing more than to help you have a great time during your race-cation. Give yourself an extra day or two to explore the ample cycling routes in the country—a leisurely ride along the Danube or a sightseeing ride through medieval cities are excellent options for shaking out any post-race soreness.

QUEBEC, CANADA

XTERRA competitors before the start of a race
(Photo: XTERRA)

Races

Things for Friends & Family to Do

While Mont-Tremblant and the province of Quebec may be a no-brainer for outdoor activity, triathletes and their families would be amiss to neglect the cultural opportunities in the Quebec area. Locals rave about the Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ), held from July 7–17. XTERRA Quebec organizer Christian Rodrigue also recommends checking out Valcartier Village resort and Mega Parc’s unique amusement park for more family-friendly activities.

Why It’s a Great Race-cation

It’s not just the number of races, but the quality. There’s a reason why big brands like the WTS, Ironman, Xtri, and XTERRA host major events in the Quebec area: It’s tough to beat the charm of an area known as “Europe in America.” Rodrigue points triathletes toward the “Les équerres” bike ride, Lac-Beauport lake for open-water swimming, and Quebec’s Old City area for an awesome run.

Check out other race-cation destinations: