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Christmas gifts and holiday destinations: sports adventures all around the world

A holiday by the sea, mountains or in a city? This question often comes about when the Christmas holidays are approaching and you’ve decided to make tailored Christmas gifts to that special person who always makes time for adventure, or that friend who spent the last few months choosing the most avant-garde high altitude equipment. Not to mention the most important person you want to surprise with a relaxing holiday or immersion in a new sport: yourself!

Whomever this Christmas gift is for, the important thing is that it allows pulling the plug for a second and filling up with good memories to come back to.

A journey fit for the king of the waves

If water is the element of choice and your dear one cannot wait to surf on mighty waves, then the perfect Christmas holiday is Portugal. This country is a real surfers’ paradise, with more than 800 km of coastline beaten by strong currents. Ericeira, just north of Lisbon, is widely recognised as one of the most important surfing reserves in the world, while the Praia dos Supertubos, in Peniche, has become famous for the tubular waves that oceanic currents generate there (hence the name), attracting fans from all countries.
Breath taking scenery in Portugal
However, if the dream is to break the world record and maybe end up in the Surfer Wall of Fame, Nazaré is the right place. This fishing village, thanks to its geography, has become for some years a destination for surfers in search of fortune. This is where the world record for the highest wave ever ridden was set.

Flat like a (wake) board

Although it’s not the ocean, also lake water can be great fun. Wakeboarding is a discipline that combines water skiing with snowboarding, utterly fascinating athletes with a passion for stunts. What makes a lake the ideal environment to practice this sport? Surely the width of the surface, the absence of wind and - why not – the beautiful scenery.

On Wakescout, you can choose stunning locations from more than 100 registered countries, but for wakeboard fans Lake Powell in Utah is definitely the most spectacular destination. With over 1000 km of rugged banks and impressive canyons all around, this location is also famous for being the home to one of the highest natural bridges in the world, the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

A lunar sunset
Should you want to make your Christmas gift more tropical, you will surely love the Aquaski in Costa Rica, an artificial lake immersed in the rich vegetation of the rainforest. Lastly, Good news for who was still planning a trip to Europe: Lake Como, popular destination for movie stars, is among the top 10 recommended places for aqua ski and wakeboard in the world.

At full speed through the torrents

This year could be the opportunity to dare a little more and feel the adrenaline rush of a rafting descent. In Italy, you can find one of the rivers that National Geographic has included in the list of the ten best in the world for rafting: the river Noce in Val di Sole.
Fun in the waterfall
This location offers many rafting centres to rely on for their first experiences, before venturing along the more demanding Colorado River, which crosses the Grand Canyon, between Colorado, Utah and Arizona, or to dominate the rapids and waterfalls of Zambezi, Zimbabwe.

A glistening mosaic of colours under the sea

For those fascinated by what is hidden under water, snorkelling could be the ideal sport and Christmas gift. The choice can be difficult when it comes to deciding between amazing destinations like the Great Coral Reef in Australia, the Galapagos Islands off the Ecuadorian coast or Hawaii. Among the recommended destinations, there is the Corals Triangle, located in between the coastlines of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. As the name suggests, here you can see an impressive variety of corals - more than 500 different species - but also get to know six of the seven species of sea turtles in the world and discover, just below the surface of the sea, the extraordinary colours of the 2000 varieties of fish that inhabit the reef.
Corals Triangle

Out of the water, in the snow and on safaris

What about those more sensitive to the call of drier adventures? An African safari could be the perfect choice! Among the most popular destinations, there are the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Chobe National Park in Botswana.

You can opt for the most luxurious facilities, surrounded by unspoilt nature, or for a holiday as much as possible in line with the true essence of the country.

What is certain is that the sense of nostalgia for Africa will strike you.


Playlist
A nostalgia for Africa stronger than Toto's
Should you crave for more winter sports, skiing is certainly the most popular among them, with France and Austria practically unrivalled among the countries that offer the most attractions. You could follow the advice of skiers who, in recent years, have appreciated the slopes and modern facilities of St. Anton, Austria, though Chamonix - the first resort to host the Winter Olympics in 1924 - and Les Deux Alps, France, have always been right at the top of the charts and in the heart and legs of skiers.

If you want to consider Italy, you can choose Courmayeur or Cervinia, the favourites of local and foreign tourists, who appreciate the slopes and, above all, the hospitality and good food!

In search of Santa

Finally, to go in search of the Northern Lights, why not wear snowshoes and spend a few days trekking in one of Finland's 35 national parks? Wild atmospheres, uncontaminated landscapes and deep silence: the lucky recipients of this precious Christmas gift could discover, in these areas, that white has never had so many shades. Urho Kekkonen National Park, the second largest in Finland, is one of the most visited by tourists, along with the picturesque Riisitunturi National Park and Lemmenjoki National Park, the largest in the country, a pathway to the heart of Lapland.
In Rovaniemi, it is also possible to line up and meet Santa Claus in his Christmas village – visited every year by more than 500,000 visitors from all over the world - and perhaps to ask him as a Christmas gift to extend the holidays just a little longer.

At least enough to make up for the fatigue of an adventure gift!

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