7 stupendous guys-only getaways
Rest and relaxation or a bit of rock ’n’ roll—R&R comes as adventurous or as easy as you and your friends like in these seven guys-only trips and treks in exciting global getaway destinations. And don’t forget to check out our Bond-villain-style lair of a Spanish villa for a holiday rental with that true “wow!” factor.
1. Ride the rapids in Croatia
Great for getting the adrenaline pumping, whitewater rafting is also a brilliant way to get up close and personal with Croatia’s unspoilt landscapes. Rafting hot spots on rivers flanked by pine forests, canyons, and mountains include Karlovac near Zagreb (the rivers Mrežnica and Dobra), Gorski Kotar near Rijeka (the Kupa river), the Korana river in central Croatia, the Una River on the Bosnian border, and Dalmatia (the rivers Zrmanja and Cetina). Most locations range from beginner level to grade-three difficulty; the Una, part of which winds through a stunning national park, goes up to level five in places and is the most popular spot with party groups.
2. Drink your way around Dublin
With around 1,000 pubs—including Ireland’s oldest, The Brazen Head, open since 1198—Dublin can’t be bettered for a weekend of craft beer sampling with your mates. Ireland’s microbrewery scene is flourishing, and the array of seasonal artisan beers to sample is mind boggling. Just outside Dublin’s frenetic Temple Bar district with its pubs and restaurants, J.W. Sweetman Craft Brewery is a pub with its very own microbrewery where you can often watch the chief brewer at work amidst the gleaming copper tanks as you sup on anything from a red ale to a classic chocolatey porter. Alternatively, L. Mulligan Grocer on Stoneybatter has a seasonally changing beer menu and regular tasting events.
3. Scale the heights of the Dolomites
Climbing the via ferrata or “iron paths” of Italy’s northeastern mountain range is both a physical thrill and a fascinating history lesson. These protected climbing paths were installed during World War I to allow troops to move over difficult terrain rapidly but safely, and as you rise to the challenge, you’ll spot other military remnants, including trenches and dugouts. The iron cables and steps or ladders follow the natural shape of the rock face, with vertical gains ranging from about 190 to 1,200 metres. For the ultimate high, opt for a multi-day trek, spending a night or two in atmospheric mountain huts.
4. Soak up some London culture
Discover cutting-edge contemporary art, catch the cream of modern drama on a London theatre break, or delve into local history. The British capital offers all this and so much more, so do as all savvy visitors do and narrow your focus according to you and your mates’ main interests. Or simply hop aboard a bike tour such as those offered by Fat Tire: a fantastic way to get some exercise while clocking the sights—perhaps stopping off to sample British beers at characterful local pubs en route, or rounding off your day with a classic West End show.
5. Get your golf on in the Algarve
Rated by many experts as the world’s greatest golfing destination, Portugal’s southernmost region offers up around 50 courses, most in stunning protected areas with glorious sea, river, and/or valley views. Meanwhile, the balmy climate means you can play a round all year round. Whatever your level, there’s something here for you, including world-class academies, nine-hole courses, and pitch and putt courses. Golfing is excellent all over the Algarve but especially in the central region between Vilamoura, Quinta do Lago, and Vale do Lobo, where courses combine links and fairways with sea-cliffs, lakes, and bunkers. Hole 6 at Pine Cliffs even includes a shot over the beach!
6. Point break on the Côte Basque
France’s classic surfing destination—Biarritz in southwestern France—is where the sport took root in Europe in the 1950s and is now a hip spot to take to the waves with the boys. Beginners and longboarders head for the reliable surf of Côte des Basques beach, while La Grande Plage has a reputation for its hollow waves. Several other good beaches within a tight radius, particularly around Anglet, means there’s something for everyone, as well as ensuring that things never get too crowded despite the liveliness of the surfing scene. Time your visit to chime with one of the World Championship events and surf festivals hosted here—perhaps the Biarritz Surf Festival in July.
7. The ultimate man cave in Andalusia
The location seems almost irrelevant when you check out what’s inside this mind-blowing contemporary villa for up to 24, looking for all the world like something out of a Bond movie. That includes a games room with a pool table, table football, air hockey, and ping pong; a cinema with electronically reclining seats; a state-of-the-art gym; and a heated indoor spa pool. Step outside and it’s all about the vast infinity pool, surrounded by expansive decks, convivial seating areas, and roof terraces. But you’re at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains close to the city of Granada, so make sure you get out exploring on the hi-spec mountain-bikes. And perhaps the biggest thrill: All this comes with a price tag of just €50pp/night, depending on occupancy.