The best places to buy a home if you love sport

Who’s ever bought or rented a home based on being able to do their favourite sport? I bet there are lots of expats out there who have. I have, have you?

Beach volleyball in Vancouver (Photo: Josef Hanus /

If you’re into outdoor sport, chances are you’ll want to practice it wherever and whenever you can. But moving around the world can present a challenge, especially if you end up living in a city.

I love cycling, running, open-water swimming, tennis, kayaking and hockey, and have managed to keep up playing and doing most of them as I’ve moved around the world, but not all of them all the time. I’ve learned to be flexible and to take up new sports to suit the new climate.

I hope you’ve got your own “best places” and that you’ll share them in the comments section below. In the meantime, I’m going to share the places where I’ve lived and the sports I’ve done there. I hope they will inspire you to choose those places for your sporting expat life.

“Fair weather” UK

The UK, for example, is a hockey hub, especially after the British Women’s team won gold in Rio. Whatever the weather (except snow because you can’t see the lines on the pitch!), I get out there and train with my team. The crummy British climate won’t stop me playing hockey. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to play hockey in the hot weather of Spain instead I would…

… Swim, bike, run, surf in Spain

Surfing off Barcelona

The Spanish Costas are a fantastic location for cycling, off-road running and swimming, either in the sea or in open air pools. I especially love the Costa Brava, where it’s not as hot as the more southern costas. It’s where I resuscitated a dormant triathlon career, and loved every moment of it. (Only trouble is, having swum in open-air pools, there’s no chance I’ll ever plough up and down an indoor, chlorinated pool again!)

And then there’s France…

The superb Lake Annecy in Haute Savoie, France

I’ve lived in the south in the Languedoc area on the beautiful River Orb, which is perfect for kayaking and in the south-west, close to the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean, which is perfect for cycling, skiing, trail running and swimming in rivers and the sea. We also holidayed at Lake Annecy (pictured above), where the swimming is heavenly.

Hot and humid in Costa Rica

This is where I’ve mountain biked and done some pretty athletic hiking during a year-long sabbatical. One of the best mountain biking routes is from Turrialba to the Pacific Coast, where you can hop off your bike and do some world class surfing, or just chill on a boogie board.

Two places to dream about…

If I had to choose a place to rent or buy a property based on being able to do outdoor sport, rather than moving for work or family reasons, I’d like to try out these two cities:

  1. Melbourne, Australia
  2. Vancouver, Canada

Do you have a dream place to buy or rent  a property for a great sporting expat life? Let me know below: