Gymnasiums are springing up in resorts across the globe to cater for fitness-conscious travelers. But those who want more than a treadmill and a handful of weights might prefer a destination that bills itself as "the best sports resort in the world." Located on Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, Club La Santa has an athletics stadium, boxing ring, windsurfing lagoon and Olympic swimming pool. The resort caters to elite athletes as well as to amateurs, who can learn to breathe properly while swimming freestyle, improve their running style or hone their forehand. Also on offer are training camps for triathletes and special weeks for activities including aerobics, Spanish dancing and yoga. See .
Under the tolerant rule of the Arabic Umayyad dynasty, which had fled Syria for Spain in 750, Cordoba flourished as an intellectual and artistic center. Masons and artisans from around the Muslim world flocked to the Andalusian city to create intricately decorated mosques and palaces, including the magnificent 10th century Madinat-al-Zahra. Named after his favorite wife, Caliph Emir Abdal-Rahman III's personal residence and administrative headquarters is the setting for "The Splendor of the Cordovan Umayyads," which brings together 300 artefacts, ranging from books to sculptures and architectural ornaments, gathered from museums around the world. Through Sept. 30.
Beauty-seeking tourists who want to see the cypress-dotted golden hills of Tuscany from a closer range than the windows of a tour bus can join the daily tours offered by Florence by Bike. Participants can choose from several routes, ranging from 32 km to 70 km, with stop-offs for wine tastings and lunch. The company also organizes 6-km tours of historic Florence and has a large range of bikes and scooters for hire, which can be delivered to hotels and campsites. Tours cost from $20. See .
The Caspian Sea's sturgeons survived the Soviet era of dam building that cut off their breeding grounds and the toxic wastes that heavy industry shoveled down the Volga river. But poachers and unscrupulous caviar producers, who are killing the fish instead of returning them to the water after the roe is extracted, have driven the sturgeons (which evolved in the age of the dinosaurs) to the brink of extinction. Fearing that it may be contributing to the problem, Gulf Air has ended its 25-year-old tradition of serving Beluga caviar to its first-class and business-class passengers; instead, its menus will now offer delicacies that are "environmentally sustainable."