Unique Sports Around the World
Have you ever wondered what other sports there are besides the mainstream ones that are basketball, football, baseball, and hockey? How about what kind of sports are played in other parts of the world? Whether you're traveling to a different country and looking for entertainment, wanting to try a new sport, or you're just plain curious, we have a list of unique sports that are played all around the world.
Header image by @chuttersnap on Unsplash
Man vs Horse
Did you know that there’s a sport that plays itself out like a huge zombie attack, involving hundreds of people? If not, you should take a look at the cool and intense sport that is bo-taoshi.
Translating to “pole toppling,” bo-taoshi is a very physical game similar to capture-the-flag and used to be traditionally played at many schools in Japan. How it works is that there are two teams of 150 students each (300 total). Those two teams then split in half so each of those teams have a group of attackers and defenders. After that, the game starts and it’s a race to see which team will be the first to knock the other team’s pole down before time runs out.
A lot of schools have dropped bo-taoshi due to the dangers it presents, but it's still played in notable schools like the Kaisei Academy in Tokyo and the National Defense Academy in Yokosuka. Bo-taoshi remains as a rite of passage for students that still participate in it today.
If you’re a fan of football and wrestling, then perhaps the sport of Calcio Storico will have the combination that’s right for you.
Also known as “historic football,” Calcio Storico is a combination of football and rugby that dates all the way back to 16th-century Italy. The game starts with two teams of 27 players each and the objective is to score more goals (cacce) than the other team before the 50 minute timer runs out. However, compared to the football and rugby you see played today, Calcio Storico is a lot more brutal. For starters, brawling is a fundamental part of the game. Additionally, there’s no padding involved whatsoever and there are also no substitutions allowed, even if players get injured.
A sport definitely made for Italy’s toughest, Calcio Storico is a game you should definitely watch if you ever visit Florence in June, as the final matches will be played throughout that month.
Have you ever eaten something so good you would do anything to eat it again? If so, cheese rolling is a sport you should participate in.
Every spring near the city of Gloucester in England, hundreds of people race down Cooper’s Hill to catch a wheel of succulent Double Gloucester cheese. The first person to cross the finish line wins the big cheese! However the chances of you completing the race without any injuries is not guranteeed. Every year, an average of 33% of participants get themselves hurt tumbling down the rough hill, especially when they’re rolling down it at such high speeds.
Definitely one of the strangest sports on this list, cheese rolling has been growing in popularity, and now people from all over the world travel to England to participate in this dangerous race and cut the cheese.
Imagine a game of soccer, except players use bikes instead of their feet to play it! Welcome to the sport of cycle ball.
Also known as “Rad Ball,” cycle ball combines soccer and cycling into one sport. Players ride around in a small court on fixed-gear bicycles (aka fixies) and use them to move the ball and score it in their opponents’ goal. Players aren’t allowed to have their feet touch the ground, which makes the game even harder. As a result though, you can see so many insane tricks being used by all players due to this rule.
If you ever find yourself in Germany during the summer and fall months, catch a game of cycle ball and fill yourself with tons of entertainment. Considering the fact that Germany has the most clubs with 316 out of the total 443 of them, it should be relatively easy to find a game.
If you’ve ever played “tag” before as a child, prepare to experience your childhood again after playing Kabaddi.
Kabaddi is one of the most popular sports in South Asia and is like an extreme game of “tag.” How it works is that there are two teams on the opposite side of each court, with one team being the offense and the other being the defense. The offense sends one player, known as a “raider” to the defense’s side of the court to try and tag out as many defenders before returning to their own side of the court, all in one breath. The defenders job is to tackle the raider before they return to the offensive side of the court. Points can be awarded to the offense or the defense and the team with the most points wins the game!
Watch a game of Kabaddi during the fall season if you’re in Bangalore, where the sport is most popular. Or play it at home, as it’s an easy sport to get since it doesn't require any equipment and the rules are simple to understand.
Man vs Horse
Have you ever thought to yourself if a human could ever beat a horse in a race? If so, the Man vs. Horse race will be sure to give you the answer you seek.
Held every June in the town of Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, the Man vs Horse race pits hundreds of runners against tens of horses in a race that’s over 22 miles long. The event first started back in 1980, when locals in a pub were debating over whether a man could out-run a horse in a race. Since the birth of the race, there have only been two instances in which a person has out-ran a horse. For the most part, horses have been dominating humans in speed and endurance.
Think you have a chance? Travel to Wales and test your might in the next annual race!
You’ve seen soccer and cycling combined, but how about soccer and volleyball? Welcome to sepak takraw, where it’s like volleyball, except you mostly use your feet!
Translating to “to kick a ball,” sepak takraw is a popular sport in Southeast Asia similar to footvolley. Players use a woven ball made out of rattan and can only play with their feet, head, chest, and knees. Basically, they can use anything except their hands. But, players primarily use their feet to move the ball across the court with such power. As a result, games are filled with high-flying kicks that are just as awesome as gymnastic flips! Sepak takraw is a great display of extreme athleticism and flexibility.
If you ever visit the Philippines, Malaysia, or Thailand, where sepak takraw is most popular in, maybe check out a game or two during December while you have the chance!
Now that you know what the most unique sports in the world are, you can check them all out in person when you book a trip through our flights page. Seeking travel tips or inspiration? Check out our blog. For all your travel needs, visit Vayama.com!