Traditional Sports & Games Around The World
Updated: Apr 6
In the USA, there’s Kan Jam, cornhole, baseball and countless other sport activities, but traditional games and sports aren’t just native to the USA and can be found around the world. From farmers golf in Switzerland to the Seychelles version of hopscotch, here are some easy global games that can be replicated at home.
France: Pétanque Pétanque is a French sport of boules and perhaps one of the most popular games in France. Similar to that of British lawn bowling or Italian bocce, the French version is traditionally played with metallic balls on a dirt or gravel surface with a glass of pastis in hand. Played between two players or teams, players take turns throwing or rolling a ball as close as possible to the target ball; if necessary the player will use their ball to knock the opponent’s ball away. The goal of the game is to be the first player/team to score thirteen points by having boules closer to the target than your opponent. Points are scored by having one or more boules closer to the target than those of the opponent, after all boules have been thrown. The game can be played out over a series of rounds. Though Pétanque is a French game, it has grown international popularity and in the USA there are leagues and clubs for the sport in addition to Pétanque courts in city and local parks.
Leading French lifestyle and hospitality brand, Maisons Pariente, offers hotels in Provence and Saint-Tropez for an authentic local French experience, complete with spaces for Pétanque. Hotel Crillon Le Brave in Provence, and Hotel Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez are charming, chic hotels with unique identities, each aligned with their respective locations. Hôtel Crillon Le Brave is a five-star hideout boasting 16 guest rooms and 18 suites, two gourmet restaurants, a rustic spa, an outdoor heated swimming pool, and a terraced pétanque court. Hôtel Lou Pinet is a luxury hideaway bohemian charm of Saint-Tropez featuring 26 guest rooms and 8 suites, the largest pool in Saint-Tropez tucked away in a secret garden, spa, pétanque corner, and it's very own BeefBar butcher shop. The pétanque spaces in each hotel are perfect for guests who become enamored with the game and want to keep playing to work on their skills.
Switzerland: Hornussen Hornussen, which translates as farmers golf, is an indigenous Swiss sport that originated in the seventeenth century. Seen as a national sport, Hornussen is considered a cross between baseball and golf, where players hit a puck through the air at up to 186.4 mph within a trapeze-shaped playing field. The sport was played exclusively in Switzerland until recently, when local clubs in the United States were formed. Travelers to Switzerland can enjoy a stay at the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, located at an altitude of 5,900 feet in the mountain town of Arosa, just a few hours outside of the area Hornussen was formed in. The Tschuggen Grand is a contemporary fairy tale style venue with 130 rooms, the world class Tschuggen Bergoase Spa, four restaurants, and private Tschuggen Express cable car, providing access to the hiking and biking trails across the area.
Lesel: The Seychelles Lesel (hopscotch) is a popular game in the Seychelles nationwide. A diagram of 10 numbered squares is drawn on the ground and each player has a piece of rock, tile or something else to throw. Each player in turn tosses the piece of tile into the first square and hops on one foot into the square, kick the tile over the base line and hop back out. Next, the player tosses the tile into the second square, hops into the first square, then into the second. There, the player kicks the tile back over the base line, then hops back through the first square and out. The player then throws the tile into the third square and continue to hop through all the squares, until they miss. Players miss by losing balance, stepping on a line or dropping the tile on a line or in a wrong square. first one to have moved through all the squares was the winner. The hopscotch court was sometimes shaped like a snail – then it was called Lesel kourpa (snail hopscotch). Honoring Seychelles culture is Fregate Island is one of the most revered hideaways in the Seychelles, offering the privacy and seclusion with 17 beautifully crafted villas throughout pristine nature. In addition to being a luxury getaway, Fregate Island is a conservation sanctuary fully dedicated to sustainability. Picigin: Croatia Picigin is traditional ball game from Split, Croatia that is played on the beach. It is an amateur sport played in shallow water consisting of players keeping a small ball from touching the water. The game involves several players in a circle batting around a small ball with their hands; the objective is to keep the ball in the air and out of the water for as long as possible. Players don't catch the ball but instead bounce it around with the palm of the hand. The game somewhat resembles net-less volleyball, but is played with a much smaller ball, usually a peeled tennis ball. There is no set number of players, though five is usually average. Much running and diving is done in order to keep the ball from going in the shallow water. Picigin is considered a non-competitive sport: there are no opposing sides, no points, neither winners nor losers. It is generally viewed as a relaxing and fun game, and many take the opportunity to make extravagant leaps and acrobatic manoeuvrings to keep the ball in play. For an immersive experience, luxury travel and property club, THIRDHOME offers private properties in Croatia. Unlike hotels, these private, secluded homes ensure the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity and create an authentic experience for guests, including Villa Ana in Dubrovnik. Built on the Dubrovnik hills, Villa Ana represents two houses joined together by a courtyard, featuring two outstanding, large terraces overlooking the milieu of the Dalmatian Coast and the Old Town’s medieval walls. England: Cricket The national sport of England, cricket originated in South East England in the mid-16th century. Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the center of which is a 22-yard pitch with a wicket at each end, comprising of two bails (smaller sticks) balanced on three stumps. The game spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire with the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. Travelers to London can enjoy a stay at the Academy Hotel, inspired by the rich literary history of its Bloomsbury neighborhood. Located in the West End, the hotel offers access to everything in the city, including two cricket grounds. Guests staying between April and September can catch a game at Lord’s cricket ground, known as the Home of Cricket, only a 15 minute drive from the hotel.