To quote Lonely Planet, “Europe is a patchwork of more than 40 compulsively individualistic countries and is a dazzling and spectacular place to explore. With an endless variety of cultures and attractions, travelers can jump in almost anywhere to join the party.”
Travelers who hit Europe are blown away by the diverse range of sights, sounds, tastes and other sensations, though probably the most diverse of all is Europe’s adventurous activities scene. With a patchwork of nations which covers landscapes from the Mediterranean to the Alps, Europe has a unique range of adventure sports and adrenaline activities to offer visitors who travel here. From cliff jumping and scuba, to extreme rock climbing and skiing, Europe truly does have it all.
While there are hundreds of activities across Europe to keep your adrenaline pumping, here are 6 of the most epic you should try within your lifetime.
Cliff Jumping in Croatia
Backed by the sparkling Adriatic sea, Croatia has some spectacular opportunities for cliff dives, and it’s difficult to travel here during summer and not want to jump from the top of a cliff!
Most rock faces throughout Croatia descend straight into the Adriatic sea, meaning jumps are quite safe. Though it’s always advisable to pack some kind of aqua footwear to avoid sharp rocks on the climb back up.
Jumps throughout the country range from just a few meters to jumps of over 25 meters high. Hvar Island is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia for this, though there are also hidden spots set up along the exterior of Dubrovnik’s fortified walls. Towards the southern end of the city there is a restaurant and bar half embedded into the cliff and the wall, overhanging the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, where patrons often jump from the cliff into the sea.
Diving in Cyprus
Strategically positioned in the beautiful eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is an island surrounded by a dazzling blue sea, and blessed with an amazing number of world-class wrecks for divers of all levels of experiences.
In the depths of Cyprus’ crystal clear waters, divers will witness a diverse range of marine wildlife, learn and perfect recreational shipwreck-diving techniques in world-famous ancient shipwrecks, and explore the beautiful seafloor.
Among the number of world renowned dive sites in Cyprus are the wrecks of the Vera K and the Achilleas off Pafos, as well as the wrecks of HMS Cricket, a British army helicopter and, most famously, the Zenobia off Larnaka.
For more information contact the Cyprus Federation of Underwater Activities.
Extreme Rock Climbing in Greece
For those who fancy extreme climbing, Kalymnos is the place to be. A small Greek island located in the southeastern Dodecanese archipelago, rock climbing and bouldering is offered all year round, and has become famous for being one of the most extreme activities currently on offer in Greece.
Kalymnos has become known as one of the best climbing destinations in the world, known as “the epitome of sport climbing”. An island with everything a travelling climber looks for, it offers a variety of challenging rock formations, from extremely overhanging, slightly overhanging, or plain old vertical slabs, and the potential for new climbing routes is huge.
With over 80 sport crags and approximately 2300 routes, less than 10% of Kalymnos is explored, and a rock climbing experience can last for months if you want it to. The island provides a huge range of “climbing on slabs, big walls, overhangs, and tufas” to suit every level and style. Climbs operate all year round, though most sport climbers travel during summer – the temperature is perfect for climbing, and you can then cool off with some watersports in the sea.
Skiing in Italy
Italy’s high-altitude ski resorts promise a combination of great conditions, excellent value and a stylish atmosphere for those looking for adventure in the snow.
This is where the residents of Europe flock to ski, and offers a more laid-back atmosphere than those of the competitive slopes in Switzerland and France.
The main ski destinations throughout Italy include Passo Tonale, Alagna and Cervinia, though for beautiful scenery and variety of terrain, none of them rival the the Dolomites.
Adventure Trekking in the Balearic Islands
With stunning landscapes and spectacular views, you would be a fool not to combine adrenaline sports with a trip to the Balearic Islands! Think canyoning, caving, cliff jumping and rock sports – adventure trekking can combine it all!
Abseil and rappel through some of the world’s most notorious canyons while enjoying fantastic views of Mallorca’s stunning coast. Feel your pulse beat as you jump from cliffs which overhang the Mediterranean sea. Scramble through stunning limestone caves where rocks glisten like rows of diamonds, and choose from bolted, free climbing or classic routes as you scale the highest quality limestone rock.
The Tramuntana mountain range is the most adventurous trek in the Balearic Islands, and travelers from all around the world head here to tackle the mountain route and rugged wild trails. Routes here are intensive, though those who accept the challenge enjoy views of spectacular vistas which end at the Mediterranean sea.
Zip-Line Through Brooding Forests in Ireland
Ireland is full of stunning landscapes and dramatic scenery, and while many head straight for the pub to enjoy famous Irish brew, many more travel here for the world-class outdoor adventure. And why not?! Experiencing action packed adventure while enjoying some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes makes for a pretty memorable vacation.
Choose zip-lining and soar through brooding forests with views of magical castles or spectacular coastlines. Canopy tours consist of platforms connected by thick cables stretching across tree laden ravines, hillsides and valleys. You will be strapped into a harness, clipped into the cables and sent flying from one platform to another!
This is an activity available in Cork, Dublin, Mayo, Meath, Tyrone and Wicklow.
Don’t feel like you have to enjoy the above adventures alone. From castles in Ireland and French Chateauxs, to luxury villas right on the beach in Greece, Oliver’s Travels offers a wide range of luxury accommodation options all over Europe which makes finding affordable group accommodation a cinch.
By booking directly with the property owner from around £40 per person per night, why not enjoy your adventurous activities during the day, and then retire to a memorable luxury villa at night (at well under half the price you would normally expect to pay).
Adventurous experiences like these are much better shared, so grab a group of friends, handpick a luxury villa, and brace yourself for the European adventure of a lifetime.
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Photo Credits: Cliff Jumping by Justin De La Ornellas. Cyprus Diving by CTO Zurich. Kalymnos Climbing by Mike Bean. Skiing in Italy by Robyn Cox and Francesco Crippa. Balearic Islands by Andrés Nieto Porras and Kristoffer Trolle.