5 Unforgettable Thrill Seeking Adventures in Europe!
Most people seeking exciting adventure destinations think immediately of some south sea island, or under-explored jungle in Southeast Asia. Europe often brings to mind more sedate pastimes, involving history and culture.
When I was wandering around Europe the majority of my time was certainly not spent doing thrill-seeking adventures like skydiving or parasailing. (I was a big chicken back in the day, unlike the little chicken you see now) Besides, I was too busy having a tomato fight and kissing the Blarney Stone. Nonetheless, the European continent offers some excellent opportunities for outdoor adventures along with the more cultural distractions. Food for the body, as well as the soul, as it were.
Some like it hot, so let’s start with the more summery pursuits. Tarifa, Spain, is a beach town basking in the sun on the shores of the Strait of Gibraltar. Its golden sandy beaches lead down to turquoise waters perfect for all manner of warm weather pursuits. You may have to share the water with a passing pod of dolphins, however. Tarifa is well known throughout Europe for an additional feature – its wind, which makes it a favorite destination for wind and kite surfers.
You don’t even have to spend all your time in, or above, the water. Just inland you’ll find rocky hills perfect for climbing or hiking. On a clear day you can see the silhouette of the African country of Morocco sitting on the horizon. And sunsets over the Strait of Gibraltar are not to be forgotten.
Another warm weather destination that would be a shame to leave off the list of thrill-seeking adventures in Europe are the Canary Islands! These islands are an autonomous community of Spain, and are located about sixty-two miles off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean. The Canaries have long been a tourist destination, but are beginning to shed their reputation as a “beach bum” haven. While the beaches are lovely, and the islands offer an abundance of water sports of all kinds, visitors are beginning to branch out from the traditional swimming, hiking, and sunbathing activities.
Did you know you can actually ride a camel at the Canary Islands? I had no idea! Scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities are everywhere. You can even enjoy a relaxing day of whale watching. But in the Canary Islands it’s not all about the water. This island archipelago offers a variety of micro climates. You can hike through sandy deserts, or across old volcanic landscapes, or choose to follow a trail through sub-tropical rain forests. It can all be found on these fantastic islands.
For those who prefer their adventure a little less maritime, Interlaken, in Switzerland offers the best of a mountainous and lakeside destination. Interlaken is the area located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Interlaken is a worthwhile destination year round. In the winter the snow-covered mountains tower over the area, giving way in summertime to wildflower-filled valleys complete with waterfalls powered by the melting snows. Hiking is magnificent at any time, and you can choose your exertion level. Take the more strenuous route, skirting the Eiger, or take a more leisurely path through the alpine valleys. You can visit Spetz Castle, located amidst vineyards on the shores of Lake Thun.
One interesting note – when other nations, in the spirit of disarmament, were disposing of unwanted arms and explosives in deep ocean waters, Switzerland, completely landlocked, disposed of theirs in the water of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Those tranquil alpine lakes are the resting place of hundred upon hundred of tons or armaments. Interlaken is also an ideal place to find some aerial adventure. Skydiving, heli-diving, para-sailing are all offered in the area. You can also book a walking tour of the area which will provide an introduction to the Swiss culture and cuisine.
Now a word for those travelers who prefer their adventure both hot and cold – Iceland. The perfect land of ice and fire. Sounds like something out of “Game of Thrones”, doesn’t it? Well, this country can be just as fascinating. It is a land of contradictions. Colossal waterfalls, epic glaciers, hot springs and geysers, volcanoes! And you see them all in the same country, under a sky lit by the majestic Northern Lights. Take a hike, ride a horse, or commandeer a jeep – it’s your choice.
The best time to travel to Iceland is between May and October. During the winter months the limited daylight hours will severely cut back on your activities. Not to mention the cold! But during the milder months, there is a wealth of things to see and do, mostly having to do with nature at its wildest and most wonderful. Just don’t eat the hakarl (putrescent shark meat). Some adventures are meant to be avoided.
Another adrenaline pumping hotspot in Europe is the Alps! The Alps are studded with world famous skiing resorts, but none is perhaps more famous than the city of Chamonix, located at Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe. The truly adventurous may attempt to climb to the summit, while the less adventurous, but far more practical, may elect to take a ride on the Aiguille du Midi, a cable car ascending to a summit of 3,842 meters above sea level. This may be the smarter choice when you consider that approximately one hundred climbers per year are lost in their assault on Mont Blanc.
The ski resorts at Mont Blanc offer skiing, snowboarding, and hiking, although the latter is possibly best enjoyed during the warmer summer months. There are also opportunities for paragliding, and visiting the inside of a glacier. You’ll be dazzled by the blue ice surrounding you.
HOT TIP: If you’re a risk taker but prefer more land based less active fun, you could always gamble. You never know if you’ll win unless you check out the Euromillions Lottery results.
*This post was provided in cooperation with Euromillions Lottery.
Which places would you include on our list of unforgettable thrill-seeking adventures in Europe?