There was a time when, to some people, going on vacation meant a week or two of lazing around in the sun and spending evenings eating and drinking too much. Okay, so that is still some people’s idea of heaven, but where a generation ago, adventure holidays were the exception, these days more of us want to get a broader and more exciting experience from our vacation travels. Perhaps it is due to the more sedentary life people tend to lead these days. After all, it used to be said that a couple of weeks off work was a chance to just sit still and relax. With the modern workforce, the reverse is often true, and for those who spend all day every day staring at a screen, it makes a change to get moving and do something interesting or exciting.
Get ready for adventure
Of course, there is a potential downside to this, which is that without the right precautions and preparations, you will leap into action and adventure, completely overdo it on the first day and spend the remaining time recovering from a muscle strain or worse. Before you invest thousands of dollars in the adventure vacation of your dreams, think pragmatically and make sure you are in the right physical shape. Also, do yourself a favor and pack the right fitness clothes and shoes. You will give your body the best chance with compression fit clothing, which provides support as well as comfort. A knee compression sleeve is contoured to the knee joint and can make the difference between the holiday of a lifetime and two weeks on crutches, so it is a shrewd investment. Okay, ready now? Let’s narrow down some of the best adventure destinations in Europe. Some are off the beaten track, while others will help you see some familiar locations in a whole new light.
Plitvice National Park
It might have been added to the UN List of World Heritage Sites in 1979, but Plitvice is still one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Situated in Croatia, the park is a wonderful, unspoiled spot to enjoy hiking, kayaking, and swimming amid stunning natural scenery. The landscape is a mix of rich forests, secluded lakes, and spectacular waterfalls. Best of all, the park is only a two-hour journey from the capital Zagreb, which has regular flights to and from all the major European hubs.
With its dramatic glaciers, hot springs, volcanos and lava fields, not to mention its reputation for an unforgiving climate, Iceland exemplifies the spirit of the adventure holiday. There is something for every sort of adventurer, from a boat trip on the Jokulsarlon Lagoon to trekking across the surreal landscape formed by volcanic eruptions, to diving in the unique Silfra Fissure.
The Swiss Alps
We all love the Sound of Music, right? Well, an adventure holiday in the Alps is nothing like that at all! Skiing is one of the original and most popular types of adventure holiday, and is still hugely popular, as much for the social side of après-ski as the action itself. For those of an adventurous nature, forget the skis. You can get up close and personal with the mountains on a week of ice climbing and mountaineering. Don’t head out on your own, there are organized trips that will keep you safe but exhilarated, and they arrange overnight stays in camping huts along the way. There are packages for everyone from first timers to expert mountaineers.
London as you’ve never seen it
A trip to London is part of every European tour, but adventurous? It is if you visit by speedboat! That is a unique way to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and all the rest as you’ve never seen them before. Remember that scene in The World is Not Enough where Bond causes chaos on the Thames? Enough said.
On safari in Spain
Mention safaris, and you could be forgiven for thinking we have left Europe. But visit either of the Andújar or Doñana national parks in Spain, and you will have the chance to spot the rarest cat in the world. These two locations are the last places on the planet where the Iberian lynx can still be found. Both parks have impressive facilities and plenty of adventure activities, as well as guided hikes and safaris in 4x4s to get a peek at the park’s most elusive residents.
Enjoy the adventure
Adventure holidays are a great way to wind down by getting up, and Europe is the perfect place to see new things and try out some unique experiences.