Attention thrill-seekers and adrenaline-junkies! We all know Europe as one of the world’s best destinations for history, culture, and cuisine, but it’s also where you can live some of the world’s most unforgettable adventures, provided of course that you’re willing to strap on your boots and leave those museums and city streets!
To help get you inspired, we’ve gone to the open community of travelers at minube.net to find the most highly-recommended destinations in Europe to satisfy your more daring side. From the glaciers and volcanos of Iceland to the warm waters of the Canary Islands, here are Europe’s 10 best adventure destinations.
The Berchtesgaden Alps, Germany – As one traveler put it, Berchtesgaden is “a hiker’s paradise in the Bavarian Alps.” This mountainous region on the German-Austrian border is full of trails for all levels, the best of which circle Königssee, a stunning glacial lake set between towering mountains. If you’re not feeling so adventurous or if your knees are simply worn out from a day’s hike, there are also cable cars which ferry travelers to some of the area’s best viewpoints which just so happen to be the favorite haunts of local hang gliders. (Photo by Naxos)
Iceland – Iceland is so full of incredible adventure spots that we decided the whole country merits a place on the list! Once you leave the capital of Reykjavik you enter a world of bubbling hot springs, epic waterfalls, colossal glaciers, and volcanoes. Plus, Iceland is one of the best places in the world to enjoy the Northern Lights’ eerie spectacle in person. One of the country’s most fascinating trips, though, is to Jökulsárlón (pictured above), an icy glacial lake on the edge of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier which travelers can explore with a snowmobile or off-road vehicle. (Photo by Carlos Solinis)
Interlaken, Switzerland – This UNESCO-recognized area of snowy peaks and alpine lakes is home to two of Europe’s most recognizable adventure destinations: Jungfrau and the Altesch glacier, the biggest in the Alps. While the hiking and climbing is breathtaking (literally), less-strenuous travelers can hop on the Jungfaubahn train to easily access the mountains and glaciers. One of Interlaken’s best qualities, however, is that it’s an amazing destination year round, from the white days of winter to the mild summers when the valleys fill with wildflowers and waterfalls from the melting snow. (Photo by Alberto de Diego)
Tarifa, Spain – Tarifa is a sunny beach town on the Strait of Gibraltar that’s known throughout Spain for one thing: wind. That means that in addition to offering golden beaches and dolphin-filled turquoise waters, Tarifa is also a premier international destination for wind and kite surfers. If you’re not one for the waves, the rocky hills further inland are popular among climbers and hikers whose hard work is rewarded by amazing sunsets over the Strait with the silhouette of Morocco in the background. (Photo by Sylvia Colomo)
Grossglockner Alpine Road, Austria – The Grossglockner Alpine Road is probably the most stunning drive in all of Europe. Named after the highest peak in Austria, the alpine road is open to adventurous road-trippers from spring to fall and offers priceless panoramic views of Austria’s longest glacier, the Pasterze. While most prefer to tackle the Grossglockner Road’s hairpin curves with a car, those looking for a challenge can explore sections of the road by bicycle or stop at the Visitors’ Center and make the descent to the glacier on foot. (Photo by Arantxa Jimenez)
Madeira, Portugal – Madeira, along with the Azores, is one of Portugal’s Atlantic archipelagoes which has traditionally been famous for its hearty wines and laid-back lifestyle. Recently, Madeira has been increasingly popping up on the adventure tourism radar thanks to its world-class surfing, lush interior and stunning trails along its misty volcanic ridges. The most rewarding climb is definitely Arieiro, a rocky peak whose trails take travelers through verdant eucalyptus forests to a lunar landscape high above the clouds. (Photo by Naxos)
The Dolomites, Italy – The Dolomites range in Northern Italy really has it all: amazing hiking, magical mountain villages, glaciers, lakes, and a unique cultural bounty that’s rarely found even in Italy. The area is popular among hikers and hang gliders during the summer when the wildflowers are in bloom and the skies open up, but it’s also an internationally-recognized ski and snowboard destination during the winter months. Your best bet is to take your time in the Dolomites, mixing days of rugged adventure with more leisurely ones enjoying the authentic mountain cuisine in the cozy villages that dot the area. (Photo by Miguel C. Valencia)
Canary Islands, Spain – Spain’s Canary Islands are another destination that’s been shedding its beach-bum reputation and attracting more adventurous travelers. These islands have a series of unique microclimates and travelers can find everything from sandy deserts and Martian volcanic landscapes to ferny sub-tropical forests and palm-studded white-sand beaches. One of the island’s main draws is obviously water-sports, and the Canaries offer a panorama for whale-watching, sailing, surfing, and snorkeling that’s unparalleled anywhere in Europe. (Photo by Lonifasiko)
Mont Blanc, France – Besides being Europe’s highest peak, France’s iconic Mont Blanc is a veritable Mecca for thrill-seekers throughout the continent. Whether you’re looking for a challenging climb to the summit (no easy feat as Mont Blanc is one of the highest in the world), the chance to explore the actual interior of a glacier, or paragliding through one of the most breathtaking mountain landscapes anywhere on Earth, you’ll find it in Mont Blanc. (Photo by Irakli Tavberidze)