Wherever you go, from western France to the Arctic Circle over Iceland, you’ll find fabulous adventure thrills to make your inner adrenaline junkie happy. There’s hiking, diving, driving, fishing, climbing, sailing, rowing, surfing and flying adventures to be had. Here are the top 15 European destinations for adrenaline junkies.
1. Reyjkavik, Iceland
Want to go river rafting on a glacial river? Iceland’s glacial river, Hvitá (pronounced Kveetau), offers adrenaline pumping waves and rapids, where the river gushes through serene canyons. You can also jump from high cliffs into the glacial cold river, or ride a 4 x 4 on the glacial sands that surround the river.
2. Belfast, Ireland
The beautiful, serene Mourne Mountains of Ireland are also treacherous. They present the best challenge to any rock climber. You can climb the mountain, rappel or abseil down the sides into a quarry and stand on the top for an unbeatable view of the city of Dublin.
3. Biarritz, South Western France
When you’re in Biarritz, be sure to surf on the high waves. Take a quick surfing course at Quicksilver, from St-Jean-de-Luz, the world class surfing instruction school. When you’re done surfing, don’t forget to take a dip in the therapeutic waters of the ocean at Biarritz.
4. Portland, England
Have an inkling to drive a vintage WWII battle tank? Here’s your chance. You can drive a tank for two miles near Portland, over rough unpaved terrains comprising of rocks, gravel and various ups and downs. Handling a vintage WWII tank that weighs more than a ton is not easy. It’ll take all your strength and skills just to keep it steady!
5. Northern Norway
Coastal Northern Norway has a delight in store for sea lovers. Grab a kayak and explore the harbor and the many canals that dot Copenhagen. Take the kayak out to the open sea and hold your own against the rough seas of Norway. The beauty of Copenhagen, along with the challenge of Kayaking on the Norway coast makes for a fabulous adventure.
6. Bergen, Norway
Go on a multi-day adventure hike over Norway’s highest mountain, Mount Ulriken. Ulriken is the highest of the Seven Mountains around Bergen, standing at an altitude of 643 meters above sea level. Hike all the way up and rest in the restaurant at the top of the mountain.
7. Geirangerfjord, Finland
Here’s a unique chance for those of you that love to fish on the high seas. Get to the Finnish Archipelago, Geirangerfjord and sea angle in the deep waters there. You have to manage your boat in the high waves, while angling for the elusive big fish which can give your boat quite a ride. Only handy souls need apply.
8. Provence, France
Provence’s rolling hills, twisting country lanes and up and down terrain is perfect for some speed biking. It’s a challenge to take all those quick twists, past 2000-year-old Roman aqueducts without falling off your bike or losing speed. Provence is also famous for other adventure thrills such as cliff climbing, skydiving and alpine skiing.
9. Rhone-Alpes, France
The area that straddles French, Swiss and Italian borders is the best area for skiing, rock climbing, hiking and so on. There are eight natural parks in this area, including Mont Blanc and Gorges de L’Ardeche. Many Winter Olympics have been hosted in the Rhone-Alpes, which is a favorite destination for adventure junkies in Europe.
10. Midi-Pyrenees, France
If you want to get to a popular winter sports destination that’s top-of-the-line but not crowded, head to the Midi-Pyrenees in France. This area stretches from the Dordogne forests to the high peaks of the Pyrenees. After the snow melts, you can kayak and raft the rivers and hike and mountain climb the hills of the Pyrenees.
The rivers of Croatia offer Grade 3 and 4 rapids, for those of you that are into rafting and kayaking. The rivers gush through lush forests, and the seas stretch across the coast. You can also go deep sea diving here and explore the Adriatic’s graveyard of ships, or climb over the high limestone cliffs or explore the 1200 islands here via speedboat or yacht.
12. Northern Norway, Norway
Over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle is the fabulous Lygen Alps, which offers great thrills such as skiing, snowmobiling, reindeer trekking and dog sledding. You don’t have to go home after the snows melt – there’s still hiking on the glacier, kayaking and mountain climbing to be enjoyed.
A few years ago, Marzi decided to cross out the items on his bucket list (and write about them). You can find his musings on skydiving, helicopter rides, and other adrenaline gift ideas on literally hundreds of blogs.