For adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers alike, the world is a playground with countless attractions and natural wonders just waiting to be discovered. When simply exploring the outdoors isn’t enough to satisfy your need for adventure, why not try something a little more daring, something that is sure to get your blood pumping?
Detailed below is a list of the best destinations for an adventure-filled vacation, with activities for each type of traveller, including mountain biking, bungee jumping, multi-day hikes, scuba diving, and many more thrilling ways to explore some of the world's most incredible landscapes. Adventure awaits those who dare to find it!
What are the best destinations for an adventure vacation?
There is so much more to France than fine cuisine, art museums, and romantic hot spots. Opportunities for an adventure lie in every corner of France. If you’re an avid skier like myself, take on the challenge of skiing down some of France’s world famous trails. Extreme skiers can experience the off-piste terrain and slopes dotted with moguls at Courchevel Ski Resort. For those interested in extreme sports, why not try the bobsleigh or luge run at La Plagne Olympic Track? Open to the public, you can speed down the very same track that France’s olympic athletes train on. Of course, the warmer months in France bring their very own adventures. From canyoning to mountain biking, France’s diverse landscapes have so much to offer adventure seekers. Soar through the sky while paragliding through the stunning French Alps, or for an even more exhilarating experience go skydiving over Nice where you will get an unobstructed view of the natural wonders of the area. To really get the blood pumping, head to the mountains and embark on a multi-day hike through the Tour du Mont Blanc. This world famous 170km-long trail takes you through a variety of terrains with plenty of accommodations along the way.
A country known for its natural beauty, Switzerland is a haven for adventure lovers. The Swiss Alps boast endless opportunities for an adventure. Get an aerial view of Switzerland’s beautiful landscapes while paragliding over the Swiss Alps, rappel down cliff faces and trek through glaciers while canyoning in Interlaken or Ticino, or perhaps enjoy the exhilarating feeling of free fall as you soar through the sky over the Valley of Grindelwald with the stunning Eiger Mountain in the distance. Still interested in plummeting to the ground? Feel the wind rush past you as you bungee jump, or swing, between rock faces at Glacier Canyon. If you’re a James Bond fan, summon your inner 007 and bungee jump off of the famous Contra Dam featured in GoldenEye. Or if flying through the sky isn’t for you, get up close and personal with the outdoors while white water rafting on the Landquart River. Being propelled down the river, you are sure to experience an adrenaline rush while fighting through the rapids.
Opportunity for an adventure in Iceland doesn’t solely revolve around glaciers. Iceland’s dramatic and varying landscapes bring forth opportunities to enjoy everything from dog sledding over snow covered plains to scuba diving between two tectonic plates. Start your adventure on the Reykjanes Peninsula where you can surf on world class waves. Although it may not be the warm, sunny beaches of tropical islands, surfing in Iceland is sure to be an exotic adventure like no other. Head back inland where you can join a snowmobiling tour and maneuver your way through the ice and snow as you ride along the surface of a glacier. Surrounded by mountainous views and plains of snow, snowmobiling is the perfect activity for winter adventure seekers (one that doesn’t require the winter months to be enjoyed). Of course, the mountain ranges are more than just a scenic backdrop. The Laugavegur Route offers adventure seekers the opportunity to take on a multi-day hike or a strenuous mountain bike ride along the trails’ rugged terrain.
New Zealand is one of the more widely known adventure destinations, with an adventure to be had from coast-to-coast and every place in between. Starting on the coasts, head to Poor Knights Island where you can swim with an array of tropical fish while enjoying some of the best scuba diving in the country. Why not make it a full day on the water and ride some waves? Not too far from Poor Knights Island are a number of surf spots with wave conditions suitable for beginners or advanced surfers, depending on which spot you decide on. From water to sky, why not try bungee jumping, paragliding or skydiving over some of New Zealand's most beautiful landscapes? Whether you're jumping off a bridge or from a plane, nothing will satisfy your craving for adventure like the adrenaline rush you experience while soaring through the sky. For the adventurous skier, reach some of New Zealand’s most remote regions while heli-skiing, where a helicopter brings you to the top of a mountain and you get to ski down on the fresh, ungroomed powder.
Winning South America’s leading adventure tourism destination in 2019, it’s no wonder Chile made it onto our 10 best adventure destinations list. Home to the Atacama Desert, Chile offers truly a unique opportunity for sandboarding. Board down the giant sand dunes and experience the desert like never before. Extreme skiers will find themselves with plenty of different ways to ski in Chile. Try out snowcat skiing at Ski Arpa where you are driven up the mountain in a 4X4 vehicle, or for the more adventurous you can ski down a volcano in Pucon or go heli skiing in the Andes Mountains. To really get the heart pumping, head to Pan de Azucar National Park and mountain bike along the coastal trails until you reach the bright blue ocean. Or if trekking is more your thing, Torres del Paine National Park has trails perfect for multi-day hiking. The W trek will take about 4-5 days long and is of moderate difficulty, and the O trek, an extension of the W trek, will take about 7-8 days.
Spain is teeming with outdoor adventure options! The mountain range of Picos de Europa is perfect for adventure lovers, offering a variety of activities to partake in. Enjoy the outside of the mountains while rock climbing, hiking, or mountain biking, or perhaps head inside the mountain and explore the vast network of caves. If the water is more your style, Spain’s beautiful coastline will provide you with more opportunities for adventure than you could imagine. Kitesurfing in Cadiz, scuba diving in the mediterranean, surfing in the Bay of Biscay—the options are endless! For a unique experience in Spain, although this is not one for the faint of heart, walk across the El Caminito del Rey. Clinging to the side of the El Chorro gorges, this 105m-high boardwalk is considered to be one of the most dangerous, albeit safe, in the world.
Nepal offers a variety of opportunities for adventure over a wide range of landscapes. Of course, with Nepal's vast mountainous landscapes, there are plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, multi day hikes, and mountaineering. For those who aren’t afraid of heights, skydiving over Mount Everest is an incredible, adrenaline fueled experience that you can only have in Nepal. Jump out of a chopper and free fall from a height of 23,000ft while enjoying a backdrop of stunning Mount Everest and the surrounding peaks. Other extreme aerial sports include paragliding in Sarangkot Hill, where you will soar through the sky over the Annapurna mountain range, Phewa Lake, and other small agricultural villages. Not far from here, located in Pokhara, is one of the tallest, fastest, and longest ziplines in the world. Descend through rolling green hills as you zip through the Annapurna and the Machhapuchhre ranges. For other thrilling aerial adventures, head a few hours out of Kathmandu and bungee jump or tandem swing over the raging Bhote Kosi River. Simply jump off a suspension bridge, plunge towards the fast flowing river, and enjoy the adrenaline rush.
Whether in the water, air, or on land, you cannot go wrong with an adventure-filled trip to Australia. With a 25,760km-long coastline it’s not hard to find an underwater adventure. Cage dive deep into the water off the coast of Port Lincoln and swim alongside great white sharks. While this may seem daunting to some, if you’re up for the challenge shark cage diving can be a once in a lifetime experience. For more underwater adventures, head to the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland where you can go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. The reefs and other marine life are incredible here, making for a world-class diving experience. If you’re an adventure seeker that prefers to stay on land, the mountainous region of Australia makes for incredible adventures. Go rock climbing at Mount Arapiles or the Booroomba Rocks, and if you’re really daring you should try portaledge cliff camping at the Red Cliffs where you get to spend the night hanging off the side of a cliff! For the active and adventurous, there are also amazing hiking trails in the Blue Mountains and cycling opportunities at the Blue Derby mountain bike trails.
The incredible flora and fauna of Costa Rica provides an incredible landscape for outdoor adventures. The country is full of beautiful waterfalls and rivers just waiting to be explored. Go canyoning at the La Fortuna Waterfall and rappel down the cliff through the green foliage while water rages around you. Continue your water adventure with a trip to the Pacuare River where you can board a raft and set down one of the top rated rivers in the world. With Class III-IV whitewater, these rapids are sure to excite the travelling adventurer. Scuba diving is also a popular adventure activity in Costa Rica. Caño Island and the waters near Corcovado National Park are perfect for divers with some experience as they have a dense population of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and large schools of fish. If you’re an avid surfer then Costa Rica has the waves for you. Playa Hermosa, a secluded black sand beach, is an excellent beach for intermediate-advanced surfers to ride some massive and challenging waves. Of course there are plenty of adventures to be had on land, including hiking up a volcano (one of the best being Poas), or perhaps zip-lining through the trees at Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Norway is truly a playground for extreme sport enthusiasts. The untouched landscapes are perfect for any outdoor adventure; the snow in particular provides some great opportunities. Head to northern Norway and embark on a week-long dog sledding trip. Whiz across the snow behind a team of huskies, past forests and rock formations, and end the nights in a mountain cabin. There is also a good chance of seeing the northern lights on your adventure. Snowmobiling is also a very popular activity in Norway and there is a large network of tracks to be explored, all surrounded by beautiful vistas, mountains, and plains of snow. Thought skiing was only for the winter? Think again! Norway has some of the best slopes for summer skiing. Head to Stryn for the chance to ski down the off-piste slopes in no more than a t-shirt and pants. If the snow isn’t for you, there are plenty of adventures to be had in the warmer months. With the many cliffs and mountains in Norway, it is easy to find challenging trails for multi-day hikes (consider the Jotunheimen or Trollheiman area) and for intense mountain biking (Mefjellet has some great trails). You will be surrounded by views of mountains, glaciers and other stunning landscapes everywhere you travel.