18 Nov 10 thrilling things to do in Europe
Europe is known the world over for its history, culture, and food. However, it is also packed with adventurous things to do from west to east, north to south. No matter what gives your soul life, you’ll find it within the bounds of this magical continent.
In this article, we’ll list off ten things you can do in Europe that will increase your pulse and give you memories that will last a lifetime.
(1) Dive to where Europe and North America meet
Not all of Europe’s territory falls within the geographic bounds of the continent. Take Iceland, for example: this island nation is technically split between the North American and Eurasian plates. These tectonic bodies are currently spreading apart from each other at the rate of two centimetres per year.
Not afraid of a little cold water? If you are willing to slip on a dry suit and some SCUBA gear, you’ll have the unique opportunity to plunge into a glacial water-filled fissure in Þingvellir National Park.
Here, you’ll be treated to unparalleled visibility of 100 metres or more, thanks to lava rock that filters the glacier meltwater that fills this chasm. Follow your guide’s lead and avoid the caves on this dive, and your experience here will be a fun and exciting one.
(2) Climb Mont Blanc
France may be known for its castles, wine, and cuisine, but its mountains have also drawn millions of visitors over the years. However, if you would like to do more than just admire the beauty of the French Alps during your visit, consider opting for a guided climb up Mont Blanc.
Standing at 4,810 metres above sea level, it is the highest mountain in France and Western Europe. Despite its intimidating height, it is a mountain that can be conquered by those lacking expert mountaineering skills.
It is a strenuous climb, though, so ensure that you are in shape before signing up to climb this peak. There are plenty of dangers en route as well – with crevasses, avalanches, and altitude sickness being threats, be sure to hire a guide even if you are experienced at scaling mountains.
(3) Sail the Greek islands
There are so many tempting islands in Greece that it is hard to narrow it down to just one. Don’t pull yourself through this torturous process when you could visit many in the same holiday – book a sailing trip and you’ll have the opportunity to call on multiple Greek isles.
You don’t even have to organize the boat yourself – tour agencies take care of the technical details, allowing you to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Aegean and destinations along the day. If you enjoy sailing and you’re traveling as a family or group, flotilla holidays are great fun, since you’re sailing in a group of yachts accompanied by a flotilla skipper and hostess on the lead yacht.
And with spots like Ios, Santorini, Hydra, and others available, it will be a voyage you’ll remember for a long time to come.
(4) Go on a cycle tour of Corsica
Europe is a bike-friendly place, as many locals use them to go about their daily business. However, many active travellers also use them to experience this continent at a more human pace. Many places on the continent have well-known cycling circuits, but few travellers explore the Mediterranean island of Corsica in this fashion.
If you are prepared to grind out frequent climbs when roads wind into its mountainous interior, this French isle will reward you with blissful beaches, flavourful local wine, and peaceful villages home to the friendliest people.
(5) Hike a via ferrata route in the Dolomites
Ever look up at a steep mountain and wonder how expert mountain climbers do it? Thanks to the assistance provided by via ferrata routes, you too can reach the top of these stunning peaks.
Built during the First World War by both sides during alpine battles between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarians in the Dolomites, via ferrata routes facilitate access to technically difficult slopes through the installation of metal railings, ladders, bridges, and other support structures.
Despite making these routes accessible to non-mountaineers, there is still a degree of danger to this activity; as such, we recommend hiring a guide if this will be your first time attempting this exciting sport.
(6) Do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage
After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, his apostles made it their life’s mission to spread the words of their mentor. This led them on journeys around the Mediterranean in a bid to spread Christianity.
It is said the remains of one apostle (James) was buried where a grand cathedral now stands in Northwestern Spain. Since the ninth century, pilgrims have been making their way to the burial site from across Europe in a walk that became known as the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
While any place in Europe can be a starting point for the trek, a few dedicated routes with defined starting points have been established in modern times. The French Way, Portuguese Way, and the Northern Way are all options in addition to the Original Way.
Along these paths, there are hostel-style accommodations with the symbol of the shell, indicating that they are open to pilgrims.
(7) Explore Norway’s fjords via kayak
Cutting inland as far as 205 kilometres and lorded over by peaks on all sides, Norway’s fjords is this nation’s greatest asset. If a boat tour feels too impersonal to you, hiring a kayak will provide you with an opportunity to get closer to these wonders of nature.
Coloured turquoise by glacial meltwater, boasting waterfalls along its edges, and centuries-old villages along its shores, a day spent paddling along any one of these waterways is sure to be the highlight of any trip to Norway.
(8) Thru-hike the Via Dinarica
A generation ago, hiking in the mountains of the Balkans was not possible, as the region was embroiled in a series of wars. Thanks to decades of sustained peace, trekking enthusiasts have been able to establish the Via Dinarica, a thru-hiking route stretching from Slovenia to Albania.
This path travels along the spine of the Dinaric Alps, passing by highlights that include the Tara River Canyon, numerous castles and forts, and the blissful beach towns like Split and Budva. Take on the whole thing over a month, or spend a week walking a stretch in any one of the countries you are visiting – no matter what you choose to do, you are bound to have an incredible time.
(9) Kitesurf the winds off Lanzarote
If you an avid kitesurfer and haven’t done this in your life thus far, we advise making plans to visit the isle of Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands next year.
Thanks to consistent trade winds that blow strongest in summer and warm waters, the waters off the beaches of this popular holiday isle are the perfect place for experts to play and beginners to learn. With beaches that boast varying surf and wind profiles, there is always something to learn regardless of your skill level.
(10) Road trip the Wild Atlantic Way
Not into physical activity but still seeking an adventure? Jump on a plane to Ireland, rent a car, and head straight for the Wild Atlantic Way. Tracing the entire Atlantic coastline of this Celtic nation, it has the ability to keep you busy for an entire month if you have the time.
Along the way, you’ll get to take in sights like the Cliffs of Moher, Skellig Michael, and countless small towns where you’ll make friends over pints at the pub.