Are you dreaming of incredible trips to add to your European bucket list? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most adventurous things to do in Europe.
From skiing in Switzerland to road-tripping in Ireland and rock climbing in Spain, there’s an adventure waiting for you in Europe.
I’ve visited every country in Europe bar two, so know a thing or two about travelling around this part of the world. I’ve hiked the West Highlands of Scotland, lived on an island in Croatia, and spent months exploring every corner of Europa.
So, let’s dive right in and discover some of the most adventurous activities in Europe.
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5 Adventurous Things to do in Europe
1. Skiing in Switzerland
If you’re planning a skiing adventure in Europe, you should go to the Swiss Alps, home to picturesque ski resorts surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. Switzerland’s ski towns are incredibly scenic and steeped in deep-rooted history, which is why they are such a big hit with skiers and snowboarders.
The Jungfrau region and Interlaken are among the most stunning ski destinations in Switzerland and are ideal for skiers looking for exceptional scenery.
Interlaken serves as the home base for skiers and snowboarders seeking out the slopes through the famous Jungfraujoch train between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
While some of the newer ski resorts, Grindelwald and Wengen, have enjoyed modern updates, Interlaken maintained its historic charm, including its 100-year-old Jungfraujoch cogwheel train transporting skiers to the top of Jungfrau, one of Europe’s highest railway stations.
Another legendary skiing destination in Switzerland is St. Moritz, renowned as Europe’s top winter destination. Lying along the Engadin Valley and surrounded by magnificent Alpine peaks, St. Moritz offers the perfect setting for an incredible skiing holiday in the Swiss Alps.
The popular base area for skiing in St. Moritz is St. Moritz Bad, with direct access to ski lifts. You can also base yourself in St. Moritz Dorf, home to an elegant shopping village.
2. Hiking in The Scottish Highlands
My first ever solo trip was to the Scottish highlands at the tender age of 21. I was following in the footsteps of my Grandfather who grew up in Scotland and worked as a lumberjack for a brief period before his journey into academia and the sciences.
The Scottish Highlands are brimming with incredibly scenic and breathtaking spots that avid hikers can enjoy, regardless of their fitness and skill level. So, if you’re looking for the most scenic hiking adventures in Europe, you should go to the Highlands.
Best of all, the region is home to some excellent luxury rental cottages in Scotland, which offer the perfect setting for relaxing after a hiking adventure.
The most popular trail is the West Highland Way, a 96-mile-long route starting in Milngavie and ending in Fort William, home to the famous Ben Nevis (which I limbed with friends a few years ago).
Another popular trail in the Highlands is the 73-mile Great Glen Way, a coastal path by Loch Ness, beginning in Fort William and concluding in Inverness. The walk offers plenty of opportunities to stop at cosy pubs for a refreshing drink before continuing your journey.
Although much of the terrains in the Scottish Highlands are not overly challenging, you need to be in your best shape if you intend to cover several miles of trails. You do not need to be an experienced hiker to walk these trails, but you will have a more pleasant experience if you are physically fit for the hike.
3. Road Trip the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest-defined coastal driving path. It’s a seriously scenic road, passing through stunning coastlines, magnificent castles, lovely beaches, rugged islands, and picturesque harbour towns. Stretching from Donegal to Cork, it passes through many different cities and weaves through rural communities.
It takes approximately two weeks to drive through the entire route, although some will spend up to three weeks to get the most out of the journey. Besides, it’s the longest coastal route in the world, and most people only drive through a portion of it.
The total distance is 2,500 km, and your journey will begin in Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula and kick-off at Kinsale in Cork.
One of the most popular routes within the Wild Atlantic Way is the Northern Headlands, which is on the northern coast. It takes you through charming fishing villages, rugged sea cliffs, and several miles of unspoiled beaches.
You are guaranteed to enjoy the journey, and the views get more and more scenic as you drive along, from the spectacular rock formations of Sliabh Liag to the serene valley of Glengesh Pass.
The north of Ireland also has some incredibly scenic roads like the Antrim Coast Road which takes in the famous Giant’s Causeway.
4. Island Hopping in Croatia
I spent one month living on the Croatian island of Zlarin in 2022 and absolutely loved exploring the Dalmatian coast.
Island hopping in Croatia is one of the most adventurous activities to try in Europe. With hundreds of miles of coastline to explore and numerous picturesque islands to discover, Croatia is an ideal destination for island hopping.
Island hopping is so popular here that you will find several excellent cruises in Croatia for those looking to explore many different islands in one trip.
You will have plenty of options when island hopping around Croatia. If you’re a DIY traveller and prefer to choose the destinations while making unplanned stopovers, you can take the public ferry to travel from island to island.
However, this requires proper planning since you need to keep up with the ferry timings. It is better to book a sailing cruise with pre-organised tours and itineraries to save you from all the hassles.
If you have a week to spare, you can sail along the Dalmatia region and visit the islands of Vis, Korcula, Hvar, and Brac.
Your adventure will take you to historic towns like Sibenik and villages and secluded beaches. You get a glimpse of the local village life and explore stunning natural wonders, such as the enchanting caves on the island of Bisevo.
5. Go Rock Climbing in Spain
Boasting excellent climbing conditions regardless of the time of the year, Spain is Europe’s premier destination for rock climbing. You will find a fantastic range of rock-climbing spots in the country, suitable for all fitness abilities.
Whether you are trying the sports for the first time or looking for a bit of challenge, there is something for you to conquer in Spain.
The areas surrounding Costa Blanca in the Alicante province offer superb rock-climbing conditions with perfectly formed limestone rocks.
There are varying spots to climb on, including decent-quality bolted limestone with different grades. You can climb on short single-pitch roadside crags or long multi-pitch routes high up in the mountains.
Other fantastic rock-climbing spots in Spain are the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca. Mallorca has long been an established rock-climbing spot in the country, with several excellent routes on limestone rocks.
You might also like my other articles about fun things to do in Europe:
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.
Where I am now: Armenia 🇦🇲