10 Adventurous Things To Do in Europe

by Petrina Darrah

We’ve all seen pictures of the Cinque Terre architecture, the Berlin Wall artwork, and the “Love Lock” bridge in Paris, but what about the path less traveled?  If you are looking for more unique European adventures, look no further! From festivals to fairytale waterfalls, here are the top 10 things to do in Europe:

Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary
After a long, adventurous day in Budapest, unwind in one of the many mineral baths scattered around town.

1. Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

The ethereal Plitvice Lakes National Park offers an incredibly unique experience for anyone hungry for adventurous things to do in Europe. This national park is most famous for its cascading waterfalls, which tumble from one turquoise lake to another. Walk alongside the rivers and through the trails for magnificent views, and the feeling that you have somehow stumbled into another world in Croatia will wash over you.

2. Bathe in Budapest, Hungary

If you are looking for adventure in Eastern Europe, you should put Budapest at the top of your list of things you must do in Europe. Perhaps you’ve heard about the castles and bridges that lend Budapest its famous beauty, but what you might not know is that the whole city is built on caves and hot springs. For a truly underground adventure in Europe, you can go caving under Budapest all day, and then relax in one of the gorgeous mineral baths found scattered around the city. The luxurious baths are said to have many medical benefits from the vast mineral contents. 

3. Get an adrenaline rush watching Il Palio in Italy

Every summer the piazza in Siena, Italy, is transformed into the scene of Tuscany’s greatest sporting event, Il Palio. The race is centuries old and rich in pageantry and tradition. Originally a religious celebration, it is now a minute and a half of intense action, with more than half of the bareback riders being thrown from their horses during the race. This historic horserace only lasts about a minute, but the celebrations last for a few days. Go a few days early to explore the beautiful city, which is a World Heritage City, and to see a few of the practice races.

Glass of wine on a table outside
If you love wine so much why don’t you just bathe in it? Now you can at the Haro Wine Festival in Spain.

4. Be soaked by the Haro Wine Festival in Spain

Love wine so much you want to be bathed in it from head to toe? Join thousands of Spaniards and tourists as they climb a mountain and commence in a massive red-wine fight. Not all of the wine ends up on the ground; a fair amount of it winds up inside people too. The parties start the day before La batalla del vino, or wine fight, and inebriated partying, dancing, and dining carry on well into the day after the battle ends in Haro, Spain.

5. Climb the cotton castle in Pamukkale, Turkey

Visiting the “cotton castle” in the Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey is one of the best things to do in Europe. Pamukkale is one of nature’s great masterpieces, a cascade of pink and white terraces cradling pools of thermally heated water. You can climb the travertine terraces and splash in the hot springs on your way up. When you reach the top you will be wowed all over again as you come across ancient Roman ruins, complete with a pristine amphitheater.

6. Splash around in Lake Bled in Slovenia

Visit this far far away land and gaze at the Slovenia’s iconic fairy-tale church located in the middle of Lake Bled. The picture-perfect lake is a playground for all kinds of watersports, including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and of course just swimming in the deep green waters. Hire a boat and paddle across to the island in the middle of the lake: no trip is complete without ringing the bell inside the church (don’t forget to make a wish!). 

Boats on the water of Lake Bled, Slovenia
Take a dip in the crystal blue waters of Lake Bled during your stint in Slovenia.

 7. Unwind in the Myvatn Nature Baths in Iceland

It’s not all about adrenaline; adventures in Europe can be relaxing too. Spend a week or so in Iceland and venture up toward the northern end of the island. Located about 90 minutes north of Akureyi, the Myvatn Nature Baths are one of Iceland’s many features of natural beauty. Literally immerse yourself in this natural wonder and stand, swim or float in this facility’s relaxing blue waters of the lagoon, or in a natural steam bath. It’s the perfect way to connect with nature and unwind after hiking or touring around Iceland

8. Explore the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland

If you are studying theater, or any kind of art ranging from opera to improv comedy, then the Fringe festival in Scotland is definitely one of things you MUST do in Europe; it is sure to be a whole different kind of adventure. An unmissable theater event, the Fringe is the largest art festival in the world, dating back to 1947 when the UK was trying to rebuild after World War II. Bringing together thousands of artists, performers, and spectators from all over the world this festival definitely qualifies as one of the most unique things to do in Europe. 

9. Sleep in an aeroplane, icehotel, or treehouse in Sweden

Thinking about taking a trip to Scandinavia?  Make reservations at some of the quirkiest hotels in the world in Sweden. Sweden is home to the world famous IceHotel, Jukkasjarvi. Thanks to its Arctic location, you will get the chance to awe at the Aurora Borealis while staying in this ice palace. Or you could stay in the cockpit of a plane in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, where a former jumbo jet has been converted into a hotel for more curious travelers. For a little more peace and quiet, you could stay in TreeHotel, filled with possibly the fanciest treehouses you will ever lay eyes on. Adventuring through Sweden’s strange places to sleep will be a truly unforgettable experience!

Fjords in Norway
These are views you can’t afjord to miss in Norway.

10. Push yourself to the edge in the Fjords of Norway

Norway is a great place to visit any time of year, and one of the ultimate adventure travel destinations in Europe. For a unique European experience, visit the Fjords for a view unlike any other created by glacial erosion. Hike to the top of cliffs, cruise on the Lysefjord, fish for salmon, or hop on a horse for a riding expedition. The opportunities are endless: but whatever you do you will enjoy some of the most spectacular nature the planet has to offer.

Now that our list of top 10 things to do in Europe is complete, it is time for you to start planning your adventure.

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