10 Best Places for Adventure Travel in Europe in 2018

by Published

Tired of a humdrum existence and looking for a real adventure? Why not have European adventures? Explore the wilderness of Iceland, bungee jump off a bridge in Interlaken, or go up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia! With top adventures in Europe, you get to spend money on experiences, not things, and collect cool stories like other folks collect luxury handbags.

Adventure travel Europe doesn’t always mean risking your personal safety. It’s also about getting out of your comfort zone to really know the beautiful continent and its peoples. Chat with them over the perfect cappuccino in Italy, learn Greek while wandering the ancient temples of Athens, or camp with locals under the Northern lights in Scandinavia. 

Paragliders glide in front of a huge yellow sun

Ready to glide into some European adventures? Read on, brave one!

Are you ready to sign up for legendary European adventure tours? First off, save that moolah to enjoy your trip. Second, choose your location/locations. Get your adrenaline pumping for Europe adventure activities like mountain biking, rafting, or snowboarding or seek gentler alternatives like local homestays and cooking classes. Third, pack the right gear for the terrain you seek (comfy flats for pavement pounding or hiking boots for mountain climbing). Here’s a shortlist of the 10 best places for adventure travel in Europe in 2018!

1. Spain

Man jumping into ocean at Calella de Palafrugell

Dive deep into adventure travel Europe in sunny Spain!

Have some of the best adventures in Europe in the home of the matador. Whether you choose to run with the bulls in Pamplona, party in Ibiza, learn Spanish via a homestay in Sevilla, walk the way of Santiago de Compostela, or catch a football match in Barcelona, adventure travel Europe in Spain will leave you wanting for more. Spain is also home to stunning landscapes like the Pyrenees where you can camp and hike ‘til you’re done for! 

Recommended program: Have an adventure abroad in Spain with Gapforce

See ALL adventure travel programs in Spain

2. Germany

Iconic castle in Bavaria at dusk

Sign up for top adventures in Europe to explore the hidden castles in Bavaria

Want to go on cool adventure trips in Europe? Go on a great German adventure outdoors! Ski in the Bavarian alps, explore creepy castles, go sledding, or log rafting! Those not so inclined, don lederhosen or a dirndl and raise a mug at Oktoberfest. Foodies, try the perfect doner kebab outside of Turkey, giant pretzels, and delicious brats on almost every street corner. On rainy days, explore the country’s disturbing Nazi past or less morbid museums in Berlin and other cities. 

Recommended program: Become a summer camp counselor in Germany with Camp Europe 

See ALL adventure travel abroad programs in Germany

3. Switzerland

The peak of Matterhorn shrouded in mist

Climb the Matterhorn, one of the best adventures in Europe.

Just because Switzerland’s politically neutral in world affairs doesn’t make it a snoozefest! This European country is a powerhouse when it comes to adventure tours in Europe. It’s synonymous with Heidi-inspired alpine adventures, whether it’s climbing the Matterhorn, diving in turquoise lakes, or skiing on some fresh powder. After working up quite an appetite outdoors, try some of the best chocolate and fondue on the planet. Polyglots, immerse yourself in a country that speaks four official languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh. 

Recommended program: Have an adventure abroad in Switzerland with Travel with Teens

See ALL adventure travel programs in Switzerland

4. Italy

Canals of Venice under a purple sky

After exploring the canals of Venice, why not go on a glass blowing adventure?

Kick your life into high gear in lo Stivale (the Boot). Italy has some of the best adventures in Europe. Europe adventure activities in this country include glass blowing in Venice, exploring the ruins of Pompeii, learning Italian over the dinner table in Sicily, or trekking the Italian Alps. Food aficionados will go wild with wine, cheese, gelato, and cured meat tasting across the land.

Recommended program: Have an adventure in Italy with International Volunteer HQ

See ALL adventure travel programs in Italy

5. France

Ski town in French Alps

Score some fresh powder in France, one of the top Europe adventure activities!

Have top adventures in Europe, France to be exact! Although smaller than Texas, France has tons of adventure travel destinations. Snowboard in Chamonix, have a picnic on the banks of the river Seine, or explore the marchés in every city and town. Catch the waves of the Mediterranean down south, eat some the freshest produce ever in Provence, or spot a celebrity in Cannes. We dare you!

Recommended program: Have an adventure in France with Frontier

See ALL adventure travel programs in France

6. Greece

Man and woman relax in pool on Greek island

Chillax by the pool on Santorini.

Want to hang out in places like Zeus and his minions? Yes, please! Greece remains a popular choice when it comes to adventure travel Europe. Hike to meet the monks in Meteora, stare at the aquamarine ocean from a guesthouse on Santorini, or knock back the ouzo and party the night away on Mykonos. Learn Greek, one of the world’s classic languages, to chat up the locals and explore Athens, one of the world’s oldest cities and the seat of Western civilization. 

Recommended program: Volunteer with turtles in Greece with GVI

See ALL adventure travel programs in Greece

7. Iceland

Small waterfall overshadowed by a mountain at dusk

Escape the crowds when you go on European adventures in Iceland.

Iceland is so freaking popular nowadays for European adventures. It’s got everything you’d ever want and more: bubbling earth, harsh mountainscapes, glaciers, and the open road. Keep that camera handy because you’ll definitely get snap-happy on this Nordic island nation. Adrenaline junkies, in particular, head over to Iceland for tons of backpacking, spelunking, fishing, road tripping, eco tours, kayaking, and more! 

Recommended program: Experience Iceland Through Environmental Volunteer Projects

See ALL adventure travel programs in Iceland

8. England

Biking along cobblestone streets

Want to have some of the best adventures in Europe? Think England!

Forget Will and Kate and the rest of the Royal Family. England isn’t just for posh folks with their pinkies up the air. Have lots of European adventures on this green, well-watered isle. Wander in small hamlets, catch the footie at the local pub, stalk Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel, or hike the Peak and Lake Districts. Literature buffs, be sure to check out Bath, hometown of Jane Austen and ancient Roman baths, and the Brontes’ moody moors up north in Yorkshire.

Recommended program: Spend summer in England with CISabroad

See ALL adventure travel abroad programs in England

9. Ireland

Hiking in ireland

Ireland’s epic nature gives the top 5 a run for its money when it comes to the best adventures in Europe.

If you’ve already done England, why not head further north for top adventures in Europe? Ireland is not only quirky, it’s adventure paradise. Climb the green hills and stark cliffs of Moher and down a pint or two of Guinness at a real Irish pub. Master the step dance in Dublin, chase the green fairy in Galway, and kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork. If you’re really into Irish literature, why not make a pilgrimage to Joyce’s Dublin or C.S. Lewis’ Belfast?

Recommended program: Teach your language to a host family in Ireland with GoCambio

See ALL adventure travel programs in Ireland

10. The Netherlands

Bicycles parked along a canal in Amsterdam

Looking for unique Europe adventure activities? Why not bike around the Netherlands?

Want more adventure holidays in Europe? Make a beeline for the Netherlands. Trust us, it’s so much more than canals, tulips, windmills, and legal weed. After checking out the pot cafés, visit Anne Frank’s house or the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam. Then, bike and potter around the port city of Rotterdam, quaint Leiden, and Edam (home of some really famous cheese). In summer, catch a free music festival and party like a Dutchman (or woman)!

Recommended program: Live and learn Dutch in the Netherlands with Languages Abroad

See ALL adventure travel programs in the Netherlands

A note from GoAbroad

We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.

Learn more about our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.

Read the full report here.

Browse more of this year's report on top adventure travel destinations

Best Adventure Travel Destinations in the World in 2018

Best Adventure Travel Destinations in the Americas for 2018

Best Adventure Travel Destinations in the South Pacific & Asia for 2018

Best Adventure Travel Destinations in Africa for 2018

See ALL top destinations for ALL travel