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Best Adventure Holidays in Europe

Europe is best known for its bars, cafes, nightlife, museums and galleries. It’s not exactly the first place that comes to mind when planning an adventure holiday. But surprisingly, the Continent has plenty of unique experiences on offer for adrenaline junkies all year round.

Whether its summer or winter, sea or forest, cycling or walking - there’s plenty to do to get your blood pumping on your European holiday. We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best adventure holidays in Europe in 2019.

Get Back to Nature in Norway

Get Back to Nature in Norway

Woodland landscapes and nostalgia for rural life have always been associated as parts of Norwegian identity. Where better to experience a slice of Scandinavian culture first hand than in your very own log cabin 50 meters from the ocean?

Known as a mecca for outdoor activities, the archipelago of Lofoten offers year-round adventure. Indulge in rock climbing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and even surfing. Feeling energetic? Try your hand at cycling the world famous Classic Fjord Tour cycling loop.

Getting to Lofoten is easy. Rent a car in Bodø and drive to the town of Tromsø. Don’t fancy driving? You can also take a ferry or a flight straight into Leknes or Svolvær.

  • When to Go: Year round
  • Flights to Norway from Australia start from 1,000 - 1,500 AUD
  • Car rental in Norway starts from 45 AUD a day

Hunt for the Northern Lights in Iceland

The Aurora Borealis, also known as The Northern Lights, are visible in parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Due to its clearer skies, it’s Iceland that emerges as the best destination to catch this natural phenomenon.

Chasing the lights is an adventure in itself, as you never know when or where they will be visible. Rent a cabin with a hot tub, bring some warm clothes, and sample Iceland’s signature unsweetened schnapps Brennivín meaning “burning wine”. While you aren’t star gazing, there’s plenty more to see and do in Iceland. Try hiking glaciers and volcanoes, diving, rafting or horse riding.

Aurora Borealis tours leave from Reykjavik, but you can also rent a car and go on the lookout yourself.

  • When to Go: Late August to the end of April
  • Flights to Iceland from Australia start from 1,400 AUD
  • 4 hour day Northern Lights Tours leave from Reykjavik and cost around 100 AUD per person.
Hunt for the Northern Lights in Iceland
Discover Uninhabited Islands in Croatia

Discover Uninhabited Islands in Croatia

Only 48 out of more than 1000 Islands in Croatia are inhabited, making it the perfect destination for an unforgettable island-hopping adventure. Snorkel, kayak, swim, explore hidden coves, and visit stone, sand and pebble beaches as you sail your way from Dubrovnik on the Southern end of Dalmatia to Poreč in Northern Istria.

Yacht charter season in Croatia runs from May to October. Our tip is to aim for September, as prices drop by 15-20% during this period. Start your adventure in Split, and spend one or two weeks sailing south. Visiting small islands is easy, with ferry tickets costing only a few Euro.

  • When to Go: May to October
  • Flights to Croatia from Australia start from 1,000 - 1,600 AUD
  • A boat charter will set you back 3,000 AUD for 6 people

Kitesurf in Tarifa, Spain

Known as Spain’s least developed coastline, Tarifa is located on the Costa de la Luz in Southern Andalucia. With strong winds, sun for 300 days a year, and a massive 10km bay - it’s the undisputed capital of European kitesurfing.

Perfect for beginner kite surfers and pros alike, Tarifa is the ultimate adventure holiday destination. Enjoy mingling with friendly locals, Spanish cuisine, cheap beer, and the charm of the old town. It’s also easy to take day trips to other close-by kiting spots, or mix it up with horse riding, mountain biking, climbing, swimming or hiking.

  • When to Go: April to October
  • Flights to Malaga (closest airport Tarifa) in Spain from Australia start at 1,000-1,3000 AUD
  • A 9 hr kitesurfing course in Tarifa starts at 475 AUD
  • Kitesurfing gear rental starts at 80 AUD per day
Kitesurf in Tarifa, Spain
Go Timber Rafting in Sweden

Go Timber Rafting in Sweden

In Gunerud, Sweden, The River Klarälven ("Clear River") is mainly known for its historical use as a professional logging route up until 1991. What’s not so known is that now you can relive history by slowly rafting down the river - in a raft you build on your own!

Upon arrival in Gunerud, a professional team will help you build your own raft from logs and ropes. Rafts can hold up to 6 people, with packages also including a canoe. Different package options range from 5 days (3 nights on the raft) to 8 days (6 nights on the raft).

Enjoy slowly drifting through small villages, forest, and farmlands. Don’t forget to pack your fishing rod and brush up on your survival skills!

  • When to Go: July to September
  • Flights from Australia to either Oslo in Norway or Stockholm in Sweden start from 900 - 1,100 AUD
  • Rafting packages start from 450 AUD

What next?

If you’re inspired by those adventures, make sure you check out our Travel Checklist for Europe for information on ways to get around, what you need to do before you get there, and more!

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