From the dramatic peaks of the Swiss Alps to the crystal waters of the Dalmatian Coast, Europe has long been an ideal travel destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts looking to explore new and distant lands. Whether you are looking to hike the rugged Rhodope Mountains, ski through the scenic beauty of the Alps or kayak the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Europe has something to offer to everyone.
Europe’s diverse terrain provides an array of water activities for tourists including rafting, surfing, swimming and kayaking. Yet as far as water sports go, it is hard to beat the mobility and excitement of kayaking. Thrill seekers looking to navigate turbulent waters can brave the tides of the Menai Straight off the eastern coast of the United Kingdom while couples looking for a romantic yet adventurous getaway can enjoy twin kayaks in the calmer, scenic waters of Sardinia, the Dalmatian Coast or Greek Islands.
Outdoorsmen may prefer a self-guided kayak fishing trip through the numerous rivers, lakes and oceans found throughout Europe. The United Kingdom, Scandinavia and the Netherlands are well known for their accessibility and abundance of fish. If planning a fishing kayak trip, be sure to equip yourself with the best kayaks for anglers available as they may be difficult to purchase or rent at your preferred location.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Snow sport enthusiasts seeking to broaden their horizons outside of traditional American ski resorts have long fled to the drastic slopes of Europe in search of its rugged terrain and steep runs. While conditions vary drastically by region and season, the terrain in Europe is generally rougher and less maintained than its American counterpart with ungroomed runs and less defined ski territories. However, advanced skiers and snowboards will find an abundance of challenging terrain and high quality snow conditions.
The Swiss and Austrian Alps have long held the title of the best skiing in Europe, a commendation that is not likely to change in coming years. Whether one is searching for vast fields of untouched powder, sharp freeriding backcountry terrain or simply the striking view from a rustic mountain lodge, the Alps provide an ideal opportunity for everyone to enjoy some of the best and most-scenic ski conditions in the world.
One of the benefits of hiking in Europe is the wide variety of terrain that one can find. Hardcore hiking extremists can brave the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, or the wintery extremes of the Swiss Alps, while casual outdoor enthusiasts may prefer the Seven Lakes of Rila in Central Bulgaria or the hillsides of the Tuscan countryside in Italy.
One of the most popular hikes for American and European tourists alike is the Camino de Santiago, a series of pilgrimages covering over 750 kilometers in France and northern Spain. Depending on your preferred starting and ending points, as well as the distance you cover daily, the hike can take anywhere from one week to a month.