I would like to thank Ryan for publishing this article. His site is a true testimony to his passion for travel and is filled with great anecdotes and tips and tricks from his own experiences. After reading this, be sure to check out his post on essential packing trips!
Thrill seekers, adventure lovers and adrenaline junkies alike will flock far and wide to get their fix. No destination is too far and no mountain is too high—quite literally, sometimes—for those looking for the perfect adventure sports holiday.
But with so much excitement and possibility all over the world, sometimes it can be hard to decide which destination to pick. Each place offers it’s own unique mix of natural features and exciting opportunities. This list compiles ten of the best spots—and the defining features that make them stand out from everywhere else—that any adventure sports lover should check out.
Perhaps the capital of adventure sports in the world, New Zealand boasts almost any activity that thrill seekers could possibly dream of. Whether it’s in the sky, on ground or underground—from skydiving, bungee jumping, mountaineering, skiing and surfing to caving, rafting, hiking and cycling—there is no adventure you can think of that can’t be had on one of New Zealand’s islands.
There’s even some that you wouldn’t think of! For example, climbing the Auckland bridge—available to book here—sees you harnessed up and strapped onto the bridge for a one and a half hour climb ending in a bungee jump off the top!
Australia’s vast and varied landscape makes it the perfect hub for adventure sports of all types. Although moving between them may take a bit longer than other places, you’re still sure to find everything you’re looking for here. Whether it’s shark cage diving in South Australia, bungee jumping in Queensland, hang gliding in New South Wales (NSW) or racecar driving in Sydney, you’re guaranteed to find the thrill you’re looking for. You might be surprised to hear there are even a number of ski resorts in NSW and Victoria, which you can enjoy in the winter months.
Undoubtedly the strongest contender for winter adventure sports is Canada. The sub-zero climate and various mountain ranges make this venue a year-round destination for snowy thrills. Alongside the classic skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing, various companies offer a range of lesser-known winter sports as well. These unique adventure experiences include snow kiting (the icier brother of kite-boarding done on snow rather than water), ice diving (a plunge beneath frozen lake surfaces that is not for the faint hearted) and ice racing (which takes your need for speed off the concrete and onto the ice)!
This beautiful region of South America straddles both Chile and Argentina and is home to the Andes mountains. This mostly untouched stretch of exciting terrain means that adventure lovers can get lost in nature without the constant intrusion of tourism companies.
Home to the traditional gauchos, Patagonia is a great place to get on horseback and explore the wilderness. It also offers a wide range of sailing, surfing, climbing and mountaineering. For inspiration, be sure to check out the film 180° South—the story of a group of surfers retracing the steps of their idols 1968 Patagonian adventure.
NOTE: The film is available on Netflix; however, if you plan to watch it while traveling, be sure to have a Virtual Private Network installed to bypass geo-restricted content. Otherwise, you might find you’re unable to access it!
Home of the greatest mountain range in the world—the Himalayas—it’s no surprise that this adventure wonderland is on the list. For the most extreme adventurers, a chance at tackling Mt. Everest is a once in a lifetime opportunity; however, the less intensive trek to the base camp still makes for an exciting adventure.
The country also stands as a testimony to the theory that where there are high points, there are people jumping off them, as skydiving, paragliding and bungee jumpy experiences are all available for willing travelers. Alongside this, there is whitewater rafting and kayaking, as well as lesser-known high-altitude trek routes, such as Annapura and Langtang.
The Alps is the largest mountain range in Europe and spans an incredible 1,200km through Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Monaco and Liechtenstein. Although Switzerland—home of the famed Matterhorn climbing peak—is perhaps the most well-known for it’s outdoor pursuits, championing the winter sports season in Europe with a plethora of skiing, ice climbing, tobogganing and snowboarding resorts, there are opportunities for adventure sports lovers all over this mountain range. Take in the beauty of an Alpine hiking route or test yourself with a climb up Mt. Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. The only difference is that each country offers a uniquely different cultural experience to go alongside your adventure.
The Norwegian Fjords, alongside their unique geographical beauty, have become a playground for all extreme sports lovers. This wild, rocky terrain is the perfect platform for all different kinds of adrenaline-fuelled adventures. Whether you want to be drenched in whitewater or dangled from a cliff face, there is nowhere better or more beautiful for you to do it. For those who love the snow, the northern climate means that you can ski all year round. Glacial resorts, such as Stryn Sommerski, give skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to get their fill of the sport they love with the added bonus of the warmer summer weather.
Home of the Grand Canyon National Park and all the adventure it has to offer, Arizona is a great place to check a must-see landmark off your list while still having the adventure of a lifetime. Enjoy an epic tour of the canyon from helicopter or off-road jeep, or take to the river for a whitewater experience of a lifetime. There are also many ways to get a birds-eye view of this spectacular destination, including hang-gliding, skydiving or even ultralight plane lessons, which puts you behind the wheel and in control of your own flying adventure. Arizona is also a great spot for rock climbers, offering world-class climbs in the Granite or Camelback mountain districts.
Zambia lays claim to one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls, which lies on its border with Zimbabwe. Known as “the smoke that thunders” by locals, this landmark attracts daredevils and adventure lovers from all over the world. The devil’s pool, at the top of the falls, is perhaps one of the most intense natural infinity pools that there is. Similarly, the falls creates one of the best whitewater experiences in the world, and the day-trips offered down the Batoka Gorge—or multi-day for the most adventurous—are sure to fill your adrenaline needs. The surrounding area also offers opportunities for bungees, high wiring and helicopter rides.
Finally, Bali—home of tropical beaches, massages and cocktails in the sun—may not seem like the ultimate destination for adventure sports, but this small Indonesian island has a lot to offer. Alongside being one of the surfing capitals of the world, this tropical paradise offers some great adventure opportunities. From canyoning at the Gitgit waterfall in the north to climbing the impressive Mount Batur, the beautiful and epic terrain will never disappoint. Plus, be sure to check out the flying fish experience on Tanjung Benoa beach—a strange combination between banana-boating and parasailing that sees you attached to the back of a speedboat on an inflatable and thrown into the air.
Adventure is definitely out there! No matter which continent or corner of the world you choose to go to, there is sure to be something to get your adrenaline pumping. These 10 destinations are the best of the best and make a great starting point for adventure sports lovers anywhere.
If there’s anywhere else you think deserves a spot on the list or you have any details about the places and activities mentioned, be sure to comment below.