Humans are supposedly programmed with an instinct for self-preservation, aren’t they? Well, apparently some of us are more prone to throw caution to the wind. Whether it’s tombstoning or white water rafting that floats your boat, get on board with these extreme sports vacations in Europe and let the fear factor set in.
BASE jumping, Norway
BASE jumping is more extreme than you might expect, but the rules are simple. Participants must jump from the platforms of buildings, antenna, a span or Earth with nothing but a parachute to break their fall. Norway’s Lysefjord is something of a mecca for this daredevil sport, where avid jumpers come to take advantage of some of the most dramatic drops and spectacular scenery in the world.
Ice swimming, Finland
You might be tempted to believe the inventors of this lunatic sport are putting you on, but the institute of the International Ice Swimming Association would suggest not. Officially designated as a one-mile paddle in water temperatures less than 23 degrees. Finland has an abundance of ice-cold water, and even specialized “polar bear” clubs to accommodate novices.
If there’s even the slightest chance you might be claustrophobic, do not enter here. The underground sport known as caving or potholing is enough to shake the strongest of constitutions. Traumatic at the best of times, caving in Budapest is a particularly hair raising experience as you negotiate the deep labyrinth of limestone caves that have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But don’t get ahead of yourself – these caves are pretty exclusive, and all but two of them can only be visited with previous caving experience.
Like a hamster in a ball or a sweater in a tumble dryer – whichever way you look at it, zorbing is impossible, hectic fun. This bizarre Kiwi invention is at its best when tried at Dorset’s Zorb South UK Ltd, which offers some of the best zorbing experiences in Europe. Bundle up inside one of the giant transparent bubbles and you’re off, snowballing down the hill.
Ice climbing, Scotland
Does hacking through walls of ice and scaling sheer, frozen cliffs appeal to you? Then, ice climbing may be the sport for you. Popular in the wilderness of Colorado and Canada, this daredevil sport can also be attempted on the slopes of Glencoe, where various aficionados climb with the help of ice axes and other specialist equipment. Extreme doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Featured image: © joggiebotma/iStock/Thinkstock
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