Best extreme sports vacations in Europe

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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.

BASE Jumping © Hakon Thingstad/flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/hakonthingstad/2781438329
BASE jumping © Hakon Thingstad/flickr

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.

Ice Swimming © Timo Newton-Syms/flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/timo_w2s/12780282344)
Ice swimming © Timo Newton-Syms/flickr

Caving, Budapest

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.

Caving © Aanjhan Ranganathan/flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tuxmaniac/8504341701)
Caving © Aanjhan Ranganathan/flickr

Zorbing, England

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.

Zorbing © ChurchmouseNZ/iStock/Thinkstock (http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/image/stock-photo-zorb/144208121)
Zorbing © ChurchmouseNZ/iStock/Thinkstock

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.

Ice Climbing © Fuse/iStock/Thinkstock (http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/image/stock-photo-climber-on-icy-rockface/87346805)
Ice Climbing © Fuse/iStock/Thinkstock

Featured image:  © joggiebotma/iStock/Thinkstock

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.

Best extreme sports vacations in Europe was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Elizabeth Gourd
Author: Elizabeth Gourd (61 posts)

Elizabeth suffers from an acute case of wanderlust, which no amount of traveling or adventure can cure. She has lived in London, New York and Berlin, and is currently a writer for Hg2 | A Hedonist's Guide To...