Mont Blanc, Switzerland

Four Popular European Adventures of a Lifetime

Four Popular European Adventures of a Lifetime

Adventure travel is an opportunity to find out who you are by experiencing novelties. I don’t mean the kind of novelties that serve no earthly purpose, like sticky goop in plastic containers. I mean new, original, or unusual travel that tests your mettle (like scotch tape holding your hang glider wings together- just kidding!). Here, I’ll shine the spotlight on four unique, European adventures that are guaranteed to pump you up. Don’t worry; you’ve got this.

Hang Gliding in Tegelberg by KaiMartin (Wikimedia)
Hang Gliding in Tegelberg by KaiMartin (Wikimedia)

1. Hang Gliding in Tegelberg

Tegelberg in Germany is a wonderful mountainous site for hang gliding or paragliding (without the need for scotch tape). It’s in the city of Bavaria at Schwangau village, near the world-renowned Neuschwanstein Castle. Tegelberg is very popular and highly frequented by gliding enthusiasts because of its awesome views. If you’ve never hang-glided or paraglided, don’t worry. There are professional tour services in the area with experienced staff, like Flight School Active, that offer tandem paragliding and have a great reputation.

Schwangau Tegelberg Panorama Mountain Station
Tegelberg, Schwangau Village, Bavaria

Hiking is another activity that is popular in this area, because of the Ammer Mountains. Hiking them is such a beautiful treat.

Ammer Mountains
The Ammer Mountains

Besides hiking, there are plenty of opportunities to ski. The mountain sports personnel at the various ski resorts offer accommodations and a plethora of services, including ski lessons, if you need them. This site is open and enjoyable all through the year.

2. Climbing Mont Blanc

Climbing Mont Blanc
Climbing Mont Blanc

Located in Chamonix, France, Mont Blanc is an irresistible climbing challenge.  Accordingly, the mountain hosts thousands of people every year, seeking the thrill of climbing the Alps’ highest peaks and taking in the awe-inspiring views.

Mont Blanc, Switzerland
Mont Blanc, Switzerland

For mountain climbers seeking trained instruction and guidance, Chamonix High Mountain Guides offers trained guides with local experience. For convenience’s sake, book your reservations online in advance to climb this mountain.

For those seeking a more-leisurely way up the mountain, one popular route starts from Aiguille du Midi, where you can take a cable car to the top. Another option is through the Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Aiguille du Gouter. This route bypasses risky rock slides and is the preferred way up the mountain due to the epic vistas, of the mighty Alps and its beautiful peaks, that this route accords.

As you would expect, a good number of mountain-climbing visitors camp, but if that’s not your style, there are several hotels and rustic inns in the area. At Mont Blanc, the summer is the best time to visit, though be forewarned- the peak is known for its constant weather changes.

3. Skydiving in Interlaken, Switzerland

Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken, Switzerland

Built between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is a Swiss town located in the canton of Bern, in the Alps.  Interlaken is known for its amazing views, fantastic resort services, sumptuous meals, and skydiving.

Skydiving is available on a daily basis (weather permitting) and offers an incredible 40 – 45 second freefall, followed by a parachuted descent that affords stunning views of the entire valley, guaranteed to getting you jumping again and again.  You can jump close to such Swiss mountains as Monch or Eiger (or summits such as Jungfrau) or land at the Aletsch Glacier, which is an UNESCO world heritage site.

When you are not jumping out of planes/helicopters, Interlaken is an ideal place for quality relaxation.  The city has some of the most beautiful castles in Europe and promises a wide array of outstanding accommodations as well as restaurants.

While Interlaken is busiest during March through August due to more temperate weather, those looking to avoid crowds can enjoy Interlaken from September through November, with day-time temperatures generally in the 50’s and 60’s (degrees Fahrenheit), despite single-digit nighttime temperatures and the beginning of some snowfall in the highland areas during this period.

4. Snorkeling and Lava Caving in Iceland

Tectonic Plate Divide, Silfra Iceland by Ex Nihil (Wikimedia)
Tectonic Plate Divide, Silfra Iceland by Ex Nihil (Wikimedia)

Taking a snorkeling and lava caving tour is yet another adventure that is too tempting to pass up, in this case, in the inimitable Icelandic countryside.  30 to 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik lies the Þingvellir National Park situated at the center of the Mid-Atlantic Rift, a “hotbed” of geological activity where shifts in tectonic plates have resulted in the ground water passing through lava with resultant natural springs. Once there, you will suit up and swim through the Silfra freshwater fissure for approximately fifty minutes, assisted by a mild current and enjoying exceptional, underwater, geological landscapes with outstanding water clarity (due to the natural filtration). 

The Cave of Leiðarendi in the Blue Mountains Iceland by El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video (Flickr)
The Cave of Leiðarendi in the Blue Mountains Iceland by El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video (Flickr)

Subsequently, you will most likely be taken to Reykjanes Peninsula for spelunking in a lava tube through cave passages (generally, through Leiðarendi Cave) with incredible stalactites and stalagmites. Not too shabby!

Accommodations are best found in Reykjavik, which offers plenty of options for every visitor.  This adventure is offered year-round, with multiple tours available (many of which pick you up in Reykjavik).  If you want an amazing experience, head over to Iceland for the adventure of a lifetime!

I hope that you have enjoyed this article. While these travel adventures are not my only recommendations for a singular, euphoria-loaded, travel rush, they are great places to start, so go ahead and take the literal plunge (unless you have elected to go hiking or climb Mont Blanc!!!).

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