Adventure Travel in Europe
The joy of travel today is that, whatever your interests, there’s an adventure for you. To some, it might be a destination beyond your imagination – like escaping to France’s picturesque Loire Valley and immersing yourself in the area’s landscape of extravagant gardens, vast rivers and historical hideaways. Others may wish to surround themselves in the fairytale world of Bruges, the centre of which is an impeccably preserved medieval settlement and world UNESCO heritage site. Perhaps you could head back in time to the enchanting Killarney in Ireland, where castles and abbeys sit on the banks of pristinely clear lakes. Or maybe it’s about pushing yourself past your limits, hiking the Haute Route from the picturesque Chamonix through to the Swiss village of Zermatt. Our selection here is just a taste of what Europe has to offer, so ask yourself: what does adventure mean to you?
Adventure in Chamonix, France
Found at the foot of the impressive Mont Blanc, the glacial ski resort of Chamonix is something of an alpine playground, attracting skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Those looking to test their endurance will love this French town’s fast cruising pistes and famous 20km Vallée Blanche glacier run – many skiers even come here to qualify as professional instructors and guides. Though the area is of course best known for its winter sports and mountaineering opportunities, summer is also an ideal time to visit, and adventures include the chance to hike or cycle along the crystal waters of Lac Blanc, or tackle the legendary high-altitude Haute Route trek. You’ll find Chamonix village is equally charming, and worth exploring, with its traditional look, riverside cafes, interesting shops, galleries, museums, bookshops, and speciality food stores.
Adventure in Bruges, Belgium
Walking around Bruges is like stepping into a fairy tale, and its stunning medieval heart is remarkably intact even today. The city’s timeless appeal is clear to see in its gothic architecture, charming canals and picturesque cobbled streets – where you can board a horse-drawn carriage and explore the city in true ‘Old World’ style. Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the city centre – a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site – head to one of the 14 city-owned museums to learn more about its colourful history. Foodies will love discovering the city’s chocolatiers (there’s even a Chocolate Museum), unwinding in an alfresco bar, or treating themselves to a meal in one of its many Michelin-starred restaurants, with GaultMillau and BibGourmand top spots to enjoy local produce prepared into original dishes. Toast your efforts by sampling a traditional Belgian beer from one of the city’s many breweries. Whatever adventure you have in mind for your holiday, you’ll love these activities in Bruges.
Adventure in Killarney, Ireland
The Irish county of Killarney is found along the idyllic Wild Atlantic Way – home to one of Ireland’s most stunning coastlines, and easily one of the world’s most picturesque driving routes, passing craggy rock faces, vast beaches and tranquil lakes and lochs. With such wonderful natural terrain to explore, outdoor enthusiasts can truly feel at home here, and you can choose to hire a boat, take off on a bike, or join a tour through the Gap of Dunloe, a stunning alpine pass between MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the Purple Mountain. Those who’d rather discover the area’s natural splendour at a slower pace should head to Killarney National Park and the ruins of Innisfallen Abbey, which is perfect both for a stroll, or a leisurely bike ride. See if you can spot one of the grounds’ rare red deer before venturing to the park’s outskirts for spectacular mountain views.
Adventure in the Loire Valley, France
The stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Loire Valley covers 800 km2, which makes it one of the largest of these sites in Europe. Its name aptly originates from its close proximity to the river Loire, which runs right through the valley and shapes its landscape, and is where any of its majestic châteaux, iconic cities, and famous lush vineyards can be found. Adventurers should grab their mountain bikes and explore the riverside forests, sprawling vineyards and glassy lakes along “La Loire à Vélo” trails. There are 900 km of cycle routes here between Cuffy and Saint-Brevin-les-Pins which provide both short, easy terrains for families and less-experienced riders, as well as longer off-road options for a more challenging trip. Crossing through quaint villages and lively city centres, these diverse tracks have plenty of cosy eateries and natural scenery along the way, as well as plenty of places to stop off and enjoy the view.
Book your adventure with P&O Ferries.