Best Outdoor Adventure Holidays in Europe
Looking for the best outdoor adventure holidays in Europe? We’ve got your covered with some of the most thrilling destinations.
Europe is packed to the brim with exciting destinations for outdoor adventure holidays. From Scandinavia, to the Alps, all the way to the Israeli shores on Mediterranean, there’s no shortage in activity and variety. No matter what you’re looking to do to get that adrenaline flowing, you’re bound to find it here. Check out our guide for the best outdoor adventure holidays in Europe!
First up on our list of best outdoor adventure holidays is Switzerland! With scenic mountain peaks, flowing rivers, and turquoise glacial lakes, Interlaken is one of the best destinations to get your adrenaline pumping. Nestled in the Alps between Lake Birenz and Lake Thun, you can see the majestic peaks of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau in Interlaken, making it one of the most beautiful destinations in Switzerland.
If you want to take it ‘easy’ and stay on the ground, Interlaken is full of incredible hiking trails. Our favourite is the 6 hour hike from Schynnige-Platte to First, and finally to Grindelwald. You’ll get breathtaking views at several different parts throughout the hike, reaching peaks of 2672m. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing, bring food, and a water bottle!
Looking to spend some time on the water? Interlaken has a huge range of water activities for your outdoor adventure holidays. From white water rafting, kayaking, SUPing, leisurely boating, and good old fashioned swimming, you can do all of that – and more – here.
And for the adrenaline junkies: Interlaken is seriously one of the best destinations for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. Try your hand at adventure sports like canyoning, paragliding, bungee jumping, sky diving, and so much more. You’ll be spoiled for choice in Interlaken.
If you find yourself here in winter, you’re in serious luck as the region offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding options in Central Europe. Even if you’re a total beginner, Switzerland is a place where everyone wants to hit the slopes! And while Switzerland certainly has an expensive reputation, you can still find tons of cheap and free things to do, and still get your dose of outdoor adventure.
Where to Stay in Interlaken
Our top recommendation in Interlaken is Balmers Hostel! Since 1907, Balmers has been hosting a variety of guests from around the world and leaving them all with great impressions. From dorm rooms, to private room, and even tent options in Summer, Balmers has it all. Spend your days in the nature, and your evenings in their common areas, outdoor hot tub, or their popular club. You’ll never get bored when you stay with Balmers!
The French Riviera is calling your name! Nice is next up on our list of outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. It isn’t just all about the glitz and glamour of the Cannes Film Festival or the Monaco Grand Prix here. Nice is perfectly situated between the Mediterranean and the foot of the French Alps for loads of adventures.
You can do more than just swim and catch some rays on the beaches in Nice. The warm Mediterranean Sea is great for lots of water sports, including snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing, water skiing, and sailing. And the best part? None of this is really all that expensive. For example, Villa St. Exupery Hostel hosts a 5 hour diving tour, including all equipment, for a cool 45€. And no experience necessary! Especially for first timers, this is a pretty great deal to explore the underwater world of the beautiful Mediterranean.
Looking for some outdoor adventures on your holidays on the ground? Then head to the French Alps behind the capital of the French Riviera. You’ll be treated to some wonderful views and can even try your hand at some adventure sports. Canyoning is rather popular here, and in winter, tons of people come to hit the slopes. Overall, Nice is a pretty fantastic for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe
Where to Stay in Nice
Our top recommendation is Villa St. Exupery Beach Hostel. Famous for being one of the most social and friendliest hostels in Nice, you’ll love being their guest. You can choose from dorms and private rooms, and can participate in a variety of activities hosted by the hostel. They also have one of the cheapest bars in Nice, and are only 20m from the city’s main square.
Salzburg is one of our favourites for outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. Famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and the setting of the Sound of Music, Salzburg offers so much more than that. Whether you’re coming at Christmas to visit the markets, or in the middle of summer, you’ll find heaps of outdoor adventure activities here.
If you’re planning to visit Salzburg in winter, you’ll have lots of opportunities to hit the slopes or visit the ice caves. Between Christmas and March there’s a free, daily snow shuttle from the city to several of Salzburg’s mountain resorts. And even if you’re a total beginner, there’s runs for you to learn and practice on before you hit the bigger ones. Just don’t forget your suncream!
But it’s not just about the winter sports here. Salzburg is a great destination for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe all year round. Take your pick from hundreds of hiking trails, all ranging in difficulty. If you don’t have a car, you can find a bus that will get you there! Alternatively, you can bring your mountain bike and enjoy them all the same!
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, you can go canyoning, white water rafting, paragliding, and rock climbing. The Austrian Alps never disappoint when it comes to outdoor adventure holidays in Europe!
But if you just want to take it easy, that’s certainly an option in Salzburg. You can find loads of glacial water lakes around Salzburg where you can swim, kayak, SUP, or boat. Our favourite is Fuschlsee. The water is ice cold, so don’t say you weren’t warned!
Where to Stay in Salzburg
If you’re visiting Salzburg book your bed at the long standing Yoho International Youth Hostel – right in the centre of town. They have an amazing late-night bar, as well as spacious rooms and a fantastic breakfast. The staff are very familiar with the region, and can help you with any information you’ll need while in Salzburg.
Situated on Portugal’s beautiful Algarve coast, Lagos is next for our tips on the best outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. While it might be a small city, Lagos is booming with character and activities for everyone who visits. Characterised by rolling waves, gorgeous cliffs, and turquoise water, Lagos will leave a lasting impression on you.
Unlike other parts of southern Europe, Lagos actually sits on the Atlantic Ocean coast, so the water tends to be a bit colder than the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, it’s a breathtaking spot for adventure on and off the land.
Start your day at the beach, ad enjoy the cooling waves of the ocean. We recommend bringing your snorkel gear to explore the underwater world, which we’re certain will take you by surprise.
If you want to get out on the water, can you rent a kayak, a paddle board, boats, and even surf boards. The Algarve region offers a variety of diverse beaches, many of which are incredible surfing spots. Is it any wonder Lagos is on our list for the best outdoor adventure holidays in Europe?
If you’re looking for adventures on land, the Algarve region is littered in amazing hiking and biking trails. Unlike trails in regions across the Alps, hiking in Lagos is relatively easy with very moderate difficulty. Imagine watching the waves crash upon the shore while you bask in the Portuguese sun admiring some of the best landscape in the country. We can’t help by love Lagos!
Where to Stay in Lagos
With free pub crawls, breakfast, activities, and so much more, book your room at Rising Cock Party Hostel, located only 5 mins from the beach! If you’re planning to visit in the summer months, be sure to book accommodation well in advance. This legendary location was actually the first party hostel in Portugal, so you know you’re down for a good time!
Stockholm is Sweden’s capital and is a great urban destination for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. Like Switzerland, Sweden also has a reputation for being expensive, but it truly can be done on a budget. But also like Switzerland, it doesn’t matter what time of year you decide to visit: Stockholm always has something for the outdoor adventure enthusiast!
Let’s start with the warmer months. The Swedes are pretty environmentally conscious people (Greta is from here!), and take great pride in their pristine water and nature. Did you know that Stockholm is a city made up of a series of small islands? In the warmer months (and occasionally in winter), you can spot kayakers out on the water exploring the city from a different perceptive. Some of the islands even have beach fronts, so bring your bathing suit and go for a dip!
In the winter months, the Swedes embrace the cold and the adventures don’t stop. Throughout the city, you can find ice skating rinks, even if you’re here at Christmas. There’s just something different about ice skating when you get to enjoy it in the open air.
Snowshoeing is also a popular winter activity, but it’s unmatched to a Swedish sauna experience. As a way to combat the frigid winter temps, Swedes flock to saunas on the shores of the Baltic Sea to warm up and sweat. But they take it a step further. Once you’re feeling nice and hot, go outside and jump into the freezing cold waters of the Baltic Sea. It might sound crazy, but it’s one of the coolest winter activities in Sweden. Scandinavia is a true gem for our outdoor adventure holidays in Europe.
Where to Stay in Stockholm
Our top recommendation is City Backpackers Stockholm – the friendliest hostel in town! With a great bar terrace, cosy chill out area, and a sauna, you’re bound to love it here. Located close to the city centre, it’s also a great place to meet other travellers. Guests are also entitled to exclusive discounts at Nomad, their incredible Swedish bar located directly next door.
Who says outdoor adventure holidays in Europe can’t be in cities? While Munich is best known for the world famous Oktoberfest, we promise it’s not just about the beer and the pretzels here. The capital of Bavaria is perfectly situated for lots of adventure, both in and outside the city.
If you want to stay within Munich, there’s lots to do in the way of outdoor adventures. The city is full of incredible parks, including the famous Englischer Garten, which is a great place to relax or do some leisurely sports. But if you like to surf, you can also do that in Munich! Within the Englischer Garten, you can find the Eisbach River, which has a section with a strong current and creates a wave for surfers to ride. Further down the river, you can jump in and enjoy a swim!
Munich sits at the foot of the Alps, and is a great destination for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. You can access some pretty incredible hiking trails within an hour or more by train, but the journey is well worth it. Some of our favourites include Neureuther Hütte and Herzogstand, both of which are accessible by public transportation.
And if you’re here in winter, you might as well hit the slopes. Munich is only 90 minutes away by train from Garmisch Patenkirchen, which is one of the most exciting ski destinations in Central Europe. In warmer months, you can hike here.
Where to Stay in Munich
Book your stay with Euro Youth Hostel for the best beds and international bar in town. You’ll love their Happy Hour, and live music at the weekends. But if you plan on visiting during Oktoberfest, make sure you book your room well in advance as this is the most popular annual event in Munich.
The sun is always shining in Marseille, so it’s a perfect destination for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. Located on the Mediterranean coast, there’s no shortage of amazing ways to spend your time outdoors and connect with nature.
If you’re after a beach holiday, Marseille delivers. For the most convenient beach day, head to Plage de Catlans, a short walking distance from the city centre. It’s everything you could want for a beach in south France! Alternatively, head to Plage de la Grand Mer located on the island of Cassis. We highly recommend taking a day trip here to explore this picturesque island.
If you want to head outside the city, we recommend visiting Calanques National Park. It’s full of incredible hiking trails, and offers some of the most beautiful beaches, best kayaking, and snorkelling in the region. So what do you say? Is it time to finally explore France as our destination for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe?
Where to Stay in Marseille
Vertigo Vieux-Port Hostel is our top recommendation in Marseille. Located in the Old Port area, it’s walking distance from beaches, bars, clubs, and other notable landmarks. Offering both dorms and private rooms, you’ll love their charming decor and comfy atmosphere. They also offer a range of activities and excursions, and have cosy common areas for you to chill in after a long day in the sun. The staff at Vertigo will make you feel at home!
Split and neighbouring islands, Croatia
Croatia is one of the hottest destinations, so it had! to be on our list of the best outdoor adventure holidays in Europe. Sitting on the Adriatic coast, Croatia is best known for their picturesque islands, sparkling blue waters, delicious food, and adventures galore.
If you’re dreaming of outdoor adventures by the water, then Split is where you’ll want to start your holidays. This place is seriously breathtaking in every meaning of the word. And it couldn’t be a better location to start your Croatian island hopping adventure off the Adriatic coast.
Split is situated directly on the beautiful Adriatic Sea, and getting to the neighbouring islands is easy from here! Whether you’re looking to swim, snorkel, scuba dive, cliff jump, or just lounge in the sun, Split and its neighbouring islands will spoil you with choice.
First up on our list of islands to visit is Hvar. The journey can take and an hour or two, depending on if you travel by boat or catamaran. The best spot on the island to enjoy the nature is Jelsa. It’s a picturesque harbour, full of incredible views and outdoor activities. Ever dream of trying Bubble Ball? Go for it in Hvar!
Brač is another hot favourite, with one of the most famous beaches in Croatia. You can get here from Split in about 50 mins by boat and you’ll fall in love with the landscape here.
Where to Stay in Split
Our top recommendation in this incredible destination is Split Hostel. More than just a bed, Split Hostel is full of character and offers both dorms and private rooms. Feeling social? They also offer a range of activities, from free dinners to nights out on the town. And they also organise boat tours to some of the most beautiful islands near Split.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Okay, we admit. Tel Aviv isn’t exactly in Europe, but we think it deserves the final spot on our list of best outdoor adventure holidays. The sun shines year round in this dynamic and adventurous city. And it’s also on the Mediterranean, so you have plenty of adventure options.
Israel is a very small country, so your outdoor adventure holidays don’t have to be limited to Tel Aviv. But let’s start there anyway. Tel Aviv is actually a fairly popular surfing destination, and from July until October, you can enjoy the waves without a wet suit. In the colder months, you’ll want to wear a wet suit. Otherwise, bring your beach gear and enjoy some time at the beach!
For outdoor adventures outside Tel Aviv, there’s loads of things you can do. If you’re eager, you can hike the Jesus Trail, which is a 6 day hike taking you from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. But if you’re looking for something a bit easier, head to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
If you want to head to the Dead Sea, we highly recommend this! It’s the lowest point on the entire planet, and is so salty, you’ll float more than you’ll swim! The water and mud here are full of nourishing minerals, so lather up and enjoy the benefits. It’s truly one of the most unique places in the world, and it’s a great addition to your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe.
Where to Stay in Tel Aviv
Let Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv be your host! They offer private rooms, as well as dorms, a bar, a cosy patio, and an incredible variety of activities. With additional locations in Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Eilat, why not continue your adventure and see more of the country? You’ll always feel at home when you stay at Abraham.
Best Outdoor Adventure Holidays in Europe
Now that you know where the best destinations for your outdoor adventure holidays in Europe are, all you have to do is choose where you want to go! If you’re looking for more information to help you plan your outdoor adventure holidays, click here. Our blog ranges from city guides, to food guides, travel tips, and more, all in an effort to inspire your next getaway. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.