Top 10 Unexpected Countries for Outdoor Adventure
These destinations might not be a hotspot for thrill seekers but they're packed with adrenaline, from incredible hiking to professional water sports. Check out this roundup and plan your next adventure.
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It’s not all about beer and castles in Germany. Hit the slopes in the Bavarian Alps, check out the chalk cliffs or even sleep in a tent dangling in the sky. Yes, really. The Waldseilgarten-Hollschlucht resort outfits thrillseekers with portaledges (similar to what rock climbers use). Some physical strength is required as you have to climb up your tree to get into your tent. But it’s worth the fear factor as you’ll have rare, gorgeous mountain views.
Slovenia probably isn’t on your bucket list. But it should be. The country has tons of caverns and cave systems. Some you can even bike through. Yes, underground mountain biking is a thing. Bundle up, don a headlamp and follow a bike guide through sections of abandoned mines as you literally bike through a mountain in the Koroska region.
When you think of alpine life, you probably think of the Swiss Alps but Japan has its own alpine scene. The Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps, have adrenaline-pumping slopes with perfect powder but the real adventure is getting there. The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is blocked every year by a giant Yuki-no-Otani or Snow Wall. The Murodo Plain area on the route receives some of the heaviest snowfall on the planet and the snow can get seven stories high. Each spring giant 30-ton plows cut through the snow, creating a towering frozen pass that tourists can see by bus or on foot.
If you only come to Edinburgh for the Harry Potter sites, you’re missing out. Northern Scotland’s lakes are gorgeous and the hiking can’t be beat. The beaches to the east have tons of water and ... sand sports. Ever heard of land yachting? If go-karts and kite boarding had a baby it would be this adventure. Set sail and race your friends along the beach using your giant kite fin to catch the sea breeze.
It’s not just about religious tourism anymore. Travelers come to Israel’s beach town of Tel Aviv for windsurfing, sailing and diving. The Mediterranean coastline is prime surf and tourists can take a surfing lesson at TOPSEA, a surf school and center.
Canada has some of the most beautiful national parks on the planet. While Banff National Park is Instagram famous for the teal waters of Lake Louise, its waters are so much more than pretty. The park’s Kicking Horse River features class II, III and IV whitewater rapids. Another Alberta favorite, Jasper National Park packs tons of adventure throughout the Canadian Rockies with ice climbing and mountaineering programs.
The island has a cruise ship reputation for best snorkeling and pretty beaches. While that’s definitely true, if you go inland you’ll find tons of jungle adventures in West Belize, such as ziplining or cave tubing. If you’ve never been cave tubing, it’s like a lazy river at a waterpark only it’s natural. And a little more intense than resort life. Helmet and headlamp are required as the journey gets dark at times. Float down the Caves Branch River through gorgeous cave systems and under limestone archways exploring what the Mayans considered the underworld.
Get outside of the major Spanish cities and hit the trails in Andalusia and Malaga. If you can handle heights, the infamous El Caminito Del Rey (the King’s little pathway) has been re-opened by the Spanish government and is now safe and accessible for hikers. Though the view down is still terrifying. The tiny gorge footbridge is 330 feet above the water below and clings to the side of the Malaga Mountains.
The Dutch Caribbean island might be famous for its iconic blue water but the island is also packed with caves and mountains to explore. Christoffel National Park, the island’s largest park, has an intense hike up Mount Christoffel with fast elevation gains and rocks that feel like a StairMaster. It gets tricky at the top and requires some upper body strength to climb the rocks. You might curse yourself for a minute but the view at 1,220 feet above sea level is oh-so rewarding.
The U.S. territory might be known for rum and sun but the island has a nighttime adventure found nowhere else on the planet. Mosquito Bay has the most colorful bioluminescent display and select tour groups take kayakers out at night to experience the natural light show. To visit, you’ll need to take a hopper plane or ferry from the main island to the smaller island of Vieques.