Image: Badrutt´s Palace, St. Moritz, Switzerland
The summer sun may provide hours of glorious sizzling, but it’s not always your best friend when you want to get active on holiday. As the air cools and the leaves turn golden, adventure holidays in Europe come into a life of their own. With no hordes or hassle to worry about, you can dive deep into the most far-out, loveliest places on the continent. Whether you’re an endorphin-seeker or pure adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone. These are our favourites:
1. Experience all the fun of the fjord in Hardanger, Norway
Pack your thick socks, strap on a pair of hiking boots and dive into the prettiest wonderlands of western Norway. Hardingasete is an ancient cluster of 20 houses, huddled together in a grassy, tree-strewn landscape. Each property is adorned with antique furniture and the comforts of modern bathrooms and kitchens. If you can prise yourself from your 17th-century room, you’ll find adventure waiting among the beautiful fjord Hardingasete overlooks. Hike along four breathtaking waterfalls in Husedalen valley, take a guided blue ice hike on the Folgefonna glacier or kayak your way through Eidfjord and Jondal. The more adventurous will love the Trolltunga via ferrata climbing route.
2. Canoe and shoot clay pigeons in Gimo, Sweden
Close enough to Stockholm for an easy journey but far enough to feel completely isolated from the world, Gimo Mansion is like a well-kept secret you’ll be bursting to tell everyone you know about. You’ll stay in an 18th-century Gustavian-style manor house among 250-year-old elm and lime trees on your enchanted forest escape, where your hosts are more than happy to fill you in on the activities around the hotel. Think clay pigeon shooting, rowing, canoeing, cycling, golf and mini golf – as well as hikes to the Walloon ironworks (Österby, Forsmark, Strömsholm, Leufsta), the Roslagen coast, Gräsö island, Öregrund, Dannemora mine and historic Uppsala.
3. Ski, hike and be merry in St. Moritz, Switzerland
You’ll wonder if the scene has been Instagram-filtered as you take in the blue skies and snow-white peaks from the turquoise pool of Badrutt’s Palace. An iconic symbol of St. Moritz, this majestic hotel sits among some of Switzerland’s most unspoiled scenery. Switch between pampered tranquility and heart-pumping adventures: go ice-skating on black ice (consult the tourist information about thickness beforehand), savour the sunset from the top of the Muottas Muragl and blitz down the country’s longest illuminated ski run, which is magical at night. Even the taxis are an adrenaline rush here – grab a bobsleigh from the Olympia bob run St.Moritz-Celerina for the best Uber of your life.
4. Get lost in the wild in Røros, Norway
One minute you’re strolling around the serene and sprawling Lake Femunden, the next you’re blitzing through the whitewashed wilderness on a guided snowmobile trip. Røros is a riot of adventure, whether you’re hankering an authentic dog sledding adventure or a cultural trail through the UNESCO World Heritage mining town of Røros. Right on the doorstep of these dream countryside activities and only a few minutes from the town itself, Røros Hotell is the perfect base for your adventure holiday in Europe.
5. Take the Leap of Faith in Mallow, Ireland
Deep in 500 acres of glorious wooded estate, Longueville House is a Georgian Heritage Mansion dating back to 1720. Its location is ripe for adventure: Blackwater Valley is abundant in salmon and brown trout, providing some of the most epic fishing trips in Europe. If you’re craving something a little more white-knuckled, you’re in luck. Mallow is a playground for adventure-seekers: there’s raft-building, archery, gladiator courses, rock climbing, abseiling, zip lines and the gulp-inducing Leap of Faith at the Ballyhass Lakes Adventure Centre.