If you are the type of person for whom the prospect of spending your vacations lying around of a beach or traipsing around the streets on a city break fills you with boredom, this is the article for you. Whether you live in Europe, the United States or like traveling across the Atlantic Ocean for your vacations, there are plenty of options for other things that you can do get your pulse racing. To inspire you and give you a push in the right direction, we have come up with this list of the most popular adventure travel destinations that should not be missed on a trip to Europe or the United States.
1. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is much more than just a place to go for a photo opportunity. The deepest canyon on earth is also home to a fantastic array of high-adrenaline activities. The more intrepid vacationers will be delighted by the chance to do whitewater rafting on the boisterous Colorado River, mountain biking and climbing. If you like to take it a bit easier, there are some amazing hikes that you can do which offer incredible views over the canyon.
First discovered by the famous explorer duo of Lewis and Clarke on their epic journey to the Pacific Ocean, Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful sites in North America. Today, thrill-seekers from across the globe converge at the park to try their hand at adventure activities in America’s oldest national park. A hike or cycle around the park will take you past some of the continent’s most incredible natural phenomena, such as the Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Yosemite has been a mecca for climbers from across the globe for generations. The unrivalled beauty of the idyllic meadow and slow-moving rivers of the national park is capped by some of the most imposing vertical cliff faces on the planet that rise so steeply that they make the head spin. If you are brave and a strong walker, you can also tackle the John Muir Trail, a 211-mile trail which passes through Yosemite on the way to its end at Mount Whitney.
1. The Alps
Straddling new fewer than eight countries, the Alps are by quite a way the tallest and most extensive mountain range in Europe. The mountains have for a long time been a haven for vacationers who prefer the thrill of their vast wilderness to weeks spent lounging on the beach. Mountaineers are fascinated by the incredible climbing possibilities posed by the daunting peaks. The mountain range is also loved by cyclists and hikers, and if you choose, you can replicate some of the grueling sections of the awesome Tour de France.
The lunar landscapes of Iceland make for some of the most unique hiking anywhere in the world. Since Iceland is highly volcanic and subject to Arctic weather for much of the year, the landscape which the hiking routes pass through offers a simply stunning contrast between the pristine snow, the harsh volcanic rock and the eerie blue hues of the ice formations. You may even catch a glimpse of the magnificent Northern Lights if you go at the right time of year.
3. Comporta, Portugal
Comporta is surfer’s paradise that lies in Portugal’s Alentejo region. Its perfect beaches sweep for miles and miles along a stunning stretch of coastline that features quaint and quiet traditional villages. The main attraction for most people who come here, however, is the world-class breaks that roll in from the Atlantic Ocean. In the summer, the waves are gentle enough to learn on but come the spring, fall and winter, medium-sized swells with perfect barrels roll in that are enough to keep experienced surfers happy.
Now that you have a few ideas, all that is left to do is to book your flights. If you hold a European passport, you will probably be aware that you need to apply for the ESTA visa exemption scheme before you travel to any of the US destinations on this list if you want to gain entry on arrival in the United States. If you are US citizen who plans to visit one of the European destinations mentioned here, you should know that a similar type of scheme is set to be in place from the start of 2021. The ETIAS visa exemption program will allow for a three-month stay in European Union countries but will have to be organized before traveling. Check out this comprehensive ETIAS guide to check whether you qualify!