Other Adventure Destinations in Europe (WildCards)
Andorra is a small Principality in the middle of the Pyrenees mountain range. Due to its high-altitude location, Andorra is famous for its winter sports. There are a few great ski resorts to chose from, with varying ski-run grades to suit first-time skier/snowboarders to black downhill pros. Andorra is also a great place to explore with a winter heli-ski excursion and there are even opportunities to try some ‘far-out’ winter sports like scuba diving under the ice (you’ll need a 7mm wetsuit for this though).
In the summer the country offers a great base for any type of mountain sport and adventure you can think of; like climbing, hiking, BTT excursions or canyoning. It also makes a great base camp for a multi-day expedition across the French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees.
A landlocked city in the middle of Germany may be the last place you would think of going for a surfing adventure, but Munich has a thriving surf culture and can actually be considered a surfing hotspot. This is due to a number of high-quality river standing waves, throughout the city, that make for great, consistent surfing. So while many Munich locals head to South West UK in search of ocean waves, a river surfing trip may be a cool experience for someone who is used to surfing salty swell.
The Eisbach is probably the most famous river surfing location in the world; it’s an artificial stream that runs through the Eisbach Garden, Munich’s largest public park. The surf wave is located at the southern edge of the park, about 1 m/3 ft high and about 12 m wide. The flow is fast and the flow-breaking rocks are very dangerous. There have been quite a few serious injuries here so beginners are strongly encouraged to stay well clear.
Check out this great video showing some of the locals shredding the Eisbach:
In contrast, the Floßlände is a wave on the canal that joins the Isarkanal with the Floßlände. The wave is about half a meter high making it more suitable for beginners. Since 2004 there has also been an annual surf competition at this wave.
Portugal has some great surf sports along its west coast, hosting the WCT Rip Curl Pro every year. Nazaré has to be one of the most famous though, due to the hype in big-wave surfing over the last few years. Nazaré provides pumping conditions all-year-round and when it’s producing monsters in the winter, the lighthouse provides a great view-point to watch some of the pros chasing the top XXL prize.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites (Italian Alps)
With the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites rising in every direction, the ski areas around Cortina have been called the most beautiful in the world.
The most upscale resort in Italy, ‘Corso Italia’, is packed with furriers, designer boutiques, and Italians with sunglasses that cost more than most skis. The good news for skiers and snowboarders is that most people here are more interested in socializing than actually skiing and snowboarding, so the slopes aren’t crowded—at least by European standards.
In the summer, the Dolomites offer fantastic hiking, climbing and Via ferrata routes, as well as opportunities for a range of other mountain sports.