There is never a lack of things to do in Europe: There are so many experiences to be had, from riding an Alpine train in Switzerland to driving down Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way to eating falafel sandwiches in Paris. We’ve compiled a list of the most adventurous things to do in Europe from the continent’s many locales, dishes, and sights.
Most adventurous things to do in Europe
Take a stroll down Primrose Hill in London
The city is famous for its royal parks, but a journey down Primrose Hill is particularly memorable. On the way up, keep an eye out for “Shakespeare’s Tree,” an oak planted in 1864 to commemorate Shakespeare’s birth centuries earlier (it’s ceremoniously replaced by a new one every 100 years); and, if you can, avoid turning around to view the skyline until the very top—it’ll be worth it. Watch the sky become orange over sights including Canary Wharf, the Millennium Wheel, and St. Paul’s Cathedral as you walk at sunset. Even the most jaded Londoners are moved by this viewpoint.
Visit Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park
For those looking for daring things to do in Europe, the ethereal Plitvice Lakes National Park offers a truly unique experience. This national park is well known for its cascading waterfalls that cascade from one turquoise lake to the next. Walk along the rivers and through the trails for breathtaking views, and you’ll feel as if you’ve strayed into another universe in Croatia.
Take a bath in Budapest, Hungary
If you’re seeking for adventure in Eastern Europe, Budapest should be at the top of your list of things to do in Europe. You’ve probably heard of the castles and bridges that give Budapest its famed splendor, but you might not know that the entire city is constructed on caves and hot springs. For a genuinely underground adventure in Europe, spend the day caving beneath Budapest and then relaxing in one of the city’s beautiful mineral baths. The exquisite baths are supposed to have numerous medical benefits due to their high mineral content.
Enjoy an adrenaline thrill while watching Il Palio in Italy
Every summer, the plaza in Siena, Italy, transforms into the setting for Tuscany’s most important sporting event, Il Palio. The race dates back centuries and is steeped in pomp and history. Originally a religious ceremony, it has evolved into a minute and a half of high-speed action, with more than half of the bareback riders being thrown from their horses throughout the race. This historic horserace lasts only about a minute, but the festivities last several days. Travel a few days early to see the magnificent city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to see some of the practice races.
Spend money on a water taxi in Venice
Venice is a costly city. And the water taxi—the equivalent of taking a town car—is significantly more expensive than, example, the public vaporetto (waterbus). But there’s no better way to get from the airport to your hotel than to hop on an open-air boat right after landing, with a half-hour to sit back and admire Venice’s majestic architecture. It sets the tone for a visit in a manner that no other city can. Bonus? Some of the city’s most prominent hotels, such as the Cipriani, have their own private dock and will dispatch their own transportation for you.
Climb the Pamukkale Cotton Castle in Turkey
One of the coolest things to do in Europe is to visit the “cotton castle” in the Denizli Province of southwestern Turkey. Pamukkale, a cascade of pink and white terraces surrounding thermally heated pools, is one of nature’s great beauties. Climb the travertine terraces and cool off in the hot springs along the way. When you reach the summit, you’ll be stunned all over again by ancient Roman remains, replete with a magnificent amphitheater.
Bike through the canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a city on two wheels—getting around by bike is a way of life for the city’s citizens. Rent a bicycle and ride around prominent canals, such as the Prinsengracht, to see 17th-century canal residences and waterways. Alternatively, take a more tranquil ride around the Vondelpark, which is especially lovely in the spring and fall. Whatever you do, remember to use your hands as turn signals on the road and to avoid stopping in the bike lanes. Locals will swiftly remind you of the laws of the road if you forget.
Explore the Italian Dolomites’ slopes
Spend a few days skiing down Cortina’s groomed slopes, stopping for a few Aperols on the Rifugio Averau patio, followed by nights out on the town with superb food and drink. Unlike in French ski resorts, where you’re likely to see ski boots under the table, Cortina encourages you to ski home, shower, and put on something nice every evening. Begin with Cafe La Suite, then on to P126, and don’t miss the parade of dolce vita beauty parading down Corso Italia, the winter setting warmed by soft amber lighting and enormous glasses of red wine.