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5 OUTDOOR ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS IN EUROPE YOU SHOULD TRY

Every outdoor enthusiast has the opportunity to embrace nature and live lifetime experiences. From climbing the most popular routes on Mount Blanc to embarking on iron paths around the Dolomites, cycling between Switzerland and Italy, or tackling Slovenia’s highest peak.

5 OUTDOOR ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS IN EUROPE

As the sun sets behind the majestic peaks, I can’t help but feel a rush of adrenaline surging through my veins. Moments like these make me grateful for my adventurous spirit and love for outdoor sports. For over 15 years, I’ve been exploring the world, seeking thrilling experiences and forging unforgettable memories. Today, I want to share the incredible outdoor activity holidays I’ve had the privilege to embark on in Europe. So buckle up and get ready to dive into adrenaline-pumping adventures and breathtaking landscapes that will leave you in awe.

WHAT IS A MULTI-ACTIVITY HOLIDAY?

A multi-activity holiday is perfect for outdoor sports enthusiasts who crave various exhilarating experiences. It involves engaging in multiple activities during a single trip, allowing you to make the most of your time and explore diverse landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a family looking for an active vacation, multi-activity holidays offer something for everyone. These holidays often include activities like climbing, mountaineering, hiking via Ferratas, and biking, ensuring that each day is filled with new challenges and discoveries. They provide an excellent opportunity to bond with like-minded individuals, create lifelong friendships, and share the joy of exploring nature’s wonders.

In this article, I will delve into the following five outdoor activities that have left an indelible mark on my soul:

WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY HOLIDAY?

When planning an outdoor activity holiday, there are a few crucial factors to remember. First, you can assess your fitness level and choose activities that align with your capabilities. Safety should always be a priority, so please ensure you have the equipment and knowledge for each activity. Research the weather conditions and choose the appropriate time of year to visit your desired destinations. Consider the availability of experienced guides who can enhance your experience and provide valuable insights. Lastly, embrace the spirit of adventure, be open to new challenges, and prepare to create memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Climbing holidays in the Dolomites

Climbing holidays in the Dolomites

The Dolomites provide an unrivaled playground for climbers, with majestic peaks and awe-inspiring landscapes. Whether you choose the multi-pitch routes on the Torri del Sella, the Spigolo Dibona on Cima Grande di Lavaredo, or the stunning Cinque Torri in Cortina d’Ampezzo, each climb offers a unique and unforgettable experience. And if you’re seeking a more immersive climbing holiday, Arco in Trentino beckons with its sport-climbing opportunities and serene yoga sessions. So gear up, harness your determination, and embark on a climbing adventure that will push your limits and forge lasting memories amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Dolomites.

Among the many climbing opportunities in this UNESCO World Heritage site, the multi-pitch routes on the Torri del Sella are a must-try for thrill-seekers. These towering rock formations provide an exhilarating challenge, and you can experience the camaraderie of climbing in a group with the Mapo Tapo Multi-Pitch climbing trip to the Sella Towers

Another iconic route that should be noticed is the Spigolo Dibona on Cima Grande di Lavaredo. This multi-pitch route is a test of skill and endurance, taking you on a vertical adventure amidst the breathtaking scenery of the Lavaredo peaks. With the Mapo Tapo Multi-Pitch Climbing trip at Tre Cime di Lavaredo, you can embark on this thrilling ascent with experienced guides and fellow climbers, creating unforgettable memories.

For those seeking even more climbing challenges, the Cinque Torri in Cortina d’Ampezzo is a paradise of multi-pitch routes. These towering rock formations offer a variety of routes suitable for different skill levels, providing ample opportunities to push your limits and enjoy breathtaking views. Here, you can immerse yourself in this climbing wonderland and connect with fellow climbers who share your passion for adventure.

Climbing holidays in the Dolomites

Sport-climbing around Garda Lake, in Arco di Trento © Alpine Vibes

If you’re looking for a comprehensive climbing experience combined with the beauty of the surrounding region, a 5-day holiday sport-climbing in Arco is an excellent choice. Located in Trentino, Italy, Arco offers a wealth of sport-climbing routes that cater to climbers of all levels. You will spend five days exploring the stunning crags, honing your climbing skills, and indulging in the tranquility of Italian villages that will complement your adventure.

2. Mountaineering across Italy, Switzerland and France

Mountaineering across Italy, Switzerland and France

Italy, Switzerland, and France are home to some of Europe’s most iconic mountaineering destinations, offering thrilling challenges and awe-inspiring landscapes. 

One of the ultimate mountaineering experiences is embarking on a guided climbing tour of the Mont Blanc Massif. Among thousands of routes and itineraries, I think it’s worth a try to conquer the Dôme du Goûter route and Les Trois Mont Blanc, immersing yourself in the grandeur of Europe’s highest mountain massif. The tour provides expert guidance and support, ensuring your safety and allowing you to focus on the exhilaration of summiting Mont Blanc.

Mountaineering across Italy, Switzerland and France

Another remarkable mountaineering adventure awaits you with the Monte Rosa Tour from Cervinia to Gressoney. This six-day climbing and mountaineering trip takes you across Italy’s highest peaks, offering breathtaking views and challenging routes. You’ll traverse glaciers, navigate snow-covered slopes, and reach summits that will leave you in awe, such as Punta Dufur, Capanna Regina Margherita, Europe’s highest mountain hut,  Breithorn, Lyskamm Nose, Castor, Vincent Pyramid, Signalkuppe, Balmenhorn, Ludwigshöhe, and Zumsteinspitze. This tour is an actual test of mountaineering skills and endurance, and it promises to be a journey of self-discovery amidst the stunning beauty of the Monte Rosa massif.

A list of mountaineering opportunities would only be complete with mentioning the legendary Matterhorn, where you can experience the exhilaration of climbing in the footsteps of mountaineering history.

Rising majestically on the border between Italy and Switzerland, the Matterhorn offers mountaineers a range of challenging routes. One notable route is the Lion Ridge, known for its technical difficulty and stunning views. This remains the easiest way to get to Matterhorn Summit.

Italy, Switzerland, and France provide a playground for mountaineering enthusiasts with their majestic peaks and challenging routes. Whether you choose the guided climbing tour on the Mont Blanc Massif, the unforgettable Monte Rosa Tour, or the awe-inspiring Lion Ridge on the Matterhorn, each mountaineering opportunity offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience. So lace up your boots, secure your crampons, and embark on a journey that will test your limits, reward your determination, and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Alps.

3. Hiking in Tuscany, crossing Elba Island on foot

The Grande Traversata Elbana (GTE) is a thrilling trekking experience that takes you across the stunning landscapes of Isola d’Elba, the third-largest island in Italy. This trail spans approximately 150 kilometers and offers an incredible journey through diverse terrain, from rugged mountain peaks to picturesque coastal paths. With an elevation gain of over 5,000 meters, the GTE presents a challenging adventure for avid hikers.

Hiking in Tuscany, crossing Elba Island on foot

Easy trails for a long crossing of the entire Elba Island © Micol Casaleggio

Completing the entire Grande Traversata Elbana typically takes around 8 to 10 days, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make. This estimate allows for a comfortable exploration of the island’s natural wonders and cultural attractions. The GTE is best experienced during the spring and autumn when the weather is mild and the trails are less crowded. Spring offers the beauty of blooming wildflowers and pleasant temperatures, while autumn provides a colorful tapestry of foliage against the island’s backdrop.

The Grande Traversata Elbana showcases the incredible diversity of Isola d’Elba. From the rugged peaks of Monte Capanne to the pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, every step of the journey is filled with awe-inspiring beauty. The trail winds through charming villages, ancient fortresses, and lush forests, immersing you in the island’s rich history and natural splendor.

With experienced guides and a well-planned itinerary, you will make the most of your trekking adventure, ensuring a safe and memorable experience on the GTE. You’ll be able to hike through breathtaking landscapes, soak in the island’s unique atmosphere, and forge connections with fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you conquer the entire Grande Traversata Elbana or embark on shorter sections of the trail, this trekking experience on Isola d’Elba promises an immersive and unforgettable journey. So pack your hiking boots, embrace the spirit of exploration, and set off on an adventure that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the natural wonders of this captivating island.

4. Climbing Via Ferrata off-the-beaten-track: Slovenia’s highest mountain

Climbing Via Ferrata off-the-beaten-track: Slovenia’s highest mountain

Via Ferratas, or “iron paths,” combine elements of hiking and climbing, providing an exciting and secure way to explore mountainous terrain. Climbing Slovenia’s highest mountain, Mount Triglav, via its iron path is an exhilarating adventure that offers breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. Standing at 2,864 meters, this iconic peak symbolizes Slovenian national pride and is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts. The ascent typically covers a distance of approximately 15 kilometers, with an elevation gain of around 1,600 meters.

To summit Mount Triglav, hikers should allocate about two days for the journey, including an overnight stay at one of the mountain huts. The trek requires a moderate level of fitness and some scrambling skills, as sections of the trail can be steep and exposed. It’s essential to come prepared with proper gear and clothing suitable for high-altitude conditions.

The best time to climb Mount Triglav is during the summer, from June to September when the weather is more stable and the trails are clear of snow. However, it’s worth noting that the mountain can still experience unpredictable weather, so it’s essential to monitor conditions and be prepared for sudden changes.

Climbing Via Ferrata off-the-beaten-track: Slovenia’s highest mountain

The ascent of Mount Triglav takes you through some of Slovenia’s most stunning alpine landscapes. As you make your way up, you’ll traverse rugged terrain, pass by crystal-clear lakes, and marvel at the panoramic views of the Julian Alps. Reaching the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring vistas stretching as far as the eye can see.

With experienced guides and a carefully planned itinerary, this trip ensures a safe and rewarding climb to Slovenia’s highest peak. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the mountain’s rich history, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow climbers, and soak in the majestic beauty of the Slovenian Alps.

Climbing Mount Triglav is a bucket-list experience showcasing Slovenia’s natural splendor. It is a testament to the country’s deep connection to the mountains and its commitment to preserving its alpine heritage. So, lace up your boots, embrace the challenge, and embark on an unforgettable journey to conquer Mount Triglav, immersing yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and the sense of achievement of reaching the summit.

5. Biking in Northern Italy

Northern Italy offers fantastic cycling opportunities, with diverse landscapes and routes that cater to riders of all skill levels. One remarkable option is the Mountain E-bike Tour in Valtellina, where you can explore this stunning mountain valley and its surroundings on an electric mountain bike. There are no specific itineraries I would suggest: I still think the best choice you can make is to hop on a Mountain Bike or e-bike and hire a local certified Biking guide and plan a one-day or 2-day adventure together! The estimated time for each ride is 4 to 6 hours, allowing for leisurely exploration and taking in the breathtaking scenery. The best season to visit Valtellina for this e-bike tour is spring to autumn when the weather is pleasant and the trails are dry.

Biking in Northern Italy

Valtellina is close to the Swiss border, which means amazing landscapes, well-curated tracks, and cool temperatures © Laura Besseghini

Another thrilling cycling adventure awaits you on the Dolomite’s Bike Sella Ronda Tour. This iconic route takes you through the heart of the Dolomite Mountains, offering breathtaking views and exhilarating descents.

Here, you can experience the beauty of this region on two wheels. The Sella Ronda Tour covers a distance of approximately 55 kilometers, with an elevation gain of around 2,000 meters. The estimated time for completing the tour is 4 to 8 hours, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make to admire the scenery. The best season to visit the Dolomites for this cycling adventure is from late spring to early autumn when the weather is favorable, and the trails are free from snow.

The Valtellina Mountain E-bike Tour and the Dolomite’s Sella Ronda Tour offer unique and captivating cycling experiences in northern Italy. Whether you prefer the scenic routes and electric assistance of Valtellina or the Dolomites’ challenging climbs and breathtaking vistas, these trips provide an unforgettable adventure for cycling enthusiasts. So, hop on your bike, embrace the freedom of the open road, and immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and rich culture of northern Italy.

CONCLUSIONS

Embarking on an outdoor activity holiday in Europe is an extraordinary way to combine your love for adventure sports with the exploration of captivating landscapes. Whether you climb the majestic Dolomites, hike through Europe’s highest and most enormous glaciers, or conquer Via Ferratas in Slovenia, each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience. So pack your gear, gather your courage, and embark on a journey that will push your limits, introduce you to kindred spirits, and leave you with memories that will warm your heart for years. The world is waiting, so go out there and chase your dreams amidst nature’s embrace.

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