Having spent the last couple of years indoors in our homes and unable to travel, many of us are craving the excitement and wanderlust that comes with travelling to a new destination. If you’re not one to lie on a beach doing nothing all day, there are many different ways for the more adventurous traveller to try something new. Whether you prefer to take to the water for a spot of surfing or kayaking, or you’d rather be up in the sky, trying a spot of skydiving, there are a whole range of activities to do on holiday for those looking for an adrenaline fix while on their travels.
New research by Superdry has revealed the countries around the world which are best for adventure travel, with Croatia, Israel and Hong Kong emerging as the top three destinations perfect for adrenaline junkies.
The research analysed 99 countries against a number of different factors including hiking, camping, surfing, rock climbing, kayaking and the number of national parks in each country. An ‘Outdoor Adventure’ score was then formulated to reveal the best destinations for those looking for an activity-filled break.
The world’s adventure travel hotspots
European country Croatia topped the list as the world’s capital for adventure travel. Scoring 81.4 out of 100 overall, Croatia boasts beautiful coastlines and a number of national parks, as well as several opportunities to get involved in kayaking, rock climbing and hiking.
Israel, Hong Kong, the UK and Singapore followed to make up the top five adventure travel capitals, each with overall scores over 77 out of 100. Scoring highly for skydiving opportunities, as well as having several camping sites dotted around the country, the UK provides travellers with a multitude of adventurous activities to get stuck into.
Europe dominates the top 20 most adventurous destinations, with 15 of the top 20 being located in the continent. Outside of Europe, several Asian countries made the top 20 rankings too, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand.
Outdoor Adventure Score (/100)
Israel, Middle East
Hong Kong, Asia
United Kingdom, Europe
Costa Rica, Central America
About the top 10
Between the Balkans and Central Europe, Croatia offers a range of amazing outdoor adventures but is particularly famed for its rock climbing. One of the go-to areas for this activity is Paklenica National Park as it offers routes for beginners and more challenging options for those with more experience. Outside of rock climbing, Croatia also has great spots for sea kayaking, beautiful hikes and campsites with stunning views that are a joy to wake up to.
Israel boasts a number of national parks with great variety, meaning you could choose to hike across mountain ranges, visit archaeological sites or just set up a picnic spot amongst lush greenery. Gan HaShlosha National Park, close to the Sea of Galilee, has breath-taking springs which are perfect to swim in after a long hike.
3. Hong Kong
It might be surprising to learn that Hong Kong, which is famous for its bustling city of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, actually has a number of amazing hikes that show a completely different side of this destination. What’s great is that the hiking trails vary in their style and difficultly, so you can pick one which suits you. The most popular hike is Dragon's Back Hike which will take 2-3 hours and has views over the area’s rugged coastline.
4. United Kingdom
If you’re an adrenaline junkie and you can’t think of anything better than jumping out of a plane, then consider the UK for your next outdoor adventure trip. There are many drop zones to choose from, but it’s said that the best area for it is the Lake District – not only do you get fantastic views, but it’s the perfect place for beginners too. If you’re looking for something a little calmer in the outdoors, then the UK’s camping options are incredibly varied and offer beautiful settings, from beaches to mountains.
With warm weather all year round, Singapore is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors. Kayaking is a lovely way to explore a new area, with options to kayak with views of the city skyline or around picture-perfect islands with sparkling waters. If dry land is more your thing, then Singapore has a wealth of parks to enjoy – including the world famous ‘Gardens by the Bay’ which includes 50m-high futuristic trees.
6. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has become a trending destination in the last few years, and with such a diverse range of activities and beauty it is no surprise. The country’s large amount of coastline makes it a wonderful place for those looking for water sports, and the year-round swell makes surfing a great option. Playa Tamarindo is a firm favourite and ideal if you’re just starting out your surfing adventure, as it has a number of surf schools.
Want to get that epic, top-of-a-mountain Instagram picture? Switzerland is the place for you. With too many hiking trails to pick from you will be spoilt for choice, but the Mount Rigi Panorama Trail is often touted as having some of the best views in the country – and it’s fairly flat and easy – so it’s a great place to start.
From leisurely hikes to Alpine climbing, there is a huge range of hiking trails in Austria. Whether you prefer a pilgrimage across the world-famous St James trail or a snowier stroll across the Alpine mountains, there are plenty of ways to get those steps in, all while admiring the crystal-clear lakes and traditional old towns from above.
You can’t beat a bird's eye view when exploring a new country, and Germany provides lots of opportunities to view its beautiful landscapes from above. The country has several opportunities to take part in skydiving, as well as a huge range of rock-climbing sites, where you can climb up high and admire the view. The largest and best rock-climbing area in Germany is thought to be located in northern Bavaria (between the cities of Nuremberg, Bamberg and Bayreuth) with over 850 crags spread across this large forest area.
If you enjoy jumping into the nearest mass of water for some water sports, then Ireland may be an ideal choice for your next adventure holiday. Though the temperature of the sea isn’t as warm as some of the other water sport hotspots of the world, you will be treated to views of the glorious Irish coastline whilst taking part in a spot of surfing or kayaking - just be sure to pack a wetsuit!
The surfing, skydiving and hiking hotspots of the world
While some travellers may be up for taking part in all types of activities while on their adventures, some may have a preferred activity or sport of choice, which leads them to explore certain countries over others.
- Best country for hiking - Hong Kong with one hike per 0.8 square miles
- Best country for camping - Australia with 193,027 #campingcountry Instagram hashtags
- Best country for visiting national parks - Singapore with one national park per 0.8 square miles
- Best country for rock climbing - Malta with one rock climbing activity every 3.4 square miles
- Best country for surfing - Mauritius with one surfing activity every 21.9 square miles
- Best country for kayaking - Singapore with one kayaking activity every 6.7 square miles
- Best country for skydiving - France with 130 skydiving sites overall
If you’re an avid hiker, the study revealed that Hong Kong is the place to go, with one hiking route found every 0.8 square miles. Popular hikes like The Peak offer amazing views over the harbour and city, while the Dragon’s Back hike looks over the Southern Island and coastline, ending at Big Wave Bay. Singapore follows as the second best country for hiking, with one hiking route every 1.5 square miles of the country.
Ranking in fifth position overall as one of the best destinations for adventurous activities, it's no surprise that Singapore ranks highly for several of the metrics analysed in the research. As well as ranking as the second best country for hikes, Singapore also ranks as the best country for national parks (with one national park per 0.8 square miles) and the best country for kayaking, with a kayaking activity available every 6.7 square miles of the country.
Australia emerges as the best country to camp in, with almost 200,000 camping lovers sharing snaps online of their adventures in the country. Thailand and the UK followed behind as second and third most popular, each with over 50,000 hashtags for ‘#camping’.
For those who are passionate about rock climbing, sunny Malta is where you should head, with the research revealing that there is one climbing activity available for tourists and locals every 3.4 square miles. With bouldering also on offer on the island, there are plenty of routes to explore, leading you across the coastline and inland valleys, and into caves and ridges. For those based outside of Europe, Puerto Rico and Hong Kong complete the top three best countries to climb in.
Surfing is becoming an ever more popular sport for tourists to try while on their travels, and it was Mauritius that was revealed as the country with the most opportunities to ride the waves in. Whether you’re trying kite-surfing, wind-surfing or more traditional styles of surfing, Mauritius has one surfing activity for every 21.9 square miles of land, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to jump on a board and try some watersports.
And if the activities on land are getting a little boring, why not take to the sky and try a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of skydiving in a new country. France is the best country to do this in, with 130 skydiving sites located throughout the country. Germany and the US follow as the countries with the second and third most skydiving sites, providing beautiful backdrops to take in on the jump down.