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European Adventure Index: The best adventure destinations in Europe revealed

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France is the top adventure location in Europe, with 687 different bookable locations covering 13 activities from canyoning and ice-climbing to mountain biking. 

With booking adventure sports on the rise, Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service, has analysed the top European destinations for adventure activity - with France topping the list. 

The study gathered data from Manawa.com on over 2,000 adventure activities that can be done across 30 different European countries to reveal what kind of activities are available and where is the best place to go. 

Best places for adventure in the UK, revealed 

Rank

Country 

Total Number of Activities 

1

France

687

2

Spain

261

3

Italy

189

4

Portugal

130

5

Austria

121

6

Greece

93

7

Croatia

80

8

UK

65

9

Norway

60

10

Switzerland

60

11

Slovenia

54

12

Germany

33

13

Iceland

28

14

Balearic Islands

25

15

Sweden

25

16

Ireland

22

17

Crete

21

18

Finland

17

19

Corsica

15

20

Bosnia and Herzegovina

12

Source: Uswitch.com

With 687 bookable locations across 13 different activities including canyoning, ice-climbing, mountain biking and more, France topped the list as the destination for adventure sports. 

France was revealed to be the best destination for canyoning in particular with nearly a third (29%) of all adventure activities involving the sport[2]. This is largely due to France’s vast mountain ranges and breathtaking natural spaces - including the Alps and the Pyrenees - that make it perfect for adventure sports.

Spain scored second on the list with 261 bookable locations for adventure sports, while Italy took third place with 189 adventure sports. Both locations also had canyoning as their most popular activity in the country. 

The study, which also analysed the best locations in the UK for adventure sports, found that Edinburgh was the best place for wild adventure sports, with over one in five (22%) activities based in and around the Scottish city.

Best places for adventure in the UK, revealed 

Rank

Location

Total No. Activities

1

Edinburgh

13

2

Fort William

7

3

Newquay

4

4

Highland Perthshire

4

5

Brecon Beacons National Park

4

6

Denbighshire

4

7

Gwynedd

4

8

Conwy

3

9

Pembrokeshire

3

10

Bude

2

11

Bedford

1

12

Gloucestershire

1

13

Hull

1

14

Norwich

1

15

Perranporth

1

16

Shropshire

1

17

Derry

1

18

Portrush

1

19

Achnagairn

1

20

Porthcawl

1

Source: Uswitch.com

Also in Scotland Fort William, popular for canyoning and kayaking, thanks to its stunning cliff tops and open water spaces[3], came second. In fact, 34% of all activities in the UK are found in the top two locations, and over two fifths (43%) of bookable activities are in Scotland.

Cornwall has been a recent hotspot for holiday goers and was even voted top staycation destination in 2020, so it’s no surprise to see surfing hotbeds Newquay, Bude, and Perranporth feature in the top 20 locations.

Despite a large number of beaches in Wales ideal for adventure activities, Porthcawl which ranked at the bottom of the list has only one bookable destination available on Manawa.com for surfing.

Adventure sports aren’t always available outside thanks to unpredictable UK weather conditions, therefore Uswitch has analysed what other indoor venues the UK had to offer. 

Neighbouring the Peak District, Manchester has many indoor adventure activities available including the Chill Factor(e) indoor ski slope and a skydiving experience iFly. The Chill Factor(e) has a number of activities that you can choose from inside the venue itself including skiing, snowboarding and the luge.

But that’s not all the northern city has to offer. Manchester is set to get two new adventure sites for mountain biking and surfing over the next few years that will add to its reign as one of the best cities for indoor adventure sports.

The Welsh capital, Cardiff, also had four bookable indoor adventure sports, including white water rafting, paddle boarding and skiing.

Catherine Hiley, broadband expert at Uswitch.com says: “Booking adventure sports has become increasingly popular over the last year as people have grown desperate for some post-lockdown excitement. 

“But there are a few things to remember when you are booking that all-important trip away. To make sure that you stay safe online when travelling to an adventure weekend in Europe or the UK, be mindful of scams that might seem too good to be true. 

“When you’re booking online or through an app for something as exciting as outdoor or adventure sports, it can be easy to get swept up in ‘unmissable’ offers or potentially accept the terms and conditions of a trip without actually reading them. This can land you in trouble. 

“Always choose a secure method of payment such as your debit or credit card, which has encryption and fraud monitoring and check to see how many negative reviews a site has before securing your trip away. 

“So if you’re an adventure sports fan, our index will help you pick the right destination for your desired sport while also offering some useful tips on how to book your trip safely.”

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