Best Adventure Destinations for Outdoor Junkies in 2018
If you are an outdoor junkie, next year will be your chance (or another chance) to travel to the best adventure destinations for 2018! I asked other travel bloggers for their favourite countries that will give you the adrenaline kick, and here we go:
Best adventure destinations for outdoor junkies in 2018 according to travel bloggers
Tropical exploration in Hawaii
If you are just thinking about chilling at the beach in Hawaii, you will miss so much more! The Hawaiian Islands offer a huge variety of outdoor activities: Snorkelling, hiking in lush green valleys or on top of mountains to enjoy the most scenic views, diving to shipwrecks or with manta rays at night, exploring the last active volcano, taking incredible road trips, and of course surfing the famous waves at the North Shore. And this isn’t even everything! If you love mountains and water, this is one of the best adventure destinations in the world!
Explore the great outdoors in Namibia
Campbell & Alya from Stingy Nomads
Namibia is famous for its red sand dunes and wildlife but not many know that there are plenty of adventurous activities that you can do there like hiking, sand boarding, rock climbing and skydiving. To experience any of these activities in Namibia will be something very special!
Who wouldn’t like to slide down Dune 45, the highest dune in the Namib, on a sandboard? Though to climb up especially with a board is quite exhausting. What about hiking through Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world? It’s something really special; amazing sunrises, incredible night sky where nothing even reminds you of the modern world. Or maybe to do a week hike in the Namib-Naukluf mountains and try to spot elusive leopard? Just remember any hike you do in Namibia will be quite tough due to extremely dry and hot climate for this very reason Namibian hiking trails are opened only in winter. For more adventurous why not to try skydiving over the Namib Desert? Amazing photos, adrenaline and stunning scenery are guaranteed! Prefer rock climbing or bouldering? You won’t have any problem finding a perfect place for this in Namibia, Spitzkoppe and Brandberg mountain are some of the best spots in the country.
Underwater adventures in the Philippines
Katherine & Hali from Tara Lets Anywhere
The Philippines isn’t just for the idyllic beach-goers, it’s perfect for adventure seekers too. It has tons of underwater activities, some of which include diving for the shipwrecks in Coron and other biodiverse locations such as Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, swimming with whale sharks in Sorsogon and sea turtles in Apo Island, and spotting thresher sharks and doing a sardine run in Cebu. You can also go white water rafting in Camiguin, surfing in Zambales or Siargao, and canyoneering in the waterfalls of Cebu or Samar, the last of which requires jumping from several waterfalls.
As for hiking, there are numerous mountains in the country. Some trails, like the Kibungan cross-country route, take days and fit only for those with strong endurance. Some hikes offer unique views such as rice terraces and/or cultural experiences with the tribes living in the mountains.
There are also a few locations in the Philippines where you can skydive, including Zambales and Cebu.
Lastly, man-made theme parks also offer various adventures. You can skycycle in Eden Nature Park in Davao, wakeboard in Laguna or Camarines Sur or sandboard in the dunes of Ilocos.
Adrenalin-pumping activities in South Africa
James from Worldwide Shopping Guide
When it comes to adventure, few countries can compare to what South Africa has to offer.
A trip to South Africa means a chance to go on safari at Kruger National Park, or one of the many private game reserves across the country. You’ll get a chance to see the famous big five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and cape buffalos) as well as plenty of other creatures like jackals, warthogs, giraffes, and kudu.
A trip to South Africa also means a chance to dive with sharks in Gansbaai, Mossel Bay, and False Bay. If shark diving isn’t scary enough for you, there are also plenty of opportunities to go crocodile diving in South Africa, particularly in Paarl in the Winelands. Or, you could go whale watching in Hermanus – although still adventurous, it’s much better for the nerves!
If nerves are your thing, there are plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities on offer including white water rafting, abseiling down Table Mountain, and jumping from one of the world’s highest bungee jumps. Head to Oudtshoorn and you’ll have the opportunity to take part in plenty of ostrich-related activities, and even a chance to ride an ostrich.
Yes, if you’re looking for adventure in 2018, South Africa is the place to go.
Trekking, hiking & more in Indonesia
Tom from Travel Tom Tom
Most of us know Indonesia as an amazing beach destination, but when I tell you the long list of adventures you can take in this country you are going to be amazed.
First of all it is the country with the most active volcanoes on earth, needless to say that hiking is an incredible thing to do in Indonesia. Ever seen pictures of Mount Bromo on Java or from the Mount Rinjani trekking in Lombok? They will blow your mind!
Being such a divers country with mountains, islands, rainforests and thick jungles watching wildlife is another adventure that can’t be missed.
From the underwater world while scuba diving in Raja Ampat to wading through the tick jungle in search of wild Orangutans in Borneo.If you are going off the beaten track in Sulawesi there are excellent rafting opportunities, but you can also keep it simple and rent a scooter and chase the waterfalls in Ubud. One of my favorite islands and secret travel tip for Indonesia is to explore Nusa Penida on a motorbike and discover its spectacular nature.
Horse trekking in Kyrgyzstan
Daniele & Elena from Cycloscope
Kyrgyzstan is a relatively small landlocked Central Asian country, with 90% of its territory is above 1,000msl and more than 40% standing close to the sky at 3,000msl or more, the highest peaks in the Kakshaal-Too range, next to the Chinese border, are above 7,000msl.
With these assumptions it’s easy to guess what the best attractions are… mountains right?
Well, yes but not just that. Kyrgyzstan is also home to the Issyk Kul lake, the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca. Moreover, this former Soviet republic hosts one of the last nomadic cultures, with an outstanding horse breeding tradition.
So what can adventure seekers find in Kyrgyzstan? What about long horse treks across never-ending pastures? Or maybe cycling around the Issyk Kul lake for days and then kayaking down the Naryn river?
Or maybe you fancy more skiing pulled by huge horses near the biggest walnut forest in the world? And what about spending one or more nights sleeping in a Yurt in a nomad camp above 3,000msl?
If that’s not enough, there’s one more venial thing that could definitively drag you to visit this amazing country, flights from almost everywhere in Europe go as low as 100 Euros.
Take a look at our adventures in Kyrgyzstan to be inspired.
Coastal adventures in Mozambique
Cameron from The World Pursuit
Mozambique has to be one of the best countries for adventure seekers. It’s a country notorious for a long-standing political feud that often boils over and results in armed conflict. It is distinctly African with deep influences from the Portuguese. You can expect friendly locals, comical corruption, a splash of colors, spicy food, and a coastal vibe.
Mozambique has 3,700km of coastline and it is stunning. White sand beaches that go on forever with absolutely no one on them. Highlights in the country include Ponto Du Oro, Maputo Special Reserve, Inhambane, Tofo, and Vilankulos. Those destinations offer world-class diving here. Visitors are even given the chance to swim with megafaunas such as humpback whales southern wright and whale sharks. Then you also have the chance to spot the rare dugong or sea cow.
New Zealand – The adrenaline capital
Thomas from The Travelling Tom
New Zealand is known as the adrenaline capital of the world for a reason. No matter where you go in the country, be it the North or the South Island, there is a plethora of activities for you to do!
If New Zealand is the home of adrenaline, Queenstown is its capital. You can do a wide-range of activities here, such as Bungee jumping, white water rafting and skydiving. Plus, you can go skiing during the winter months on the magnificent slopes at the Remarkables.
Rotorua is another destination that has numerous pulsating activities. You can zip down a hill on a luge, tumble down a hill in a zorb, and, again, throw yourself out of a plane if you wish! Plus, if you want an exciting taste of New Zealand culture, you can visit a Maori village!
If you’re looking for something a bit calmer, New Zealand has a lot of hikes that you can do. A particular favourite of mine was the Tongariro Crossing, which takes you across an active volcano with some spectacular views. More lesiurely activities include kayaking, which is possible on most of the lakes across the country.
If you love the outdoors, New Zealand is the place for you. There are so many activities to do, you might not be able to squeeze them all in!
Adventure diversity in Costa Rica
Thais from World Trip Diaries
Costa Rica is one perfect destination for the adrenalin junkies out there! There is just so much to do!
You can surf or body board on the Pacific Coast or SUP, snorkel, dive on the Caribbean Coast. Kayaking is also super common.
There is a lot of opportunities for paragliding, kite surfing, and jet boarding.
With lots of treks, hikes, and regular walks to view wildlife and nature, there is something for every thrill level. You can take a mangrove boat between monkeys and crocodiles.
Whale and dolphin watching is also possible during the season.
You can hike up volcanos and mountains, and the best: zip line in a huge variety of sceneries! You can choose from zip lining through the trees in the forest, over and around volcanos, closer to the beach. In some places, you can try a Tarzan swing, rappel, rock climbing, and rafting.
We visited it with our 4 kids and we had lots of fun!
Adrenaline Overload in Ecuador
Scott & Hayley from International Hotdish
Ecuador is perhaps the most popular and easily accessible South American gateway for travelers around the world looking for experience South American adventure. The affordable prices of food/accommodations/travel and improving infrastructure makes Ecuador an attractive destination for adrenaline seekers.
And when it comes to adventure, you’re only limited by your imagination in Ecuador. The country sits directly on equator, which provides warm, pleasant temperatures year round and ample atmosphere for the rain forest on the east side of the country. And let’s not forget the Andes runs straight through the country.
All of this provides a minimum of three diverse ecological regions in a tiny country. On the coast you can surf, sail, scuba, and snorkel. In the Andes you can hike, rock climb, boulder – ski and snowboard in the winter. And in the jungle you can tangle with jaguars and poison dart frogs, avoid headhunters on the Amazon, and experience tribal life in the rain forest. And on top of that, you can visit the Galapagos Islands for good measure.
All of these adventures are relatively close together, which means you could be doing all four within a few days. Ecuador is a must see for adventure seekers.
Dramatic landscapes in Faroe Islands
from Megan Starr
The Faroe Islands are one of the best adventure spots in Europe, if not the entire world. This rugged and remote chain of islands in the middle of the North Atlantic is home to some of the best views and most dramatic landscapes and it definitely is a spot that should be on any adventurer’s list! I went there during March and shoulder-season travel gave me the opportunity to explore it with ease but the hikes were somewhat difficult due to the extremely wet grounds. Many people love going to the famous illusion lake, but I personally loved Tjørnuvik, a small village on the north of Streymoy that is home to a black sand beach and… surfers! While none were testing out the waves when I was there, this is the most renowned places in the Faroes to surf. I can’t wait to go back and explore the rest of the islands!
Hiking in Meteora, Greece
Elena from Passion For Greece
Meteora tops the list of one of the most breathtaking sites in Greece. The name Meteora means ‘suspended in the air’ and in fact there isn’t a better way to describe this geological phenomenon.
A visit to Meteora is a lifetime experience, whether you are looking for a spiritual rejuvenation, jaw-dropping scenery or simply a great adventure. The highlight of Meteora are the monasteries which are perched on top of the natural sandstone pillars, soaring 400 meters high above sea level. Today, out of the 24 monasteries which used to dot the landscape in the 15th-century only six remain in operation until this day. The crown jewel is the Great Meteoron Monastery which rises over 615 meters above sea level. Adventure lovers can enjoy a memorable hike down the narrow paths which lead into the valleys from the monastery. The area features a number of hiking paths of different difficulty levels. For those who are seeking more adrenaline pumped activities can also do rock climbing which is available for beginners and advanced climbers. Meteora is one of the most impressive rock climbing destinations in the world. Here you are also guaranteed to experience one of the most magical sunsets. A visit to Meteora is definitely a must!
Mountain adventures in Switzerland
by Arzo Travels
While everyone knows that Switzerland is the perfect place for hikers and ski-lovers, there is even tons to do for adventure lovers.
While I definitely cannot recommend base-jumping in Lauterbrunnen, which is quite a popular activity in the region of Jungfrau/Interlaken (causing several deaths each year), there are fun and less dangerous activities to do, like white-water rafting, jet boat riding, ice-climbing and hang-and paragliding.
Paragliding is one of the most popular activities and while you can do that in many places in Switzerland, Appenzellerland e.g. is an ideal place for outdoor lovers, I would probably prefer paragliding in Lucerne, or better at Mount Pilatus.
As I take my dog whenever I travel to Switzerland I cannot do any activity without him – and so I was looking very envious at the paragliders in about 2000 meters height at Mount Pilatus in the region of Lucerne.
On a clear day, the view from Mount Pilatus is just overwhelming – it must be even better when paragliding and overlooking the stunning Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). This is probably a memory you will always cherish.
If you are looking for a great place for outdoor adventures, then Switzerland probably is the perfect choice for you.
Castles & abandoned places in Romania
Faith from Life Out There
Romania is a perfect place to go adventuring- it’s not an obvious choice nor as well-documented as popular tourist destinations which means you’re guaranteed to return with stories to tell.
While the country certainly offers ‘staples’ like hiking, climbing and extreme sports, Romania provides a different kind of adventure; visiting immense abandoned buildings like the casino on Constanta sea front or Fortul Jilava 13- an abandoned ‘prison-within-a-prison’ are experiences you cannot repeat anywhere else.
Go to Transylvania and visit the castles inhabited by Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration behind the fictional Count Dracula)- they’re fascinating and Bran Castle provides the opportunity for bonus fairytale-evoking photographs.
Hoia Baciu forest, ‘Europe’s Bermuda Triangle’ is just outside Cluj Napoca- explore the town and take a picnic to the Rotunda; centre of the alleged paranormal activity…
For a photogenic adrenaline rush, drive the Transfagarasan Highway- 90 kilometres of hairpin bends down a steep mountain face. Open between June and September, Top Gear named it the world’s best driving road.
Finally, Bucharest is fascinating but remarkably ‘un-touristy’, giving you the opportunity to explore on your own terms without being bombarded with leaflets. You can find ruins, hidden shops, street food and architecture or join an ‘alternative tour’ for sights you may not discover on your own.
Desert fun in Morocco
Lavina from Continent Hop
If you thought Morocco was all about shopping in souks and taking pretty pictures, think again!
Not until I had visited Morocco did I realize the amount of adventure you can have here! If you’d like to stay in Marrakech, you can still opt for activities like Quad biking, buggy rides or a Stand-Up paddle tour a little on the outskirts!
If you’d like to move away from Marrakech, you could do all of the above in the Sahara! You could also try sandboarding while you’re there!
Many people don’t know, but you could also take a hot air balloon ride or a helicopter ride over the Atlas mountains and even ski there!
For ones who like water, other than playing in the sea at leisure, there’s rafting, canoeing and jet-ski’s you can ride over the Ourika river. At many places around the country, rock-climbing is popular too.
Soft-adventure lovers need not be disheartened though. The souks are full of beautiful items to shop and once you’re tired you could go to a hammam to relax. However, you could hunt for fossils near the Sahara and also stay in the desert and watch the stars as you fall asleep too. Morocco has adventure and lots of activities to keep visitors busy all year round!
Chile – An adventurer’s paradise
Maya from Travel With The Smile
You can find adventure in any country in the world when you look for it. Chile is not one of those. It’s because the adventure will find you wherever you go.
Chile is a land of contrasts. You can find here a desert in the north, known to be the driest place on earth, and endless glaciers in the south. If you’re not hooked by now, read more amazing things about Chile.
As far as adventurous activities go, the list is very long but these are my favourites:
- Carretera Austral – a scenic road through rural Chile full of lakes, waterfall and glaciers (as you can see on the picture). It is an ideal and budget friendly place for kayaking, rafting, glacier walking and wildlife watching.
- Torres del Paine National Park – famous national park for all hikers and trekkers. The “W” or “O” treks are increasingly popular every year. You can see one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world during the “W” trek (which is suitable for beginners) or do daily hiking trips.
- Puerto Williams, Navarino Island – the southernmost city in the world (yes, Ushuaia is not the one anymore). Unlike overcrowded Ushuaia with astronomical prices, Puerto Williams truly feels like the end of the world. A ferry ride to the island is full of glaciers and ocean wildlife and you can hike on the island and see Argentina just across the Beagle Channel.
Whatever you choose, Chile is amazing and worth spending all your vacation days on.
Jordan – Beyond Petra
Ketki from Dotted Globe
As I found out during my visit, Jordan is among most underrated destinations for adventure travel. There are several epic ways to experience the country and Petra, among the World’s 7 wonders, is great to start off your Jordan adventure itinerary. As a hiker, I loved exploring Petra and its many trails. The Monastery Trail, with its over 850 steps and excellent views, is must for all adventure seekers.
The next stop on your list should be Wadi Rum. I had the time of my life while dune-bashing the red sand dunes of Wadi Rum in a 4WD and desert camping under the stars in Wadi Rum. The desert landscape with its mountains and rock arches is great for rock-climbing enthusiasts. Wadi Rum also offers ATV tours, skydiving and for a different kind of adventure – camel rides.
Next on our visit was Aqaba. In Aqaba we stayed at a diving hostel and enjoyed snorkeling in the Red Sea. The dive sites off Gulf of Aqaba are spectacular. Nearby Wadi Mujib and Dana Biosphere Reserve offers canyoning and biking trails.
Your last adventure in Jordan should be floating in the Dead Sea. Floating in the highly saline water of the Dead Sea and enjoying a relaxing Dead Sea mud bath is a unique experience.
Kite surfing & more in Colombia
Iris from Mind Of A Hitchhiker
Telling your parents you want to travel to Colombia is already an adventure in itself, but there is more to the country than its bad reputation. You can do something nice like taking Spanish classes in Medellín or dancing salsa in Cali, but if you want more action, you’ve come to the right country as well.
Hitchhike around the country to make new friends and learn Spanish real quick. Hike the multi-day trek to the Lost City near Santa Marta, or camp in the nearby Tayrona national park. Ride a horse through the Cocora valley. Learn how to kitesurf on the freshwater lake Calima, or in the salty waters of Cabo de la Vela. Kayak from island to island on lake Guatapé, or around Crab Caye near Providencia island. The San Andrés archipelago is a popular spot for scuba diving, snorkeling, and hiking. Sick of the heat? Climb one of the many 5000+ meters high mountains in the Colombian Andes. Sick of the cold? Head to Leticia in the Amazon rainforest. Cheat the system and get a motorbike license in three weeks in Medellín.
And if anything goes wrong, remember that Colombia is also a popular destination for medical tourism.
Exploring ice & fire in Iceland
By Where’s Nuria
Visiting Iceland should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list! And not only because of the Northern Lights, although is reason enough to just go. I’m talking about those outdoor landscapes! Whether you stay close Reykjavik and explore the Golden Circle along with taking a relaxing dip at the Blue Lagoon, or venture further to places like the South Coast, the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon or the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, you won’t be disappointed. So it feels like there’s something gorgeous and amazing hidden around every twist on the road…overwhelming waterfalls, valleys, natural hot springs…, there’s no shortage of natural beauty.
Likewise, you need to know that Iceland has the prettiest yet friendlier horses of the world, so why not to hop on a horse and explore Iceland’s backyard. Such a cool experience!! And talking about cool experiences, there’s nothing more cool and cold than snorkeling (or diving!) between two continents at Silfra. And if you still feel adventurous, a trip into an ice-cave is a must, as well as hiking or go snowmobiling on a glacier!
Plus, you can always go on the hunt for the most incredible laser show on the sky ever, the Northern Lights, always as long as it is between October and April 😉
Endless adventures waiting in the land of ice and fire.
Vast variety of outdoor adventures in Slovenia
Melissa from Suitcase and Heels
Slovenia, especially around the Triglav National Park area, is an adventure seeker’s dream. Not only is the country beautiful and affordable, there are enough outdoor activities to keep you busy for weeks. Whether you like your adventure in the air, on the ground, or in the water, there’s something for you in Slovenia.
You can go paragliding for incredible views and a thrilling experience. The art of canyoning, following the flow of water through a canyon top to bottom, is also popular here. You may find yourself jumping over waterfalls, sliding down natural water slides, abseiling, and more. Can’t get enough of the water? Tackle the Soca River rapids on a rafting trip. Feel like riding in a hot air balloon or jumping out of a plane? Yep, you can do that in Slovenia.
If you like your adventure slightly tamer, you could try ballooning, kayaking or horseback riding. There are plenty of hiking trails and swimming holes to keep you busy and fit. At the end of it all, hike to the top of Bled Castle and indulge in a piece of Bled cream cake. You earned it.