Humans are supposedly pre-programmed with an instinct for self-preservation, aren’t they? Well, apparently some of us are seriously lacking in that department. Whether it’s tombstoning or white water rafting that floats your death-wish boat, get on board with the best extreme sports holidays in Europe and let the fear factor commence.
BASE Jumping in Norway
The acronymic BASE jumping is more extreme than you might expect, but the rules are simple. Participants must jump from the platforms of buildings, antenna, span, or earth with nothing but a parachute to break their fall.
Norway’s Lysefjord is some thing of a mecca for this daredevil sport, where avid jumpers come to take advantage of some of the most dramatic drops and spectacular scenery in the world.
Ice Swimming in Finland
You might be tempted to believe that the inventors of this lunatic sport are having you on, but the institute of the International Ice Swimming Association would suggest not.
Officially designated to be a one mile paddle in water temperatures below -5 °. Finland has an abundance of ice-cold water, and even specialised ‘polar bear’ clubs to accommodate novices.
Caving in Budapest, Hungary
If there’s even the slightest chance you might be claustrophobic, do not enter here. The underground sport known as caving or potholing is enough to shake the strongest of constitutions.
Traumatic at the best of times, caving in Budapest is a particularly hair-raising experience as you negotiate the deep labyrinth of limestone caves that have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But don’t get ahead of yourself – these caves are pretty exclusive, and all but two of them can only be visited with previous caving experience.
Zorbing in England
Like a hamster in a ball or a sweater in a tumble dryer – whichever way you look at it, zorbing is impossible, hectic fun. This bizarre Kiwi invention is at its best when tried at Dorset’s Zorb South UK Ltd, which offers some of the best zorbing experiences in Europe.
Bundle yourself up inside one of their vast transparent bubbles and you’re off, snowballing down the hill.
Ice Climbing in Scotland
Does hacking through walls of ice and scaling sheer, frozen cliffs appeal? If so, then ice climbing may be the sport for you.
Popular in the wilderness of Colorado and Canada, this daredevil sport can also be attempted on the slopes of Glencoe, where various aficionados climb with the help of ice axes and other specialist equipment. Extreme doesn’t even begin to cover it.
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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.