Activity holidays across Europe are to be relished when we’re travelling with our younger or more energised travelling companions.
If you plan to take your grandchildren on holiday, or want your next escape to be action packed – a visit to a warm, sunny destination in Europe should keep everyone entertained.
Here’s a selection of some of the best activity holidays in Europe for you to pick and begin your next adventure…
Where are the top places for activity holidays in Europe?
Activity holidays in France can be found in Dordogne. Dordogne is situated in the southwest of France and is surrounded by green, lush landscapes and hillsides full of history. There are many hotels you can stay in for an activity holiday because they’re often close by to cycling and walking routes. During your stay, walk through chestnut forests or cycle through medieval villages. Then relax in a swimming pool and admire the panoramic views.
Also, you can book canoe lessons, which will give you the confidence to canoe down the Dordogne’s dramatic river valleys. For instance, you can canoe from Domme and finish in Beynac-et-Cazenac – two of the most beautiful places in France. To canoe through a majestic, mountain range head south and start in the Pyrenees to follow a section of the Aude River. The Aude is 130 miles long and flows out to the Mediterranean Sea.
Another place with spectacular views of mountains, lakes and a choice of walking routes is Austria…
2: Austria activity holidays on the lakes
Although Austria is a well-known ski holiday destination, you can book an activity holiday in Austria in the warmer months too. In summer, book into a lakeside hotel to learn a water sport on a lake. There are 300 lakes to dive and bath in across Austria. One of the most beautiful is Lake Zell within the town of Zell am See. Here, you can book a three-five day course to master a water sport, such as stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), windsurfing, or sailing.
To spend time admiring Alpine panoramas and mountains book a boat tour on board the MS Schmitten. On the sundeck of the boat, you’ll see the Zell local mountain – the Schmittenhöhe – and the Zell am See peninsula.
Another place, where you can find a range of water sports on an activity holiday is Portugal…
3: Portugal activity holidays
In northwest Portugal, you can find many water sports to try during an activity holiday. One of the best water sports to experience in Portugal is surfing. With 1,115 miles of coastline, it’s not hard to understand why Portugal is one of the best places in the world for surfing. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to learn how to surf. Plus, Porto and Matosinhos share an urban beach, which offers 300 days of surfing per year. To find magnificent surf spots, surrounded by cliffs and breath taking landscapes stay on the southwest coast.
If you’re not looking for an activity holiday with water sports, visit Portugal’s Azores archipelago…
4: The Azores
You can find the Azores on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Although they’re a small group of nine volcanic islands, there is a lot to see and do. The biggest is São Miguel. A stay here will give you the opportunity to visit different activity playgrounds. For instance, you can go hiking, mountain biking, or fishing, during an Azores activity holiday.
While you’re there, take time to admire the island’s natural parks, which are bursting with fauna and unique craters. Also, take a dip in one of Sao Miguel’s famous geothermal swimming pools. One of the best is the Parque Terra Nostra, found within a 200-year-old Botanical Garden. This hot spring is full of minerals and beneficial substances, which will help your body relax after a long walk or cycle.
To explore another archipelago of great, green islands, travel to Croatia’s Elaphiti Islands.
5: Croatia’s Elaphiti Islands
Croatia family adventure holidays can be enjoyed on the Elaphiti Islands. Each island is separated by deep, blue waters, covered in pine-dominated forests, and surrounded by sandy beaches, hidden coves, reefs, pines, and palms. You can choose to explore them on foot, by bike, or sail around them by kayak.
There are 14 islands altogether but only three are inhabited – Koloče, Lopud, and Šipan. Plus, if you’ve thought about an island-hopping holiday, the Elahiti Islands are a good place to start. Plan your Croatian adventure to include hopping on/off short ferry transfers to visit each island or hire a boat for more freedom.
To start, sail from the old town of Dubrovnik, in southern Croatia to Šipan. Then spend time snorkeling within Šipan’s hidden bays or cycling, while staying in a friendly guesthouse. Next, ride across the waves to car-free Lopud, for a hike with hilltop views, within the Đorđić-Mayneri family park.
The Đorđić-Mayneri is a warm, gorgeous garden full of citrus and orange trees, olives, and high palm trees. Next, take a trip to Koloče, for a swim within an isolated swimming spot. For more fun hire a jet ski to speed across the water in the sunshine. Whichever island you visit, you’ll find that there’s a mix of water and land-based activities to choose from.
To book an adventure holiday in one of Europe’s sunniest places, fly to an archipelago within the Mediterranean Sea – Malta.
6: Magical Malta and Gozo
If you’re looking for a family activity holiday in Malta, stay in the St Julian area, which is a popular holiday location on the coast. During your holiday, go scuba diving to catch a glimpse of shipwrecks at the Divewise Centre and learn about stories from the deep. Or have a refreshing day at one of Malta’s thrilling waterparks, hurling down the flumes with your favourite inflatables.
You can also find man-made lidos around Malta’s coves and bays. As Malta’s crystal clear waters are some of the best in the world, it’s the perfect place to kayak. Also, you can book offshore tours, from Malta’s sister island – Gozo. Kayak or canoe 20 minutes from Gozo to Comino Island and explore caves and rock formations on the route. When you reach Comino Island relax on the beach, before going for a dip within its Blue Lagoon.
Another way to admire the crystal clear waters is to book a private boat trip. Find one which will take you from Malta to Gozo and stop at each lagoon around Comino Island – or plan your own itinerary with the captain. Then relax during Gozo’s “Golden Hour” at dinner.
Across the water from Gozo and Malta is Greece…
7: Activity holidays in Greece
Greece encompasses over 200 islands. One of the best for a family activity holiday is Rhoads. To create an action-packed activity holiday, book into a resort. Full of state-of-the-art facilities, you’ll not be far from having some fun. Join a fitness class to start the day, such as yoga or aqua aerobics. Then move closer to the water’s edge, to learn how to sail or windsurf. When the sun moves round and the weather cools, have a game of tennis with a coach who’ll help you improve your swing. At the end of the day, tuck into traditional Greek cuisine with a sea view. To enjoy the best sea views in Greece craft your own Greek Island hopping holiday and add as many activities as you please.
Free Spirit Travel Insurance for Adventure and activity holidays