On your next vacation, do you want to try something new, unique, novel? Many of us conceptualize vacations as a time of languorous relaxation, bathing in ample quantities of lustrous sunshine on a white sandy beach; melodic waves whispering in our ears; birds chirping happily, singing a mellifluous tune offering a sweet sojourn into serenity.
Perhaps, however, you’re seeking something more thrilling, something less quotidian. You desire a taste for something singular, a travel experience dissimilar from what you would typically encounter. For those of boisterous and intrepid resolve, here are 10 adventures, exclusive to Europe, that you can traverse on your next great journey.
1. An Island A Day, Keeps The Doctor Away
Lough Corrib, Ireland
The British Isles, though blanketed by harsh winters, are nevertheless an exuberant exhibition of green in the Spring and Summer. None are more numinous than the “Emerald Isle,” Ireland, Land of the Leprechauns.
Like it’s neighbor, Scotland, Ireland boasts myriad lochs, or lakes, to survey in somnolent bliss. One loch, Lough Corrib, features 1, 327 isolated islands. It is not inconceivable, therefore, if you possess an ample amount of spare time, to hearken to a different island, each day, every day of the year. Rent a boat and peacefully drift along the coast, softly explore untrodden trails, or fish at the lakeside in Lough Corrib, a hidden gem in the grassy knolls of Ireland.
2. Crooked Is As Crooked Does
Nowe Czarnowo, Poland
Concealed in the depths of Poland is a curious geological treasure. Much of central Europe consists of expansive forests, a reality that can be viewed in the tapestries of its mythology. In Poland, however, there exists a small forest consisting of almost exclusively curdled trees. A 90 degree bend is present in the trunks of the forestry, before the tree dramatically sprouts upward in dizzying verticality. They almost look as if they are upturned scythes.
If you’re an arborist, a staunch connoisseur of trees, or lay ecologist or geologist, it’s a fascinating site to behold. Develop your own theories on how this tangle of wood and leaf emerged.
3. Live As The Sandman Do
Oss, The Netherlands
Haphazardly constructed in Oss, The Netherlands, you can live for a night or two in an authentic sandcastle. It sounds dubious, a mere childhood fantasy, but it’s actually a completely legitimate operation.
Derived from the example of ice castles in the Scandinavian region, the sand-castle of Oss includes turrets, a drawbridge, and is temporally built – It accommodates visitors only during the summer.
Hearken to your infantile whims, gaze upon sand-sculpted dinosaurs, medieval castles and robots. And, despite your natural assumption that sand will seep into every possible crevice of your belongings, fear not! Your room includes carpet-lined flooring and a luxurious bed for your perusal. For only $150.00 euros a night, you can trespass upon an adventure you will not forget.
4. Sing-Songing With The Welsh
Rhondda Valley, Wales, UK
The Welsh, alas, are yet another people that fell victim to the imperialist ventures of the bellicose English. As a consequence, theirs is a rich history nonetheless dotted with suppression and resistance. One casualty of the English conquest was the near eradication of the Welsh language. The victims of colonialism seldom retain the culture that was bequeathed to them by their forebears.
Still, the Welsh tongue was preserved in song. Manifest through the vocals of all-male Welsh choirs off-duty from the coal mine, there are an abundance of Welsh choirs located throughout the Rhondda Valley. Listen intently to the Welsh melody, which is said to be especially uplifting, thick with enunciation of purer vowels.
5. A Cyclical Century
The Dutch Coastal Route, The Netherlands
The Dutch have a natural proclivity toward cycling. Living in “The Lowlands,” a notoriously flat environment, Holland offers convenient access to innumerable trailheads that require little expertise in the sport to traverse. Outside of towns, interurban trails connect towns and villages as part of the Dutch National Cycle Network.
These “LF” routes crisscross the country. You could conceivably, therefore, view much of the Dutch countryside on the seat of your bike, spectating the Lowlands innocuously during a breezy summer day. Two trails, the LF1 and LF10, collectively comprise the “Dutch Coastal Route.” If you are feeling overzealous with the whimsies of adventure, one can cycle up to 100 kilometers along this route, jauntily mesmerized by the Dutch seaside.
6. Glassmakers of Bohemia
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
When people think of the Czech Republic, they most likely associate the humble country with its capital, Prague – “The Golden City,” or the “City of 100 Towers.” Prague is a luminous gem, a theater of lights and Baroque architecture reminiscent of the Hapsburg dynasty. Outside of Prague, however, is a rural country of little notoriety.
That should not suggest, however, that the cultural delights of Prague did not eventually disseminate into its more plebian surroundings. Approximately two hours outside of Prague, in the small village of Karlovy Vary, lie the progeny of esteemed glassmakers. Moser, located in the aforementioned town, is a glass manufacturer world renowned for its quality and craft. Here, you can learn firsthand the art of glassblowing, where artisans place molten glass into a wooden mold, blowing it through a spinning mouth pipe, until the glass coats the interior of the mold to take on its shape.
If you’re in Central Europe, it’s worth a trip for your edification. Not only will you learn how to craft glass, you’ll enjoy the frivolous delight and innate charms of the Czech countryside.
7. Fly Like An Eagle
La Tyrolienne, France
You’re in France, but perhaps the cultural grandeur of Paris isn’t completely satisfying your appetite. As tourists, we often forget that France is also home to a score of natural wonders, namely the French Alps, located in the south of France. Cradled in the mountains of La Tyrolienne is the highest zipline in the world, at an altitude of 10,600 feet.
If you’re unfamiliar with ziplining, it essentially consists of strapping oneself into a protective seat dangling along a horizontal steel cable. The zipline in La Tyrolienne takes skiers from a mountain peak, hurdling headlong into a valley furnished in frost. It’s approximately one minute and forty three seconds of adrenaline-fueled fun. Soar as an eagle in La Tyrolienne.
8. Budapest The Bathhouse
Budapest is one of Europe’s most eclectic cities. Historically speaking, it actually consists of two polities: Buda and Pest, two cities sitting on either side of the Danube. One side of the river is a hominem to Europe’s medieval past, featuring archaic and intricately designed castles. The other side of the river, Buda, features transcendent Roman architecture, reminiscent of the classical designs of Rome, the “Eternal City.”
A fittingly cosmopolitan center, Budapest is also the home to many cultural peculiarities. Known as the “City of Baths,” Budapest includes a veritable diaspora of public bathhouses, an extension of its Roman heritage. Curiously enough, the Hungarians have developed a liking to conjoin two entirely separate activities: bathing and chess. While relaxing in the simmering waters, it is not uncommon for the locals to grind the gears of their cognition by engaging in a competitive game of chess. A favorite in Budapest is the Szechenyi Bath, where rousing contests of chess are played amidst swim trunks and splash.
9. Suisse Free-Falling
It is quite astonishing, but BASE jumping is actually legal in some parts of the world. BASE jumping, for those unfamiliar with the term, is an acronym that stands for four categories from which one can propel oneself: buildings, antennae, spans, and earth.
In Eiger, Switzerland, it is possible, but perhaps not judicious for those of timorous heart, to hike to the peak of Mount Eiger, 9,000 feet high, and leap forthwith to the ground in a BASE jump with only a meek parachute deterring a complete free-fall.
Barrell heedlessly into the sky, observing the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley as you descend. Just be your parachute is open, your nerves readied, in order to properly enjoy the view. It may be the last thing you see.
10. Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
Plitvicka Jezera, Croatia
Croatia is not commonly regarded as a hotspot for tourists in Europe, though it is becoming more popular. Ever since the Bosnian War, the Balkan region has been improperly perceived as a a tenuous, tumultuous, and volatile place. That notion should be discarded. Croatia is as safe as any other comparable country in Europe and is also one of its most physically beautiful.
In Plitvicka Jezera, for instance, there exists sixteen independent lakes nevertheless connected by hundreds of smaller streams and waterfalls. Hear the cascading waters roll as thunder, view the shimmering waters green with limestone, and wander to your heart’s content in a haven of beauty.