Europeans and Americans disagree on many issues, but one thing that we definitely have in common is our love for adventure. On both sides of the Atlantic, many of us plan our vacations around activities designed to thrill us and liven up our otherwise mundane work and home-life.
From skiing and whitewater rafting to hiking and cycling, the possibilities are endless, and for many of us, they beat the prospect of another vacation spent lounging on the beach hands-down.
With the debate over which of Europe and the United States has the best adventure travel destinations is set to rumble on, we thought that we would try to bring people together on the issue. Read on for a brief summary of some of the most popular adventure travel destinations on each side of the pond.
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Boulder is often known as the Gateway to the Rockies. Due to its proximity to the fantastic adventure activity possibilities of the mountains, the pretty college town is now a Mecca for all sorts of lovers of the outdoors looking to use it as a base for activities. The town is a fun place to spend a couple of days before you head off on an exhilarating trip into the wilderness.
There are few places that inspire awe in the same way as Yosemite. As you stand in the verdant meadows of the national park, it soon becomes clear why the region has become such a hotspot for mountain climbing. Yosemite’s towering cliff faces will soon have you feeling a sense of vertigo.
If climbing is not for you, take a look at hiking at least some part of the majestic John Muir trail that runs for many miles through some of the most incredible terrain you are likely to find anywhere.
Juneau is not to be missed for those who are seeking an adventure in Alaska. Known by some as America’s Last Frontier, the harbor town is a major jumping-off point for people looking to get to Glacier Bay National Park and Admiralty Island National Monument. That said, there are plenty of natural wonders to enjoy nearer to Juneau, such as Mendenhall Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord.
If you are an EU citizen who would like to visit any of the destinations mentioned above, make sure that you apply for the ESTA visa waiver scheme before you travel. This is the best way to gain entrance on arrival and makes you eligible for a 90-day stay.
Santiago de Compostela, France/Spain
Not for the faint-hearted, the Camino de Santiago isthe name given to a series of trails that lead from southern France and southern and eastern Spain which terminate in the small Galician city of Santiago de Compostela. For hundreds of years, these paths have played host to the most important Catholic pilgrimage in Western Europe. Today, the walk is attempted by tens of thousands of people a year, crossing through some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes.
The Alps, France/Switzerland/Austria
For anyone who is into winter sports, the ski resorts in the Alps are some of the best that you will find anywhere. Littered throughout the mountains are scores of resorts which have runs suitable for every ability, from beginner to expert. The atmosphere can be quite a party at many of the places, so make sure you choose one that fits with your idea of a relaxing time!
Norway plays host to some of the most spectacular coastal scenery that you will find anywhere in the world. Made up of a complex network of saltwater inlets that have been eroded into the depressions in the mountainous coastline, the fjords are enough to leave an indelible mark on even the most well-traveled individual as they hike from place to place.
Coming to Europe as a U.S. citizen? Be aware that tourist visas are soon to be issued via the new ETIAS visa waiver scheme that comes into effect from the start of 2021. If you are unsure how it works, take a look at this useful ETIAS guide for more info.
Both the United States and Europe have an incredible wealth of adventure travel destinations – far more than can be covered in a short article like this. Nonetheless, we feel like the six places mentioned here should be near the top of any intrepid traveler’s list on a trip across the Atlantic.