10 Adrenaline-Charged Adventure Travel Destinations

By: Anna Fleet
The strenuous yet highly rewarding hike to Roy's Peak in Wanaka. The hike is difficult but the views are spectacular. A woman walks down the trail. Getty Images / Matthew Micah Wright

How long did it take for you to go stir crazy on that last all-inclusive trip you took to the Caribbean?

No one says your next vacation needs to be devoted to lying in the sun and umbrella drinks. In fact, let mountain trekking, heart-stopping water sports, nature safaris, thundering waterfalls, and dense forests be your guide.

We’ve got ten adrenaline-charged travel destinations around the world in mind for your innermost thrill seeker…


1. Chile

Getty Images / Pawel Toczynski

Did you know that this little-visited, South American country offers almost 3000-miles of vast, natural, outdoor adventure? That’s right, adventures in Chile are all about getting lost in the landscape of gems—such as trudging, starry-eyed through the High Atacama Desert to wandering the mountains and lakes of Patagonia. Chile is also prime for eco-minded travelers, and if you want to find yourself off the grid, there are no places like the far-flung Easter Island (the most uninhabited place on earth) and its massive stone head statues.

2. Canada

advanced female skier enjoying powder run.
Getty Images / VisualCommunications

As far as wanderlust goes, Canada’s “home and native land” offers up a bounty of sweat-inducing adventures. Whether your pulse quickens at the thought of North America’s top-rated ski resort, Whistler-Blackcomb, and it’s vertical drop of 1609 meters—or perhaps your eyes bulge at the thought of rafting the Shubenacadie tidal bore on the Bay of Fundy, where the world’s highest tides rise up to 15 meters daily (a full day of rafting, plus a BBQ meal is about $90 per person). Either way, you won’t be disappointed with the bounty of customizable travel options available at the Canadian Tourism Commission.

3. The Czech Republic

Taken in the Chalupska peat-bog, Sumava National Park, Czech Republic, September 2013
Getty Images / (c) 2015 Charley Yelen Photography

If you’re looking to get lost in a literal “land before time” than Sumava National Park in the Czech Republic awaits. This dark, craggy landscape welcomes adventure seekers with its expanse of rock-strewn mountains, thick golden fields, and darkly dense forests. It leaves little wonder as to why this environment was dubbed the ‘Green Roof of Europe’.

4. Iceland

Photograph taken at an altitude of One hundred and forty six metres on a winters morning in November, off Þingvallavegur 36 in the Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO world heritage site on the Icelandic mainland. It is situated East of Rekjavik in the municipality of Bláskógabyggð in southwestern Iceland and is known historically for the Alþing (Althing), the site of Iceland's parliament from the 10th to 18th centuries. The park sits in a Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. To its south lies Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.[
Getty Images / DESPITE STRAIGHT LINES (Paul Williams 2018)

Iceland beckons the adventure traveler, offering up a memorable bounty of active volcanoes, steaming geysers, crystal-clear glaciers, thundering waterfalls, deep fjords, and of course, the awe-inspiring northern lights (from January to March). Set up your home base in the city of Rekjavik, or trek outwards and set up camp amidst the wild Icelandic terrain. For travel options, visit Iceland’s official tourism website.


5. New Zealand

The strenuous yet highly rewarding hike to Roy's Peak in Wanaka. The hike is difficult but the views are spectacular. A woman walks down the trail.
Getty Images / Matthew Micah Wright

Do like the adventurous band of brave wanderers in Lord of the Rings and get lost in the breathtaking landscape of New Zealand (aka middle earth). Here the dense forests, cascading glaciers, intimidating volcanoes, placid lakes, and vast mountain ranges makeup New Zealand’s geographic beauty and make it a popular tourist location for thrilling adventure sports—like bungy jumping, sky diving, mountain climbing, and cave exploration.

6. Slovenia

Port Arthur, Australia.
Getty Images / Jim

The beautiful thing about the Former Yugoslavia is the fact that it stretches languidly over 2 million miles—between the Mediterranean views of Italy to the soaring Alps of Croatia. However, don’t let appearances fool you. This land is a bounty for adventure travelers lusting for hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, cave expeditions (the country itself sits atop approximately 8,000 caves), and of course, water sports. Discover Prosojna Cave, the most visited cave in Europe, which spans 20-kilometers.

7. Bulgaria

Winter andscape from Pirin mountain national park, UNESCO world heritage site, Europe, Bulgaria.
Getty Images / © 2010 Maya Karkalicheva

Regardless of if you visit in winter for skiing or in summer for Black Sea water sports, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of Bulgaria’s stunning mountainous terrain. In particular, Bansko, the pristine town and ski resort, situated at the base of the Pirin Mountains, is a prime spot for hiking and biking. No joke, the little known country bordering Greece and Macedonia, hosts its annual endurance, mountain bike race across the rocky 1,200-kilometer landscape, called the Bansko MTB Rally 2013!

8. South Africa

Wild African elephant from Kruger National Park, South Africa
Getty Images / Brit Finucci

For a family adventure that’s seriously unique yet fun for the entire family, look to South Africa. Sure, the cage diving with sharks, cable gorge swings, and white water rafting will most definitely scare the crap out of your kids (and you as well); after, you can go on a safari to Kruger National Park where you’ll spot lions, elephants, zebras, and giraffes—oh my—over two million vast hectares of preserved nature. For safari packages and lodging visit the official Kruger National Park website.

9. Ethiopia

Morning atmosphere in Bahir Dar (Bahar Dar), a city in north western Ethiopia and the capital of the Amhara Region. It enjoys a privileged location on the shores of Lake Tana. December 2008
Getty Images / Pascal Boegli

Unlike the classic safari experience that South Africa offers, Ethiopia offers an experience for those serious about really venturing off the beating track. The country’s Simien Mountains boast the medieval fortress of Gondar, a route to Lake Tana (aka the Blue Nile) where you’ll climb along with rock-scaling baboons, and the holy city of Lalibela, where breathtaking carved rock churches await your adoration.


10. Israel

Traveling in the Jordan country stopping to float in the Dead Sea with amazing sea colors.
Artur Debat / Getty Images

Often associated with a place for peaceful pilgrimage, adventure travelers have been flooding to Israel to pay tribute to the vast hiking in Masada and the Galilee, the thrilling water sports on the beaches of Tel Aviv, and a little well earned rest and relaxation at the end of the journey—a gratifying saltwater float in the Dead Sea. For travel packages, guided tours, and accommodations, visit Israel’s official tourism site.