Woman swimming
Woman swimming


The best outdoor adventures near you

Take inspiration from this year’s summer of European sport with these thrilling open-air activities.

Dublin, Ireland: For alternative explorers

Less white-water and more sightseeing, but good fun nonetheless – discover a new angle on the city tour with a kayak trip along Dublin’s Grand Canal. Setting off from Portobello, just south of the city centre, Extreme Time Off uns two-hour trips that’ll see you steer under seven bridges as you traverse the 5.5 km course, giving you the chance to enjoy the sights of the canal and bank a decent workout while you’re at it.

The company also offers the chance to hire a kayak for the day (or longer!) so proficient kayakers can explore under their own steam – why not see how far your arms will take you along the city’s 131 kilometres of water?

Don’t forget to visit Kildare Village, just an hour from Dublin, to get kitted out with activewear ready for your outdoor adventure.

Paris, France: For city sightseers

A city in the spotlight for this year’s sporting agenda, follow in the tracks of the greats as you embark on a 10.5 km cycle through Paris. Starting just south of the Eiffel Tower, Fat Tire Tours will guide you towards the Louvre, passing through historical landmarks and sporting venues – hearing the roar of the crowds along the way – before looping back to the south of the river.

Taking approximately 3.5 hours to complete, your tour will be enriched with an insider’s take on the city. Uncover the locals’ best-kept secrets, including a first-rate café in the lush Tuileries Gardens at which you’ll pause for refreshments along the way.

Discover a host of sporty brands to enhance your performance at La Vallée Village, within 50 minutes of Paris.

Emilia-Romagna, Italy: For those with a head for heights

With its mountainous border, the Emilia-Romagna region is quite a draw for winter sports. But, when the snow melts and the Italian sun beats down, it’s the place to be for adventure seekers who prefer scaling rocks to skating over them. The Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park, with its soaring cliffs, is an incredible sight in itself, but the most challenging and famous rock formation is the anvil-shaped Pietra di Bismantova. There, the adventurous climber can choose from roughly 250 different routes up its sides – a pretty extensive ‘rock gym’, if ever there was one.

Also worth a visit in the Emilia-Romagna region, Fidenza Village promises a selection of outdoor and active brands to suit your sporty mood.

Munich, Germany: For wave divers

While the refined Englischer Garten in Munich is mainly used for cycling, jogging, yoga and relaxation, the southern end of the park has an extreme sport secret… strictly for the most experienced surfers: the Eisbachwelle.

Challenging, chilly and completely thrilling, it’s a continuous wave that lends itself perfectly to river surfing. Despite the ice-cold waters, professional surfers have journeyed across the world to this little corner of the park, so don’t miss your chance to see them in action, even if you’re not quite ready to try it yourself. Luckily, the park’s full of other sporty amusements should you feel inspired – if you can’t ride the waves, you can always try a horse instead!

Within an hour of the park, Ingolstadt Village offers an exciting range of sports brands at exceptional prices.

Wertheim, Germany: For aerial adventurers

Make the most of the famously lush Franconian forests with an adventure high in the trees – perfect for families and aspiring Robin Hoods alike. Kletterpark Silvestria is a climbing park with eight courses, each designed to test your skills in rope swinging, navigating aerial walkways and scaling tree ladders. Those less keen on heights may wish to watch from below, but there are still other activities to enjoy, as the park also teaches archery for the full forest experience.

Visit neighbouring Wertheim Village, where you’ll find great activewear brands as well as the perfect spot for some post-adventure dining.

Madrid, Spain: For runners and racers

Just an hour from bustling Madrid is the magnificent, mountainous Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. The enormous park covers almost 34,000 hectares and reaches an altitude of 2,428 metres. And, thanks to the distractingly beautiful surroundings, you might even forget you’re training.

Whether it’s by foot or wheel, you’ll find a trail to suit; in the summer, however, it’s hiking that’s simply the only way to travel. Experienced walkers will be eager to explore the hundreds of kilometres of paths that give way to the park’s most impressive sights, while indecisive wanderers will find the park’s themed routes the perfect place to start.

If you’re visiting the park from Madrid, don’t forget to stop at Las Rozas Village on your return journey – perfect for a relaxing dinner after a day of hiking.

Barcelona, Spain: For beach bods

With its incredible position on the Costa Brava, it’s inevitable you’ll stumble across a beach in Barcelona pretty quickly. While you’re sure to find stunning views, a moment of relaxation and (hopefully) the chance to soak up the Spanish sun, it’s also the perfect place to get active.

Platja de la Barceloneta is the city’s most famous beach, which means it can be crowded, however it also boasts a host of fun sports and activities throughout the day. Going beyond the usual beach favourites of swimming, volleyball and surfing, how about adding beach tennis or table tennis to your workout roster? For an unforgettable experience, make the most of the long summer days with a yoga session – what could be better than practising your sun salutation just as it’s rising?

Prepare for your day with a visit La Roca Village, just 30 minutes from the beach, to discover a wide selection of activewear brands.

The Cotswolds, UK: For countryside ramblers

Spread over 800 square miles of rolling countryside and winding limestone lanes, the Cotswolds – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – feels like a world away from the bustle of London, which is just an hour and a half away by car. As you’d expect from such a large swathe of the British countryside, there are some delightful walking routes for the keen rambler, which will see you pass dramatic hillsides, postcard-perfect villages and castles.

Of these, the Cotswold Way National Trail is a long-distance route encompassing 102 miles (164 km) from Chipping Campden to the steps of Bath Abbey – considered one of the best hikes in the Cotswolds. Choose a section of the path to meander along with family post-lunch or pick from a list of recommended alternatives for a fully-looped trail.

From rain-ready waterproofs to durable hiking boots for hillside climbs, find everything you need to take on the elements at Bicester Village, an hour by train from London.

Maasmechelen, Belgium: For water babies

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at water sports, then Terhills Cablepark should top your list. Spend a day on the lake waterskiing, wakeboarding and knee boarding under the guidance of experienced instructors – you’ll go from beginner to expert in a matter of hours.

Once you’ve mastered the cables, it’s time to reward your hard work at the Aquapark – a 1,500 square-metre obstacle course on the lake where you can climb, slide and splash over inflatable cushions. Complete the experience at the water’s edge with a relaxing evening in the Beachbar before retreating to one of the park’s luxurious overnight options: the historic Terhills Hotel or Terhills Resort.

It’s just a short hop to Maasmechelen Village, located next to the Cablepark and home to a selection of great activewear brands.

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