European activity holiday ideas

Sun, sea and sand are all very well but if you're looking for excitement on your summer holiday this year, an activity break could be just the thing. Europe's varied landscape means almost every activity is catered for - and going abroad has the added advantage of almost guaranteed summer weather.

activity holidays in europe

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Here are a few of the best European destinations offering action-packed breaks.

An increasingly popular tourist destination, Croatia boasts not only a glorious coastline but also a landscape that's perfect for a variety of activity holidays. Sea kayaking in the Adriatic, white water rafting on the spectacular Cetina River, cycling through the unspoilt countryside, it's ideal for a family break, and there's always that fabulous coast on which to relax after a hard day's fun.

The breath-taking Pyrenees provide the backdrop to this family-friendly activity holiday destination. Ideal for serious hikers and mountain bikers, there's also white-water rafting to keep you entertained throughout the summer, while a winter break could include igloo building, dog-sledding and snowmobiling. Whatever time of the year you choose to visit this tiny principality, the scenery remains spectacular.

The Algarve is already a popular summer destinations but inland Portugal is just as beautiful. Why not get a feel for rural Portugal with a guided tour of some of the country's national parks, either on horseback, bike or on foot. It's even possible to spend a day with a shepherd, where you'll learn more about Portuguese traditions while taking in stunning scenery.

If the lure of the sea is just too strong, an introduction to surfing on the Algarve will allow you to get your fix of sun, sea and sand while getting active on the water.

With a mix of culture, wildlife and activities, Turkey is the ideal place for the hard-to-please family. For instance, you may choose to hike along the coastal Lycian Way, kayak over a sunken city or immerse yourself in a thermal spring. Alternatively take a short cruise along the stunning Turquoise Coast (which truly lives up to its name), go on a jeep safari and spend some time relaxing at a mountain retreat.

Then again, you could choose to explore the buzzing bazaars of Istanbul before trekking to the summit of Mr Ararat in the Kackar Mountains. Culture, history and beautiful landscape combine to create a holiday that has something for everyone.

Have you been on an activity holiday in Europe? Did it live up to your expectations and would you go again? Leave your comments below...