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Got the winter blues? Here’s our list of the best active adventures you can have this Euro summer

Surf, glide, dive and cycle through our list of active Europe activities

By Saskia Morrison-Thiagu for Time Out in association with Ubank

As winter approaches; our electric blankets come out, our barely-working radiators get turned on again and we start to daydream about lying in the sun somewhere a lot warmer. 

Luckily in other parts of the world, it is warmer. In fact, while we suffer the winter blues – plenty of sun soaked Europeans are living their best lives during their summer. So it’s no surprise that plenty of Aussies make the 20-plus hour journey over the Atlantic to get some extra rays. 

It’s also the perfect time to go outside of your comfort zone and try some adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities. If hot air balloon rides in Turkey and diving off the coast of Greece lights your fire, then look no further than this list of active adventures.

To make this trip abroad much easier, ubank offers Spend accounts which come with a Visa debit card and no ATM or international transaction fees charged by ubank, and a Save account to fund your adventures. Plus, ubank have an easy-to-use app. So let’s explore!

Let go of your inhibitions and try paragliding or skydiving in Interlaken

One of the best locations for active adventures is Interlaken in Switzerland. The picturesque terrain is the perfect place to jump right into (and we mean that literally). They don’t call it the capital of sky-high adventures for nothing, this is a place you need to be high in the sky to enjoy. One activity sure to get your blood pumping is paragliding, which involves running toward a cliff’s edge, before jumping off and releasing a parachute. Sounds scary, but Time Out’s Laura Osborne claims it’s “absolutely peaceful”

For those a little more brave-at-heart, skydiving is a must-try activity in Interlaken. Free fall at lightning speed, while surrounded by the captivating Swiss Alps. Hopefully the view is so spectacular that you forget you’re plummeting towards the ground. Gulp.

Earn an Aperol Spritz by walking through the Cinque Terre in Italy

For the true romantics with a thirst for adventure, the Cinque Terre is a must-see. The long stretch of five separate Italian villages is a beautiful walk along Italy’s northwestern coastline. But be sure to book more than one night in the picturesque location, as you won’t be able to see the whole stretch in just one day. 

There are many trails in the Cinque Terre to choose from, and they are not for the unseasoned traveller. Prepare to get your sweat on by walking up and down cliff tops and hundreds of stairs at a time. Thankfully though, you can reward yourself with a delicious puttanesca and Spritz at the end of your long day.

Feel like you’re in a fairytale by flying over Turkey’s Cappadocia in a hot air balloon

Imagine soaring over kilometres of rocky landscape, shaped by inactive volcanoes in a hot air balloon. Well that could be a reality in Cappadocia, one of the biggest tourist sites in Turkey. Humans have lived in the region since the Bronze Age, so you’ll be running into mesmerising artefacts at every turn. Explore the Cappadocia from the ground up, by visiting the Güllüdere Valley’s fairy chimneys and cave churches and the ancient underground city of Kaymaklı. Then head to the skies and see it from a bird’s eye view in a hot air balloon. Read more about what to see in Turkey here.

Cycle across multiple countries by following the Danube River

For experienced cyclists, you can’t miss a chance to journey across the Danube River by bike. The major waterway extends from Austria to Slovakia and Hungary, and is a perfect way to get the best views of Eastern Europe while staying fit and active. There are plenty of cycling tours that will take you across the Danube, so you don’t have to sweat it out alone.

For those that prefer different methods of transportation, don’t worry – you can still enjoy the Danube River in other ways. One great way to see it is by taking one of the many Danube River cruises from Budapest. Time Out’s top tip is to book an unlimited prosecco cruise for a great view with a side of the prosecco giggles.

Take a deep dive through the majestic caves of Spain’s Sierra de Guara

If you don’t consider yourself claustrophobic, then you might want to think about canyoning in Spain’s Sierra de Guara. The tranquil spot in Spain’s north is a three-hour drive from Barcelona, and is well worth the journey. Sierra de Guara is said to be the birthplace of canyoning, a 2000-year old practice of descending into the gorges of caves. You’ll get wet, it will be a tight squeeze – but you’ll be rewarded with its breathtaking cave views. Want more for your Spanish adventure? Check our list of best things to do in Spain.

Channel your inner surfer at the Portuguese coastal town of Peniche

Just an hour’s drive out of Lisbon, this surf town caters to all levels. Learn to surf at one of the town’s abundant surf camps or try your luck at one of Europe’s most famous pipelines – the Superturbos. Not for the faint of heart, the Superturbos is a gnarly barreling wave that attracts thousands of surf tourists to the break site every year. You don’t have to surf the wave to appreciate it, sit on the beach and watch the pros have a go. Bonus points go to Peniche for being super easy to get to from Lisbon, just hop on a charter bus and you’re there. For more Portuguese highlights, head here.

Snorkel above the world’s oldest sunken city of Pavlopetri in Greece

Have your own Mamma Mia moment with a side of adrenaline by exploring a sunken city off the coast of Greece. Pavlopetri is said to be 5,000 years old, and the oldest sunken city in the world. While the site is closed to recreational diving, you can see it for yourself by snorkelling above it. Best accessed from the beaches of Pounta in Peloponnese, this man-made wonder is definitely worth getting wet for. For more Greek island hopping, check out our list of best Greek islands.

If any one of these has signalled your inner adrenaline-junkie, start saving now with ubank. Use the offer code “TIMEOUT20” when you join and make five eligible card purchases in your first 30 days and score $20*.

*Make 5 eligible card purchases in the first 30 days to unlock sign up bonus. Terms and conditions apply.

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