Swinging between treetops, horse riding, snorkelling surrounded by thousands of colourful fish, hot-air ballooning and canyoning are just a few of the endless exhilarating activities you can do any day of the year in many parts of Catalonia. If you're the adventurous type, or you'd like to be, the following selection should be right up your street.
La Lola, the essence of fishing
You're off to the high seas accompanied by a fisherman with years of experience on a vessel that sounds like the name of an old fisherman's song: 'La Lola'. You'll sail out of Palamós, a town on the Costa Brava famous not only for its beaches but also for its prawns, and that's exactly what you're going to fish. The day begins, as expected, very early in the morning, and with a fisherman's breakfast shared with the rest of the crew. In short, the perfect day to feel like a true fisherman and to get to know the pros and cons of this tough trade.
Canyoning and rafting in the Pyrenees
This double adventure is only for the most daring, as you'll descend the waters of the Noguera Pallaresa river, go rafting, and descend down a ravine whose name, funnily enough, translates as 'Hell'. It's one of the most spectacular ravines in the Pyrenees, with walls as high as 100 metres and a cave halfway down. Getting to the start of the ravine is an adventure in itself because you have to first cross the river. You'll always be in the hands of experts, though, who'll be there to offer excellent advice and help you at all times.
Even if you still haven't tried it, you've probably thought about going on a hot-air balloon ride. This just might be the day you do it. We've found a company whose baskets are so big – they can hold up to 16 people – that they've even held weddings mid-flight. But whether you're about to get married or not, this experience will blow you away. Taking in the landscapes from the height of a balloon is a magical experience, and the sense of freedom is extreme.
Free as a bird
The Wind Tunnel in Empuriabrava opened its doors in 2012, and has since become a major attraction for both kids and adults. It's a free-fall simulator that's open to the public, the first of its kind on the Iberian Peninsular. In it you'll feel the same sense of weightlessness as if you were jumping out of a plane flying at 4,000 metres. You're not required to have any previous experience or knowledge, and an instructor will supervise the entire activity. A few instructions before entering the tunnel is enough to go on this adventure that will bring you close to your dream of flying.
A via ferrata for all levels
The Baume Corcades via ferrata, in the Osona region, is one of the most popular in Catalonia. The side paths, various drops, spectacular 68-metre-long Nepalese bridge, and incredible panoramic views offered on this trip make it the perfect place for anyone with some experience, or even those with very little, as it's very well maintained and sign-posted according to difficulty in case you bottle out of some sections. If you already know what it's all about then grab your gear and go straight to the Casa de Colonias in Banyeres to start your journey. If you're not feeling too confident, then get in touch with expert instructors or go with a mountaineering group.
Paragliding in Montsec
Another unforgettable experience you can try out is paragliding. If the landscapes already take your breath away, then the feeling of adrenaline will be unbeatable. You'll find out for yourself when you fly over the Coll de Ares, in Montsec, and then glide off a cliff and start your journey across lakes, valleys and mountains in the Lleidatan Pyrenees. You'll always be in the hands of experts from the company Entrenúvols, who'll even offer you the chance to film your magnificent experience.
Saint James's Way on two wheels
We can't forget activities for bike lovers in this selection. This amazing experience involves cycling along the Catalan branch of the Camino de Santiago, or Saint James's Way, which leaves from Catalonia. And to make things easier, the cycling club will transport your things for you and even book your accommodation along the way, so you'll want to make sure you stay close to them at all times. In other words, all you'll need to think about is pedalling and enjoying the experience.
From treetop to treetop
Between Dosrius and Canyamars, in the Maresme region, you'll find El Bosc Vertical (The Vertical Forest), an adventure park surrounded by nature with four circuits for different levels, but all of them quite high up from the ground, as you'll be jumping from treetop to treetop. Sometimes you'll need a little skill, and other times a bit of strength. Zip lines, bridges, vines or snowboards will help you to complete each circuit. Get ready to feel like Tarzan! Or at least a flying squirrel.
The Medes Islands, paradise under the sea
The Medes Islands, seven islets just off the coast of L'Estartit on the Costa Brava, are a rich biological and geological natural feature, both above and below the water. From L'Estartit there are sailboats that travel out to the islets and allow you to not only discover some of the spectacular cliffs and nearby coves, but also observe the extraordinary seabed, with thousands of colourful fish. If you're a little bit more adventurous and feel like trying your hand at scuba diving, you'll find plenty of companies that organise first-time dives. You just need to be able to swim.
Adventure and sport in La Cerdanya
Have you ever heard of the Cerdanya Campus? It's a tourist complex located in Puigcerdà, capital of the region, which includes 53 bedrooms and high-quality sports installations and equipment. You can go swimming, play tennis and paddle tennis or go ice skating, and all this on your doorstep. And if you're still itching to do more sports, there are various walking and cycling routes from the complex along which you'll be able to take in the phenomenal Pyrenean landscapes in the region.