Summer is the perfect time to head outdoors and try something adventurous. Even if the British weather proves unpredictable, there’s no excuse for staying indoors when summer comes around.
Regular Prestone readers may remember our article on the UK’s best outdoor activities, which encouraged you to take to the British countryside in search of adventure. Well now we’re upping the ante, by listing some of the world’s most extreme and adventurous summer activities.
From zorbing to canyoning, coasteering to white water rafting, we’ve scoured the planet to find the extreme adventures you won’t want to miss — so let’s get to it.
1. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking may be one of the more common extreme sports, but it’s just as thrilling as ever. Hurtling down a mountainside on two wheels may sound ludicrously dangerous, but advances in bike technology and safety set-up mean even amateur riders can get their kicks without fear of breaking anything.
While the UK is home to plenty of off-road bike tracks, if you want to take mountain biking to the next level, make for Bolivia. Here you’ll find the so-called ‘Death Road’, easily one of the world’s most extreme mountain bike paths. With sheer drops and year-round rainfall, this biking route isn’t for the fainthearted.
If you’re a fan of climbing, scrambling, swimming and diving; coasteering could well be your new favourite extreme sport. Popularised on the Pembrokeshire coastline in the mid-90s, this hybrid sport requires you to navigate dangerous stretches of coast using a combination of the skills above, usually under the supervision of an experienced instructor.
The best thing about coasteering is that you can do it right here in the UK, with many adventure companies offering the experience. One of our favourites is Celtic Quest Coasteering, whose skilled instructors keep you safe while encouraging you to live life on the edge.
Think of canyoning like coasteering, but on dry land. The sport relies on climbing, rappelling and hiking, and requires you to negotiate hair-raising canyons, hundreds of feet above terra firma. If you get a thrill out of heights, and are an accomplished climber, canyoning could hold the key to your next big adventure.
For the best canyoning experience, we’d recommend Bad Tölz gorge in Bavaria, Germany. Located just 30 miles south of Munich, this scenic canyon is the perfect place for beginners to try their hand at this incredible new sport.
Zip-lining isn’t so much a sport as an extreme thrill-ride, but we couldn’t leave it off our list of extreme summer adventures. Whizzing down a wire at high speeds isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely one of those activities you’ll want to do again and again once you’ve got through the fear of doing it for the first time.
For the best combination of extreme thrills and great scenery, head to Selvatura Park in Costa Rica’s beautiful Monteverde region. Here, you can enjoy an extreme zip-line tour above the mysterious tropical cloud forests that cover the country.
Or, if you’d prefer to go zip-lining on home turf, the Snowdonia National Park in Wales is home to one of Europe’s fastest zip-lines, which sees riders hit speeds of up to 100mph, 500ft in the air.
5. White Water Rafting
Like mountain biking, white water rafting is among the world’s best-loved adventure sports, and was first introduced in the early 80s. Since then, the sport has become popular across the globe, with hundreds of rivers becoming playgrounds for rafters, kayakers and canoeists.
To help people choose a river that suits their skill level, white water routes are graded from 1-5, with 5 being the most dangerous. So, if you’re looking for the most extreme form of white water rafting, head to the Zambezi River in Zambia, which is home to more grade 5 rapids than any other waterway in the world.
New Zealanders are renowned for their sense of adventure, so it’s no surprise Zorbing was invented by the Kiwis. In essence, zorbing involves climbing inside a massive inflatable ball, before careering down a steep slope at crazy speeds. Sure, it sounds bonkers, but zorbing has fast become one of the world’s favourite adventure activities.
Keen to try your hand at zorbing? Where better to give it a go than where it all began — New Zealand. With its mountainous terrain, New Zealand is the perfect place to hurl yourself down a hill in a giant inflatable. Zorbing centres are located across the country, so you should have no trouble finding somewhere to give the sport a go.
Whilst jumping out of a plane 10,000 ft. up isn’t for everyone, others relish the chance to give it a go. Whatever your fears, we reckon skydiving is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime.
To make your first skydiving experience one to remember, why not try it in a really idyllic setting, and not just over a boring old landing strip in Lincolnshire? We’d recommend taking the plunge over Byron Bay in Australia, the Swiss Alps or the Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.
8. Extreme Ironing
We all dread doing the ironing, so it’s surprising this monotonous chore has become an adventure sport — extreme ironing. That’s right, people have had it with ironing in front of Antiques Roadshow on a Sunday evening, and are instead taking to the world’s mountains, lakes and oceans to press their shirts in style.
Differing from other adventure sports, extreme ironing is more of a contest to see who can de-crease their clothes in the weirdest and most dangerous locations. Anything goes in the quest to become the world’s most extreme ironer, with some even heading to the depths of the ocean to get through a week’s laundry. If you choose to partake in a little extreme ironing, don’t forget to post your skills on the official Extreme Ironing Facebook page.
However you plan to quench your thirst for adventure this summer, Prestone will be with you all the way. Our products are tested in all extremes, so they’ll never let you down. To find out more, visit the Prestone website.