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10 off-beat authentic experiences you should not miss in Europe’s mountains and valleys this summer

Mountain holidays are lovely, especially on hot summer days! It's easy to get a bike, hike mountain trails or just relax in the green. Now, if you are looking for more adventure, some off-beaten activities, or authentic local experiences, we have put together a list of 10 destinations where you can spend your days differently.


1. Ride down Lillehammer's Olympic bobsleigh track - Norway

Olympiapark Lillehammer, bob sleighing, wheel bobbing, Lillehammer, Norway

In 1994, Lillehammer in Norway was hosting the Winter Olympic Games. For some weeks, this ski resort in the Norwegian Gudbrandsdalen valley - just 2 hours from Olso - was the center of many outdoor events. Even though more than 25 years have passed, its bobsleigh track is still in use today. And you can take a ride down it! In winter, a rubber bobsleigh can take 5-6 passengers (in addition to the pilot) down the track, and in summer, you can wheel bob, reaching no less than 100 km/hr. So if you want something adventurous, you cannot miss this!


2. A family adventure on an inflatable boat in the Tiberius Gorges

Gole di Tibero, T|iberius Gorge, rubber boat tour, Madonie mountains, Sicily

The Tiberius Gorges (Gola di Tiberio) are located in Siciliy’s Madonie Park and date back to the upper triassic. A wonderful experience is to explore the Gorges on a rubber boat. You will pass many natural beauties and some secret passages of robbers who hid in the caves. Apart from boating, you will also walk along the river Pollina and have at the end time to a refreshing swim.


3. A morning cycling tour - with a little treat - in Irish Burren

Are you an early bird? Even on your holidays? Then we have the perfect activity for you: cycling in the Hills of Burren in the West of Ireland. The tour goes over quiet roads, where you can enjoy the spectacular landscapes (with curious landforms) for which the area is famous. Apart from the magnificent scenery, you pass some historical places like Gleninsheen, famous for the Bronze Age Collar of Gold found in 1934. Finally, you head up Corkscrew Hill to enjoy stunning views of the valley up to Galway Bay. After this strenuous activity, you can reward yourself with a well-deserved treat: A breakfast with fresh coffee and home-baked goods at Burren Fine Wine and Food near the small authentic village of Ballyvaughan. Can you start the day better?

Burren, cycling in the Burren, Ireland National Parks, Burren National Park, Ireland

4. Visit Unesco vineyards on Pico Island - Azores

Growing wine on volcanic rocks doesn't sound like an easy thing. Yet, some wineries on the Island Pico in the Azores managed to do it and created a successful wine business. The most impressive part is the landscape! Don't expect perfect rows of vines as you see in most European countries. Here, vines grow in small squares enclosed by low dry stone walls that protect the vines from the wind. If you want to learn more about Pico's winemaking history - which goes back to the 15th century - you can take guided tours of local wineries. Also, The Museu do Vinho do Pico is an excellent place to visit and sample the most famous grape varieties of Pico Island: Arinto, Terrante, and Verdelho.

Vinyards, Pico Island, The Azores, UNESCO heritage, wine making

5. Go snowshoeing at Glencoe Mountain - Scotland

Snowshoeing is a fast-growing outdoor activity in Europe, where you walk in the snow with small ski's underneath your shoes and some ski poles to keep you stable. Sounds difficult? No, it isn't, you can quickly learn the skills, and after a few steps, you'll surely get the rhythm.

snow-shoeing, cairngorms national park, scotland

There are many places in Europe to enjoy snowshoeing, one of which is Scotland's Cairngorm mountains. Here you can hit the slopes, and in case of heavy snowfall, you can even start down at Cairngorm Ski Resort. If you don't own your snow shoes, these can easily be hired locally in Aviemore, where you can also enjoy a warm coffee of chocolate milk in one of their charming cafés after your snow walk.


6. Explore Arouca Geopark - Portugal