The best locations for canyoning and coasteering across Europe

Are you thinking of an adventurous summer holiday? Are you looking for another adventure sport than hiking or biking? Try out canyoning or coasteering!


So what is coasteering?

Coasteering, Scotland, Europe

Coasteering is a quite new activity that combines swimming, abseiling, climbing and cliff-jumping into the ocean or sea below. Also known as coastal canyoning, the sport was initially developed in Wales but has been growing fast over the past decades. Not only all across Europe, but even in the whole world. It is also a great way to experience the coastline differently because you will see spectacular landscapes and plenty of marine fauna from up close.






Is coasteering the same as canyoning?

Canyoning, Portugal, Europe

No, it isn't. The main difference is found in the environment where the sport is practiced. Coasteering is done on the coast, and canyoning takes place in gorges and canyons. The other difference is found in the activities that are involved. Coasteering includes more jumping and swimming, while canyoning also requires walking and sliding (using natural water slides).


So what's the same?

Both sports combine rock and water activities and most of all, they will provide lots of adrenaline! Also, the gear you use is very similar, consisting of a wet-suit, shoes, a life vest, and a helmet (plus a harness for canyoning).


If you are ready to jump into a new adventure, scroll down our list of the best European canyoning and coasteering spots!


PORTUGAL

The Arrábida Natural Park, a 40-minute drive from Lisbon, has become a popular place on the Portuguese coastline for coasteering. Furthermore, after an exciting moment of cliff jumping and swimming, the park offers you three stunning beaches: Galapinhos, Portinho da Arrábida, and Figueirinha, as well as a beautiful historical monastery on the hillside 'Convento de Nossa Senhora da Arrábida,' that you absolutely should visit. A perfect destination for a full day of adventure, relaxation and culture!

Arrabida National Parl, Setubal, Portugal, Europe

There are two fantastic natural parks to go canyoning in Porto's surroundings: Peneda Gerês National Park and Arouca Geopark!

The Arouca Geopark is known for its extraordinary geological heritage and a large array of adventure sports that you can practice, such as rafting, canoeing, and canyoning, allowing you to discover many of its geosites and enjoy awe-inspiring landscapes.

Canyoning, Peneda Geres National Park, Portugal, Europe

Peneda-Gerês National Park in set in the northeast of Portugal at the border with Spain. The park is home to a striking natural beauty with hills, lakes, valleys, and, of course, canyons that you can explore by scrambling over slippery boulders and jumping from cliffs in the green waters.







Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain in mainland Portugal. Apart from trekking, horse-riding, mountain biking, and skiing (in winter), it is a perfect place for canyoning. You will follow the Loriga river that runs in a steep glacier valley surrounded by terraced slopes.


THE AZORES

Outside of mainland Portugal, the archipelago Azores is an outdoor lover's dream. Its mighty cliffs and tumbling waterfalls are the ideal base for canyoning and coasteering.

The islands of São Jorge and Santa Maria offer excellent conditions for coasteering! The volcanic rocks along the coast and clear turquoise-blue ocean let you fully enjoy this sport.

Canyoning, Ribeira do Caldeiroes, Sao MIguel, Azores, Europe

São Miguel's steep coastline is another island of the Azores to practice coasteering; its unique coastal nooks and crannies and countless wildlife guarantee thrilling experiences and stunning scenery.

São Miguel's hinterland invites you for canyoning adventures. In the wonderful nature park Ribeira dos Caldeirões, you can explore magnificent waterfalls and rivers, untouched landscapes, and impressive natural sites. Without a doubt, an exciting way to discover the beauty of the Azores' nature.


NORWAY

With the longest coastline of Europe and many beautiful gorges in the hinterland, Norway has plenty of opportunities for coasteering and canyoning.

Canyoning, Valldal, Norway, Europe

Gudbrandsjuvet gorge is a popular spot for canyoning in Valldal, while in Uvdal, you can discover the hidden gorge of Ølmosjuvet. These are just some possibilities; there are many more valleys with exciting gorges that have been created after thousands of years of erosion. All of them are impressive!


Coasteering, Magma Geopark, Norway, Europe

The favorite coasteering destination in Norway is probably Magma Global Geopark (a UNESCO site), that is surrounded by spectacular rock formations. As there is no tide, you can go coasteering whenever you want to! Another place is Tueneset, nearby Ålesund - featuring awe-inspiring formations for 'cool' jumps in the sea.







SCOTLAND

Coasteering, Canyoning, Scotland, Europe

Scotland has the perfect landscape for canyoning, with deep pools, waterfalls, and gorges. Our favorite area for canyoning is by far Cairngorms National Park. Millions of years of erosion have formed natural slides and rock arches ideal for (high) jumps and abseils. Thus, the perfect destination for adventure-seekers! If you are in Cairngorms National Park for a few days, you might also try out other outdoor activities such as white water rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, or hiking.


ICELAND

Canyoning in Iceland will bring you to the most beautiful places in the remote Icelandic Highlands! There are different types of canyons in Iceland that you can explore. You can make canyon hikes through or on top of a canyon. One of the most magical places to make a canyon hike is the dramatic and incredible green Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, formed in the Ice Age. But there are also places to make a different type of canyoning experience where you climb, scramble, jump, and even swim through the canyon. Discover it yourself!

Canyoning, Fjaðrárgljúfur, Iceland, Europe

SICILY

Sicily's countryside and mountains are home to some excellent canyoning destinations, such as the Alcantara Gorge and Nebrodi Mountains.


Canyoning in Alcantara Gorge will let you discover the wildest part of the Alcantara Nature Park featuring unspoiled and stunning landscapes. The whole canyoning area is characterized by waterfalls, ponds, and deep gorges such as the Alcantara Gorge, one of the geological wonders of eastern Sicily.

Canyoning, Alcantara Gorge, Sicily, Europe

The Alcantara River that runs through the canyon is one of the few rivers in Sicily that runs year-round and is often overlooked by tourists, so ideal for enjoying an exclusive excursion. Via jumps, rope descents, walks, and body rafting, you'll explore in an adventurous way this stunning hidden gem.


Thick woods, rivers, creeks, and rare flora and fauna, give life to the extraordinary ecosystem of the Nebrodi Mountain range that runs along the Northeast part of Sicily. You will find limestone rock formations and impressive caves such as the Grotta del Lauro, with plenty of stalactites and stalagmites. A canyoning excursion in the Nebrodi Mountains will for sure satisfy your adventurous appetite!


SARDINIA

Italy's second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea is, for most travelers, known for its white sandy beaches and pristine clear sea. But, many people don't know that Sardinia is home to a vast interior with the rugged Supramonte massif, gentle hills of Gennargentu, and the basalt Golgo Plateau, a real paradise for hikers and canyoneers.


Climbing, Sardinia, Europe

The Gola Su Gorropu in the Supramonte Mountains is a spectacular canyon (only 5 meters wide at its narrowest point) with 400m-high walls. It is an excellent spot if you're looking for an off-eaten path canyoning excursion.

Sa Spendula is an impressive (25-meter waterfall) located at the end of the River Coxinas. It invites beginners and more experienced canyoneers to explore its beautiful setting among granite rocks. During the descent of this little gem, you will pass toboggan slides, make jumps into the water, and learn to make some exciting abseils. Try it out!

Bacu Padente is a deep limestone canyon ("bacu" in dialect means narrow valley or gorge) that descents from the Golgo Plateau to the emerald sea of ​​the Gulf of Orosei, using various canyoning techniques. It might not be as popular as the other gorges in Sardinia, but it provides incomparable sea views and experience!

Bacu Padente is a deep limestone canyon ("bacu" in dialect means narrow valley or gorge) that descents from the Golgo Plateau to the emerald sea of ​​the Gulf of Orosei, using various canyoning techniques. It might not be as popular as the other gorges in Sardinia, but it provides incomparable sea views and experience!


IRELAND

From County Cork in the South to the cliff coasts of Kerry and Clare all the way up to Co Donegal, the dramatic Irish coastlines are ideal destinations for coasteering. Along the Wild Atlantic Way, you will find many rocky coastal areas where you can practice easy climbing, jumping, and swimming. You can also explore caves and rock formations that have been formed by the rough Atlantic Sea and, of course, enjoy the views and the landscape around you!

Coasteering, Ireland, Europe

So if you're looking for an adventurous day out during your holidays this summer, be sure to grab this list and try a coasteering or canyoning trip. We are sure that you will love it!