Top 5 adventurous ways to spice up your European city break

Author: Jonny Rowntree

Europe is packed with exciting activities, never far from the nearest city. When you’re on your next city break, why not consider adding one of these adventures into your itinerary?

1. Trekking the Piatra Mare Circuit, Romania

Romania’s Carpathian Mountains are the stuff of legend. The Borgo Pass was home to Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, and stories of vampire-like creatures date back to 125 AD. But the bears, wolves and lynx are real, and it is a stunningly beautiful and wild range of mountains. Rugged shepherd’s trails will lead you through tiny villages and hamlets, along steep slopes, and through National Parks. The Piatra Mare Circuit is a popular route, leading trekkers to the 7 Stairs Canyon, where you will need to shimmy up and down ladders to explore the waterfalls.  

2. Trekking around Lake Garda, Italy

There are plenty of places for hiking and Nordic walking around beautiful Lake Garda. And you can round off the day with a glass of Prosecco – what’s not to like? Heading up Mount Baldo is a good all-round choice. You can start by taking the cableway up to the summit at 1752 metres. There are then many different hiking trails to take, guiding you around the mountain to the best views of the area. The 3-4 hour Ventrar Trail is one of the most well-known, best in late spring and summer when the snow has receded. The open trail takes you through ascends and descends, through crags and gullies, skirting the rocky cliffs of the La Colma ridge, following paved mule trails and finishing in grazing meadows. Round off your day in the pretty hill town of Castelletto, with stunning panoramas of the lake below you.

3. Climbing in the Alps, France

Ski in the winter and climb in the summer. Exploring the French Alps is a never-ending journey. In the summer months, a great spot to target is the Ecrins. This region is much less busy than the Mont Blanc area, and is incredibly dramatic terrain. The bonus is that it holds the best sun record in the Alps. There are tons of different routes to take, including hiking to the major peaks of the three main mountains – L’Obiou (2789m), Piolit (2464m), Les Rouies (3589m), Sirac (3444m), or L’Olan (3564m).

4. Travel the Coastal Transversal, Montenegro

This is a fantastic option for getting off the beaten track in a very beautiful part of Europe. Montenegro’s Mountaineering Association and several mountaineering clubs as well as NGOs have established the Montenegrin Coast Transversal. Its aim is to expand coastal tourism in the country’s southern hinterland. Self-guided, you can head from the coastal mountains near Orjen, through Lovćen and down south to Rumija. The route offers amazing views, links in parts with historical caravan routes, passes by old military fortifications and places of ethnological interest. Some parts of the route are great for biking, too. 

5. Hike to the summit of Mount Mulhacen, Spain

At 3482m at its peak, Mulhacen is the highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula and continental Spain. The Sierra Nevada range is known for its beauty, and you can do this climb in both summer and winter, with one or two-day itineraries, depending on how much you want to do in one day. Overall, the route is a gruelling 8 or 9 hours (1300 metre ascent). Spreading it over two days will give you more opportunity to admire the views and the surrounding scenery, with a night in a cosy hut. In the winter, you’ll need an ice axe, crampons and sometimes even snowshoes. Many operators also offer an overnight trek, reaching the summit for a spectacular sunrise. 

Article written by Jonny Rowntree, a freelance writer working with Exsus Luxury Holidays, experts when preparing your luxury European holiday.