The best outdoor adventures near you
London, UK: For swimmers and sunbathers
Outdoor swimming has seen a boom in recent years and now’s the perfect time to try it as the summer sun will have naturally warmed the waters. London boasts a number al fresco swim options. Newbies can, literally, dip their toe in the water at London Fields Lido, where the 50-metre-long pool is, crucially, heated and open whatever the weather.
For those who believe you haven’t truly swum outdoors until you are sharing the water with a family of ducks, then Hampstead Heath’s swimming ponds are for you. Popular with locals, many of whom enjoy their charms year round, the ponds are only lifeguarded in the summer and hour-long slots must be booked in advance.
From sporty swimwear to pool-side accessories, find everything you need for your day at the water at Bicester Village, an hour by train from London.
Dublin, Ireland: For sightseers
Less white-water more sightseeing, but good fun nonetheless – discover a new angle on the city tour with a kayak trip along the Grand Canal in Dublin. Setting off from Portobello, just south of the city centre, Extreme Time Off runs two-hour trips that’ll see you steer under seven bridges as you traverse the 5.5-kilometre course, giving you the chance to enjoy the sights of the canal and bank a decent workout while you’re at it.
The company also offers the chance to hire a kayak for the day or longer, so proficient kayakers can explore under their own steam – why not see how far your arms will take you along the 131 kilometres of waters in the city?
Don’t forget to visit Kildare Village, just an hour from Dublin, to get kitted out with activewear ready for your outdoor adventure.
Paris, France: For late-night explorers
Not one for the faint hearted, but definitely a must for thrill seekers, how about discovering the ‘city of light’ atop a pair of skates? Every Friday from 9.30 pm, experienced skaters join the Pari Roller cruise around the city, starting in Montparnasse and circling the city before ending at its beginning in the early hours.
The quieter streets give participants the chance to build up some speed and enjoy an exhilarating night tour of well-known streets and landmarks. The course changes every week and is only released on the Pari Roller website the day before the event. Safety is paramount, so check the website for advice and updates – happy rolling!
Discover a host of sporty brands to enhance your performance at La Vallée Village, within 50 minutes of Paris.
Emilia-Romagna, Italy: For those with a head for heights
With its mountainous border, the Emilia-Romagna region is quite a draw for snow sports during the winter months. But, when the snow melts and the Italian sun beats down, it becomes the place to be for adventure seekers who prefer scaling rocks to skating over them. The Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park, with its soaring cliffs, is an incredible sight in itself, but of the most challenging and famous rock formations is the anvil-shaped Pietra di Bismantova. There, the adventurous climber can choose from roughly 250 different routes up its sides – a pretty extensive ‘rock gym’, if ever there was one.
Also worth a visit in the Emilia-Romagna region, Fidenza Village promises a selection of outdoor and active brands to suit your prefer sporty mood.
Maasmechelen, Belgium: For water babies
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at water sports, then Terhills Cablepark should top your list. Spend a day on the lake water skiing, wakeboarding and kneeboarding under the guidance of experienced instructors and you’ll go from beginner to expert in a matter of hours.
Once you’ve mastered the cables, it’s time to reward your hard work at the Aquapark – a 1,500 square-metre obstacle course on the lake where you can climb, slide and splash over inflatable cushions. Complete the experience at the water’s edge with a relaxing evening in the Beachbar, watching the sun set on a day well spent.
It’s just a short hop to Maasmechelen Village, located next to the Cablepark and home to a selection of great activewear brands.
Munich, Germany: For wave divers
While the refined Englischer Garten in Munich is mainly used for cycling, jogging, yoga and relaxation, the southern end of the park has an extreme sport secret… strictly for the most experienced surfers: the Eisbachwelle.
Challenging, chilly and completely thrilling, it is a continuous wave that lends itself perfectly to river surfers’ practice. Despite the ice-cold waters, professional surfers have journeyed across the world to this little corner of the park, so don’t miss your chance to see the surfers in action, even if you are not quite ready to try it yourself. Luckily the park is full of other sporty amusements should you feel inspired – if you can’t ride the waves, you can always try a horse instead!
Within an hour of the park, Ingolstadt Village offers an exciting range of sports brands at exceptional prices.
Wertheim, Germany: For nature lovers
Make the most of the famously lush Franconian forests with an adventure high in the trees – perfect for families and aspiring Robin Hoods alike! Kletterpark Silvestria is a climbing park with eight courses designed to test your skills in rope swinging, navigating aerial walkways and scaling tree ladders. Those less keen on heights may wish to watch from below, but there are still other activities to enjoy, as the park also teaches archery for the full forest experience.
Visit neighbouring Wertheim Village, where you’ll find great activewear brands as well as the perfect spot for some post-adventure dining.
Madrid, Spain: For runners and racers
Just an hour from bustling Madrid is the magnificent, mountainous Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. The enormous park covers almost 34,000 hectares and reaches an altitude of 2,428 metres, and thanks to the distractingly beautiful surroundings, you might even forget you’re training.
Whether it’s by foot or wheel, you’ll find a trail to suit; in the summer, however, it’s the hiking that is simply the only way to travel. Experienced walkers will be eager to explore the hundreds of kilometres of paths that give way to the park’s most impressive sights, while indecisive wanderers will find the park’s themed routes offer the perfect place to start. Discover more about the region’s geology, botanical or ornithological points of interest, as well as great suggestions for hiking routes with children.
If you’re visiting the park from Madrid, don’t forget to stop at Las Rozas Village on your return journey – perfect for a relaxing dinner after a day of hiking.
Barcelona, Spain: For beach bods
With its incredible position on the Costa Brava, it’s inevitable you’ll stumble across a beach in Barcelona pretty quickly. While you’re sure to find stunning views, a moment of relaxation and (hopefully) the chance to soak up the Spanish sun, it’s also the perfect place to get active.
Platja de la Barceloneta is the city’s most famous beach, which means it can be crowded, however it also boasts a host of fun sports and activities throughout the day. Going beyond the usual beach favourites of swimming, volleyball and surfing, how about adding beach tennis or table tennis to your workout roster? For an unforgettable experience, make the most of the long summer days with a yoga session – what could be better than practising your salute to the sun as it’s rising?
Prepare for your day with a visit La Roca Village, just 30 minutes from the beach, to discover a wide selection of activewear brands.
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