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20 adventures that you couldn’t do 20 years ago


1. Stand-up paddleboarding in the Algarve, Portugal

All but unheard of 20 years ago, SUP has taken off around the world and become a celeb fave in the process. It’s the one where you stand up on a surfboard using a canoe paddle to propel yourself. Algarvesup, near Faro, offers lessons and small-group tours in the beautiful, 60km-long Ria Formosa Lagoon, full of birds and sea life.
Address: 38 Estrada Corotelo, São Brás de Alportel | Tel: +351 916 634 007
Fly to Faro

2. Zip-lining in southern Italy

Opened in 2006, Volo dell’ Angelo (Flight of the Angel) is an adrenaline-pumping, zip-line ride between the mountain villages of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa in the Lucanian Dolomites of southern Italy’s Basilicata region, with a max altitude of 1,019m and speeds of up to 120km per hour. 
Address: 19 Via Maestri del Lavoro, Potenza; | Tel: +39 331 9340456
Fly to Bari

3. Swimming with sharks, Scotland

Courtesy of the Basking Shark Scotland outfit, near Oban, intrepid travellers can now swim, snorkel or scuba dive with massive-mouthed – but vegetarian – basking sharks, the second-largest fish after whale sharks, on Scotland’s west coast.
Address: North Pier, Oban; | Tel: 07975 723140
Fly to Glasgow

4. Volcano trekking, Iceland

Step into the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano, just outside Reykjavik, with Iceland’s 3H Tours’ Inside the Volcano experience, which opened to the public in 2012. Descend from the top crater 120m to the depths of the 100,000 cubic metre vault of the old magma chamber.
Tel: +354 519 5609
Fly to Reykjavik

5. Balkan biking, Croatia

Having emerged from the crises of the 1990s, the Balkan region has opened up greatly in recent years, a welcome development for travellers. Now you can get to know the beautiful islands and coast of Croatia really well the slow way, by hoping on a bicycle. Arrange the details before you leave the UK with Macadventures.
Address: 44 Speirs Wharf, Glasgow, G4 9TH | Tel: 0141 530 8153
Fly to Pula

6. Wild swimming in Sardinia, Italy

These holidays have become increasingly popular since the turn of the millennium, offering the chance to experience little-swum lakes, rivers and oceans, such as the coastal waters and crossings between the remote islands of the Maddalena archipelago off Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, with group swims organised by SwimTrek.
Address: 6 Hove Manor, Hove Street, Brighton & Hove, BN3 2DF | Tel: 01273 739 713
Fly to Olbia

7. Kite-surfing, Cyprus

Kite-surfing – which involves being pulled along on a board by a kite – started in 2000 in Larnaca, on Cyprus’s south-west coast and it took off in 2013, when world kite-surfing champion Kevin Langeree gave the windy coastline his seal of approval. It’s an exhilarating way to spend time on (and in) the ocean. Larnaca-based Kitemed Surfing School can get you started.
Tel: +357 9954 8363
Fly to Larnaca

8. Extreme assault courses in Germany 

Having launched in the USA five years ago, Tough Mudder has now become all the rage with teams of adventurers around the world, who want to get muddy and test their mental and physical strength against one of the 18 to 20km obstacle courses. Give it a go in Wassertrüdingen.
Address: Tough Mudder, 5th Floor, 10 Potsdamer Platz, Berlin 10785 
Fly to Munich

9. E-biking in Switzerland

Love cycling, but need a little help on the hills? E-bikes, by which we mean electric-powered bicycles, have taken off in a huge way in the past 20 years, not least in Switzerland. The Heart Route from Lausanne, where you can pick up your hired E-bike, to Rorschach passes through the scenic Alpine foothills, perfect terrain for riding a ‘Flyer’.
Address: Lausanne Gare CFF, Place de la Gare, Lausanne | Tel:  +41 (0)51 224 21 62
Fly to Geneva

10. Flyboarding in Tenerife

One of the most eye-catching new arrivals to the adventure scene, flyboarding involves hurtling through the air and water on a board that shoots out jets of water for propulsion. Water Sports Tenerife offers it year-round on the sunny island.
Address: Puerto Colón, Calle Colón s/n, Adeje, Playa de Las Américas | Tel: +34 638 531 863
Fly to Tenerife

11. Alternative snowshoeing in Cappadocia and the Taurus Mountains, Turkey

Scandinavia might seem the obvious place for snowshoe action, but the Gaudi-esque rock formations of Cappadocia and the grand Taurus mountains in south-east Turkey provide exciting snowshoe expeditions run by Exodus.
Address: Grange Mills, Weir Road, London SW12 0NE | Tel: 020 8675 5550
Fly to Antalya

12. Electric mountain-biking in the French Alps

The next logical step after electric bikes? Electric mountain bikes (E-MTBs), of course. New tours in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps, run by Vecteur Montagne, put electric power to good use, climbing into inaccessible parts for lots of downhill action in the area around Roc d’Enfer (Rock of Hell).
Address: 1610 Avenue des Vallées,  74300 Thyez | Tel: +33 603 523 664
Fly to Geneva

13. Bungee like Bond in Switzerland

Leap like Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond from the 220m high Verzasca dam on the GoldenEye 007 Bungy Jump with bungy specialists Trekking. In the movie, it took place in Russia, but the scene was actually filmed in Ticino in southern Switzerland.
Address: 48 Lützelaustrasse, 6353 Weggis | Tel: +41 (0)41-390 40 40
Fly to Milan

14. Desert biking in Morocco

Where once there were only dirt trails, new, smooth tarmac roads have now opened up inaccessible parts of Morocco, making it possible to cycle through desolate deserts and even the mighty Atlas mountains. Contact Newcastle-based Skedaddle for organised tours.
Address: The Cycle Hub, Ouseburn, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1BU | Tel: 0191 265 11110
Fly to Marrakech

15. Sea kayaking in Croatia

Dubrovnik’s nearest islands have become popular with sea kayakers, as they’re close enough to explore pretty ports, quiet villages and sandy beaches. In fact, it’s said to be the best place in Europe for this sport and Adventure Dubrovnik lead regular guided trips.
Address: 3 Svetog Križa, Dubrovnik 20000 | Tel: +385 98-531-516
Fly to Dubrovnik

16. Make like Tarzan in Switzerland

Along the same lines as the UK’s Go Ape, Seilpark Interlaken, which opened in Switzerland in 2009, is a forest adventure of wooden bridges, ladders, Tarzan swings, zip lines and aerial obstacles. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Address: Wagnerenstrasse, 3800 Matten bei Interlaken | Tel: +41 33 826 77 19
Fly to Zurich

17. Go deep in Cumbria

Explore hidden passages, chasms and caverns at Honister Slate Mine, deep inside the 650m high Fleetwith Pike near Keswick in Cumbria. You’ll climb the metal rungs of a Via Ferrata that, in total, is twice as high as The Shard in London.
Address: Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5XN | Tel: 017687 77230
Fly to Newcastle

18. Two-wheeled trek in the North Highlands, Scotland

Launched just this year, the North Coast 500 (NC500) driving route around the North Highlands of Scotland, starting and ending in Inverness, leads to some of the UK’s best coastal and mountain hikes. It’s a great drive, but an even more epic bike journey.
Address: North Highland Initiative, Wick Harbour Offices, Wick, Caithness KW1 5HA | Tel: 01955 609806
Fly to Inverness

19. Go slow with walking in Portugal

The Rota Vicentina is a circular walking route made up of fisherman’s trails and ancient routes, stretching 400km through south-west Portugal, from Cabo de St Vincent to Santiago do Cacem, taking in dramatic coastal and rural scenery along the way. Do sections or do it all and let Inntravel arrange overnight stays and transport of your bags.
Address: Whitwell Grange, near Castle Howard, Yorkshire YO60 7JU| Tel: 01653 617001
Fly to Faro

20. Cycle Cyprus

See a different, less-explored side of Cyprus with a trip on the recently opened 69km cycle route from Limassol Marina to Platres. This one’s for the fit, as there are some tough climbs, but pretty villages, great views and the vineyards of the Troodos mountains are your rewards. Bikin’Cyprus Adventures can supply bicycles, maps and more. 
Address: 8 Mina Antoniou, CY7740, Tochni | Tel: +357 2433 2112
Fly to Larnaca