13 Unique Things To Do In Europe

8 October 2015

Seen one too many photos of the Eiffel Tower? Jaded by the queues at the Colosseum? Skip the obvious tourist haunts with these 13 unique things to do in Europe for a holiday with a difference.

1. Turkey: Ride in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia

 A hot air balloon flight with a difference (all images: Getty)

See the topographical oddities of fairy chimneys, pigeon houses and craggy hills unfold from above Cappadocia's other-worldly landscape.

2. Slovenia: Kayak on Lake Bled

Bled is considered Slovenia's last wilderness frontier and its centrepiece is sprawling Lake Bled. Board a kayak to circumnavigate its shores, ensuring you stop off at Bled Island for a dip along the way.

3. Spain: Embark on a pintxos bar crawl through San Sebastian

The petite coastal city of San Sebastian has much to tantalise the foodie. A visit here is incomplete without tasting your way through pintxos (Basque tapas) bars in Old Town.

4. Croatia: Swim in Plitvice Lakes National Park

 Live out your mermaid dreams in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Live out your mermaid dreams amid cascading interlinked lakes, caves and waterfalls surrounded by a lush forest within the whimsical, fairytale-like paradise of Plitvice Lakes National Park.

5. Germany: Visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

Continue the fairytale theme with a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty's Royal Palace in the Disney movie. Though this time, it's less spinning wheels and more Neo-Romanesque architecture.

6. Iceland: Soak up the hot waters in the Blue Lagoon

 Soak your worries away in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon

Never mind the hotel day spa, Mother Nature has blessed Iceland with the milky-aqua Blue Lagoon. Maintaining a balmy 40-degree Celsius year-round, bathing in the restorative waters will do wonders for your mind, body and soul.

7. Belgium: Embark on a comic strip walk in Brussels

Street art and comic book enthusiasts rejoice! Brussels' Comic Book Route is a dedicated path that leads you through intriguing neighbourhoods in the company of iconic characters such as Tintin who adorn nearly 50 gables.

8. Scotland: Partake in a traditional cèilidh

Dust off your dancing shoes for an evening of song, dance and good times as part of a cèilidh, Scotland's social tradition involving folk music and storytelling. Extra points for wearing a kilt.

9. England: Get on your soapbox at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London

Need to get something off your chest? Head to the Speakers' Corner in London where many before you – including the likes of Karl Marx and George Orwell – have preached and pronounced, canvassed and converted.

10. Romania: Take the (Transfagarasan) road less travelled

 The road trip to end all road trips

Arguably one of Europe's best road trips can be found on the Transfagarasan Road. Complete with endless curves and sheer 2000-metre drops, this zigzag highway passes over the Fagaras Mountains in Transylvania.

11. Italy: Enrol in gladiator school

Re-create Roman history on the Appian Way and master the basics of gladiatorial combat with members of the Historic Group of Rome. Put your skills to the test and take part in a gladiator tournament!

12. Poland: Swap après ski in the Swiss Alps for the rugged beauty of Zakopane

 Sunset in Zakopane

Zakopane in Poland's south is primed for adventure pursuits. In summer, get your thrills with spelunking (caving), and when the temperature drops, snow bunnies flock for the skiing, snowboarding and ski jumping.

13. Netherlands: Chill out in Amsterdam's Schellingwouderpark

A quieter alternative to Vondelpark, this serene expanse is a great spot to picnic, pick blackberries or ice-skate in winter. The best part? To get there, you pull yourself over a creek bed on a small platform!


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Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.