As the continent slowly seems to open up and the prospect of travel, at least within the EU, looks more and more like a viable option for the end of summer, we thought this would be a good moment to give our customers who are looking for active holidays in Europe, a little bit of inspiration.

Our active holidays in Europe, and all over the globe, get you off the beaten track by helping you explore the places further from the standard tourist trails.

Whether it’s cycling in the rolling hills and sweeping country roads of Umbria, hiking the stunning Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, surfing on the pristine beaches of Portugal or snowshoeing in the shimmering peaks of the Pyrenees, our active holidays are designed to show you the parts most tourists don’t see, all whilst getting you in touch with the locals and delivering a unique experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Because you’ll be travelling and exploring with a local, you’ll discover the best walking trails, the secret kayaking backwaters and the most beautiful summits for views that only the locals know about, helping you not just discover a new destination, but explore it like a local.

So let’s take a look at some of our most compelling activity holidays in Europe, and get you exploring stunning new destinations in an active and energetic way.

Snowshoeing Adventure in the French Pyrenees

people snowshoeing in the french pyrenees

You don’t have to be a ski demon to enjoy the incredible landscape of the French Pyrenees. On this snowshoeing adventure in the French Pyrenees, you’ll be able to make the most of the rugged, snow-capped peaks, the quiet pine forests and the beautifully clean and crisp mountain air by foot.

Less touristy, but in many places just as beautiful as the Alps, the Pyrenees represent an opportunity to get away from the crowds of tourists and the queues of skiers , and a chance to spot eagles, bear tracks and red deer in the wilderness.

This active holiday in some of the most untouched regions in Europe is combined with foodie and cultural experiences, including night time snowshoe walks to torch lit feasts under the stars and incredible home-cooked meals made with seasonal produce every day.

Conquer your first Pyrenees summit, gaze in awe at panoramic views of distant mountain peaks, cosy up by the fire in the evenings with a glass of local wine or mulled cider, and indulge on world-class French Pyrenees cuisine, leaving with memories that will last you a lifetime.

Surfing in Ericeira

What better place than to take to the waves and get a proper authentic, local surfing experience than in one of the world’s surfing capitals, Portugal. Here, surfing is more than just a hobby, for many it is a way of life with a whole culture built around it, upgrading this from a simple activity holiday in Europe to an essential local experience in Portugal.

The retreat takes place in the beachside town of Ericeira, a beautifully preserved location that has held on to its distinct character despite becoming a surfing hotspot thanks to the miles of incredible beaches nearby.

surfers on beach in Portugal

You’ll be staying in hugely social, newly renovated traditional Portuguese house, where after a day spent in the waves you can choose to light up the BBQ and crack open a couple of beers with new friends, or simply relax in a hammock and snooze the afternoon away.

Surfing lessons are suitable for anyone from absolute beginner to an expert who is looking to hone their technique, and with local guides and instructors who know all the beaches, currents and tides like the back of their hands, they can find you the very best spots to suit you, and get you up and experiencing the thrill of surfing in no time.

Horse Riding Holiday in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

person looking at a view on horseback in andalucia

Back to the mountains now for a unique horse riding holiday, that gets you off the beaten track in ways that many active holidays in Europe simply wouldn’t be able to do. Getting on horseback allows you to explore trails and reach places that you would struggle to achieve on foot, and would find literally impossible in a car, and with local guides showing you the way, you can be sure that you are experiencing the very best of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Spain.

You’ll spend four full days trekking through the mountains, using old Moorish mule trails that don’t only show off incredible views (on a clear day the African coastline is clearly visible), but also immerse you in the culture of a region that still shows the marks of centuries of tradition and history.

Whilst trekking, you’ll be staying in basic, remote, yet clean and comfortable mountain cottages, allowing you to experience the feeling of truly getting off the beaten track and out into the wilderness of the Andalusian mountains, much like those intrepid explorers centuries before you.

For the most part, your base will be located in the spa town of Lanjaron, near Granada, where you will find properly authentic local culture and cuisine, and the secret to everlasting youth at the well-renowned springs in the town!

Popular Active Holidays in Europe

36 Hour Private Adventure

Wales, Snowdonia

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Snowshoeing Foodie Adventure in the Pyrenees

France, French Pyrenees

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Yoga & Cycling Holiday in Casperia


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Surfing Experience in Ericeira

Portugal, Lisbon

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Yoga & Cycling Holiday in Casperia

When it comes to perfect cycling scenery, it doesn’t get much better than the beautiful scenery just an hour north of Rome in Casperia. You’ll stay in a completely pedestrianised village, making it a cyclist’s paradise as you cruise through the picturesque streets and squares, and as you explore the roads beyond the village the scenery opens up into beautiful rolling hills topped with medieval villages.

Your Italian cycling holiday will be based in a stunning renovated house in the village of Casperia, where you’ll have views of the lush countryside and spend your relaxation time surrounded by ancient olive groves and next to the private swimming pool.

active holiday in europe cycling in casperia

This most relaxing of active holidays in Europe also combines your cycling tours with rejuvenating yoga sessions, just a short walk away from your accommodation. Each morning you can enjoy yoga sessions in a beautiful studio with views of the Sabina hills, and spend any free time you have exploring the nearby hot springs, the local cafes and restaurants, other rustic little villages, or the incredible city of Rome itself.

Like all of our activity holidays in Italy, you’ll discover the very best of local Italian cuisine, culture and traditions, all whilst staying in gorgeous accommodation and getting away from the crowds on cycling excursions to some of the very best secret attractions in the area, known only to the locals.

36 Hour Private Adventure in Snowdonia

wild camping at sunrise

For something a little closer to home, head to what is often seen as to be the adventure capital of Europe, and the rugged mountains, wild lakes and steep-sided valleys of Snowdonia. On this action-packed, 36 hour whirlwind tour, you’ll squeeze in as much activity as possible for a one-of-kind, unforgettable experience.

Designed for a private group of 2-4, you’ll start your experience zip lining through an old slate quarry at over 100mph on the fastest zip line on earth, before you embark on a coasteering trip on the rugged, wild isle of Anglesey, leaping from sea cliffs and scrambling along narrow ledges in the salt spray.

You’ll then wild camp in the dark sky reserve of Snowdonia National Park, waking to drink in the incredible sunrise before setting off on a guided hike to Llangollen. Once here, you’ll get to experience the thrill of riverbugging, swooping along river rapids just inches above the foaming water, before finishing your 36 hours by unleashing your inner Alex Honnold on a climbing and abseiling excursion on sheer, rugged cliffs.

Intense and action-packed, this is an active experience that you are sure to never forget, and as you make your way home you can look back on a weekend that you have seriously made the most of.

Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we offer a wide variety of activity holidays in countries ranging from France to Finland, Bulgaria to Brazil, Costa Rica to Cambodia, Iceland to Italy, and so much more.

Whether you choose cooking in Italy or surfing in Morocco, there is one thing you can be certain of – our experiences will always get you doing something authentic, meeting local people, and discovering a place as it should be discovered – like a local.

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