The wettest June since records began has started the British summer off like a disappointing damp squib. Those flip-flops are still well and truly stuck at the bottom of the shoe cupboard and the smart adventure holiday ideas you had remain unexplored.
Summer is starting to feel as mythical as the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas.
But fear not. Venture just a few hours from our grey shores and summer does still exist.
Whether you’re looking to top up that tan or get the adrenaline pumping, here are some ideas that should definitely get you reaching for those holiday request forms.
If you want to brighten up your summer where better to start than Almeria, Spain. With over 320 days of sunshine a year it’s perfect for outdoor holidays – it’s also one of the driest places in Europe and the only major European city with a subtropical climate.
Its arid landscape has lead to many westerns being filmed here. So if you want to follow in the footsteps of The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, treat yourself to a horse-riding holiday through the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata. Better to leave the gun slinging to the professionals though.
With an average temperature of 24˚C, Cyprus is a safe bet when it comes to summer sun. This hallowed home of Halloumi cheese (and if that’s not reason enough to visit, we don’t know what is) is packed with history from the ancient Greeks, the Romans and the Ottomans, right through to its more turbulent recent past.
Cyprus is now fantastic for outdoor holidays offering adventures from bungee jumping to snorkelling and rock climbing to kayaking.
Germany and the Danube
If you want to leave your beach towel at home and tick a few more countries off of your ’done’ list, a cycle trip down the Danube is a great place to start.
Most peddlers start in Germany and finish in Budapest, taking in Vienna and Bratislava on the way.
You can easily plan the trip yourself, as there is plenty of accommodation and information along the way. But if you don’t want those pannier bags weighing you down, there are tours that will organize your baggage, bike rental and over-night stays, so all you have to worry about is the saddle-sore.
To really make the most of the summer sun, why not go to a place where it never sets? From mountain biking and canoeing to bush craft safaris, Finnish Lapland is a great place for adventure travel. Well inside the Arctic Circle, and steeped in Sami culture, Lapland’s tranquil beauty and stunning scenery make it the perfect place to enjoy the midnight sun.
The Croatian coast has developed quickly over the last few years, and can sometimes feel a bit tourist heavy. For a less trodden Adriatic adventure, try flying into Dubrovnik or Split and then heading south.
Travel through Montenegro and into Albania, enjoying the latter’s pristine southern beaches before hopping onto a ferry for the return flight from Corfu. There are companies that offer this trip in as little as three days, but you should probably allow one to two weeks to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Lets cross the Strait of Gibraltar now and head down to Africa. Morocco is a popular destination for adventure travel, and sandwiched between the Sahara and the Atlantic with the Atlas Mountains in the middle, you can see why.
To get a taste of traditional Berber life, try a two or three night desert stay and experience the best of Moroccan hospitality and the majesty of the Sahara.
And if all the tranquillity gets a bit much, shatter the silence of the desert with a heart-pumping dune-buggy ride.
US road trip
Pretty much everyone who has read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road or seen Thelma and Louise will have fanaticized about their very own American road trip.
There is something hopelessly romantic about the idea of driving along dusty roads and through small mid-west towns. And with the cost of a two-week car rental beginning in New York and finishing in San Francisco starting from around £500, this summer could be the perfect time to hit the road.
If it’s surfing you’re after, you couldn’t get a much better spot than the Brazilian island of Florianopolis. With 42 pristine beaches and waves straight off the Atlantic Ocean this is a true surfer’s paradise. Once you’ve surfed yourself out for the day there are lush rolling hills, lagoons and white sandy beaches to get lost in.
Florianopolis can also compete when it comes to nightlife. With bars and clubs packed with fun-loving Brazilians, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to your evening Après-Surf.
Havana has got to be one of the most colourful cities in the world, so where better to go to brighten up your summer holidays than this rustic Caribbean island.
The best way to explore the capital is on foot. Take a stroll along the Malecón, the sea wall that runs along the coast, in the evenings this is where the locals go to party, so bring a bottle and join in to experience some traditional Cuban hospitality.
For our final summer holiday idea let’s forget the weather and stay in Britain. It may not be as exotic as the Caribbean or even the Costa del Sol, still Swanage, Dorset is a great place for a summer ‘staycation’. Offering activities from coaststeering and climbing to jet skiing and windsurfing, as well as a decent line in cream teas it’s every bit the English resort.
Diving is also popular as Swanage Bay is very sheltered, making it perfect for novices. There are also several wrecks in the deeper waters nearby for more experienced divers.
So there it is, whether you want to peddle across Central Europe, canter through Spain or burn rubber in the USA there should be something here that appeals to your adventurous side.
So get packing and make 2012 a summer to remember.
For more adventure travel info and guides, check out: Adventure Sports Gear: Penknife or Multitool?/ Top 10 travel apps for iPhone, iPad and smartphones / The Ultimate List of Extreme Sports / Airline weight restrictions: what every traveller needs to know/ The Rise of Gastro Adventuring
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