THE WORLD’S TOP OUTDOOR ADVENTURE HOTSPOTS
For people around the world, much of the past two years will have been spent dreaming of faraway outdoor adventures through TikTok and Instagram, rather than experiencing them first-hand. So it’s no surprise that we’re now desperate to get away from our screens, visit some epic locations for ourselves and scratch that itch to explore the great outdoors. If you’ve been desperate to tick off skydiving from your bucket list, or you’ve always wanted to head out on a big mountain hike, we’ve got just the thing for you. We’ve taken a look at destinations around the world and pulled together a top list of those that are sure to quench your thirst for adventure.
Looking at a range of outdoor adventures such as hikes, national parks, campsites, rock climbing, surfing, kayaking and skydiving, we’ve crunched the data to reveal which countries have the most of each activity available per mile. Our scoring system then highlights the best spots in the world for an outdoor adventure.
THE TOP 25 COUNTRIES FOR AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Europe takes the crown as the best continent for any adventure seekers, with 18 of the top 25 countries located in this area, and Croatia coming in as the top country overall for outdoor adventures. However, Asia follows in second, with the continent making up three further places among the top-ranked countries.
Costa Rica and Puerto Rico feature in the top 25 for Central America, in 6th and 21st positions and New Zealand comes in 23rd place, the only country in Oceania to make the top 25 list.
Top 3 Adventure Hotspots Of The World
1. Croatia, Europe
Known for its pretty coastline and national parks, Croatia tops the charts as the best destination for an outdoor adventure, with a total adventure score of 81.6. Avid rock climbers can head to Paklenica National Park, which is not only the most popular rock climbing spot in Croatia but also Southern Europe. With 400 marked climbing routes of varying difficulty from grade 3 to 8b+, there’s something on offer for climbers of a great range of abilities. While the coastal areas of the country bask in the Mediterranean heat during the summer months, there can still be rain in the northern regions, so it may be worth packing a light waterproof to keep you dry while out on any hikes.
Top 3 Adventure Hotspots Of The World
2. Israel, Middle East
Although famed for the Dead Sea, Israel has many more outdoor adventures on offer - including plenty of hikes and national parks to visit. With lush hikes such as Nahal Jilabun and Nahal Amud which traverse beside rivers and waterfalls, and opportunities to hike around five of the world’s seven craters including Makhtesh Ramon, there are no end of landscapes on offer for those visiting the country. Although this is another country that enjoys the heat of the Mediterranean, the topography also means that it can be colder in the evenings in some areas, so it may be worth packing an organic cotton hoodie or other layer for when the sun goes down.
Top 3 Adventure Hotspots Of The World
3. Hong Kong, Asia
Although it may be known as a hub for international trade and business, Hong Kong also has a number of outlying islands, sandy beaches, and winding mountain paths for any budding adventurer to explore, placing it in third overall. Scoring highly for national parks, following in second behind Singapore for this specific metric, Hong Kong has a significant amount of green space available alongside the buzzing city, with 24 national parks for nature lovers to explore. The Tai Mo Shan Country Park is one of the biggest and best in Hong Kong, with Tai Mo Shan also the highest peak at 957 metres high. The park also has more than 100 species of birds, butterflies, turtles and snakes to spot while wandering through. However, the park is known to have a bitter frost in the winter season, holding records for the coldest temperatures, so packing a jacket to keep you warm may be a wise move!
TOP COUNTRIES FOR HIKES
When it comes to hikes, Hong Kong tops the charts with a full score of 100 and 535 hikes listed on All Trails, equating to a hike being available every 0.8 square miles. Popular hikes like The Peak offer amazing views over the harbour and city, while the Dragon’s Back hike looks over the Southern Island and coastline, ending at Big Wave Bay.
As well as being among the top five destinations overall, Singapore ranks in second for its many hikes with a score of 99 out of 100, with one hiking route every 1.5 square miles on average. Switzerland, Andorra, and Belgium complete the top five hiking destinations, with the European mountains offering plenty of opportunities to get out into nature.
THE BEST COUNTRIES FOR NATIONAL PARKS
With the equivalent of one national park every square mile, Singapore is revealed as the best destination for national parks, closely followed by Hong Kong. Andorra follows in third with three national parks - the Valle de Sorteny, the Madriu-Perafita-Claror, and the Valles del Comapedrosa - in the just 181 square miles of the country, putting it among the highest concentration of protected spaces in the world. Israel and Mauritius complete the top five in fourth and fifth positions.
TOP COUNTRIES FOR CAMPING
Australia is ranked as the top destination in the world for camping, with 193,027 uses of #campingaustralia, which perhaps isn’t a surprise given the country’s popularity among backpackers due to its freedom camping spots. These are designated, usually, free areas where campers can park up and stay for the night with no need to pre-book - they also allow adventurers to spend the night off-grid. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the many camping spots across the country offer any budding adventurer the opportunity to really enjoy the rainforests, coastlines, and dramatic outback landscapes.
Another backpacker hotspot, Thailand ranks as the second destination for camping, with many of the national parks offering the chance to get back to nature. The United Kingdom, Malaysia, and France round off the five best places for enjoying a night under the stars.
THE BEST COUNTRIES FOR ROCK CLIMBING
According to our data, Malta is the top spot to visit for any avid rock climbers with one rock climbing activity every 3.4 square miles. With bouldering and deep-water soloing also on offer on the island, there are plenty of routes to explore across the coastline, inland valleys, and caves and ridges.
Due to its warm temperatures and easy access limestone crags, Puerto Rico has also become a popular sport-climbing destination for visitors from around the world, with its routes landing it in second place, at one every 5.0 square miles. Once again, Hong Kong and Singapore rank within the top five due to their hilly landscapes, with the small European country of Andorra placing in fifth.
THE TOP COUNTRIES FOR SURFING
Surfing, in particular, is one skill that many people have on their bucket lists, so anyone looking to polish their skills in kite-surfing, wind-surfing or more traditional styles of surfing, should head to the top destination of Mauritius. Malta offers a surfing haven for anyone looking to stay within Europe, with one surfing activity available every 31 miles squared on average, as does the Netherlands in fifth place.
THE TOP COUNTRIES FOR KAYAKING
Kayaking enables tourists to see a completely different side to a city, with the water offering a new perspective, even for the most regular visitors. This activity is also one that’s suitable for those of most ages and abilities, with guided kayaking tours including tuition, and the sport inducing slightly less of an adrenaline rush in comparison to skydiving. Singapore River, Kallang River, and the Macritchie Reservoir are among the top kayaking locations in Singapore, and definitely, ones to add to your list when planning a stay.
Situated in a bay on the southwestern coast of the Persian Gulf, the easy access to the water in Bahrain makes the country another of the top destinations for kayaking. As an alternative to enjoying the beach, taking to the water would be a great way to spend the day.
THE BEST COUNTRIES FOR SKYDIVING
Skydiving is another bucket list item for many people around the world - but instead of heading to jump over the palm in Dubai, it’s instead France that should be the go-to destination for this activity, with the country ranking top for the thrilling activity as a result of its 130 skydiving sites. The mountain views of Germany and Switzerland also provide the perfect backdrop for skydiving too, rounding off the top five along with the United States, and of course, Australia.
If you’re looking to get back to nature and spend some time enjoying the great outdoors, or already have a trip booked to one of these destinations, we hope we may have sparked your interest in trying a new activity. However, it’s important to always go equipped and although many of the destinations are known for their hot and sunny weather, it can be windy and chilly at times too, so it’s always worth taking an organic cotton hoodie or windbreaker layer to keep you warm.
We compiled a list of 99 countries from around the world and researched a range of outdoor activities including hiking, camping, surfing, rock climbing, kayaking, and national parks to deduce the number of each per country.
For five of the factors (hiking, surfing, rock climbing, kayaking and national parks), the number of activities was compared to the areas of the country in miles squared, with the “one activity per X miles squared” figure used to assign the scores for each factor - the countries with the highest concentration of activities were given the highest scores out of 100.
For skydiving, we looked only at the number of skydiving sites available in the country, with the highest scores given to the regions with the highest number of drop zones.
For camping, we analysed Instagram data to reveal the number of hashtags for each country under the hashtag ‘#camping[country]’ to indicate the popularity of camping in the area. Countries with the highest number of hashtags were given the highest score of 100 (or 50), with the score reducing for lower numbers of hashtags.
With each country having a score out of 100 for each factor, we then calculated an average score out of 100 and used this score to rank the countries from best to worst for outdoor adventures.
Editor’s note: Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon, and Belarus have been left out of this analysis due to current ongoing events and advice.
- National Parks - Wikipedia
- Hikes - All Trails
- Rock climbing - Mountain Project
- Camping - Instagram
- Surfing - TripAdvisor (including surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing)
- Kayaking - Google Maps
- Skydiving - Google Maps
- Country size - Worldometers
All data correct as of March 2022.