10 Popular Extreme Sports Around the World

10 Popular Extreme Sports Around the World

Traveling is all about seeing new places and experiencing new things, but have you ever considered traveling to participate in a new, thrilling sport? Not for the faint of heart, extreme sports are sports that get the adrenaline pumping, and they can be a great way to participate in an important part of a new culture. 

In this article, we’ll highlight how extreme sports differ from region to region and let you know all about where the best place to try them is. 

From South Africa to Ireland and from Thailand to the Philippines, these are ten of the most popular extreme sports around the world.

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1. Paragliding

Paragliding is the act of sailing through the air with a parachute and a harness and can be done solo or as a pair. While paragliding may sound scary or dangerous, paragliding is a very safe sport when organized by experts in the sport, such as those who operate licensed paragliding air tours. 

While paragliding is a well-loved extreme sport around the world, it is perhaps most popular in Peru, where the famous Andes mountains make for the perfect backdrop for the sport. People from around the world can try out this unique and daring sport, especially in the capital city of Lima.  

Sailing the skies of Lima, paragliding melds thrill with safety, framed by the majestic Andes.
Photo: Marius Pirvu / Shutterstock.com

Daredevils and those interested in trying something new alike can try this sport even as a beginner with guided paragliding adventures found in Lima. 

While visiting Lima, adventurers can also enjoy the year-round warm temperatures and coastal views, enjoy historical architecture, and sample delicious Peruvian cuisine such as ceviche. 

Sail through the air in Peru

2. Ziplining

There’s no better way to see a new place than from high up on a zipline! Ziplining, while an extreme sport, is a very accessible sport to anyone brave enough to step into a harness. The extreme sport consists of getting attached to a harness which is hooked up to a line that is generally high up in the air. The zipliner rides the line from one end to the other, enjoying thrilling speeds and stunning views. 

Experience the rush of ziplining in South Africa, where heart-stopping heights and breathtaking views over Table Mountain create unforgettable adventures.
Photo: Peter Mullineux/ Shutterstock.com

South Africa is known for its ziplining courses, ranging high over the Table Mountain Reserve near Cape Town. In fact, there are many zipline tours and forest adventures throughout the country. The most popular are located in the capital city of Cape Town, with stunning, unforgettable views of the natural scenery at heart-stopping heights.

Ziplining enthusiasts from all around the world can visit Cape Town, South Africa, to participate in this thrilling sport.

Enjoy stunning views in South Africa

3. Bungee Jumping

Also well-loved in South Africa, bungee jumping is another extreme sport that involves extreme heights. Bungee jumpers from around the world flock to the South African coastline to participate in this daring sport. Bungee jumping consists of jumping from a high platform or cliff while attached to a springy cord which allows you to fall before launching you back skyward.

Dive into the thrill of bungee jumping in George, South Africa, where the leap from the world’s highest bridge promises an unmatched adrenaline rush
Photo: natalia_maroz/ Shutterstock.com

People love South Africa for bungee jumping because of the world’s highest bridge bungee jump, which is located at Bloukrans Bungy near the city of George, South Africa. 

Those who visit South Africa can also see the stunning sights the country has to offer, including beaches, famous national parks, and gorgeous African wildlife.

See the stunning sights

4. Sandboarding

Much like surfing and skateboarding, sandboarding is another extreme sport that involves the participant using a board to “surf” sand dunes. In fact, sandboarding is known as a combination of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. 

Carve the dunes of Kangaroo Island, where the thrill of sandboarding meets the beauty of Australia’s iconic landscapes.
Photo: Kseniya Resphoto  / Shutterstock.com

Australia is home to many lovers of sandboarding, and it is extremely popular in the region of Little Sahara in Vivionne Bay on Kangaroo Island, aptly named for its many sand dunes. These dunes are legendary in Australia and are used for a variety of extreme sports.

Visitors to Kangaroo Island and Vivionne Bay can also enjoy the beach, local fishing, and the nearby city of Adelaide.

Enjoy the beach in Australia

5. Mountain Biking

When people think of visiting the UK, images of red doubledecker buses and Buckingham Palace may come to mind. But have you ever thought about what extreme sport would be popular in the United Kingdom? 

The answer is… Mountain Biking!

Amidst Staffordshire’s rolling hills, mountain biking thrives, offering trails and thrills beyond the UK’s urban pulse.
Photo: anatoliy_gleb / Shutterstock.com

Mountain biking is extremely popular in the UK, especially in Staffordshire near Birmingham. There are many trails located in this area that are regularly maintained and updated and include a variety of difficulty levels. Each of the trails was completely volunteer-built by a group that has been working on the mountain biking trails for over 20 years. 

So, while you enjoy the classic accommodations of the UK, fish and chips, tea, and a classic English Breakfast, be sure to try out some mountain biking on your next trip. 

Try out mountain biking in the UK

6. Kayaking

Kayaking is one of the more relaxing extreme sports, but it can also be quite thrilling! In Ireland, lovers of kayaking prefer to spend their time paddling in the Munster Blackwater located in the counties of Kerry, Cork, and Waterford. However, there are many rivers throughout Ireland that see heavy traffic from paddlers of all skill levels. 

Navigate the spirited currents of Munster Blackwater, Ireland, for an exhilarating kayaking adventure amidst a landscape steeped in Viking history.
Photo: Artur Didyk  / Shutterstock.com

The Munster Blackwater, also known as The Blackwater, is well-loved for its forgivingness with beginners and its popularity with locals, providing an authentic Irish kayaking experience. Visitors who want to kayak in The Blackwater should visit Waterford, Ireland, and find a kayaking group from there. 

While visiting Waterford, travelers can enjoy the uniqueness of Waterford’s rich history, including it being founded by Vikings. Homages to Vikings can be found throughout the city, in its cultural center and tourist attractions. Visitors can also enjoy medieval museums and a UNESCO site in the Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark. 

Enjoy the uniqueness founded by Vikings

7. Downhill Skiing

Downhill skiing is a great extreme sport to participate in on vacation because there are many levels to downhill skiing. Beginners can start out on smaller, less steep hills in order to learn the basics, while advanced or more adventurous types can tackle routes reserved for those with a higher skill level.

The best part about downhill skiing is that it can be found in a variety of places around the United States. Downhill skiing resorts exist in 37 out of the 50 United States, with even traditionally warm states being home to functioning downhill ski resorts. That’s right, you can just as easily go downhill skiing in Alaska as you can in California!

Carve through the pristine slopes of Colorado, where the thrill of downhill skiing meets breathtaking alpine vistas.
Photo: Maksym Fesenko / Shutterstock.com

Downhill skiers overwhelmingly love resorts in Colorado for skiing, including those in Aspen and Vail. Visitors to Colorado can also stop in the capital city of Denver for fun activities, including professional sporting events, art museums, and the Denver Zoo.

Go downhill skiing in the US

8. Cave Diving

Thailand is known for its many gorgeous caves that are perfect for the extreme sport of cave diving. Fun, interesting, and a little bit risky, adventurers will love Thailand for its cave diving adventures. 

Plunge into the hidden depths of Song Hong, Thailand, where cave diving reveals a submerged world of serene beauty.
Photo: Levent Konuk / Shutterstock.com

Travelers can book cave diving adventures through tour companies to ensure safety and lodging, as many of Thailand’s best caves for cave diving are found in remote locations, such as Song Hong, where you can explore long, intricate natural formations and dive in pristine blue waters. 

We recommend travelers visit Phuket and travel to caves from there by drive through tour companies for the best experience. While in Phuket, you can also explore the night markets of Thailand, visit the beach, or visit an elephant sanctuary park.

Dive in pristine blue waters in Thailand

9. Free Diving

Italy is known for its gorgeous historical architecture, but it is also known for its amount of waterfront locations that are perfect for the extreme sport of free diving. It is also said that Italy is the historical home of free diving, having possibly been founded in Naples, Italy. 

With Italy being in the Mediterranean, there are thousands of miles of coastline with warm water that is perfect for free diving. While you can free dive just about anywhere in Italy, free divers recommend going to the birthplace of free diving to have the best experience. 

Immerse in the serene depths of Naples, Italy, the historical heart of freediving, where the Mediterranean embraces divers with its crystalline waters.
Photo: Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock.com

Naples is a wonderful place to free dive and has an official diving center that you can visit, or you can visit the famous Island of Elba from Naples and view stunning, colorful coral as you explore. 

While in Naples, you should also try authentic Italian cuisine and visit historic castles, monasteries, and museums such as the Piazza del Plebiscito and the Ovo Castle.

Free dive in Italy

10. Wakeboarding

More intense than surfing, wakeboarding is an extreme sport that involves being pulled behind a boat or a jet ski and surfing the waves left by the motorized water vehicle as it propels through the waves. The sport is adored in the Philippines, and tourists and locals alike love to participate in this thrilling activity. 

You can find the best wakeboarding in the Philippines by visiting the capital city of Manila, where you can visit numerous wakeparks nearby. Wakeparks are watersports parks that offer wakeboarding, similar to skateparks where you could skateboard. These parks are a great place for beginners to get a taste of what wakeboarding has to offer.  

While in Manila, you should also enjoy the historical landmarks such as Fort Santiago, the numerous shopping malls, and the many gorgeous churches around the city. 

Surf the waves in Philippines

Ride the vibrant wake in the Philippines, where the thrill of wakeboarding meets the warmth of tropical waters at sunset.
Photo: Ohrim/ Shutterstock.com

See new places and experience the new with ZenHotels

Which extreme sport are you excited to try? Wherever your travels take you, extreme sports seem to be part of our global culture. People all around the world have found new and innovative ways to get the blood pumping and view amazing sights from terrifying heights. So, which extreme sport will you try on your next vacation? 

To visit any of these destinations and more for your next vacation, you can search for deals on accommodations with ZenHotels. With ZenHotels, you can ensure that you book quality accommodations for your next vacation and find the perfect place to stay while exploring a new extreme sport. 

Book on ZenHotels

Tags: Ireland, Italy, Philippines, South Africa
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