Couch potatoes – look the other way. We’ve rounded up ways to scramble, climb, fall, surf and hurl yourself around the planet’s most adrenalin-friendly cities. No experience necessary, just bring guts.
Wakeboarding in Minneapolis
With all those lakes, you’d hope Minneapolis would come up with ever more inventive ways to get wet. And you’d be right. The latest craze to hit the lake is wakesurfing. Unlike wakeboarding, where you’re strapped to a board, with wakesurfing you’re simply riding the boat’s wake – no strings (or rope!) attached. At least, that’s the theory. You’ll hang onto a tow rope to get you started, then it’s just you and the wake – the boat’s about 20 feet in front of you. To dial up the thrills, there are newer boats specifically designed for wakesurfing – with super-sized flaps churning up the water to create larger waves. What you lose in speed (wakesurfers usually whizz across the water at around 15mph, compared to the 20mph+ of wakeboarders) you gain in freedom. And when you fall, which you will, the slam-dunk isn’t nearly as intense. Which is good to know. But don’t, whatever you think, make the mistake of assuming this is just entry level wakeboarding- when you toss that rope away, and it’s just you and the water, you’re going to pray that boat doesn’t leave too much distance between you… Why we love it: Wakeboarding’s fine, but ‘no hands’ is way better!
Treetop adventures in Brussels
Brussels lets its hair down at Wavre, just half an hour south of the city. The park’s tangle of tree-top courses offer thrills of all shapes and sizes, and for all ages. But you’ll head straight to the Black Course, because you’re a regular commando, right? Here, over 10 meters above the ground, your mission – should you accept it – is to complete 35 aerial challenges, canopying your way higher and higher via a range of obstacles designed to push you to the very limit: cycling, surfing, zip-wiring and swinging a path through the treetops. At any time, you’re free to stop, and take the walk of shame back down to the ground again. But this isn’t the Grand Canyon. This is Belgium, and there are little kids diving off trees with zero fear. So you really don’t want to do that, do you? And anyway, if you quit before the end, you’ll miss out on the 400 foot long zipwire ride. And that would be gutting. So what are you waiting for, commando? Why we love it: Because you’re never too old to act like you’re Tarzan. Right?
Abseiling in Cape Town
What’s better than climbing up a mountain? Falling off one! Well, we’re talking controlled descent, rather than anything that would worry your travel insurance people too much. And if you’re looking for city-based mountain thrills, can there be any better than Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain? Here, 1000 meters above sea level, the world’s highest public abseil route offers the ultimate in back-down-to-Earth experiences. On your way down, if you’re not so terrified that you’ve clamped your eyes tight shut, you’ll enjoy unrivalled views of Cape Town, Chapman’s Peak and the sparkling Atlantic sea beyond. For 112 meters, you’ll abseil Table Mountain’s “Long Drop” – a procession of vertical cliffs that culminate in a yawning abyss. You won’t be yawning though. This is adrenalin-central. And it’s guaranteed to test your mettle. Want to work even harder? You can combine some ‘up’ with the ‘down’ with a hike up Skeleton Gorge, a ravine climb and a traverse across to the summit. Table Mountain? You’ll know its nooks and crannies intimately by the time you’ve finished. Why we love it: It’s the biggest abseil in the world. Other thrilling things you can do in Cape Town are paragliding, skydiving, bungy jumping and cage diving.
Bungee Jumping in Glasgow
It’s an impressive sight – and it’s well named. The hulking great crane known as the Titan is a supersized reminder of the days – over 100 years ago – when battleships were refitted on the Clyde. It was the largest cantilever crane in the world when it swung into action. Now it’s you who’ll do the swinging. Highland Fling Urban Bungee (great name, guys) will strap you up and throw you off – hurtling at 50mph on an elastic bungee cord from your perch, 50 meters above the chilly waters of the Clyde. For all of, ooh, five seconds, you’ll enjoy stunning views above the city, and the hills of Loch Lomond beyond. And then again as you bounce back up. And again…Glasgow’s a city that always guarantees to get your blood pumping. Perhaps this isn’t the way you might have had in mind. And that’s just why it’s high on our ‘things to do’ list next time we’re in town. Maybe after a wee dram first, just to steady our nerves…
Why we love it: Get up close and personal with a Glasgow giant. Then fall of it!