Do you love cycling, boarding, hiking, kayaking, climbing, and any other adrenaline-fuelled way to explore the world? If so, it’s time to check out some of the many cool adventure festivals that are held across the globe each year. From an Extreme Sports Festival in Norway and a bike event in Italy, to festivals that celebrate activities like climbing, hiking, skiing, boarding, ballooning, and paragliding, there is an action-packed event to suit pretty much every type of outdoor sport junkie.
If you’re keen to meet some of your heroes in the field, or just want to make new friends while exploring a beautiful part of the world, read on for some of the best adventure festivals around the world to check out in 2015.
1. Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival
Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival
If you can’t get enough of skiing and boarding and other outdoor adventures, check out the annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. The world-renowned festival is headquartered in Banff, in Alberta, Canada. This beautiful part of the world is set within the country’s first national park (it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site) and surrounded by the towering Rockies. Understandably, with such scenery as glacier-hewn peaks, and alpine lakes, and forests, plus epic yearly snowfalls, the event celebrates mountain culture and outdoor pursuits.
The film and book festival showcases the year’s best adventure documentaries and writing, plus features talks by big names of the outdoor world. Attend the festival and you can also participate in a variety of workshops and classes, plus explore exhibitions galore. If you can’t get to Banff for the annual fall event you can instead check it out in a location near you — the festival travels around the world, stopping in around 240 locations across 36 countries on the yearly tour.
2. Bike Festival Garda in Italy
Bike Festival Garda in Italy photo by gardaonbike.com
Do you have a cycling trip in Europe written down on your bucket list? If so, snag discount tickets through Flights.com to northern Italy so that you can take part in the annual Bike Festival Garda. This is the largest mountain-bike festival held in Europe, and it runs each May in the town at the top of Lake Garda.
The perfect spot for mountain biking and windsurfing, the region tends to be overrun by more than 30,000 tourists and cyclists each year when this festival comes around. The Riva del Garda features a network of rocky trails that circle around the surrounding mountains, including Monte Brione. While these tracks are always popular, during the festival cyclists can also take part in mass night-rides or an off-road marathon race. The event also features a bike fair with more than 150 exhibitors showcasing their latest and greatest wares.
3. Fort William Mountain Festival in Scotland
Fort William Mountain Festival in Scotland
For travelers who don’t mind colder weather, a trip to Scotland for the annual Fort William Mountain Festival is in order. Britain’s most northerly adventure festival is held in Fort William, a place seen as one of the top spots for outdoor activities in the United Kingdom.
The event celebrates mountain culture and features a diverse range of entertaining programs. During the four-day festival, travelers can enjoy a number of lectures, exhibitions, films, winter-skills workshops, and guided walks. Adventure lovers wanting to stretch their bodies can tackle an indoor ice climbing wall (the largest in the world) or hike their way up the highest mountain in Scotland, Ben Nevis.
4. Extreme Sports Festival in Norway
Extreme Sports Festival in Norway photo by VisitNorway.com
Another great option for adventurous tourists is the Extreme Sports Festival in Norway. The Ekstremsportveko event is held amongst the wildly beautiful rocky gorges and picturesque waterfalls of Voss, in the western part of the country. The adrenaline-charged festival draws crowds from around the world who are interested in activities such as skateboarding, sky diving, white-water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, BASE jumping, climbing, hang gliding, longboarding, and wing-suit flying.
The week-long event, known as “Veko” to locals, has been running since 1998 and expands in scope every year. Participants can enter competitions in a huge variety of sports as well as attend music concerts that feature both Norwegian and international acts. The festival also boasts other events such as street art displays, capoeira workshops, and a second-hand market.
No matter the type of adventure that gets your heart racing and blood pumping, you’ll find a fun event held around the world that you can attend each year. Apart from enjoying outdoor activities in stunning settings, you’ll also have the chance to meet like-minded souls, listen to talks from your heroes of sport, and test your physical and mental endurance.