Have you ever dreamed of flying? What can be more exhilarating? When I was young all I wanted to do was fly, and although that dream came to a screeching halt when I developed a sudden fear of heights, it lives on in my nephew who is collecting feathers for wings he plans on building for himself. The good news is that you don’t have to grow a pair of wings or strap on a parachute to experience the freedom and exhilaration of flying. For the thrill-seeking adventure travellers out there and those who dream of flying, an adrenaline-pumping zip line experience is the perfect way to get a bird’s-eye view of the world with just the right mix of fear and excitement. Europe has some fantastic zip wire adventures for those who want to experience their holiday destination from above. Here are just a few:
Zip World Snowdonia, Wales
Zip World is located in the Gwynedd region of north Wales, at the site of Penrhyn slate quarry, and is the home of the longest zip line in Europe. You can start out your adventure with the Little Zipper, which gives you the chance to fly superman-style over treetops at 30mph. When you’ve had time to catch your breath you’ll bump your way up the quarry in a tour truck to the Big Zipper. The one mile zip wire has spectacular views of the region surrounding the quarry, and it’s safe enough for even the kids to enjoy flying across the quarry lake at 90mph. It’s an action packed adventure the whole family can enjoy.
When you’re not on a zip wire: Zip World is on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, so when you’re not flying through the air at 90mph you can enjoy an amazing variety of outdoor activities from hiking, cycling and mountain climbing to birdwatching and white water rafting. You can also visit historic attractions like Conwy Castle and explore picturesque villages like Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert.
Zipline Stoderzinken, Austria
One of the most beautiful places to experience the thrills of zip-lining is in Austria. The lush meadows, forests and Alpine mountains create an amazing backdrop. One of the most popular spots for zip-lining in Austria is Zipline Stoderzinken, in picturesque Gröbming in Styria. The zip wire is divided into two sections, with a total length of 2,500m. You can enjoy the magnificent views as you travel at around 70mph, 120ft in the air. Kids who are 8 years and older can also experience the thrills of Zipline Stoderzinken.
When you’re not on a zip wire: If you’re traveling with kids you should also visit Abenteuerpark Gröbming, which has 18 different rope courses, including a mini one for the 3 year olds. You can also explore the beautiful Styria region which is known as the green heart of Europe. To the north west of Gröbming you’ll find Salzburg, where you can visit the birthplace of Mozart, see Hohensalzburg Castle and take a Sound of Music tour.
St. Vigil Zip Line, Italy
In the South Tyrol province of northern Italy you’ll find a 3,2km zip wire that stretches through the Dolomites over San Vigilio di Marebbe (St. Vigil) to the valley below. Feel the wind in your hair as you soar along several zip lines that zigzag their way down the mountain. The St. Vigil Zip Line is part of an extensive outdoor adventure park and is even suitable for kids, although they must be accompanied by an adult. The outstanding views from the zip lines and platforms make St. Vigil a must-see for any adrenaline junkie.
When you’re not on a zip wire: You can spend more time in the beautiful outdoors by hiking around Alpe di Fanes or Alpe di Sennes. There are some fantastic attractions in South Tyrol that are worth visiting like the South Tyrolean Museum of Culture and History, Mareccio Castle, and the spectacular Trauttmansdorff Castle Gardens.
Grindelwald “First Flieger” ZipRider, Switzerland
Just 2 hours from Zurich is the town of Grindelwald, where you’ll find a zip line known as First Fleiger. The zip wire is actually four side-by-side cables that stretch 2480ft to the valley below. The adventure starts with a scenic gondola ride up the mountain. Once you’re at the top the adrenaline rush begins as you fly over cows grazing in mountain meadows, past the rugged Alps, at 55mph. The side-by-side cables mean that up to four people can zoom downhill at the same time.
When you’re not on a zip wire: The Jungfrau region is a destination suited to the whole family. The Bort Alpine playground is the perfect place to relax before beginning the next part of your outdoor adventure. You can also hire bicycles, go hiking in the mountains, or take a scenic ride on the Jungfrau railway. If you travel the 2 hours to Zurich, you can visit places like the Museum of Art, Lindenhofplatz, and the Swiss National Museum, which are well worth the trip.
Fantasticable de Châtel, France
Fantasticable de Châtel is located in the French department of Haute Savoie, and like other zip lines, it’s not for the faint of heart. It takes two chairlift rides to reach the top, where you are harnessed in horizontally for the first high-speed descend along a 1,200m zip wire. The second part of the zip line is 1,325m long and gives you the chance to enjoy views of the green meadows and tree-covered slopes below. Being nestled between Mont Blanc to the east and Switzerland to the north, you’re sure to enjoy spectacular views on the hair-raising ride.
When you’re not on a zip wire: There are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy like hiking, cycling, horse riding and skiing in winter. When you’ve had your fill of adventurous activities you can visit Haute Savoie attractions like Chateau de Menthon-Saint-Bernard, explore the historic town of Annecy, visit Lake Geneva, or get lost in the labyrinth at Le Jardin des Cinq Sens in Yvoire.