A quiet and calming trip away simply isn’t for everyone. Where some want to lie on a quiet beach sunbathing, others want to be snowboarding down the side of a volcano. For those that want to feel a surge of adrenaline, keep on reading, as this comprehensive list covers the white-knuckle activities for the thrill-seekers, as well the creepy and macabre for those looking for a scare! Whatever you’re after, this list has the adventure trip for you.
Swimming with Sharks
It's one thing to sit and watch through Jaws... it's another to be in the water, up close and personal with one of mother nature’s apex predators. Shark cage diving brings new meaning to the term ‘hands on’ as guests dive beneath the waves, safely protected behind bars, watching all manner of sharks in their natural habitat. Do bear in mind that shark migration routes and mating grounds often change. This is recently due to overfishing and in some cases, losing territories to Killer Whales! In light of this, if you’re planning a shark-centric adventure, check out OCEARCH, which has a live tracker of hundreds of tagged sharks, as at the time of writing this - Mexico is looking very busy! Dive Worldwide have shark focused excursions that include flights to South Africa, Mexico and Australia.
Steeped in history, folklore and mysticism, an ominous presence can be found standing tall surrounded by the infamous rolling Transylvanian landscape... Dracula’s castle. In truth, it is called Bran Castle, which many scholars agree served as the main source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s legendary 1897 novel, Dracula. The castle has embraced its creepy roots and has almost become a pilgrimage for those seeking adventure. Explore the multimedia Time Tunnel, survive the live-actor ‘History of Dread’ or perhaps a more reserved tour of the intriguing rooms and corridors. Whether it be the fictional Dracula, the real Vlad the Impaler, or a deep dive into Romanian history, Bran’s castle is a top choice for all thrill-seekers.
Spanning across two countries, dropping 500 million litres of water every minute, Victoria Falls is considered one of the natural seven wonders of the world. The raw power of this marvel is nearly unrivalled and as such should be admired from afar, right? Wrong! For those brave enough (with the support of local guides) you can reach the aptly named Devil’s Pool and feel as though you are on the precipice of not just Victoria falls, but the world itself. Natural erosion over thousands of years has carved craters into the rockery, creating pools of water. The Devil’s Pool is the closest to the edge and offers the opportunity of a lifetime for adrenaline junkies, but this is not for the faint of heart as you must swim there yourself, just make sure you go with an experienced guide.
Día de Los Muertos
From October 31st to November 2nd in Mexico, an ancient tradition is upheld and celebrated yearly. Translated as The Day of the Dead, this festival is not to be confused with Halloween which takes place during the same period in other countries. Where Halloween glorifies all things macabre, creepy and outright terrifying, The Day of Dead celebrates those who have passed on, claiming that their souls can return to their families on these sacred days. This respect is paid through loving offerings, carnivals, feasts, music and dance, all whilst many dress up in the iconic Calavera (skull) make-up. Historically, the festival was an intimate affair for each family, but in recent years it has grown in size and scale, becoming a shared celebration of the dead. Whilst it might not be a white-knuckle scare-fest, this is a must for all adventurers with an aptitude for culture, heritage and of course, fun!
You don’t get a bigger adrenaline kick than throwing yourself out of a plane, thousands of feet into the air. Skydiving is a pastime undertaken by many and has approved sites with multiple companies running jumps all over the world! Free falling is arguably the greatest, unfiltered thrill-seeker experience, and the best bit is that it's not solely reserved for trained experts. A first jump can be undertaken via tandem (attached to an instructor) or a static line where the chute is deployed for you. Check out Red Bull’s list of top locations to go skydiving around the world, spoilers, Victoria Falls makes another appearance!
Arguably the most spine-chilling location on this list due to the unrelenting reality of the nuclear disaster that occurred in 1986. A safety test went horribly wrong when one of the nuclear reactors became unstable and exploded, causing immediate loss of life and a city-wide permanent evacuation of Pripyat. This left an empty ghost town, that has now been reclaimed by nature leaving a sinister and eerie feeling that evokes a constant reminder of the disaster and its effects. Chornobyl Tour® offers an incredible experience that safely takes guests into the depths of the abandoned city with an expert guide in what they have dubbed ‘a post-apocalyptic world’. They advocate the safety of the trip and have worked with brands such as BBC, Forbes, National Geographic and The Discovery Channel.
The Volcano Bungee Jump
If you’re looking for a raw, untamed heart in mouth experience, we could suggest bungee jumping... but no, we’re going a step further than that! For the bravest among us, there is the option to bungee jump above an actual active volcano! Mount Villarica is part of the Andes in Chile, it is indeed active and often will grumble and gurgle its lava, having erupted as recently as 1971. Inspired by an MTV stunt, tourists that have a taste for the wild side can book with Unmissable® and jump from a helicopter, hurtling hundreds of feet down toward the volcano’s bubbling crater. If this isn’t enough, there is also the opportunity to explore caves deep within the volcano and ski down the side of it for a comprehensive and unbeatable adrenaline-inducing trip.
Check out what this pathway to hell looks like via drone!
Ah, Paris, the city of love, romance, and culinary expression… and a series of catacombs built out of human bone, as well as gothic architecture and haunted palaces. Amid health concerns and disease control, Paris had a serious issue with overflowing cemeteries. Old stone quarries deep under the city were filled with the bodies of over 6 million Parisians, creating a network of death unparalleled in one single location. Come 1809, when the catacombs were opened to the public, Inspector Héricart de Thury was enlisted to rearrange many of the bodies and bones from a ghastly mass grave, to the iconic Ossuary. Walls of bones, decorated with skulls display influence from Roman and Egyptian practises, that still to this day pique our morbid curiosity.
Take on the Nürburgring
For the motor heads out there, there isn’t anything more appealing than taking on one of the greatest racing tracks across the entire globe. Rivalled in heritage perhaps by only Le Mans, the German Nürburgring, nicknamed ‘The Green Hell’ has seen many of history’s top drivers take to its 12.9-mile circuit that rises and falls by 300 metres! The racecourse offers multiple options to enjoy a track day where the public can battle the curves and blast down the straights in their own car if desired, act as a co-pilot if they believe their skills aren’t up to the task or best of all...drive a Formula 1 car around the track! All this and more is available on the Nürburgring’s official website.
The legend of the Namahage began thousands of years ago, where supposedly large ogres would venture down from the mountains, stealing crops, village folk and causing general terror. As time progressed, this folklore slowly became a tradition with the intention of scaring naughty children into behaving. Actors dress up in large, menacing masks, capes and armour, often wielding huge pretend knives. The Namahage will knock on doors and interrogate children to determine if they are being well behaved, sort of like a demonic Santa Claus, causing comical mischief and terror. The original event that occurs in the town of Oga has their Namahage on New Year’s Eve each year, with parades, dancing and of course, the scaring of children - a unique way to see in the year! If you find yourself being questioned by the Namahage, give them some Sake and Mochi and they will be on their merry way!