The 15 Best Adrenaline-Junkie Experiences Around the World

For breathtakingly beautiful views, go paragliding in Switzerland
For breathtakingly beautiful views, go paragliding in Switzerland | © Paul Quayle / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ben Kempton
17 August 2020

In every corner of the globe, anyone with a need for speed can find high-octane activities to get their hearts pumping. From skydiving past Mount Everest to surfing a volcano in Nicaragua, here are Culture Trip’s top extreme picks.

Verzasca Dam bungee jump, Switzerland

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A bungee jumper jumps off Valle Verzasca "Contra" dam at lago di Vogorno, Ticino, Switzerland
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What better way to start this list than by following in the footsteps of one of cinema’s greatest adrenaline junkies? The Verzasca Dam was the setting for James Bond’s bungee jump in Golden Eye (1995), and now you can do the 007 jump yourself. It means you free fall for eight seconds – although it will probably seem like longer. The second highest bungee jump in the world, it can be found on the dam in the Swiss municipality of Lavertezzo.

Jet boating, New Zealand

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Group of tourists Jet boating on Shotover River at Arthurs Point, Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand's South Island.
© Urmas Haljaste / Alamy Stock Photo

Strap yourself in and carve through knife-sharp narrow canyons at superspeed on a jet-boat experience in New Zealand. There are multiple locations to choose from throughout the country, from Queenstown to Rotorua. Expect intense 360-degree turns, vigorous G-force and speeds of more than 20 knots (37kph/23mph).

Shark cage diving with Great White Shark Tours, South Africa

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Gansbaai, Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa
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Ever wanted to go face to face with a great white shark? For some courageous folks, this is the ultimate exhilarating experience in Gansbaai, South Africa – known as the capital for great white sharks – a two-hour drive from Cape Town. Here, you can hop aboard the Apex Predator, the boat that will take you out into the bay. You then enter a fortified metal cage that is submerged into the south Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by the hungry carnivorous killers. Our advice? Don’t hold on to the cage bars.

Snowdonia zipwire, Wales

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Deep in the Penrhyn Slate Quarry in North Wales is where speed demons can find the fastest zipline in the world and the longest in Europe. Velocity 2 whizzes you along on your front for 1,555m (5,102ft) at speeds of more than 160kph (100mph). The adventure doesn’t stop there. Explorers can climb Snowdonia, the highest peak in the UK outside Scotland.

Everest skydive, Nepal

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An Everest Skydive team member lands at
© PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP via Getty Images

There’s jumping out of a plane, and then there’s skydiving from the top of the world in the Himalayas with Mount Everest as the backdrop. You’ll take a helicopter up to 7,010m (23,000ft), jump out and land in Sagarmatha National Park at either Syangboche (3,780m/12,400ft) or Amadablam Basecamp (4,572m/15,000ft) where you can carry on the mountain adventure. It’s on the CNN and Forbes lists of things to do before you die, and it’s a truly unforgettable thrill ride.

The world’s steepest rollercoaster, Japan

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Fuj-Q Highland, Yamanashi Prefecture , Japan - December 6, 2014: A huge brand new roller coaster with "the steepest drop in the world at 121°Coaster
© Navapon Plodprong / Alamy Stock Photo

Theme parks are the ideal stamping ground for adrenaline junkies, but even the bravest among them would be intimidated by Takabisha, the steepest rollercoaster in the world, at Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Fujiyoshida, Japan. The 43m (141ft) inverted drop accelerates to 100kph (62mph) and is guaranteed to leave your heart in your mouth.

Volcano boarding, Nicaragua

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Volcano boarding theme. Above view on people doing extreme sport
© Dzmitry Kliapitski / Alamy Stock Photo

Surf’s up! Except this gnarly ride isn’t on the waves – it’s down an active volcano. Hike 45 minutes up to the 700m (2,297ft) high summit and slide down on a board at speeds up to 97kph (60mph). You can sit down or stand up for your ride as you bomb down the side of the black volcano. Be sure to wear hiking boots, bring plenty of water and wear a face covering, as the ride down is extremely dusty.

Skywalking, China

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--File--People visit the Qingyuan Huangtengxia Glass Corridor, or the glass corridor in the cloud during the National Day holiday in Qingyuan city, so
© Imaginechina Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

Not recommended for anyone with vertigo, this skywalk, in Guangdong, South China, is a 368m (1,207ft) long, glass-bottomed, elevated tennis-racket-shaped platform. At more than 500m (1,640ft) tall, the structure is not only the world’s highest overhanging glass promontory but also the longest and widest, giving you the best bragging rights afterwards.

Gorge swing, Zambia

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Gorge swing in Victoria Falls, Zambia
© Mark Boulton / Alamy Stock Photo

Definitely not for the faint-hearted, the Gorge Swing is located in Victoria Falls, Zambia. First, you attach a full-body harness, then brace yourself and run as fast as you can off the edge of the 75m (246ft) peak – you are jumping off a cliff. You then freefall for 50m (164ft) before letting the rope catch you as you swing above the gorge, where you can try to take in the beautiful surroundings – if you haven’t passed out from fear yet.

Wing-walking, USA

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This adventure is a plane ride with a twist, in which you’re strapped to the wing of a propeller plane. Feel the G-force as the biplane takes off, then rolls and loops upside down at speeds of 225kph (140mph). The Mason Wing Walking Academy, which runs the ride, is based in Sequim, Washington, providing a stunning backdrop to try and focus on while the world spins round you.

Extreme hike in Caminito del Rey, Spain

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view of El Caminito del Rey or King's Little Path, one of the most Dangerous Footpath reopened 2015 Malaga, Spain
© Tetyana Kochneva / Alamy Stock Photo

If danger is what you’re looking for, the 8km (5mi) Caminito del Rey hike has been described as one of the world’s scariest. The 100-year-old, 100m (328ft) high route requires you to traverse the narrowest of paths on the edge of a ready-to-crumble sheer cliff face. It’s not an exaggeration to say you are putting your life in your own hands by walking this trail.

Edge of Space stratosphere flight, Russia

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For an invigorating Star Wars/Top Gun crossover experience, take a seat in a supersonic jet for the MiG-29 Edge of Space flight in Russia. You’ll blast upwards to 22km (13mi) in altitude, where the curvature of Earth is visible as you ascend towards the stars. The only vehicle that can reach higher altitudes is an actual space rocket.

Biking Death Road, Bolivia

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La Cumbre, Bolivia-Jan 3, 2019: Participants of the descent of The Worlds Most Dangerous Road at La Cumbre pass altitude 4700 m , called "Death road"
© master2 / Alamy Stock Photo
The Camino a los Yungas, or Yungas Road, in La Paz, Bolivia, has been appropriately nicknamed Death Road. Around 300 travellers lose their lives on this route every year. So, here’s a great idea – hire a mountain bike and give it a go. Don’t let the wooden crosses, marking where people have fallen to their death, put you off – the views are spectacular.

CN Tower EdgeWalk, Canada

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Toronto, Canada: CN Tower detail or details during the day
© Torontonian / Alamy Stock Photo
Have you ever looked at the album cover of Drake’s Views and thought, “I also want to hang off the side of the CN Tower?” Well, now is your chance. Make your way up the Toronto landmark, suit up, attach a harness and walk 365m (1,168ft) above the ground around the outside of the building. If you’re feeling really brave, you can lean over the edge and let the harness hold you in place.

Paraglide in the Alps, France

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Paragliding at Saint Hilaire du Touvet, Natural park of Le Chartreuse, Isere, Rhone-Alpes, France
© Xavier Fores - Joana Roncero / Alamy Stock Photo

Head to Chamonix, in the Alps, for some of the best paragliding views in the world. You start on a flat, grassy plain, then jump off the side of a mountain and let the paraglider catch you as you soar through the sky. And if that’s not enough, the area has thrilling outdoor experiences in abundance, from whitewater rafting and canyoning to mountain biking and zip wires.

These recommendations were updated on August 17, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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