If you’re looking to get away with the girls and want something more challenging than a spa break, we have the answer. WideWorld has teamed up with extreme adventurer Squash Falconer to bring you the top ten short breaks every adventurous woman will love.
White water raft near London – Lee Valley White Water Centre, Hertfordshire, England
Be one of the first to experience the world’s best white water rafting centre. Opening in April, it’s the only brand new London 2012 venue the public can use before the Games and offers the opportunity to try out the same course that will host five days of intense canoe slalom competition next year. Put on your cossie (gear is provided) and prepare to navigate 300m of obstacles, drops and waves. Great for day-trippers or make a weekend of it by checking out some of the activities on offer at the 10,000-acre park.
Take a running jump – Annecy, France
Adrenaline-pumping pursuits don’t get much more nerve-wracking than paragliding, which is why it’s great to try it out surrounded by encouraging girlfriends. It’s also an expensive hobby, so it makes sense to combine it with more affordable activities such as trekking, cycling and kayaking. For fabulous views, both from the air and the ground, Annecy in South Eastern France is an obvious choice. It’s stunningly beautiful, less than an hour from Geneva airport and is home to the friendly Maison Du Moulin, which offers Paragliding lessons for beginners.
Paragliding lesson from 30 Euros
B&B from 35 Euros per person, per night, Maison du Moulin
Have an urban adventure – Bristol, England
For those who like to keep their adventures within city limits, a weekend spent navigating Bristol on foot, by bike or in a canoe is just the ticket. Billed as, ‘The Crystal Maze meets The Krypton Factor meets Challenge Anneka’ and organised and run by consummate outdoor professionals, the Bristol Urban Adventure Challenge is a superbly enjoyable combination of adventure racing, treasure hunting and problem solving that is guaranteed to bring out the competitive streak in everyone who takes part. Grab your girls and get on your marks!
Reach for the sky on the Costa Blanca – Alicante, Spain
Those with a head for heights will love the views from the top of the Sierra Aitana mountain range in this sun-soaked part of Spain, especially after rock climbing their way to the summit. On day two, the brave can clamber up a Via Ferrata while adventuresses who prefer to stay closer to the ground can try downhill biking or horse riding. Compare notes round the pool at The Orange House, a friendly, family-run guesthouse that can organise all-female activity weekends and climbing courses.
Three-night activity break from £395 per person, including transfers, accommodation and two days out in the hills, The Orange House
Go underground in Cheddar – Somerset, England
For an adventure weekend the rain can’t spoil, don some protective gear and go caving in the Mendip Hills, home of the magnificent Cheddar Gorge. A day spent negotiating muddy, wet and rocky underground paths is strangely exhilarating as well as physically and psychologically challenging. The very fit can chose more demanding routes but it’s best to leave your claustrophobic mates at the campsite enjoying the fresh air.
Paddle off the South Coast – Brighton, England
For a nautical adventure weekend, head to Brighton and try your hand at Stand Up Paddle boarding. Known as SUP boarding or surfing, it involves standing on an oversized surfboard using a paddle for propulsion and is a great way to enjoy the sea without getting (too) wet. Staying upright is a challenge, so rest your aching core muscles overnight before heading to the nearby South Downs for a spot of mountain biking or hiking.
Canyon in the Cantabrian Mountains – Picos de Europa, Spain
If you like to mix adventure with good food and creature comforts, a weekend canyoning, gorge walking, cycling and canoeing by day and enjoying three-course meals and local wine by night in northern Spain’s Picos de Europa National Park is ideal. Team up with seven girlfriends to make it an exclusively female break or sign up solo and meet like-minded boys and girls.
Three-day adventure weekend including accommodation, food, guide, transport and equipment around £399, Pura Aventura
Go island hopping – Anglesey, Wales
The rocky west coast of Anglesey, the largest island in Wales, is the perfect place to give coasteering a go. Get kitted out in a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet before setting off on a trail along the water’s edge, climbing and jumping from bay to bay and swimming across coves to tiny islands. Female instructors lead the all-women group and, with the emphasis firmly on mutual support and confidence building rather than competition, you can be as adventurous as you like.
Two day coasteering and gorge scrambling, including kit, instructor, two night’s dinner, bed and breakfast, £230 per person for a group of eight Her Outdoors
Saddle up in the Land of Fire and Ice – Reykjavik, Iceland
The hardest part of a planning a weekend adventure trip to Iceland is choosing which activities to try. You’d have to stay a year to do them all so deciding between snowmobiling, ice climbing, glacier walking, whale watching and horseback riding through the lava fields is understandably tricky. Though thanks to the current economic situation, going back to attempt something different is more affordable than ever.
Catch some waves in Cornwall – Newquay, England
Learn the art of surfing from encouraging expert female instructors while your all-girl group cheers you on. A day’s course includes equipment hire and the chance to learn basic wave-riding techniques and develop your own style. End your day on a high by Kite surfing on the beach before kicking off your night in one of Newquay’s many bars.
Log onto online community, Thelma and Louise, to find inspiration for your next adventure, get help planning your trip or even find like-minded travelling companions.