Europe's top 10 cities for outdoors activities: part 2

Wednesday 23 April 2014 10.18 PM

Following on from last time, here's the remaining five of my top ten Euro cities for outdoors activities. As with the first five, the list is in no particular order. It's my own opinion, and not the result of exhaustive research!

Following on from last time, here's the remaining five of my top ten Euro cities for outdoors activities.

As with the first five, the list is in no particular order. It's my own opinion, and not the result of exhaustive research!

I'd like to turn this into a full-scale feature on the website at some stage, with some detail on the facilities, events and sporting culture in cities across Europe.  
 

The Parthenon © Babykrul
ATHENS
The Olympic city just a decade ago, Athens has since fallen on hard times - but despite this (and dodgy air quality at times) it remains an excellent base for the outdoors activities enthusiast. The blue Aegean waters are perfect for sailing and windsurfing, and the city has a well developed network of cycling trails and walking trails. Nearby Mount Parnitha National Park (25km north of the city) has hiking and mountain biking trails, plus some caving and rock climbing. The Marathon in November is also worthy of mention, in the land where it all began. Extreme sports are quite popular, too – how about bungee-jumping into the Corinth Canal? Read more about Athens activities here.
 
The Munich TV Tower © pinkfloyd

MUNICH
At least one German city has to be included, if only for the remarkable quality and reach of the country's cycling network: the entire nation - urban and rural - seems to be criss-crossed with superbly smooth, dedicated cycleways. Munich benefits from being within easy reach of Alpine hiking trails, watersports on nearby Tergernsee and Starnbergsee, plus of course winter sports: major resorts like Garmisch are about an hour from the city by car or 90 minutes by train. In the city itself the Olympic Park has top-rate facilities for indoor and outdoor pursuits. Find out more here.


INNSBRUCK
Another Alpine metropolis, this time right in the heart
of the Tyrol, it’s hard to think of a better place (large city, that is) if you love the outdoors life. Innsbruck is surrounded by magnificent terrain for walking, cycling, mountain biking and winter sports – pretty much the full monty apart from watersports. The Dolomites are a short hop over the border in Italy, and there’s the Arlberg Giro cycle sportive in August. Some of the best views across the city are from the Olympic ski jump. Read more about Innsbruck's activities here.


STOCKHOLM
The Stockholm Archipelago – a vast web of channels and waterways winding around some 30,000 islands on the city’s fringe – is a delight to explore and makes the Swedish capital the finest European capital for sailing enthusiasts, as well as canoeing and kayaking. This being Sweden, everything works well – and the Stockholm Marathon in June is one of the best. The infrastructure for cyclists is excellent and . In winter there’s ice skating and cross-country skiing. Read more info here.

ZÜRICH
Not so different from Geneva – in close proximity to some outstanding lakes including Lake Zurich, right on the city’s doorstep, for swimming and watersports. There’s classic Alpine skiing and summer hiking, of course – local peaks such as Uetliberg are great for walking and mountain biking, and can be reached extremely efficiently from downtown thanks to the plethora of mountain railways. There are lots of running events in these parts – in fact the Zurich Marathon took place this weekend; for cyclists there are some fantastic cols to climb, while the Granfondo Gottardo is one of Europe’s best sportives. More details here.

Search site