A visit to Wales guarantees a burst of adrenaline; and to celebrate 2016 as the Year of Adventure, Bear Grylls - of the famous 'Man vs Wild' Discovery Channel series - is set to star as the nation's adventure ambassador.
Wales is a mountainous country with a wealth of terrain and landscapes. Lush green parks and protected areas such as Snowdonia in the north, Brecon Beacons in the south, the Clwydian Range, the Pembrokeshire Coast, the Wye Valley and the Isle of Anglesey (the largest in the UK) - meet endless shores and sparkling blue water.
Somewhere between the sharp, rocky coast and the Irish Sea, a unique adventure practice was born: coasteering. Back in the 1980s, surfers bordered and mapped the coast’s natural obstacles in search of a surfer's paradise, almost always having to climb, jump or swim across the sea. It didn't take long for the search to become the sport itself, with several adventure sport operators now specifically catering to the craze. Anglesey Adventures organises such tours around more than 200 kilometres of the island’s coastline, providing wetsuits, helmets and life-jackets.
Surfers have reason to cheer, too. Surf Snowdonia is a 300-metre-long artificial lagoon, with churning waves over 2 metres high. In fact, the lagoon is perfect for kayaking as well.
If kayaking is your thing, Holyhead is considered one of the best places in the world to practise. Its narrow passages and irregular tide changes make for an intense training ground – hikers sometimes have to jump into the water from a 12 metre-high cliff!
Flying like Superman and Batman
Despite how wild the Welsh landscape may seem, it is very common to find a path, or better yet, a zip-line over a forest. Zip World, an adventure sports company, has 2 of the most famous zip-line facilities in Bethesda and Llechwedd Slate Caverns. The first one is the world’s fastest zip-line, where you can reach Superman-like speeds of up to 160km per hour. The second zip-line, considered the largest in Europe, crosses an old slate mine. Beneath, in a deep cave, exists yet another zip-line, where you're sure to feel like Batman returning to his Batcave.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns are also home to Bounce Below, possibly the scariest (and most fun!) underground attraction. Several trampolines hang over the emptiness of a 60-metre-deep old mine, where children and adults jump and scream in delight. There are 3 levels from which you can jump, all of them connected by tunnels and bungee cords, reminiscent of a giant spider's web.
Of course, if all you're looking for is some rest and relaxation, just glide towards Wales' fairytale castles and velvety hills, where history lies beautifully preserved and intact.
Ready for some more adventure? Hop on and explore our countryside on a self-drive vacation.