Rock climbing is one of the world’s fastest growing sports. Offering endless opportunities to explore untouched environments all while keeping you fit. Nothing beats the feeling of beating sun, fresh air and spectacular views as you climb a rock face and you don’t have to be a seasoned climber to take in this experience. From bouldering to sport climbing, Europe offers some of of the best climbing routes in the world. We take a look at the best locations to inspire your next journey.
Greece is home to some of the best natural climbing spots in Europe. The island of Kalymnos is an ideal destination as its climate provides perfect climbing conditions all year round. Accessible via a half-hour ferry from the mainland, Kalymnos boasts over 2,000 climbing routes. Many of these are “sport climbing” routes which means the climbs are pre-equipped with drilled-in bolts. The Grande Grotta area is particularly spectacular with vast open caves proliferated with large hanging stalactites.
Located just 90km from Paris, Fontainebleau is renowned for its unusual rock formations. You’ll find everything you need here from small boulders to big slabs, with mantels and overhangs for more experienced climbers, there is plenty to do here for all levels of climber.
This area is considered the birthplace of the concept of “bouldering”: climbing on boulders or low-level crags without ropes. Many of the bouldering routes are marked and colour coded according to difficulty. This makes it ideal for pushing yourself to your limits and beyond every time.
Like Fontainebleau, Västervik is ideal for advocates of the bouldering discipline. Located on Sweden’s Baltic coast, it has a vast collection of granite boulders strewn across a landscape of coastal inlets, small islands, and dense forests.
The spectacular Dolomotic landscape is a rock climber’s paradise. There are multi-pitch routes here up to 80 metres long and classic routes of all grades. Many of the climbs can be reached by short walks from the road which means you can cram in more climbing during your stay.
Catalonia is one of the world’s premier climbing areas as it has everything from steep limestone gorges to sandstone boulders. This is the ideal spot for anyone who wants to combine bouldering and sport climbing in the same trip. One of the region’s most historic and varied climbing spots is Siurana, a collection of honey-coloured crags and open ravines that cluster around the medieval hilltop village of the same name. Overshadowed to the north by the higher cliffs of the dramatic Montsant massif, the area is ideal as a first overseas trip for climbers already familiar with indoor sport climbing.