Andorra’s mountains and river valleys allow for exciting outdoor adventures, and Croatia has lots of hike, bike and raft options, with the fast-flowing Cetina and Zrmanja Rivers perfect for rafting adventure and great hiking and cycling in the national parks of Krka and Plitvice Lakes. If you're up for a slightly more exotic experience then the backwaters and Western Ghat Mountains of Kerala in southern India are well worth the long haul flight, as are the Central Highlands and the Pacuare River valley in Costa Rica.

1. Andorra

Andorra's lumps and bumps make for handsome hiking, biking and rafting outside of the busy winter ski season. Base yourself in a locally run Pyrenean chalet and you'll be treated to near instant access to the Circ de Pessons, Cortals Valley and sunny slopes of Soldeu. Andorra is an absolute adventure playground with pines and rhododendrons adding a foliage filling to a fabulous French/Spanish sandwich.
Costa Rica

2. Costa Rica

There's a fantastic circuit in Costa Rica that takes you between Pacific and Caribbean coasts by way of the mountains, rivers and rainforests of the Central Highlands. Solid daily distances on foot, bike and white water raft allow you to cover a great deal of ground with natural and cultural encounters complementing the adventurous challenges in a variety of exciting environments. Give yourself at least a couple of weeks.

3. Croatia

Keeping active in beautiful natural surroundings is what gets Croatians up in the morning. If you fancy testing out a few of the key ingredients for a growth spurt then sea kayaking around the Elaphiti Islands, followed by rafting on the Cetina River and cycling through Krka National Park is certainly a great place to start. Croatia is firmly on the map as Europe's activity capital.

4. Kerala

Escape to the backwaters and mountains of southern India as you embark on an exotic adventure that will have you hiking, cycling and kayaking all the way from Fort Kochi to Periyar Tiger Reserve via the forest-filled foothills of the Western Ghats. Kerala contains some truly tranquil settings where rivers, lakes and tea estates provide ample excuses to enjoy life outdoors from a variety of unique and peaceful perspectives.

5. Kyrgyzstan

Head east and stop just before you reach China. Now you've got the where sorted out, it's time to learn about the why. The Tian Shan Mountains, the Chi River, and Son Kul Lake provide just a few of Kyrgyzstan's incredible locations for hiking, biking and rafting. From yurt camps and waterfalls to 90km mountain bike rides over steppe landscapes; wild doesn't even begin to describe a multi-activity holiday in Kyrgyzstan.

6. Slovenia

Slovenia's scenery stands out like the pages in a pop-up book of fairy tales. Lakes Bled and Bohinj spring out at wild swimmers; Sava Dolinka River reveals rapids for rafting; hiking and mountain biking in Triglav National Park places heads in the clouds; Slovenia maybe small but it certainly packs a punch that's far from fictional.



Fitness levels

Radek Nowak, from our supplier Intrepid Travel, shares advice on hike, bike and raft holidays:
“You don’t need to be a world class athlete; an average level of health and fitness is all that’s required to make the most of this experience. The physicality of activities does differ between trips, but this is clearly outlined in our trip notes. We’d always recommend having a read through these before booking an active adventure. If you’re not sure whether you’re up to some of the included activities, visit your doctor for a general health check-up and tell them what you’re planning to do. They’ll be able to let you know whether you’re fit enough to take part and also give you a few useful tips about how to prepare.”
Expert instruction

Expert instruction

“All our leaders and instructors are completely qualified to do their jobs, meaning they know the boundary between helping you learn an activity and pushing you too far. Rest assured; you’ll never be forced to take part in anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Admittedly you may feel a little anxious before jumping into a raft on the Rio Naranjo or mountain biking down a rocky path in the Pyrenees, but that’s all part of the excitement. And remember, our instructors will be close at hand to ensure you’re safe and doing things properly. One final thing to note is that all our leaders and instructors are truly passionate about the activities they run, making them the best teachers around.”
de corps

Espirit de corps

“What I’ve learnt over the years is that adventures bring people together and this couldn’t be truer of active adventures. There’s something about learning new things and stepping out of your comfort zones together that creates a really special bond between travellers. And that’s the big reason why everyone enjoys spending time with each other so much on these trips.”

A typical day

Ana Vujakovic, from our supplier Huck Finn Adventure Travel, explains why Croatia works so well for hike, bike and raft holidays:
“Being active and spending time outdoors is what drives us, especially when it's combined with the natural beauty of our country. Our typical day would start rafting down to Zrmanja Waterfall and end in a local restaurant. Otherwise, if we are not biking through Mljet Island National Park or hiking around Plitvice Lakes National Park, we are most certainly sailing around Dubrovnik and its small intact islands. The national parks of Velebit, Krka River, Risnjak, Plitvice Lakes and Paklenica are ideal for hiking and biking. In the Zrmanja and Mreznica river canyons we can explore by raft or kayak as well as swimming and jumping into waterfalls, which is a great group activity on a warm summer day."
"In the evening we have group dinners where we get to know each other more and enjoy local Croatian cuisine. Our activities are full day activities so guests like to have some free time before and after dinner to relax and enjoy warm summer nights.”

Where to stay

“We stay at small, family run hotels or private accommodation which directly helps local people in the areas we visit. We have meals in family run restaurants where our guests can taste local cuisine made by Croatian chefs. We also employ local tourist guides who know Croatia so well, love it and want to share it.”
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Hike, bike and raft or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful hike, bike and raft holiday tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your suitcase.
“We went kayaking, cycling, hiking and paddle boarding (the latter was definitely the children's favourite) and every day the activities were new and exciting. The adults and the children (14 and 9) all really enjoyed the trip and it was an amazing experience! Our guide, Luka, was very knowledgeable and helpful.”
- Irina Shenkman

“Bring a dry bag for your camera as well as open sandals and gloves for the paddles of the kayak.” - Raymond Tassignon

“There were many great moments. Kayaking in the Adriatic was fantastic. Dubrovnik is incredible. The national parks Krka and Plitvice were spectacular. The group was great, and our guide Matija was knowledgeable, fun, and went the extra mile to make the trip memorable.” - Stan Hills

“Excellent holiday. Active, without being extreme with a nice balance of travel and visits so we never spent more than 2 hours driving. Excellent guide in Robi who had the right mix of passion and knowledge for Croatia and was happy to share.” - Andrew Stote

Some endurance is required for the activities. Putting in a good effort sure makes the beer taste good after. Very relaxed atmosphere. Pack light.
- Iris Duemm
“We did river kayaking, sea kayaking, rafting, hiking and canyoning. Croatia gets a bit busy with day trippers doing the activities on the river and in the canyon in August. Might be better to go at a different time of year.” - Chris Muscutt

“Crossing Costa Rica from coast to coast only by bike, hiking, kayaking and rafting was a great adventure and experience. Just go for it. We did it in a small group of 6 persons. I think that is ideal. Yes. It was all the time away from crowded tourist destinations. We spent a night in a local family house. All guides and support crew were locals. We were in contact with wildlife in a respectful way, only looking at them from the distance without disturbing the animals” - Alejandro Hahn Menacho

“It surpassed our expectations - yes it was hard work, especially climbing hills and covering up to 85kms on a bike in 33 degrees of heat and humidity, but it was worth every drop of sweat - a fantastic experience. Make sure that you are fit, but the operator was always there with a back up vehicle if needed.” - Janice Eastman in Kerala

“Everything was amazing. Meeting and being welcomed by the local people, cycling through villages, towns and beautiful countryside. The amazing view down through the clouds and tea plantations as we arrived at the top of mount Meesapulimala on our trek. The attention to detail by our guide, Shabeeb, who arranged all kinds of extras for us along the way. The superb Keralan food, everywhere we stayed. Be prepared for a very active fortnight - cycling in the heat and humidity, and trekking at altitudes of 2500m. Bring light,easy to wash clothing, and extra warm layers for camping in the Ghats.” - Annette Keith
Go with the flow! Do everything but at a level you feel comfortable with - variations galore to meet individual needs. Bring walking boots not shoes unless you are happy to have wet feet!
- Evelyn Vickery
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Zachary Collier] [Intro - where to go: Frantisek Duris] [Andorra: Ferran Llorens] [Costa Rica: David Berkowitz] [Croatia: Judith Doyle] [Kerala: Phillip Larson] [Kyrgystan: Frantisek Duris] [Slovenia: Artem Sapegin] [Fitness levels: Mads Oliver] [Expert instruction: Jeff Hitchcock] [Espirit de corps: Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia] [A typical day: Bad KleinkirchheimBy: Bad Kleinkirchheim] [A typical day 2: Ryan Dunn] [where to stay: Sarah Sampsel] [Intro: Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia] [Quote 1: Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia] [Quote 2: Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia]