So, for those that don’t know, bouldering is a branch of the sport of rock climbing. Specifically, it is rock climbing on boulders. Go figure! The sport involves routes or, in boulder lingo, “problems” that you have to climb with the goal of reaching the top. There’s no harness. There’s no rope, but whether you’re climbing inside or outside, there is always a pad to fall on.
Now before we get into the various places you can climb outside, we’d like to answer the question, why bouldering? For starters, the sport is an unbelievable workout for your whole body. It’s sort of like lifting weights…but fun…and instead of actual weights, you’re lifting your body weight. It also activates your brain and makes you think. The feeling of climbing a route or “sending a problem” is akin to solving a riddle. There’s a sense of satisfaction in the sport, which we have yet to experience with other types of workouts—finally, the community. There is no group of people more psyched, ready to root you on, excited to climb, and ready to teach you everything they know than the climbing community, and we mean globally. When you’re a climber, you know wherever you travel, you’ll find company. So let’s talk about three unbelievable outdoor boulder sites in Europe just waiting for you to plan a trip.
Fontainebleau – France
This boulder site is located just an hour outside of Paris, allowing for easy access to all kinds of amazing tourist attractions on rest days! Fontainebleau is situated in a forest surrounded by farms and rolling hills and is one of the oldest outdoor boulder sites, with already 100 years of history to its name. The sheer volume of boulders to climb at every level means always finding the right spot for you to climb and a myriad of different styles. Here, you can decide what kind of climb you want. Challenge yourself, find that feeling of satisfaction and enjoy everything the forest has to offer.
Albarracin – Spain
Now, we jump over to Spain for our next boulder spot. Albarracin is located a three-hour drive from Madrid. The small town is surrounded by rocky hills, making it one of the top boulder sites in Europe. The boulders are iconic red sandstone and have quite high friction making for the perfect climb. Though there are enough boulders to climb for years in Albarracin, should you want to give another site a try, not far from the town is another small boulder spot called Bezas, so you get two for one on this trip!
Magic Wood – Switzerland
Magic Wood is aptly named for the boulder site, is quite literally a mystical pine forest, and is located high in the mountains right next to a picturesque running river. Because of its high altitude, it makes for the perfect spot to climb during the summer months when other sites are too hot. The rocks are granite and quite spectacular in size. Although located at a high altitude, it is easy to get to, and the camping arrangements are very organized.
It’s true that maybe if you’ve never tried rock climbing before, it may seem a bit foreign and bizarre, but we implore you not to knock it before you try it. There is certainly a learning curve, but the feeling of satisfaction can’t be matched! So we recommend going to your local boulder gym and see if it speaks to you because if it does, you already know where your next vacation is going to be.