10. Cancún: Cenote diving
The Yucatán Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico is famous for its turquoise sea, tropical rain forests, Mayan ruins and nonstop parties. Yet below the surface, there is a pearl of nature that can only be experienced by divers: a unique system of underwater caves that stretch for miles, with cenotes (swimming holes formed in the limestone bedrock) full of fresh water. Two you must not miss are Dos Ojos (Two Eyes) near Tulum and Ik Kil, which is a two-hour drive from Cancún. There’s fantastic visibility in the crystal-clear water, which is a wonderful 77°F all year round.
PLUS: The Thai Lounge has excellent fish, seafood and cocktails, all served in little bungalows on stilts over the water.
9. Durban: Surfskiing
Narrow, 15-foot-long sea kayaks are popular in South Africa, where the warm water and accessibility of the Indian Ocean coast create the perfect conditions for extended tours. There are a number of kayaking schools where beginners can learn how to get their wobbly boat over the shorebreak and then head along the Golden Mile to play in the waves.
PLUS: Who needs the sea to surf? The Wave House has a machine that makes the biggest artificial waves in the country.
8. vienna: Wakeboarding
The Danube makes the Austrian capital a favorite destination among swimmers, rowers and sailors. Those seeking more action should check out the 2,800-foot cable park, off the Donauinsel (Danube Island), where you can reach heights of up to 30 feet. It also has kickers and what those in the know call a pipe double roof with wall, with two-hour courses for beginners.
PLUS: Kletterhalle Wien (the Vienna Climbing Hall) has bouldering, and a 52- foot slackline.
7. London: white-water kayaking
Row like a world champ at the Lee Valley White Water Center, which hosted the kayak slalom event at the 2012 London Olympics. Within easy reach of the capital’s center, the venue is home to an artificial 1,000-foot, Grade 4 whitewater slalom course. So climb into a canoe or whitewater raft and pit yourself against the rapids. Alternatively, you can watch the action from the terrace bar: From September 16 to 20, Lee Valley will play host to this year’s ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.
PLUS: Stop off at Old Spitalfields Market for award-winning fish and chips before experiencing some classic theater at Shakespeare’s Globe by the Thames.
6. Berlin: Clubs & Parties
These days, New York has a rival for the title of “the city that never sleeps.” With more than 300 clubs and 7,000 bars, Berlin has a nightlife that no other metropolis can match. Many of the German capital’s underground joints, such as Berghain (a converted power station in Friedrichshain that’s regarded to be the world’s best techno club), open up on Friday night and continue through Monday morning. And if that’s not enough for you, you’re bound to find an after-party a couple of streets away.
PLUS: Flick through the racks at the Hard Wax record store and book a room at the arty Michelberger Hotel, where many of the big-name DJs stay when in town.
5. Cork: cold water surfing
Ireland’s southwest corner provides year-round surfing, despite the fact the water temperature rarely rises above 59°F. The endless sandy beaches and the swells, which will challenge even veteran winter- wave chasers, make up for it.
HIGHLIGHTS: Inchydoney’s waves are perfect for beginners, while pros will be tested at Garrettstown and Red Strand.
4. Pula: Summer Festivals
In 2006, there was one electronic music festival on the Croatian coast, attended by 300 people. There are now 20, which draw more than 100,000 revelers every summer. Why? Sunshine, beaches, boat parties and spectacular venues, including caves and amphitheaters, that’s why.
HIGHLIGHTS: Fresh Island (July 15-17, Zrce Beach), Soundwave (August 6-10, Tisno), Dimensions (August 26-30, Pula).
3. Paris: Boulder climbing
The birthplace of bouldering can be found just 35 miles south of the French capital, in the 60,000-acre forest of Fontainebleau. The largest continuous stretch of forest in western Europe, Fontainebleau is the site of bizarre sandstone formations that have been a bouldering hot spot since the 1870s. A numerical and color-coded system groups the 15,000 rocks into varying levels of difficulty.
PLUS: In July and August, a section of the right bank of the Seine is transformed into an urban sandy beach, complete with bars, palm trees and deck chairs.
2. La Paz: Golf
The air is so thin at this golf course, situated in the Bolivian capital some 10,800 feet above sea level, that even amateur golfers turn into long hitters.
PLUS: If you’re feeling brave, take a drive on the 40-mile Yungas Road, considered to be the most dangerous road on Earth.
1. biarritz: surfing
France’s surfing hot spot can be found in the southwest of the country. Local surfers and top international riders alike tackle the barrels at La Grande Plage and La Côte des Basques (the latter is particularly popular with longboarders) in Biarritz at all times of year.
PLUS: Visit La Ruche Moderne, a museum of vintage motorbikes and memorabilia.