The 5 Best International Climbing Destinations
August 3, 2021
By Cassie Drumm

Climbing has become quite the sensation over the past few years. Although it’s been a popular sport for many decades, you may have noticed more and more rock climbing gyms popping up in your neighborhood recently. And while climbing in a gym can give you a great workout, there’s nothing quite like enjoying the payoff of a beautiful view at the end of a tough climb.

If you’re looking for a trip to satisfy both your adventurous spirit and your love of exercise, here’s a list of some of the best destinations for climbing around the world.

Kalymnos, Greece

Whether you’re an experienced climber or just dipping your toes into the proverbial water, this Mediterranean destination will have something for you. With a variety of climbing styles, Kalymnos is the perfect place to test your skills or take a guided rock climbing tour—all while enjoying some of the world’s most spectacular views. Most climbing routes are accessible by foot or rental scooter. When you’re taking a rest day, be sure to enjoy the delicious local cuisine and relax on a nearby beach.

Dolomites, Italy

If you’ve climbed Yosemite in the United States, the Dolomites are for you. A true alpine climbing experience, this destination located in the eastern Italian Alps sits among a backdrop of lush green fields and snow-capped peaks. Be prepared for long hikes to climbing routes, varied temperatures and sometimes-fragile rocks. If you’re looking for a rainy day or rest day activity, check out the Messner Mountain Museum.

Fontainebleau, France

This destination, south of Paris, is considered the birthplace of bouldering, dating back to the late 19th century. The grading scale in bouldering—a popular form of free climbing that doesn’t use ropes or harnesses—is even called the “Font scale.” Fontainebleau is perfect if you’d like to introduce your kids to climbing, with easily accessible boulder problems and color-coded circuits. Choose the yellow-coded circuits if you’re inexperienced and orange, blue or red if you consider yourself an intermediate climber.

Railay Beach, Thailand

A paradise for climbers and non-climbers alike, Railay Beach is perfect for a relaxing vacation filled with climbing excursions. Walls overhang beaches below, as well as water-side bars frequented by fellow climbers. Climbing routes vary in difficulty, and there are also guided climbing tours or rent-a-partner options for those traveling solo. Pick your perfect mix of rest days and hanging out on the beach or in the water.

Rocklands, South Africa

For a perfect challenging bouldering destination, check out the climbing routes just north of Cape Town, South Africa. In Rocklands, the smooth sandstone boulders sit among a stunning desert landscape. The boulder problems are not for the faint of heart, so this location is better suited for more experienced climbers or those who have practiced in a gym. Relax on your rest days by visiting a winery or traveling a few hours away for a safari adventure.

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About the Author

Cassie Drumm
Cassie is a healthy travel enthusiast and writer at Scribewise who resides in Philadelphia. Her favorite places to travel are anywhere she can be outside, bring her dog, and eat delicious vegan food.