We conducted a global study to find the most adventurous countries in the world, based on search volume around adventure sport phrases including skydiving, skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving, mountain biking and more.
Using the latest Google search data, we analysed more than 100 of the most used adventure sport phrases across fourteen disciplines for every country over the past year to reveal which country is the most adventurous.
- Australia is the world’s most adventurous country
- Out of the fourteen adventure sports analysed, Australia featured in the top 10 for twelve of them, clinched the first position for surfing, hiking, scuba diving, and BMXing.
- Canada was 2nd overall, ranking 1st for snowboarding, 2nd for skiing and 3rd for hiking
- The United States was 3rd overall, coming in 1st place for skydiving, 2nd for hiking and 3rd for surfing and kayaking.
- Finland, New Zealand, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Denmark made up the remaining top 10 spots.
The top 10 most adventurous countries on the planet
When combining search data for all fourteen adventure sports, Australia boasted the highest per capita search volume, securing the top position and earning the title of the world’s most adventurous country. Canada followed in second place, with the United States rounding out the top three. Finland and Denmark were the only Scandinavian countries to make the top 10, while Singapore stood out as the sole Asian nation on the list.
Here is a map view showing which countries ranked top for each individual outdoor activity or sport.
The top 10 countries for each adventure sport
The analysis also examined each sport individually, determining for every sport which countries boasted the highest participation per capita and identifying which country topped the list. Continue reading to see how various countries fared across 14 unique outdoor activities and sports…
When looking at Kayaking, France emerged as the clear winner, followed by Canada and the United States.
Geographically, France boasts an impressive mix of mountains and rivers, which naturally boost the popularity of water sports. Both the Rhine River and the Loire River stretch for more than 1,000 kilometres, and the French Alps provide exciting terrain for river-based activities.
Hiking is one of the most affordable and accessible outdoor activities, an option that nearly every country can offer its population.
Australia was ranked top for this activity, followed by the United States and Canada. Each of these countries is blessed with vast expanses, varied terrain and beautiful national parks, which likely drive the popularity of the activity.
Mountain biking has seen growth as a sport in recent years. However, according to the data, it is exceptionally popular in Finland, boasting more than twice the per capita search interest of any other country. Australia ranked third, followed by New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The original roots of skiing are somewhat hard to confirm, but it is suggested that the very first skis date back to 8000 years BC and were found in Northern China.
However, it was Finland that took the top spot for skiing, followed by Canada and Austria. All three countries boast world-class ski resorts, so it’s only natural for the local population to fully embrace the sport. Ireland was the only country to rank in the top 10 despite not having any outdoor ski resorts!
Despite having a population of only 5.2 million, New Zealand secured the top spot for combined search interest per capita in climbing, abseiling, and bouldering. Australia and Norway followed in second and third places, respectively.
With its impressive mountain ranges, varied terrain, cave systems and volcanoes, New Zealand offers excellent opportunities for climbers year-round. In fact, Queenstown in the South Island is often referred to as the “Adventure Capital of the World”.
When it comes to surfing, Australia is the undisputed winner, with a per capita search interest that’s 38% higher than New Zealand, which came in second place, and 204% higher than the United States, which ranked third. The island nation of Australia is home to some of the world’s best beaches (such as Bondi and Coogee) and coastal lifestyle is synonymous with surfing!
Sweden is the skateboarding epicentre of the world, closely followed by Australia, with the Czech Republic in third place. Sweden has long been recognised as a skateboarding hub, underscored by the opening of the world’s first high school built around a skate park in Malmö a few years ago. With skateboarding introduced as an Olympic sport in 2020, its global popularity is set to grow even further.
In recent years, the sport of Parkour has seen rapid growth. It’s best described as the practice of navigating obstacles in a man-made or natural environment using movements like running, vaulting, jumping, climbing, and rolling. The aim is to reach the destination as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Scandinavian countries comprised four of the top five spots, with Finland once again securing the top position overall for the sport.
Snowboarding, another popular winter sport, exhibited a different top 10 composition compared to skiing. Canada clinched the top spot for snowboarding after securing the second position in skiing. Norway and Switzerland, both nations with robust ski industries, followed in second and third places, respectively.
Skydiving, an extreme sport, was the sole discipline in which the United States secured the top position. Australia and the United Kingdom followed closely in second and third places, respectively. Remarkably, Israel, the only Middle Eastern country on the list, clinched an impressive fifth spot.
Although BMXing originated in California in the 1970s, it was Australia that ranked number one among all countries analysed – The United States ranking at 9th position. The Czech Republic and Poland followed in second and third places, respectively, indicating a clear trend in Eastern Europe.
In November 1988, the world’s first commercial bungee (or bungy) operation opened at the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand. Therefore, it’s only fitting that New Zealand claimed the top spot for this adventure activity. Hong Kong, home to the second-largest bungee jump at the Macau Tower, secured second place, followed by Finland.
While history indicates that diving dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, it wasn’t until 1926 in France that Yves le Prieur introduced the first S.C.U.B.A. — or Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Despite this European origin, Australia tops the global rankings for this water-based activity, followed closely by Singapore and New Zealand.
The Great Barrier Reef, situated on Australia’s eastern coast, is the world’s largest coral reef system. It boasts over 2,900 individual reefs and spans 900 islands across an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. To the west of Australia, the Ningaloo Reef’s popularity has surged due to its vibrant and diverse ecosystem.
The final outdoor activity analysed in this research was a combination of waterskiing and wakeboarding. Waterskiing was invented by two brothers, Ralph and Ben Samuelson, in the summer of 1922 in the United States. On the other hand, wakeboarding emerged much later, in the 1980s. Both sports can be experienced using a cable system or a motorboat.
The Netherlands took the top spot among countries for these sports, with Australia following in second and Singapore in third. Interestingly, the United States didn’t make the top 10, despite its foundational role in the sport’s inception.
Google search data (searching all languages) was used to establish the annual search volume (August 2022 to August 2023) in each country for adventure sport phrases across fourteen disciplines.
For each of the fourteen activities analysed, Google Keyword Planner was used to identify the 10 most searched phrases for each sport. The fourteen sports included skiing, snowboarding, surfing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, bungee jumping, skateboarding, BMXing, scuba diving, skydiving, parkour and waterskiing.
Only search phases which were generic in nature were selected. These are ones which are not relevant to a particular location, therefore less influenced by unique local demand. For example, for skiing keywords could include “skiing”, “learn to ski” or “ski resorts”.
The countries selected to be included in this analysis piece were selected based on the top 50 countries based on GDP estimates from worldometers.info (nominal GDP, 2022). For each of these countries, population estimates were also recorded from worldometers.info (Updated on July 16, 2023 with the latest July 2023-July 2024 estimates from the 2022 U.N. Revision). Russia and Ukraine were excluded from the analysis due to lack of search data available.
The search volume estimates were then used against the population estimates from worldometres.info to provide a per capita search volume per month (to score the rankings).