- 1 Sign up to The Flyer: weekly travel inspiration, emailed direct to you
- 1.1 3. Frozen river trek, India
- 1.2 4. Horse riding, Georgia
- 1.3 5. Jungles of Papua New Guinea
- 1.4 6. Cycling Laos
- 1.5 7. Loepard-spotting, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
- 1.6 8. Tien Shan horse trek, Kyrgyzstan
- 1.7 9. Lake trekking, Bhutan
- 1.8 The Americas
- 1.9 10. Sea Kayaking, Greenland
- 1.10 11. Off the beaten track, Northern Peru
- 1.11 12. Island-hopping, The Falkland Islands
- 1.12 13. Wild West by rail, United States
- 1.13 14. Sailing expedition, south from Cape Horn
- 1.14 Europe
- 1.15 15. Cycling St Petersburg to Venice
- 1.16 16. Snow-shoeing, Sicily
- 1.17 17. Walking the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda, Scotland
- 1.18 18. Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc, France
- 1.19 19. Walking the Lleyn Peninsula, Wales
- 1.20 Africa
- 1.21 20. Walking in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
- 1.22 21. Exploring Mali
- 1.23 22. Gorilla trek, Rwanda
- 1.24 23. Exploring wilderness, Malawi
- 1.25 24. Wildlife spotting, Botswana
- 1.26 25. Three peak trek, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
- 1.27 The guides
- 1.28 Leave your vote
1. Mountain biking, Cappadocia, Turkey
In Cappadocia, the thrill of hurtling along a trail on two wheels is amplified by its otherworldly landscape of rock pillars, known as “fairy chimneys”, many reaching more than 40 metres high, as well as its cave houses and ancient Byzantine churches. There are well-marked trails, both long and short, for all skill levels.
When? April to October are the best months
Book it: Argeus Tourism & Travel (00 90 384 341 4688; cappadociaexclusive.com) offers a year-round, four-day guided mountain-bike tour of Cappadocia from £583, including hotel accommodation, some meals and bike rent. Flights extra
2. Climbing Mount Ramelau, East Timor
While the situation in East Timor is relatively calm compared with recent periods of political strife, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still advises against “all but essential travel” to the region. However, interest is slowly picking up again, and predictions are that 2010 will be a fantastic time to explore this land relatively untouched by tourism. Having suspended all trips to East Timor four years ago, Intrepid is re-introducing trips for 2010. The highlight of its itinerary is an ascent of Mount Ramelau – the highest mountain in East Timor – timed so you will reach the summit for sunrise.
When?April to October
Book it: Intrepid (020 3147 7777; intrepidtravel.com) offers a 15-day guided trip from £1,020, including accommodation, all meals and transfers. Flights extra. Departures on 4 and 18 July 2010
3. Frozen river trek, India
In winter the road into the remote Zanskar region of northern India is buried in deep snow, and the only route in is to walk along the frozen Zanskar River. Merchants have walked the route for centuries, but now the first handful of tourists are discovering this unique trek, known as the Chadar. Along the 55-mile journey you can visit villages that are completely divorced from modern life and explore Buddhist monasteries built into cliff walls.
When? January and early February
Book it: Project Himalaya (firstname.lastname@example.org; project-himalaya.com) offers a 21-day trip from 1 January 2010 from £2,040, including domestic flights, meals, accommodation and transfers
4. Horse riding, Georgia
Georgia has some of the world’s most spectacular mountains as well as very fine horses, making it perfect for a horse adventure. Travelling into the remote Tusheti region, ride through some of the highest villages in Europe, past meadows and snow-capped peaks. You can stay in a 600-year-old defensive tower converted into a guesthouse.
When? June to September
Book it: Wild Frontiers (020 7736 3968; wildfrontiers.co.uk) has a nine-day horse trek from £1,195, departing 7 August, including full-board accommodation and transfers. Flights extra
5. Jungles of Papua New Guinea
This autumn’s fantastic BBC1 series, Lost Land of the Volcano, has put Papua New Guinea on the radar of intrepid travellers. This is the place to marvel at masked fire dances, explore dense jungle, snorkel azure waters and camp by an active volcano, Tavurvur. You should be used to walking hilly terrain.
When? Dry season is May to December
Book it: Baobab Expeditions (020 8951 2854; baobabexpeditions.com) offers a 10-day Papua New Guinea trip from £2,986, including accommodation, airport transfers, local transport/excursions, all meals. Flights extra. Departures on 2 April, 7 July, 10 September and 5 November 2010
6. Cycling Laos
Cycling is a great way to get off the beaten track in this increasingly popular country. Start in Luang Prabang, in north central Laos, and head to Hanoi, in north Vietnam, travelling along the banks of the Mekong river and past the intriguing Viengxay caves. When? October to March
Book it: World Expeditions (020 8545 9030; worldexpeditions.co.uk) has a 15-day guided Luang Prabang to Hanoi cycling trip from £1,350, including most meals, bike hire and sightseeing. Flights extra. Departures from January to December 2010
7. Loepard-spotting, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Yala is perhaps the world’s best place for leopard-spotting and, since the end of the lengthy civil war in May, tourists are returning there. As well as leopards, you can expect to see elephant, water buffalo, wild boar and more than 100 species of birds.
When? January to May
Book it: Real Holidays (020 7359 3938; srilankaportfolio.co.uk) offers a 15-day package, including Yala, from £2,285, departing 29 January 2010, including B&B accommodation, all flights and transfers
8. Tien Shan horse trek, Kyrgyzstan
For adventurous horse trekking you can’t beat Kyrgyzstan. You can ride high into the snow-capped mountains in the footsteps of nomads and Silk Road traders, then pick your way down through the juniper-lined valleys. You’ll need horse riding experience.
When? Trekking is best between June and September
Book it: The Adventure Company (0845 608 0889; adventurecompany.co.uk) offers a 14-day horse trek from £1,959, including flights, accommodation, activities and some meals. Several dates available in July, August and September 2010
9. Lake trekking, Bhutan
Despite being sandwiched between two super-powers, India and China, Bhutan retains a unique Buddhist culture and offers some of the best trekking of all the Himalayan kingdoms. Near Thimphu, there are a series of picturesque, high-altitude lakes, including Yutsho, known for its golden trout, as well as the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery. Moderate to high level of fitness required.
When? September to October
Book it: Footloose (01943 604030; footlooseadventure.co.uk) offers a 11-day trip, taking in all the above, from £1,850, including domestic flights, accommodation, most meals, sightseeing and guide. International flights extra. Visas can be arranged through Footloose
10. Sea Kayaking, Greenland
Sea kayaking was invented in Greenland by Inuit hunters as a means of pursuing seals and whales, but today it is growing in popularity among holidaymakers keen to get up close to the majestic icebergs around the coast. It’s possible to hire a kayak in various towns in Greenland, but unless you are an expert, you should join a guided group.
When? July and August
Book it: Wilderness Journeys (0131 625 6635; wildernessjourneys.com) offers a 16-night trip from £2,595, including wild camping and guest house accommodation, all meals, kayaking equipment, guiding, transport and domestic flights. Departs 5 July, 29 July and 12 Aug 2010
11. Off the beaten track, Northern Peru
Although less accessible than the south, northern Peru is deeply intriguing – pre-Inca archaeological sites are abundant and still being discovered. Highlights include the Tombs of Sipan: discovered largely intact in 1987, with many precious gold and ceramic artefacts. Other sites include the Huacas del Sol y Luna (adobe pyramids) and the Gocta Falls, one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, while rare pink dolphins swim in this region’s section of the Amazon.
When? June to October
Book it: Sunvil (020 8758 4774; sunvil.co.uk) offers an 11-night trip from £4,090, including a private tour of the Tombs of Sipan, flights, transfers, accommodation, some meals and private excursions. Departures year-round
12. Island-hopping, The Falkland Islands
For many the Falklands will always conjure up images of war, but today they are increasingly a venue for tourism. You can stay in friendly B&Bs, walk in the unspoilt wilderness and immerse yourself in the local culture. Then jump on board an eight-seater plane to explore neighbouring islands where, if you’re lucky, you may encounter penguins, sea lions and orcas.
When? November to February
Book it: Adventure Life (00 406 541 2677; adventure-life.com) offers an eight-day island-hopping trip from £1,670, including accommodation, all meals and domestic flights. International flights extra. Weekly departures throughout 2010
13. Wild West by rail, United States
California’s picturesque railroads offer a fascinating way to see America’s Wild West, whisking you past giant redwood forests, rugged coastlines and historic gold rush towns that might otherwise take days to reach by car. Take the Sierra Railroad – created in 1897 to connect the Central Valley to the Gold Country – which crosses a section of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and the Napa Valley Wine Train, a restored 1915 Pullman train car, through the region’s beautiful wine country.
When? March to May and September to October
Book it: Ffestiniog Travel (01766 772 030; festtravel.co.uk) has a 10-day “Historic Trains of California” tour from £1,759, including flights, train travel, B&B accommodation, some meals, excursions and guiding. Departures 14 March, 11 April, 18 April 2010
14. Sailing expedition, south from Cape Horn
Instead of taking several short, budget holidays over a year or two, tour companies report more people booking one “ultimate” adventure, and a sailing trip to Antarctica is as ultimate as it gets. Small-scale expeditions allow you to explore places the bigger ships can’t reach. One three-week itinerary takes in Cape Horn, Chile, the South Shetland Islands – home to chinstrap penguins and sealions – and Deception Island, a spectacular volcanic island.
When? December to March
Book it: Victory Adventure Expeditions (001 5661 621010; victory-cruises.com) has an Antarctica expedition, taking in all of the above, on board a 12-berth sailing boat from $6,500, including all meals, harbour fees and guide. From 8 January to 1 February 2010 and 7 February to 3 March 2010.
15. Cycling St Petersburg to Venice
The Tour d’Afrique bike ride organisers (from Cairo to Cape Town) have started allowing riders to design their own tours, subject to minimum numbers. First for 2010 is the Amber Route, a 1,940-mile epic from St Petersburg to Venice tracing the old amber trading route across the Baltic States, then through Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia, before finishing in Venice. Good fitness levels are required.
When? 11 July to 21 August
Book it: £5,430, including accommodation and food, but excluding flights. Register online at tourdafrique.com
16. Snow-shoeing, Sicily
Snow-shoeing on Mount Etna – Europe’s highest volcano – is becoming increasingly popular, with travellers keen to experience something different from the Alps. You’ll pass through the dense forest of Piano Provenzano, across ancient lava flows and to elevations with views across the Ionian Sea. You can also explore the historic town of Taormina. No previous snow-shoeing experience needed, but a moderate level of fitness.
When? November to March
Book it: Explore (0844 499 0901; explore.co.uk) offers a four-day trip from £645, including accommodation, some meals and guided walks. Flights extra. Departs 22 January and 19 February 2010
17. Walking the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda, Scotland
The Outer Hebrides and St Kilda offer wilderness walking with the wow factor, but they are remarkably affordable and on our doorstep – sure to make them attractive to eco-conscious ramblers-on-a-budget in 2010. Rugged and remote, you should base yourself on Harris and walk on the coastal hinterland, then explore Lewis (the two are actually one island) and visit the Standing Stones of Callanish. Take the three-hour ferry to Kilda for wonderful wildlife spotting.
When? May to September
Book it: Wilderness Scotland (0131 625 6635; wildernessscotland.com) offers a year-round, three-night self-guided walking trip to the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda from £350, including full-board accommodation, ferry transfers and route notes/maps
18. Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc, France
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a circumnavigation of Europe’s highest peak through Switzerland, Italy and France. Book a self-guided trip from mountain hut to mountain hut – across passes, enormous glaciers and lakes. Above average fitness required.
When? The mountain huts are open late-June to end of August
Book it: Utracks (0845 241 7599; utracks.com) offers a seven-day self-guided trip from £530, including accommodation, all meals, luggage transfers and maps. Flights extra. Departs every Monday and Saturday from 19 June to 30 August 2010
19. Walking the Lleyn Peninsula, Wales
Wales is set to be a popular walking destination for 2010, not least the beautiful 95-mile coastal path from Caernarfon to Porthmadog. It is possible to walk shorter parts of the path; for example, there’s a great 47-mile walk that takes in the wild moors at Bwlch Mawr, the iron age fort at Tre’r Ceiri and the blustery Porth Oer cliffs. Round off your trip by hopping on a ferry to Bardsey Island.
When? June to September
Book it: Edge of Wales Walk (01758 760652; edgeofwaleswalk.co.uk) has a six-day, 47-mile walk, as above, from £56 per night (£30 per child), including B&B, minibus transport, maps and GPS. Available year-round
20. Walking in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Trekking in the Simien Mountains is impressive but not overly technical. They are bounded on the north and east by a massive escarpment, in places more than 1,000 metres high. Expect to see an array of wildlife, from baboons to Ethiopian wolves. Moderate fitness level required.
When? September to June
Book it: Wild Frontiers (020 7736 3968; wildfrontiers.co.uk) offers an eight-day walk in the mountains from £1,595, departing 13 February 2010, including accommodation, all meals, domestic flights, services of a tour leader and a local guide. International flights extra
21. Exploring Mali
Everyone has heard of Timbuktu, but not everyone knows how to get there. On a tour of Mali you can visit this fabled city, trek among the villages of Dogon Country, visit the markets of Djenne, and ride by traditional boat on the Bani River to Mopti, a city on three islands. No fitness requirements.
When? November to January
Book it: World Expeditions (020 8545 9030; worldexpeditions.co.uk) has a guided 13-day trip from £1,390, including accommodation, some meals, private transport, Niger river boat trip and trekking in Dogon country. Flights extra. Ten departures from January to December in 2010
22. Gorilla trek, Rwanda
Rwanda has the largest number of habituated gorilla groups, and this number looks set to increase from seven to eight. The Susa group (made famous in the film Gorillas in the Mist) recently split, which means the creation of a new, independent gorilla family group in the Mt Karisimbi area looks likely. This means an even better chance of being able to obtain permits for this expensive, but incredible experience.
When? June to September
Book it: To Escape To (020 7060 6747; toescapeto.com) has a seven-night trip, combining the Mount Karisimbi area with the Masai Mara in Kenya, from £3,895, including all flights, full board accommodation, transfers, park fees and gorilla trekking permit. For departures until 31 March 2010 (excluding Christmas and New Year)
23. Exploring wilderness, Malawi
For an African country with such a beautiful expanse of wilderness that is safe and not overly expensive, it is amazing that Malawi is not more on the tourist map. Climbing the 3,002m summit of Mount Mulanje is a highlight, taking in forested gorges, waterfalls and tea plantations. Moderate level of fitness required.
When? Early May to late October
Book it: Wilderness Journeys (0131 625 6635; wildernessjourneys.com) offers a 12-night guided Malawi trip from £2,275, including kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, snorkelling, accommodation, all meals, park fees and transport. Fights extra. Departs 11 April, 16 May and 6 June 2010
24. Wildlife spotting, Botswana
Only an hour’s flight from South Africa, Botswana is likely to reap the benefits of football fans heading to the World Cup. Nearly all southern African mammal species are present in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve and Chobe National Park, which is home to the largest elephant population in the world. In Makgadikgadi Pans National Park wildebeest and zebra migrate annually.
When? August to October (for elephants). April to December (for wildebeest)
Book it: Tribes (01728 685971; tribes.co.uk) has a 10-night trip to Botswana, taking in Moremi, Chobe and Makgadikgadi, from £2,670, including accommodation, all meals, transfers and activities. International flights extra. Departures throughout 2010
25. Three peak trek, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Trekking to the summit of Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak (4,167m), has always been popular, but for a real adventure combine this with two less well-trodden peaks – Jebel Ouanakrim (4,088m) and Jebel Adrar n’Dern (4,001m). You’ll discover seldom-visited gorges and passes and spectacular views to the Sahara. Above average fitness required.
When? September to November, March to May
Book it: Exodus (0845 863 9601; exodus.co.uk) has a 15-day trip from £839 including flights, guided walks, accommodation, most meals and transfers. Regular departures from 2 May to 3 October 2010.
• Tim Greening KE Adventures (keadventure.com)
• Greg Witt Author of Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel (roughguides.com)
• Brad Atwal World Expeditions (worldexpeditions.com)
• Simon Grove Explore (explore.co.uk)
• Jonny Bealby Wild Frontiers (wildfrontiers.com)
• Tom Hall Lonely Planet (lonelyplanet.co.uk)
• James Ingham The Adventure Company (adventurecompany.co.uk)
• Richard Pfaffli Baobab Expeditions (baobabexpeditions.com)
• Stevie Christie Wilderness Journeys (wildernessjourneys.com)
• Darrell Wade Intrepid (intrepidtravel.com)
• Lloyd Boutcher Sunvil Traveller (sunvil.co.uk)
• Edan Harvey The Traveller (the-traveller.co.uk)