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Top 50 Adventures
We’ve scoured the globe to compile our ultimate list of adventures. From helicopter rides to the top of the world to nocturnal glow-in-the-dark diving in the Indian Ocean, there’s something to suit all explorers
Everest in a Flash, Himalayas
The epitome of a challenge, scaling Mount Everest is a serious achievement even for a seasoned mountaineer. Granting access to quite literally the top of the world, the mountain stands at almost 30,000ft above sea level, famously making it the highest peak on earth. Usually, an expedition would take nine weeks or more, but Furtenbach Adventures’ ‘flash’ Everest expedition takes less than four weeks, thanks to at-home acclimatization using hypoxic tents. For those who have the financial means to conquer Everest (the permit, gear and guides alone cost around $50,000) but not the time, this experience is the solution. In addition to the pre-acclimatization, maximum oxygen support is granted during the ascent, as well as the latest equipment, expert guides and experienced sherpas. The spring 2018 expedition sold out within a few months, but bookings are now open for 2019.
Near-Space Flight, The Atmosphere
A part of the atmosphere once reserved exclusively for astronauts, near-space is now becoming a destination for daring civilians. The stratosphere, mesosphere and lower part of the thermosphere create near-space, somewhere between the Armstrong limit (above this, humans need a pressure suit to survive) and the Kármán line (where the atmosphere meets outer space). Taking off from just about anywhere on earth, Brown + Hudson’s near-space flight is the most luxurious way to take on this profound journey. Lifting off at 4am in a state-of-the-art pod that can hold four people, you’ll reach a height of 22 miles in around one hour. The entire flight takes 12 hours (with Michelin-starred in-flight dining), with two hours cruising in near-space.
Bobsled with an Olympian, Utah, US
If the 2018 Winter Olympic Games has left you wanting a piece of the action, the St. Regis Deer Valley hotel in Park City, Utah, has just the thing. As part of an exclusive partnership with the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, the St. Regis is offering an exciting opportunity to bobsled alongside an Olympic medalist. Guests can take a thrilling ride on Park City’s bobsled track at Utah Olympic Park (used in the 2002 Salt Lake City games) alongside brakewoman Valerie Fleming or driver Shauna Rohbock, who together won the silver for the US in the 2006 two-woman bobsled event. They share inspirational stories while giving an exclusive tour of the track. Following a safety demonstration, guests will take the white-knuckle ride of a lifetime — tearing through 10 exhilarating turns and hitting speeds of up to 70mph with three g of g-force. Your day on the track ends with a medal ceremony, an autographed photo from Shauna and Valerie, plus a special souvenir.
Superyacht Regatta, Various Locations
Cloud10 racing is the brainchild of Tony Rey, one of the world’s greatest yacht race leaders and coaches, who has competed in the America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympics. With a wealth of knowledge about all things sailing (he began sailing at the tender age of seven) as well as insider access to the best post-regatta parties, Rey customizes racing experiences (including skipper, captain, crew, hospitability on the ground, and basically anything else you want) pegged around any major sailing event. With entrée to rare and exclusive regattas (Les Voiles de St Tropez, the Rolex Big Boat Series, the Hong Kong–Vietnam Race) and racing yachts like the P2 and Marie, Rey can arrange for guests to sail against Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente, George Sakellaris’s Rambler 88 or Mike Sanderson on the Maxi72 Proteus.
Glaciers and Fjords, Patagonia
Begin this epic 16-day journey in the vibrant capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, and spend a few days losing yourself in the Latin rhythm before heading south to Patagonia. A true final-frontier destination, the barren lands have some of the most spellbinding scenery in the world — think untouched grassland, cracking glaciers, pristine mountains and glassy fjords. During this otherworldly adventure, the Stella Australis takes you on a three-night cruise to remote islands, giant icebergs and dense rain forests, while expert naturalists point out the unique wildlife that has adapted to the inhospitable environments. Back on land, stay in the luxurious Eolo Lodge and Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa, which showcase the mountainous magnificence of Torres del Paine and the gigantic ice masses of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, between guided hikes and private tours.
Swim With Whale Sharks, Los Cabos, Mexico
Outdoor adventure might not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of Los Cabos, known for its decadent hotels and lively nightlife. To fix that, the Resort at Pedregal created a ‘luxploration’ program to showcase the natural beauty of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula in absolute style and comfort. On your first day, head to the oasis-like area outside of the town of Santiago, where towering palms and lush vegetation are a stark contrast to the surrounding desert. Accompanied by a local dog to scare away any predators, your guide will take you on a challenging hike. Your reward at the end is a magical landscape where a river winds its way through a spot peppered with enormous boulders that look like they could tip over at any moment. Clambering over the boulders brings you to natural rock waterslides and swimming holes, where you can cool down. End the day at the Sol de Mayo waterfall, perhaps leaping from some of the cliffs if the water level is high enough. The following day, take to Cabo’s seas for an unforgettable experience: swimming with whale sharks. Don’t be afraid of these gentle giants — they are filter feeders, so you can get as close as you want without any risk. Spend hours snorkeling alongside them in their natural habitat before exploring a nearby town.
The Ultimate Combination, British Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, US
This 13-night itinerary combines all of our adventure categories in one epic multicenter itinerary. With something to suit the whole family, the journey begins in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the chic boutique hotel L’Hermitage. Located in the downtown area, it’s within easy reach of the shopping and entertainment district and famed Granville Island Public Market. In complete contrast, then head to Anchorage, Alaska, to spot the incredible wildlife of Denali National Park. Look out for bears, moose and caribous while staying at Denali Backcountry Lodge. With no internet or phone service, you can truly connect with the surrounding wildlife and fully disconnect from your devices. Lungs full of fresh air, journey to the Four Seasons Hualalai for a whole host of water activities — learn to paddle traditional outrigger canoes, snorkel, paddleboard, kayak or deep-sea fish.
Helitour the Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada
One of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, Canada’s Rockies are an awe-inspiring scene of jagged peaks, lush forests and alpine lakes. The best way to take in the awesome landscape is via helicopter — explore remote, virtually untouched areas that can’t be accessed by foot. Tauck’s seven-day Bugaboos Adventure begins at Alberta’s Banff National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, where you can horseback ride, hike through the mountains or take to the river for a rafting adventure. Next, head to the high country of the Purcell Mountains by helicopter to check out the snow fields, huge valleys and snowcapped peaks. Each time the helicopter lands, an expert guide will escort you to secluded landscapes to see sights such as chiseled granite spires towering up to 9,800ft, ice fields and waterfalls. During the trip, you’ll stay in Canada’s finest mountain resorts, including Bugaboos Lodge and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Golden Gun, Phuket, Thailand
Inspired by the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, which made the islands of Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay famous, the Anantara Layan Phuket has launched an exclusive package for 007 aficionados. Board a private jet from Bangkok to Phuket, where a limo will whisk you off to Villa Similan, the largest of the resort’s cliffside villas, featuring an on-call chef, spa therapist and live-in butler to prepare your martini — shaken, not stirred, obviously. The villa’s ‘man cave’ houses the custom-built golden gun from the movie. Handle the celebrated pistol during a wine tasting with Anantara’s wine guru. The package also includes a private yacht cruise around Phang Nga Bay. Back at the villa, take to the cinema room for a private viewing of vintage Bond films.
Flight Lessons, Hawaii, US
Offered through Four Seasons Lanai, aspiring pilots can learn to fly a Cirrus SR22 and perform basic maneuvers such as takeoff, cruising and landing at the Maui Flight Academy. The flying lessons last two or four hours, during which you can fly directly over an active volcano vent, travel alongside tall sea cliffs to Molokai or go over the lush West Maui mountains before landing in Hana to explore the rain forest. For those who want to extend their airborne time, there’s the Fab 5 package — a full day of flying with visits to five locales: Molokai, Honolulu, Lanai, the Big Island and Maui.
Colombian Road Trip, Colombia
Still relatively under the radar, the southern colonial towns of Colombia make for a lovely chauffeur-driven road trip. The journey begins in the ‘white city’ of Popayán, famed for its sea of white-walled homes and churches, before winding south to Unesco protected San Agustín, home to the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America. Further inland, head to the mountainous Tierradentro in Cauca, which hides the most extensive and elaborate concentration of pre-Colombian hypogea (underground chambers) beneath its peaks. Finally, the journey ends at Huila’s most impressive geographical wonder, the immense Tatacoa Desert — a maze of wind-carved valleys in striking shades of ocher. The area has exceptionally low levels of air pollution, so be sure to spend an evening gazing at the stars.
Sure, you can skydive. Sure, you can tick it off the bucket list. Sure, it’s a pretty hair-raising, adrenaline-fueled experience. But Brown + Hudson has taken it one step further with an unbelievable package — skydive 10,000ft directly over Belize’s Great Blue Hole with world-champion skydivers as your personal instructors. Then dive into the giant sinkhole to discover the undersea world that awaits. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, this Unesco World Heritage site is a rich habitat for marine life such as nurse sharks, reef sharks, blacktip sharks and even giant groupers. You can also combine your package with Special Air Service jungle survival training, if skydiving and swimming with sharks isn’t quite high-octane enough for you.
Scottish Highlands Bike Tour, Scotland
To truly get away from it all, head to the Scottish Highlands — the bewitching, rugged landscape holds some of Europe’s most pristine wilderness areas, with vast mountains, secret coves, lochs and white-sand beaches. Luxury bike vacation specialist the Carter Company has launched its Scottish Highlands Tour, traversing a southwest route from Nairn to Port Appin. The week-long, 130-mile journey winds through mountain ranges (including Ben Nevis and the volcanic peaks of Glencoe) but avoids extreme climbs and extensive daily distances, so cyclists of all abilities can participate. Highlights include exploring the Loch Ness shoreline, the Caledonian Canal through the Great Glen, Culloden Battlefield (the site of the last full-scale battle on British soil) and Cawdor Castle (which Shakespeare used as his setting for Macbeth). All accommodations are charming boutique hotels for weary cyclists to rest up
Zimbabwe Marathon, Zimbabwe
The annual Victoria Falls Marathon is not only a fitness test (challenging even the most dedicated pavement pounder) but also an unbelievable chance to immerse yourself in the magical Zimbabwean landscape by running right through it. This year’s event takes place on July 1 and gives runners the rare opportunity to run through one of the seven wonders of the natural world and to spot wildlife in Zambezi National Park. There are distances for all abilities: the full marathon is 26 miles, the half marathon is 13 miles and the fun run is 4.7 miles. Stay at the boutique Victoria Falls Safari Club to rest and rejuvenate while your personal butler takes care of your every need.
Hot-Air Balloon, Cappadocia, Turkey
With its surreal, otherworldly terrain, Cappadocia is a landscape like no other. Best known for its distinctive conical rock formations (known as ‘fairy chimneys’), the magical region is also home to an abandoned underground city that dates back more than 2,000 years. Take in the enchanting scene from above with a hot-air balloon flight at sunrise — watching the sun soar above the ‘chimneys’ is truly spectacular. Back on land, settle into the gorgeous Argos in Cappadocia Hotel. Owner Gökşin Ilıcalı spent 13 years converting centuries-old stone mansions and an underground labyrinth into this romantic getaway. Some of the suites are carved directly into the rock, and there’s even a naturally created underground concert hall — head there for a traditional Sufi dance performance.
Equestrian Experience, Florida, US
Wellington, Florida, is considered the equestrian capital of the world, and it’s here during the annual January to April Winter Equestrian Festival that Wellington Insider Tours immerses guests in the equine world on its three-day VIP tours. Attend the Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle with a dressage judge, a show jumping competition, and an international polo tournament final with a VIP brunch where you’ll get up close to the action. You’ll also meet star players in dressage, jumping and polo, including international riders and judges, so you can learn directly from the pros — straight from the horse’s mouth, if you will.
Trail Running, Mauritius
Over a century ago, Mark Twain visited the island and remarked “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” And it seems some things never change — it is still paradise. See for yourself with an off-the-beaten-path trail run through fields, forests, mountainous paths, cliff tops and pristine beaches. The annual Ultra Trail Raidlight Beachcomber run takes place July 28 to 29 and has distance options for all abilities, including 6.2 miles, 15.5 miles, 29.2 miles and, new for 2018, a leg-shaking 62 miles. In 2017, Nepalese trail runner Sangé Sherpa completed 74.6 miles in 13 hours and 57 minutes, while Jean Patrice Payet from Reunion Island finished the 6.2-mile race in less than 35 minutes. Rest and recuperate at the Shandrani Beachcomber Resort & Spa, Mauritius’s first-ever five-star resort. Located on a scenic private peninsula surrounded by white-sand beaches, mangroves and mango trees, it is a tranquil haven. Be sure to visit the thatch-roofed spa for an alfresco treatment.
Samui Seascapes, Koh Samui, Thailand
Explore the tropical islands on the eastern coast of Thailand, known for dreamy beaches fringed with coconut trees and dense jungle. While Thailand is a year-round destination, we recommend visiting in April to celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year. The only downside (or upside for sun worshippers) is that this is the hottest month. Escape the heat by diving in the waters of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan to spot the abundance of tropical marine life and coral species, or hike to Namuang Waterfall — muang means ‘purple’ in Thai, and the rocks that form the falls are indeed purple. Kayak enthusiasts will want to head to Angthong National Marine Park, a protected archipelago of roughly 42 tropical islands — the majority of which are uninhabited and undeveloped. Land your kayak on the beach of Koh Mae Koh and climb through lush tropical forest to see the gorgeous Emerald Lake, then spend the afternoon kayaking through lakes, along beaches and into caves.
Paragliding Flight School, California, US
With nearly a century of flying history (Charles Lindbergh was a regular back in the day), Torrey Pines Gliderport is Southern California’s go-to location for those who want nothing between themselves and the sky. Offering paragliding, hang gliding, remote control models and sailplanes, the Gliderport can make your flying dreams a reality. Soar over the dramatic cliffs with a tandem paraglider or hang glider, or if you want to earn your wings, you can learn to fly a powered paraglider and launch it from your own backyard with a certification that only takes a few days. We recommend staying in the nearby Lodge Torrey Pines, perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the Pacific and bordered with pristine beaches and protected forest.
The Wild West Road Trip, Western US
This 13-night trip through the western US promises to be the ride of your life. Relish in the freedom of driving yourself down the open road, discover epic scenery and stay in the most luxurious accommodations. Starting in Sin City itself, spend a night at Las Vegas’s Mandarin Oriental and be hypnotized by the neon lights of the Strip as well as Nevada’s nearby natural wonders, such as the Valley of Fire State Park. Next, ride into the deserts of southern Utah to take to the waters of Lake Powell and follow in the footsteps of the Navajo in Monument Valley, with the plush Amangiri resort in Canyon Point as your base. Then, head east toward romantic Dunton Hot Springs for peace and quiet in the Colorado countryside. The journey ends with a series of activities at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming, including rock-climbing, horseback trails or an outdoor yoga class overlooking the Platte River Valley.
Sea Lion Swim, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge is perched on a secluded bluff overlooking a wild stretch of coast, with far-reaching views of the Southern Ocean and unspoiled Kangaroo Island wilderness. From here, a short helicopter ride lands guests on Thistle Island, where the Adventure Lady awaits to glide through the ocean to nearby Hopkins Island. Just offshore, get up close to the residents — playful sea lions — with a private swim. After this, travel to one of Australia’s best beaches, Memory Cove, where a personal chef will prepare a beachside lunch using local produce paired with local wine.
Underground Cave Dive, Tuscany, Italy
Grotta Giusti, a 19th-century villa and the former home of poet Giuseppe Giusti, guards what he and composer Giuseppe Verdi considered to be the eighth wonder of the world — a 130-year-old thermal cave with an underground hot-spring lake. The only way to explore this unique formation is with an underground cave dive. Three qualified instructors ensure complete safety while guiding guests into the water and through the curious underwater cave systems. Without fins, divers are able to climb as well as swim through the cave. The key section is a cleft in the rock running at approximately 20 to 30 degrees off vertical. The main pass-throughs are at 32ft, 60ft and 90ft — and are breathtakingly beautiful, offering sights unlike anywhere else on earth. The clear waters reveal ancient stalagmites and stalactites, and the super-brave can even swim in total darkness — fully submerged between winding cave tunnels, there’s a second cave that is only accessible by traveling through the underwater system.
Harley-Davidson Experience, Tuscany, Italy
Full of green olive groves and manicured vineyards, the rolling hills of Tuscany are an unmistakable landscape. Perched atop one of these hills is Castello di Casole, a grand hotel housed in a 10th-century former castle. The best way to explore these famous views is on an equally famous ride — a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Mount either an Electra Glide Ultra or a Road King and ride through the region’s winding roads, quaint villages and towns, including San Chimento, Monteriggioni and Croce Fiorentina (the specific route you take is up to you). For a totally immersive experience, choose to have an Italian opera soundtrack while you ride. Or, if you prefer, a co-driver can be added so you’re free to enjoy the ride.
Photography Tour, Norway
Photography buffs rejoice — this is the adventure for you. Join award-winning Lonely Planet photographer David Evans on an intimate 12-day tour through Oslo, Tromsø, the Lofoten archipelago and the North Cape. The activities are shaped around capturing the most photogenic locations and phenomena (including the mythic midnight sun) and David will offer his expert knowledge of travel and landscape photography, covering topics such as sunrise and sunset, long exposures, wildlife and macro photography, and postproduction of imagery. Nordic adventure operator 50 Degrees North takes care of the itinerary while providing insight into the local culture and history — highlights include a Hurtigruten coastal port-to-port voyage, king crab safari in Kirkenes, a private boat tour in Oslo and private sea eagle safari in a rigid-inflatable boat in Lofoten.
Ultimate Iceland, Iceland
The Northern Lights call to thousands of travelers hoping to spot the phenomenal light show, but there’s no guarantee of seeing them (although you’ll have a better chance from late September to late March when the night sky is at its darkest) but fear not — Scott Dunn’s seven-night Ultimate Iceland tour boasts journeys to incredible volcanoes, geysers and glaciers, including a snowmobile ride across the surface of a glacier with a private guide to Eyjafjallajökull, one of Iceland’s most famous volcanoes, with magical views of the southern coast along the way. You’ll also snorkel with puffins and do some sea kayaking, and four nights will be spent at the acclaimed Deplar Farm resort.
Culinary Connoisseur, California, US
With a very close proximity to Baja California and Valle de Guadalupe (hailed as a wine sanctuary by The New York Times), Hotel del Coronado is celebrating the gastronomic revival of Baja California with a day-long adventure to suit the palate of the most discerning gourmand. A private helicopter whisks guests to the beautiful peninsula for a specially curated wine journey. Then, tour the area’s farmers’ markets like a local with expert assistance from renowned master chef Patrick Ponsaty. This year marks the Hotel del Coronado’s 130th anniversary, so there’s a range of signature events to celebrate, including the summer clambake series, where legendary guest chefs will take on the classic seafood beach party.
Aqua Expeditions, Vietnam and Cambodia
For travelers already familiar with Southeast Asia, and first-timers looking for an authentic experience, Aqua Expeditions has a luxury cruise that offers a deeper insight into the diverse history of the region by those who know it best. Your vessel is the 205ft Aqua Mekong, designed by the Saigon-based architects Noor Design using local sustainable materials and artisanal touches influenced by Mekong’s culture. The 13-day itinerary is tailored to suit your preferences, but highlights include daily excursions with professionally trained guides (many of whom grew up on the banks of the river), immersing guests in Mekong life with insider knowledge that only a native would know. Explore remote Buddhist temples, floating markets, the ancient Khmer temples of Angkor Wat, or Siem Reap’s Unesco Biosphere Reserve and floating villages.
Desert Drive, Dubai, UAE
Roaming the golden sands of Dubai is a must-do for any traveler, but as the popularity of the destination has soared in recent years, some of the magic has been lost. This is where the luxury tour group Platinum Heritage steps (or drives) in. With tailor-made desert itineraries it provides an intimate, authentic experience with expert guides who know every grain of sand. Featuring a fleet of 1950s Land Rovers kept in museum-quality condition, the safaris operate from October to May and include private night safaris with astronomer-led stargazing. Platinum Heritage is partnered with the Armani Hotel Dubai, who can take care of your every need. Be sure to stay in the chic Armani Dubai Suite — a regular entry in Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Suites collection.
Tokaido Trail, Honshu, Japan
Championing off-the-beaten-track tours, Walk Japan launched a brand new itinerary in February — the Tōhoku Hot Spring Snow Tour. The fully guided snowshoe expedition showcases the region’s rugged landscapes, bountiful snow scenes and onsen (hot springs). Journey through the rural Tohoku region and encounter gigantic mountains, remote valleys, rocky coasts and vast forests during this eight-night tour. Most of the inns you’ll stay in along the way have onsen facilities where you can rejuvenate after trekking through the snow. Matsuo Basho, one of Japan’s greatest literary figures, was known to relax in the same hot-spring baths in the 17th century. The journey further mimics Basho’s travels, as depicted in the poetic Narrow Road to the Deep North, with a visit to an impressive temple situated high above a valley on a sheer cliff. The tour is suitable for reasonably fit people who can walk comfortably for three hours a day.
Edge of the World, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The vast Arabian Desert has been the source of inspiration for mysterious tales for centuries and an intriguing destination for any traveler. The Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre provides VIP access to the wonders of the desert with a full-day adventure. A Cadillac Escalade takes you to the ancient city of Ad’Diriyah, home to a Unesco World Heritage site and once the seat of the Saudi royal family. Marvel at the 15th-century architecture and browse the colorful markets of Al Bujairi before the main event. Roughly 60 miles northwest of Riyadh lies Jebel Fihrayn — more commonly known as the ‘Edge of the World.’ An expert guide will show you the little-known scenic vistas and explain the geological formations, while chef Ahmed Fawzy will prepare a gourmet lunch of traditional Saudi cuisine just for you. Then, take to the skies in a microlight aircraft to see the immense sandstone cliffs and canyons beneath, before descending into a valley lined with acacia trees as the sun sinks beneath the horizon.
Alaskan Voyage, Alaska, US
Luxury cruise line Seabourn recently returned to Alaska after a 15-year hiatus from the state. The company’s new 12- or 14-day journeys are aboard the Seabourn Sojourn, whose size and nimble manoeuvrability allows her to access places that larger ships cannot, providing guests with a rare insight into the incredible landscape of the Last Frontier. Get closer to nature with a series of shore excursions led by an expert team of naturalists and historians. Kayak through serene waterways and learn about the marine environment. Or paddle through kelp forests while keeping an eye out for wildlife in the surrounding coastal rain forest — sea lions, eagles, brown bears, Sitka black-tail deer and spouting whales have all been spotted here.
Archaeological Tour, Lake Turkana, Kenya
Despite being a hot spot for archaeologists, Lake Turkana’s National Park is virtually unknown to tourists. It holds Lake Turkana, the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the fourth largest alkaline lake in the world. Unleash your inner Indiana Jones (or Jane) with one of Africa’s leading paleontologists, the rock-star Dr Louise Leakey. The adventure begins with a helicopter flight over the Matthews Range, offering panoramic views over the northern frontier and cycad forests. You’ll then experience a private tour of the sites at Turkana Basin Institute research center with Dr Leakey, seeing ancient stone tools and hominid fossils, and see live fossil digs on the eastern side of the lake to learn how collections are managed and prepared by specialists from local communities. The tour also includes a visit to the El Molo tribe on the shores of Lake Turkana, where houses are built on stilts right in the Omo Delta. The return flight will take in some of the region’s most stunning sights, including Von Hohnel Cone, one million flamingos on Lake Logipi and the sand dunes in Kerio Valley. The five-day tour will finish with a picnic lunch on the Maralal escarpment, with views over the dramatic landscape of northern Kenya.
The Peak Walk, Swiss Alps
The very first and only suspension bridge that connects two gargantuan mountains in Switzerland’s Diablerets is the best way to see the area’s gorgeous snowy scenery if you’re not a ski bunny. At certain points of the 350ft-long Peak Walk bridge, a glass floor provides guests with an unobstructed view to the land beneath their feet — definitely not for the fainthearted. Mountains that can be seen from the bridge include Mont Blanc (the Alps’ highest point), the Matterhorn, Mönch, Jungfrau and Eiger. Stay in the Penthouse Suite at the nearby Gstaad Palace — the helpful guest-relations team can arrange the Peak Walk for you. The recently renovated, three-bedroom suite has impressive panoramas from the huge terrace, cozy fireplaces and alpine-chic decor.
Empty Quarter, Oman
There are a few corners of the earth that are truly unique and have a profound effect on the way we see the world. However, to actually experience these places can be tough — many are either mostly or completely inaccessible. Amazing Escapes has found a solution by creating pop-up luxury camps in stunning remote lands. Each camp will only last for two to three months, then vanish. In October and November of this year, a camp will be set up in Oman’s Empty Quarter desert. Comprising 25,000 square miles of 1,000ft-high red sand dunes and sugar-white dunes that surreally fall right into the sea, this terrain is perfect for days spent snorkeling, exhilarating 4×4 desert drives or even a camel ride.
Montana Action, Montana, US
If your idea of an adventure is to test yourself and break away from the usual creature comforts, this Montana challenge from IGO Adventures is for you. You’ll see the beauty of Montana as you swim, trek, run, mountain-bike and kayak along a course in the Whitefish area, traveling an average of 22 miles per day between campsites. You can enter as a solo participant or within a team, and the penultimate day ends with a celebration dinner and prize giving. A skilled guide will always accompany the group in case you’d rather slow down and take in the sights, and you’ll train with local experts prior to the event. The challenge begins and ends at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, where you can enjoy a round of golf or have a much-needed massage.
Night Ski, British Columbia, Canada
With an itinerary that includes heliskiing and cat-skiing around the Mount MacKenzie, Monashee and Selkirk regions, the British Columbia package from adventure-travel specialist Pelorus spoils skiers for choice. Your guide will take you into Canada’s breathtaking backcountry to explore run after run of untouched powder. If that’s not enough, the package includes a world-exclusive opportunity — don a ski suit studded with LEDs and light up the slopes at night while a film crew and photographers capture your illuminated jumps. Pelorus can also arrange parachuting, fast-roping, helicopter jumps into water … or just about anything else that takes your fancy.
Snow Leopard Expedition, Ladakh, India
Nestled in the Himalayas, the magical region of Ladakh (which means ‘land of high passes’ in the region’s Tibetic dialect) has never failed to entice world travelers. The snow-capped mountains, clear sapphire lakes and ever-changing sand dunes are home to rare and exotic wildlife — the most elusive of which is the snow leopard. Your 13-day expedition begins at Delhi’s stunning Trident Hotel Gurgaon, followed by visits to two Buddhist monasteries before you head out on your mission to spot the magnificent feline with one of the area’s most experienced guides (who is an authority on the big cat as well as the fascinating cultural heritage of the region). You can also expect to encounter the Tibetan antelope, ibex, bharal (blue sheep), shapo, marmot and Tibetan hare. Avid bird-watchers can also look forward to seeing snow partridge, golden oriole, snow cock, golden eagle, horned lark and red-billed chuff. On this intimate tour, which is limited to parties of eight or fewer, you’ll spend seven nights living with a Ladakhi family, offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to understand their unique culture and lifestyle.
Snow Challenge, St Moritz, Switzerland
The birthplace of Alpine sports and a snowy playground for the world’s elite, St Moritz has staged the Winter Olympics twice and even hosts snow polo on a frozen lake every January, so it’s the ideal spot to undertake an Olympic challenge of your own. Grande dame hotel Suvretta House has created a package to commemorate the 2018 winter games. The four-day experience calls to all snow lovers who want to hone their skills or learn a few new ones. Take to the slopes with private ski lessons from top instructors and work on your ice-skating moves under the watchful eye of an expert figure skater. Step back in time with a master class in the medieval art of curling at the hotel’s private alfresco curling field, with incredible views over the Upper Engadine Mountains. St Moritz is also home to the legendary Olympia Bob Run, the world’s only natural-ice bobsled track and the oldest still in operation. Daredevils can expect to hurtle down the course at speeds of up to 85mph. Back at Suvretta House, you’ll stay in the Tower Suite — the expansive two-bedroom suite provides beautiful views over glittering lakes and towering mountains.
Heliskiing, New Zealand
Registered as a Unesco World Heritage site, New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is an incredibly remote (and famously inaccessible) area of sublime natural beauty. See it for yourself from above with a helicopter flight through the lakes and alpine valleys. Discover the fjords of Milford Sound (which you can only get to by helicopter) and forage for lobster that will be served as your dinner at Minaret Station Alpine Lodge. Then spend the afternoon heliskiing through hundreds of acres of untouched terrain — expect an average of 10 to 15 runs. Each trip is customized to create your perfect day.
British Royale, UK
If the upcoming nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have inspired you to visit the UK, this 10-day multi-destination itinerary explores the best of Britain. Begin in London, where a local expert escorts you to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey while sharing fascinating stories, then witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. During a private visit to the Queen’s official residence, Windsor Castle, a military knight will explain how knights are appointed and their duties within the castle. Other highlights include a visit to Stonehenge, the rolling hillsides of the Cotswolds, and Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. Then, visit Alnwick Castle (as seen in the Harry Potter films) to meet Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland as she takes you on a private tour of her cherished garden.
Deep-Sea Exploration, Greek Isles, Adriatic Coast, West Indies
If you’re after a cruise but with a more intimate, small-ship experience, Crystal Cruises’ unique yacht size and shallow draft means its fleet is able to moor in secluded harbors, coves and islands. The all-suite, butler-serviced accommodations ensure guests are wrapped in luxury while exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations. The seven-day exploration travels through the Greek Isles, Adriatic Coast and West Indies, and if you’re more of a deep-sea explorer than an island-hopper, the yacht has its very own state-of-the-art submersible, which is able to dive to depths of up to 1,000ft.
Darwin Cruise, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
To protect the Galápagos Islands’ marine environment from overfishing and invasive-species introduction, Angermeyer Cruises and Andando Tours have partnered to create the Galápagos Conservation Fund, which benefits the charity WildAid. For every passenger booked, Angermeyer will donate $100 to the fund; once a year all the proceeds from a one-week charter will be donated (an additional sum of at least $97,800); and for all bookings made via WildAid, 22.5 percent will go directly to the organization’s programs in the Galápagos. Try a trip on Angermeyer’s 159ft luxury motor yacht — recently renamed WildAid’s Passion. The largest charter vessel in the Galápagos, it features a panoramic sky lounge, ample room for 12 passengers, and four incredibly spacious decks, including a secluded sundeck with a Jacuzzi. Activities on WildAid’s Passion’s four- to 15-day cruises include daily hikes, dolphin and whale watching, snorkeling, swimming with penguins and kayaking.
Angling Adventures, Northern Rivers, Russia
Russia’s Atlantic Salmon Reserve encompasses some of the very best salmon rivers in the world, among them the Kharlovka, Eastern Litza, Rynda and Zolotaya. Hundreds of big silver salmon are found there — over the last two seasons, almost 20 percent were over 20lbs, and even some monstrous 40-pounders were caught. The largely unspoiled rivers on the northern coast of the Kola Peninsula are an angler’s dream come true. Fly to Murmansk, where a helicopter takes you to your luxury fishing lodge in the wilderness. A Eurocopter helicopter will transport you each day, so within minutes of departing the lodge your guide will be showing you the best places to cast your fly for the biggest salmon you’ve ever caught.
Moroccan Weekend, Marrakech and Jebel Saghro, Morocco
Discover the best of Morocco with a long weekend of adventure, beginning in Marrakech. Wander the winding, maze-like alleys where the famous souks can be found, teeming with local traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. The next morning, a 4x4 will escort you up through the High Atlas mountains and down into the desert village of Hamdor, where you will hike through the southern Moroccan wilderness of Jebel Saghro. The area is home to the Aït Atta tribe, who will be your travel companions through the mountain passes and open plains. The group of desert nomads journey north to escape the sweltering heat of the summer, seeking the cooler climes of the High Atlas mountains. At night, you’ll camp beside the tribe and experience this journey the way they do. Those wanting to immerse themselves further can learn traditional shepherding and Berber survival skills from the tribe members themselves.
Pachamama Rituals, Máncora, Peru
Visiting Machu Picchu is becoming a rite of passage among intrepid travelers, but with that comes heavy crowds and strict visiting rules. Take the road less traveled and add a more obscure corner of Peru to your itinerary, as you detox and get acquainted with Pachamama (a nature goddess admired by the indigenous people of the Andes) and the mystical spirit of the land. At the northern Pacific shores of Máncora, Peru’s secret beach town, enjoy surf lessons and meditation on the coastline. Venture deep into the Amazon, where a shaman demonstrates the benefits of connecting with nature and becoming one with the rain forest, then learn the ancient Inca rituals of healing through the native coca leaf, which has played a part in its culture since the 13th century, and high-altitude breathing disciplines in the region’s Sacred Valley. As you hike through the valley toward the Machu Picchu ruins, shamanic purification rituals will be performed. End your spiritual journey with a dip in the thermal baths of the Colca Canyon.
Oyster Farming, Pyla-Sur-Mer, France
The serene views at Villa Serini are worth waking up for — rise with the sun and watch it ascend over the sea from the expansive stone patio. Or, go one further and take to the seas yourself for a unique fishing experience. Setting out in a flat-bottomed boat in the early morning with an experienced oyster farmer as your guide, you’ll wade in the water near his oyster farm at low tide. Learn the craft of oyster farming and about the mollusks’ life cycle, and attempt to pry them open yourself. Assemble around the farm table to taste the oysters you’ve just farmed while sipping on white wine specially chosen by Le Collectionist’s oenologist.
Paddleboard in Bioluminescent Plankton, Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
At one of Tobago’s most popular beaches, Pigeon Point, lies a mangrove-lined lagoon where a magical phenomenon can be seen come nightfall — the ocean lights up with tiny neon flecks. A type of marine plankton emits this bluish light, usually when their surroundings are disturbed, to create this magical underwater light display. The plankton can be seen in a few spots around the world (Australia, San Diego, Malta, Vietnam) but in Tobago, you can glide through the eerie glow on a paddleboard. The movement in the water makes the plankton light up — truly a once-in-a-lifetime sight. After a hard session on the water, we can’t think of a better place to rest your weary limbs than aboard a superyacht such as M/Y Gigi, an elegant 164ft Westport able to accommodate 12 guests across six cabins. More importantly, though, she comes in tandem with the support vessel Axis so you can continue your adventures with a three-man Triton submarine, fishing boats and an Icon amphibious aircraft.
Lionfish Hunt, St Lucia
Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, architect and hotelier Nick Troubetzkoy’s resorts on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, are undeniably gorgeous. But they also reflect Troubetzkoy’s love of nature and are routinely recognized for their forward-looking water- and energy-management systems, local-food policy and recycling programs. Now the resorts are offering the chance to be a righteous defender of St Lucia’s astonishing coral reefs by spearing yourself a tasty dinner with the special ‘Invasive Lionfish Tracker’ diving course. A surge in lionfish numbers has disrupted the local ecosystem, damaging coral and other fish. On this experience, divers learn about the threat posed by this intrusive species before spearfishing them to enjoy a lionfish dinner (with your very own catch of the day) on the beach.
Fisherman’s Dream, Argentina
Argentina’s crystal-clear middle Limay River, a tailwater fishery that flows out of Pichi Picún Leufú Dam, is one of the world’s premier fishing sites. Running 50 miles through the Patagonian high steppe into the enormous Ezequiel Ramos Mejía lake, the middle stretch of the Limay has well-regulated flow and temperature, allowing for an abundance of underwater life and a variety of daily hatches — ideal conditions for huge and healthy populations of river rainbows, browns and fall migratory brown trout. Limay River Lodge, a luxury eco-lodge, is the only destination fishing resort on the banks of this tailwater and has exclusive put-in access. The team of dedicated fishermen, led by legendary angler Jorge Trucco, has more than 40 years’ experience and aims to make all your fishing dreams come true.
Undiscovered Ecosystems, Pacific Atolls
Home to some of the most remote marine ecosystems and best dive spots in the world, the South Pacific offers the chance to discover a yet-unknown species. With a marine biologist as your personal guide, you’ll visit Rangiroa, Fakarava and Tikehau in the French Polynesian Tuamotu Islands to search for undiscovered creatures. Fakarava especially features a unique untouched environment and is now a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Expect to see blacktip and oceanic whitetip sharks, humpback whales and manta rays. Brown + Hudson can also organize private dives to other spectacular spots, deep-sea fishing expeditions and a visit to a pearl farm.