Adventure holidays make us feel alive. Whether it’s trekking, skiing or rock climbing, outdoor activities allow us to experience nature in a unique way, share exciting moments with our loved ones, learn about different cultures, and create lifetime memories.
Active vacations fill our lives with adrenaline and take us out of our comfort zone, allowing us to do things we never thought we were capable of before.
For those with a passion for travel and a taste for thrilling outdoor activities, we’ve prepared a list of the most classic adventure holidays worldwide. From skiing Japan’s mythical powder snow to climbing Moab’s sandstone towers, here’s our ultimate bucket list. Check it out for some travel inspiration, and start thinking of your next trip!
The ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the world’s most famous landmarks. With a tremendous archaeological and cultural significance, and a breathtaking location ―sitting at the top of a mountain― the adventure begins on the way there.
If you are up for a classic, then you should embark on the iconic Inca Trail, a 4-day trek that takes you through different historical sites and it’s considered one of the top treks in South America. Those who like to take the less-traveled road can pick the Salkantay Trek, an excellent (and more budget-friendly) alternative that offers stunning views. Keep in mind the Salkantay trek can take one extra day depending on your physical condition.
Not sure which one to pick? Read our guide comparing the Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.
Canada is a winter wonderland. For those who enjoy leaving the comfort of the ski resort behind and stepping into the backcountry, a trip to Whistler sounds just like the perfect plan.
Don’t miss this: All you need to know to go backcountry skiing in Whistler
Tucked in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler Blackcomb is North America’s largest ski resort and a world-class ski destination. The regular heavy snowfalls and premium quality powder snow of the area make backcountry skiing in Whistler an extraordinary adventure holiday.
One of the classic backcountry ski tours in Whistler is the Spearhead Traverse, a 35 km route that takes you across glaciated terrain and mountain passes. The Garibaldi Neve Traverse is another legendary route, which offers very scenic views along the way.
From the iconic sandstone towers of Moab to the equally legendary big-wall climbs of Zion National Park, Utah is home to some of the best rock climbing spots in the US.
Rock climbing in Utah is varied and provides opportunities for climbers of all levels: there are classic and challenging routes (like the ones you can find at American Fork Canyon, famous for its steep overhanging sport climbing routes) as well as accessible routes for beginners and intermediate climbers. The best seasons for rock climbing in Utah are Autumn and Spring.
A trip to Utah means rock climbing at its best, but also, stunning desert landscapes, weird reddish rock formations and the scenic beauty of American Western roads.
Ready for some first-class rock climbing? Check out all our climbing options in Utah!
The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is the ultimate classic trek of the Alps and certainly, one of the greatest long-distance hikes in the world. The standard itinerary traverses 170 km in around 10 days (though there are shorter versions available), surrounding the Mont Blanc massif and taking you across three different countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland.
If you are looking for an authentic alpine experience, you should look no further: hiking the TMB provides wonderful views of some of the Alps’ most iconic peaks, as well as a chance to spot local flora and fauna and stay at some of the many mountain huts dotted along the way. There are different versions of this hike, but most of them require at least 7 hours of hiking per day, so you’ll need to be in excellent physical conditions.
The best time to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc? From June to October.
Climbing Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) —a majestic stand-alone mountain of northeast Tanzania— is on the bucket list of many outdoor lovers. The highest mountain in Africa is also one of the Seven Summits (a mountaineering challenge featuring the highest peaks on each continent), and actually, it’s one of the easiest to achieve.
There are many routes to climb Kilimanjaro, but the most popular are Machame Route (which has mountain huts along the way), Marangu and Rongai. Generally, it takes a week to complete the ascent.
Even though this mountain ascent doesn’t entail any technical difficulties, it does require to be in good shape. Here you can find a few tips on how to prepare to climb Kilimanjaro.
Ready to tackle Africa’s highest mountain? Join a certified guide on an unforgettable climbing trip to Kilimanjaro!
Exploring the Himalayas, surrounded by some of the highest summits in the world including Mount Everest (8,848 m), definitely ranks as a classic adventure holiday.
Nepal is one of the best trekking destinations in the Himalayas, boasting several iconic trails. The Everest Base Camp trek ―a 130 km circuit that takes you through the Khumbu Valley and up to 5,364 m― is one of the big favorites. This trek provides unparalleled views of colossal mountains (including Ama Dablam and Everest) and takes you through remote mountain villages where the Sherpa culture is still alive.
Other amazing treks in Nepal are Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the Manaslu Region Trek, and the Kanchenjunga Region Trek. You can read about them on this guide of the best treks in the Himalaya.
Mallorca is the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, a wonderful mix of postcard beaches, Mediterranean weather and ambiance, and impressive cliffs hanging to the sea. It’s also one of the top rock climbing destinations in Europe, featuring more than 90 routes for all levels, and providing amazing climbs above the blue sea. It can’t get more adventurous than that, right?
This Mediterranean rock climbing paradise allows you to explore all kinds of climbing: bouldering, sport climbing, trad climbing, deep soloing, you name it! Sa Gubia is one of the top crags in Mallorca, with more than 100 single-pitch and multi-pitch routes.
Rock climbing in Mallorca is an all-year-round activity, thought the best conditions (and lesser crowds) can be found between September and May. The same applies to other rock climbing venues in the Mediterranean, such as Sardinia (Italy), Kalymnos (Greece) or Corsica (France). Read more about rock climbing in the Mediterranean Islands!
Japan is an amazing travel destination for so many reasons: culture, food, nature…and extremely light powder snow! This Asian country receives some of the heaviest snowfall in the world, especially in the northern island of Hokkaido, and is a magnet for off-piste skiers seeking powder runs outside the boundaries of the ski resorts.
So where to go off-piste skiing in Japan? Niseko, the largest ski resort in the country, is probably the most obvious choice (and a great one!). However, there are other areas in Hokkaido providing access to incredible off-piste skiing, like Sapporo, Furano and the less-traveled island of Rishiri. The island of Honshu, on the other side, is home to the Japan Alps and has some well-known off-piste skiing areas as well, such as Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen. Want to know more? Read our guide of the best spots for powder skiing in Japan and where to go backcountry skiing near Tokyo.
Ok, there’s a chance you’ve never heard of via ferratas before. However, there’s more than one reason why climbing a via ferrata in the Dolomites deserves a place on our list of classic adventure holidays.
This outdoor activity ―which consists of climbing a protected route on a mountain wearing a harness clipped to a steel wire― was literally born in the Dolomites. This dramatic mountain range of northern Italy was one of the battlefields of the First World War, and soldiers built these routes to be able to navigate the mountains.
Nowadays, via ferratas are gaining popularity all around the world, especially in the Alps. The Dolomites provide a bunch of climbing routes for all levels: some of them are excellent for a family trip (even if you have little kids), while others are extreme challenges only reserved to adrenaline junkies! Want to know where to go? Here’s a guide with the best via ferratas in the Dolomites.
If you are going to Italy soon, this is a must-do! See all the options for a guided via ferrata adventure in the Dolomites.
Iceland is home to some of the most otherworldly landscapes on Earth. Hailed as the ‘land of fire and ice’, you can find glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, fjords, iceberg, geysers…all in the same country! And as if that weren’t enough, Iceland is one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis).
Hiking is one of the best ways of exploring Iceland (and here’s our list of the best hikes in the country). However, there’s something even better: glacier hiking. A few miles from the capital city of Reykjavik lies Sólheimajökull glacier. During the day, you can put on a pair of crampons and traverse this glaciated surface. And when the night comes, you can get ready for the surreal and magic experience of watching the Northern Lights. Sounds like an awesome plan, right?
Find all our options for hiking in Iceland here, and take a look at this 1-day glacier hiking & Northern Lights viewing adventure!
So, that’s our list of the top 10 classic adventure holidays worldwide. Now it’s time for you to pick your favorites, and start ticking them off your bucket list!
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