For some, hitting the local dive half an hour before closing time is adventure enough. For others, it’s practically a relaxing spa getaway unless there are snowy peaks, rushing rivers, sheer cliffs, dangerous wildlife, and at least a small possibility of death.
Those true adrenaline junkies need thrills of a higher magnitude, which can be found in ample supply at any of these international destinations for adventure. Steel your nerves and let’s take a walk (or ride, or climb, or kayak) on the wild side.
Boulder | Colorado
With “boulder” in the name, this Colorado town was practically destined to be one of the world’s best destinations for rock climbing. Adventurers of all levels flock to Boulder for its diversity, thriving community of outdoor enthusiasts, and year-round climbing. In both quantity and quality, Boulder’s climbing locations, styles, and rock types are world-class. Popular areas include the granite crags of Boulder Canyon, the Flatirons, and the legendary walls at Eldorado Canyon State Park (known as “Eldo” to the locals).
Outer Hebrides | Scotland
Off the west coast of mainland Scotland, the jagged coastline of the Outer Hebrides rises dramatically from the sea. Innumerable lochs, inlets and caves make the Outer Hebrides a prime spot for sea-kayaking. Vistors can paddle below (or jump off of) striking sea cliffs, explore remote shores and uninhabited islands, and observe dolphins, seals, whales, and other creatures in their natural habitat. This is sea kayaking for the connoisseur.
Pyrenees Mountains | France
Unleash your inner Lance (minus the doping scandal) and test your mettle on the mountain stages of the Tour de France. While the exact route changes each year, it always passes through the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps. Try Mont Ventoux (often considered the hardest in the Tour), Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin, Port de Bales and Col de Peyresourde. For the full Tour de France experience, end your adventure with a glass of champagne in Paris.
Great Himalaya Trail | Nepal
The Great Himalaya Trail is one of the longest and highest alpine walking tracks in the world, winding over 4500 km through Kashmir, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. The Nepal section of the GHT offers a kaleidoscope of experiences to the adventurous explorer. Along the way you can visit Buddhist temples, taste a cup of Tibetan yak-butter tea, and catch a glimpse of native wildlife like the red panda and the elusive snow leopard.
National Parks | Tanzania
Tanzania’s 17 national parks – not to mention its reserves, marine parks and conservation areas – are some of the most stunning in Africa. Over 300 mammal species, nearly a thousand species of birds, and countless amphibians and reptiles call the country home. Kilimanjaro National Park is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (5,895 m) and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
Soca River | Slovenia
Slovenia’s unspoilt landscape of high mountain lakes, narrow whitewater canyons, and crystal clear rivers make for a pristine rafting experience. The most popular destination is the Soca River, an emerald-green jewel with an icy touch. Beginner and intermediate rafters will both enjoy the Soca’s mix of challenge and calm, not to mention the breathtaking natural scenery and quaint Baroque villages. Prime rafting season is April to October.
Copper Canyon | Mexico
Mountain bikers in search of rugged topography and visually striking landscapes will find both in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. This adventure isn’t for the faint of heart. Expect dirt and gravel, steep grades, and not a single guard rail to interrupt a fatal fall. If you can handle the formidable terrain, you may also meet the Tarahumara Indians, the earliest inhabitants of this land of lethal vistas, sci-fi rock formations, and ancient traditions.
Wild Atlantic Way | Ireland
Ireland’s spectacular coastal passage spans 2,500 km and several counties. Choose any one of its 5 main sections and you’ll find yourself surrounded by some of the country’s wildest and most enchanting scenery. Explorers can hike, bike or kayak along Ireland’s untamed western seaboard, stopping along the way to take in the culture at the ancient monuments and colourful, heritage-steeped towns that line the route.
Sabah | Borneo
If tangled jungle, flooded roads and more mud than you can possibly imagine sounds like a bucket list-worthy adventure, your destination is northern Borneo. In the Malaysian state of Sabah you’ll find unique flora and some of the world’s most iconic and endangered animals. Imbak Canyon is an ideal location for a variety of innovative, eco-conscious 4WD driving expeditions through remote and untouched wilderness.
Antarctica: the final frontier. Only the most committed (some would say “crazy”) adventurers make it to Earth’s southernmost continent, and that’s exactly why it’s worth conquering. Luxury travel types can book passage aboard larger ships, but the cushy cruising is best saved for another expedition. The most exhilarating way to explore this extraordinary place is by sailboat or tall ship. An Antarctic adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed.