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

Elite Traveler

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.