7 holiday ideas for those who have been ‘everywhere else’

Trekking the Waitukubuli Trail | Michael Eugene
Trekking the Waitukubuli Trail | Michael Eugene

Looking at where to go next? From boiling lakes to remote treks to inaccessible mountains, these 'alternative' bucket list trips will earn you serious bragging rights. Start planning your next active holiday and set foot in some of the least visited regions in the world.

See the elusive Emperor Penguin in Antarctica

Majestic Emperor Penguin |  <i>Kyle Super</i> Close encounter with a Emperor Penguin |  <i>Kyle Super</i> Emperor Penguin colony in Antarctica |  <i>Kyle Super</i>

Although sightings of the adorable wobbly animals are virtually guaranteed on most cruises to Antarctica – and typically rank as one of the highlights of any voyage to the frozen continent – Emperor Penguins will rarely be seen. Endemic to Antarctica, the tallest of the species is mostly found further south, towards the Weddell Sea, where most ships do not go as they concentrate on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Enjoy a thrilling helicopter ride to reach the colonies to maximise your chance of spotting the elusive animal, making for an even more rewarding and memorable experience.

• GO THERE: Cruise the Weddell Sea in Antarctica >

Traverse Nepal's Great Himalaya Trail away from tourist trails

Adventure Pass on the Great Himalaya Trail |  <i>Florian Wegmann</i>

Described as "trekking’s holy grail", the full Nepal traverse of the GHT takes 150 days to complete, goes on for 1,700 kilometres and crosses trails up to 6,190 metres above sea level! It is a true exploratory experience encountering some of the wildest and most remote environments imaginable.

For those who cannot afford the money or the time to complete the whole length of the trail, it can be broken into seven smaller stages, from 18-34 days, which can be joined separately.

Camping in the heart of the Himalayas, you'll take in spectacular vistas of Nepal’s 8,000m peaks along the way and the chance to experience remote cultures in hidden corners of the country.

• GO THERE: The Great Himalayan Trail >

Be among the first to trek the Transcaucasian Trail

Ushguli, a community of four villages located at the head of the Enguri gorge in Svaneti, Georgia.

Trek selected sections of the long-distance Transcaucasian Trail (anticipated by hiking enthusiasts as the next big thing in trekking) in both Armenia and Georgia, the only two countries adequately mapped so far.

In development since 2015, once completed the trail will extend more than 3,000km in length in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, connecting more than 20 National Parks and protected areas. The dramatic range is one of the most inaccessible mountains in the world due to a lack of reliable and detailed recent data.

Hikers can complete the Armenia segment first and then continue the trail in Georgia.

• GO THERE: Transcaucasian Trail Hikes >

Explore the Caribbean's only long-distance trail and see a boiling lake!

The Waitukubuli National Trail is the first and only long-distance walking trail in the Caribbean. It crosses the entire island of Dominica over 114 miles and World Expeditions offers a special 10-day itinerary that covers the very best sections of the trail.

Day trek to Dominica's boiling lake through the Valley of Desolation

The trip showcases the natural beauty of Dominica, from rugged mountains and virgin rainforests to dramatic gorges and spectacular waterfalls, and also includes a day trek to Dominica’s Boiling Lake (the second largest in the world) that is not part of the Waitukubuli National Trail route.

• GO THERE: Dominica – Trek the Waitukubuli National Trail >

Stand at the edge of the 'Door to Hell' in Central Asia

Turkmenistan's Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the 'Door to Hell', at sunset |  <i>Richard I'Anson</i>

Venture north in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan out to the gas crater known as the “Door to Hell” at Darvaza and Merv, the site of a once-grand oasis city on the ancient Silk Route.

The burning Darvaza gas crater measures some 60 metres in diameter and 20 metres in-depth and is the result of Soviet engineers searching for natural gas fields in 1971. Shortly after setting up a drilling rig, the ground beneath the rig collapsed exposing the huge crater. Engineers at the time estimated that when lit, the gas would burn out within a few weeks. However, it has continued to burn for more than four decades. The sight of the huge glowing crater in the middle of the desert after the sun sets is an experience like none other.

• GO THERE: Ancient Silk Road Cities - The Five Stans >

Witness volcanoes erupting in the Russian Far East

Exploring the coast line of Bukhta Natalia |  <i>Keri May</i> A family of brown bears on the riverbank, Kamchatka View from the crater of Gorely Volcano, Kamchatka Looking across the expansive lava fields surrounding Tolbachik Volcano Steam rising at the mini geyser valley Russia's Far East offers some amazing photo opportunities |  <i>Keri May</i>

Fire meets ice at the Kamchatka Peninsula, the most volcanic area of the Eurasian continent: the land here is still being formed and with 159 volcanoes there is almost always one active cone erupting.

A trip for those who have been everywhere else, discover a wilderness of stunning bays, sculptural stone birch forests, boiling geysers, snow-capped fuming volcanoes and crater lakes as blue and clear as the sky. The trip joins in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk, the second-largest city in the world which cannot be reached by road (there are no roads connecting Kamchatka with other parts of Russia).

• GO THERE: Kamchatka Expedition >

Take the paths less travelled through the Caucasus

If you're after a more cultural journey, Azerbaijan is a must. For those who've travelled along the Silk Road, this region offers an equally rich experience and a different side of Central Asia worth exploring.

Famous for its medieval walled Old City, Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, is flooded with breathtaking contemporary landmarks such as the Heydar Aliyev Centre and the pointed ‘Flame Towers’ glass skyscrapers. Discover a treasure trove of 40,000-year-old rock art at the Gobustan National Park and find nearly a third of the world’s bizarre mud volcanoes.

Bizarre bubbling mud volcanoes in Gobustan National Park, Azerbaijan.

But before crossing into neighbouring Georgia, spend time at the beautiful former Silk Road town of Sheki, whose Khans Summer Palace is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Caucasus.

• GO THERE: Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia Explorer >


Adventure travel, trip ideas, holiday ideas, alternative destinations, bucket list

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