11 adventure holidays to cross off your list

Where in the world would you choose to go if time and money were no object? We take a look at some of the best travel experiences around the world.

By Saga team

Published 7 May 2024

Some people might feel an inexplicable urge to visit a particular country - perhaps the beaches of Sri Lanka beckon - whilst others have a certain experience in mind, such as cruising the Nile or sailing the Dalmatian Coast. Of course, there’s a whole lot of world out there with a dazzling amount of possibilities on offer. So, we’ve chosen a few top adventurous holiday ideas to help you on your way.

Stretching for a colossal 1,250 miles down the east coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef consists of around 3,000 coral reefs, 600 islands and over 1,600 species of fish. Whether it’s sailing, diving or sunning beside the crystalline waters that appeals, this environment is one that you’ll never forget.

Take a trip Down Under with our selection of Australian holidays, and discover the highlights of this fascinating part of the world.

For those who can’t resist the pull of those big city lights, book a trip to the Big Apple to see this city of the silver screen come to life before your eyes.

From glittering skyscrapers to the glamour of Broadway, New York offers a range of exciting things to see and do - they call it the ‘city that never sleeps’ for good reason.

A road less travelled by tourists in recent times until now, the fabled Great Silk Route is one that runs as a thread through history's great waves of trade, commerce migration and civilisations, which have for centuries tied east to west and vice-versa.

Travel to Uzbekistan to explore cities previously swathed in mystery for earlier generations, including medieval Bukhara, Khiva, Samarkand and Tashkent.

Unforgettable sights of towering minarets, dazzling turquoise domes and ornate arches stand out among these exotic cityscapes of central Asia.

Full of eastern promise, Uzbekistan is a delight for travellers seeking age-old monuments, mosques and mausoleums.

There's opera, grand as grand can be, with a focus on the spectacular. And then there's Verona.

If you love opera, then the annual Verona festival can justifiably lay claim to be the home of that noble art form in a unique setting.

Exuding sheer drama and grandeur, Verona has the proud boast of its Arena di Verona, the first century Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra, as the majestic venue for its opera festival.

Verona's famous summer extravaganza hosts the finest performances of the genre's most internationally acclaimed exponents, performing opera's greatest works, with the operas of Verdi and Puccini to the fore. A true one-off place to immerse yourself in the finest music and spectacle.

Swimming in warm crystal blue waters and sunbathing on pristine white sands more than have their place on a Caribbean holiday. This we'd never dream of denying. But away from the beach, there's heaps of other stuff to recommend and learn about idyllic island life.

The historic Nelson's Dockyard National Park in Antigua is a UNESCO world heritage site to savour. Or why not take a catamaran cruise around St Lucia? There are fabulous sea sports and hiking trails throughout the Caribbean if you're looking for a more active holiday in a dream location.

The ruins of Machu Picchu among Peru's soaring misty peaks have a mystery and a resonance all of their own to each visitor.

Gentle bit-part players in this ancient high drama are Machu Picchu's animal life: the llamas and their smaller mountain wingmen, the alpacas. One of the many other-worldly thrills of Machu Picchu is seeing these lovely wooly creatures roaming happily around mysterious mythology-packed sites, eating grass and just generally doing their thing.

Mysterious ruins, lonely mountain peaks and a fascinating culture await, as you explore the enigma of Peru.

Spectacular train journeys to dazzling cultural sites across northern India needn't just be the preserve of famous men on the television called Michael. You can go, too.

Ancient temples in Khajuraho, the holy Hindu city of Varanasi, the Deeg Palace and its Mughal mansions and gardens - and not forgetting the obligatory tick-off visit to the sublime Taj Mahal - a first-class ride on Indian railways can be a classic combination of comfort and culture.

With its dazzling breadth of experiences and deep spirituality, India never fails to delight the senses and uplift the soul.

A touring safari around the great national parks of South Africa, Kenya, Botswana or Zimbabwe is the ultimate sightseeing trip for anyone wanting to see the continent's so-called Big Five - elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino - in all their natural glory. From a safe distance, mind you.

One such park to visit is Kruger National Park in South Africa, on the Mozambique border. It's a big game watcher's dreamland, and a once in a lifetime adventure for many travellers.

Beyond the pace and fast-changing 1950s charm of the capital city Havana, there's a Cuba at one with nature that's ripe for exploring.

The peaceful Las Terrazas Nature Reserve west of Havana is a haven for exotic birdlife. Here you can enjoy a spot of hiking through woodland for a glimpse of these vibrant creatures in both tree and flight. You can even munch on a banana straight from its eponymous trees - it's allowed.

Cuba's Valley of Vinales, meanwhile, brings you up close to the farming heartlands of two of the island's most famous exports: tobacco and coffee. That other great export of note, Cuban music, can be heard raw and authentic on a visit to the city of Santiago.

For a big adventure on a scale that goes up to at least 11, Canada's Rocky Mountains confidently take top billing.

The Canadian Rockies are the daddy in the land of the maple leaf. And getting around them in all their snow-capped, vertiginous vastness is a triumph of wonder and engineering all on its own - and a big part of the whole, fabled and cinematic Rocky Mountain experience.

Here's just a few tasters for you on your trip: take a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain, a helicopter flight over the Rockies in Banff National Park, and go from Jasper to Kamloops through eye-popping mountain scenery on the Rocky Mountaineer train-to-end-all-trains.

You'll never look at the 8.15 to Waterloo in quite the same light again.

Beautiful Montenegro is a serious looker among the belatedly discovered jewels of southern Europe, andnowhere more so in this spellbinding small nation than on the Budva Riviera.

Nature and history go hand in hand here, which is ideal for those who wish to savour the sights and learn something new along the way, while enjoying a holiday with a difference. Lovcenas National Park, the historic old town of Budva, the foothills of Mount Lovcen, the stunning Bay of Kotor and a serene walking route from Vrmac village to Gornja-Lastva are among the memorable and rewarding places that may be new to you, but will keep you coming back for more.

We have more adventurous travel experiences with you in mind, explore our full range.

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