Top 10 extreme adventures

The kind of holidays that you can’t capture on camera, because you’re too busy living in them: our top 10 extreme adventures feature remote locations, big distances and tussles with the elements. Whilst some of these trips require a good base level of fitness, and others require previous experience, there are some extreme adventures where all you need is a bit of derring-do, and a canoe.

There’s everything from kayaking with Komodos in Indonesia to learning how to freedive and spearfish in Greece. So jump in – and bring back the blurred photographs to prove it.

1. Kayaking in Indonesia

Sea kayaking in Komodo National Park places you in a unique position from which to observe the islands’ most exciting inhabitants. Komodo dragons (giant amphibious lizards) are a real sight to behold and Indonesia is the only place in the world where you can see them in the wild. Paddling around the islands, and guided explorations on land, allow animal encounters to occur with minimal impact to natural behaviour or to the environment.

Best time to go: April to June
Our top selling trip: Kayaking holiday in Indonesia
Read more: Sea kayaking in the Komodo Islands

2. Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal

Making even a trip to Everest pale in comparison, this five month, 1,700km trail across Nepal puts the ‘long’ in long distance trekking. Starting in the Kanchenjunga region, taking in the Everest and Annapurna regions on its route, and ending near the Tibetan border, you’ll walk in the shadow of giant peaks, wash your clothes in mountain streams, encounter yaks, and see hundreds of mountains so remote they haven’t yet been named. We’ve got a name for this trip, though: epic.

Best time to go: Treks start in February
Our top selling trip: Great Himalaya Trail trek
Read more: Nepal trekking holidays

3. Swim with whales in Tonga/Norway

Two different locations but one incredible experience. Swimming with humpback whales in Tonga or orcas in Norway enables responsible travellers to get into the water with nature’s giants. No matter whether you’re staying on a Tongan beach, at the edge of a whale nursery, or living on board a boat in the fjords of Norway, the chances are that this will be an extreme adventure to last a lifetime.

Best time to go to Tonga: July to October
Best time to go to Norway: November to January
Our top selling trips: Swim with humpback whales, Tonga and Swim with orcas in fjords, Norway
Read more: Tonga travel guide and Norway wildlife travel guide

4. Cycle across New Zealand

North Island, South Island, or both islands? The Tour Aotearoa is a 2,950km cycle route that runs the length of New Zealand, which you can do over 34 days with a hardtail mountain bike and a friendly support crew. Each day, whilst you’re blasting through the scenery at speed, the crew drive ahead and set up a roadside buffet lunch. A 'sag wagon’ means you can rest if you need, and get your bike fixed if there’s a problem. Need a boost? You could do it on electric bike. Need another boost? Check out that amazing scenery.

Best time to go: Set off in January, February or November
Our top selling trip: Cycle the whole of New Zealand
Read more: New Zealand travel guide

5. Cross the Sahara in Algeria

Oasis towns, such as Beni Abbes, Timimoun and Taghit, allow instant access for explorations into the Algerian section of the Sahara Desert. Set against a surreal backdrop of sweeping sand dunes, the red desert towns provide an ideal opportunity to experience life in Algeria at a different pace to hectic Algiers.

Best time to go: March/April or October/November
Our top selling trip: Algeria holiday
Read more: Algeria travel guide

6. Run all the way across Wales

Run from the English border to a Welsh beach on a three-day route with a Welsh orienteering champion as your guide. This 88-kilometre trip goes right over remote moorland and then down through the valleys between Newtown and Aberystwyth. If you’re comfortable with multiple days of running, and running around five hours each day, you can do this – speed isn’t needed, only enthusiasm and good running shoes.

Best time to go: June or October
Our top selling trip: Trans Wales trail running holiday
Read more: Trail running guide
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Extreme adventure or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

7. Rafting in Chile

Take off into the pristine Patagonian wilds of Chile’s Rio Futaleufu, discovering the snow-capped volcanoes and the deep canyons. There will be Grade 4 and 5 rapids which you'll tackle together in a raft, plus time on Rio Azul, a tributary river, where you can have a go solo in an inflatable kayak, on an infamous run known as the 'Cheese Grater'. Then it's floating happy hour, and fly fishing back at camp – it’s time to put your paddles up!
Best time to go: December to March
Our top selling trips: Rio Futaleufu rafting holiday in Chile
Read more:  Chile travel guide

8. Learn to freedive and sail in Greece

It’s amazing how much you can improve at freediving in only seven days. Learn how to hold your breath underwater for longer and longer periods of time – perhaps trying your hand at spearfishing while you’re down there – for some amazingly peaceful encounters with the deep. Up on deck, help sail the boat between sleepy Greek harbours. If you’ve always wanted to try freediving, then this trip is the safest way to do it.

Best time to go: May to October
Our top selling trip: Freediving & sailing holiday in Greece
Read more: Freediving & sailing in Greece

9. Antarctic diving

The window of opportunity to dive in the Antarctic is small, but few experiences will compare. Dive into holes from ice floes and around icebergs, exploring this unique landscape from above and below. Antarctic penguins, fur seals and giant isopods will become your underwater companions whilst a professional dive team assist and instruct as you take your first plunge.

Best time to go: February
Our top selling trip: Antarctic diving expedition
Read more: Antarctica travel guide

10. Finland husky safari

One of the most thrilling experiences on any Finland winter activity holiday, husky sledding allows you to take charge of your own team of dogs as they charge along pristine snowy trails. But why settle for an afternoon of this type of fun when you can extend it to a five-day expedition? After getting to know your dogs (and learning how to care for them), and learning how to drive the sled, you’ll mush them through old forests, across frozen lakes and swamps, staying overnight at a cosy wilderness cabin. Exhilarating fun, and definitely one for dog lovers.
Best time to go: January & February
Our top selling trip: Finland husky safari holiday
Read more about: Dog-sledding travel guide and Finland winter travel guide
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Vixit] [1. Kayaking in Indonesia: Pioneer Expeditions] [4. Cycle across New Zealand: Mountain Bike Mt Cook, New Zealand] [7. Rafting in Madagascar/Chile: Warko] [10. Finland husky safari: Ugur Arpaci]