If a sedate, all-inclusive holiday reading a book by the pool is your idea of hell, check out some of these ideas for the more adventurous traveller…
Adventures in Antarctica
Man has kept away from Antarctica for a long time for good reason: it is the coldest and driest continent on the planet. But more and more adventurous walkers are braving its climes and setting off for a trek to the South Pole. Some get right into the freezing water by hiring a kayak and gliding through menacing glaciers, spotting penguins along the way.
So you know what you’re getting into, perhaps check out Crossing the Ice, part of the Thrillseekers Adventure Film Festival. Australian buddies James and Justin contend with frostbite, hypothermia, and extreme hunger during their epic (and unassisted) journey to the South Pole and back. You have been warned.
Have a nap on the sea bed amongst a coral reef and exotic marine life at the sprawling Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji, which also features a library, theatre and fancy restaurant.
‘Fly’ between mountain villages
Journey between two mountain villages in Italy along a wire stretched across a 1,000 metre high, 1,500 metre wide canyon if you are looking for that extra special adrenalin rush.
Cycle along the most dangerous road in Bolivia
Locals are known to take a moment to pray to their God before journeying along this road because it is so dangerous. Which is exactly why it attracts thrill-seeking cyclists. Hold your breath as you start the ride at La Paz and head through the Amazon jungle along narrow lanes and stomach-churning drops of thousands of feet. And did we mention that the nearest hospital is two hours away?
Do a marathon along the Great Wall of China
Breezed your way through your fair share of marathons? Think you’re fairly fit? Try tackling one of the toughest marathon courses in the world: the Great Wall of China. Running up the 20,518 steps won’t be easy, but the panoramic views make it all worthwhile.
Freeze your tootsies off in Oymyakon
A town that is so uninvitingly cold that it has historically only been used to house political exiles, Oymyakon in Russia is becoming an unlikely holiday destination for travellers looking for a real challenge. Winter temperatures plunge to the depths of -58°F and the ground is permanently frozen – making it perfect for winter activities like ice hockey and ice fishing.
Get pelted with oranges
Every year in the Piedmont region of Italy, locals get suited up and select the juiciest looking oranges to pelt each other with as part of the Ivrea Carnival. Taking place over several days, this large-scale food fight involving competing teams is taken very seriously by participants, so be prepared to get orange juice in places you didn’t even realise it was possible.
Extreme eating in Iceland
Sample whale sushi or go for the famous fermented shark dish. This speciality is prepared by burying the shark underground for three months, hanging it out to dry for a further five months before scraping off any particularly mouldy bits and serving it up to adventurous diners.
Other local delicacies for you to sample include prickled ram’s testicles, seal flippers and headcheese (made by removing the brain from the sheep’s head, pureeing it and turning it into a kind of ‘jam’).
For something a bit safer, the succulent local lambs (which are free to roam in the fresh air) are delicious and went down better than the rotten shark with travel writer Laura Dixon during her trip.
As well as ticking these weird and wonderful dishes off your to-do list, you can enjoy one of nature’s most stunning shows, the Northern Lights, and discover Iceland’s quietly beautiful landscape.
What’s on top of your must-see list? With so many cheap flight deals available, there’s really nothing stopping you.
Emily Connor is a travel blogger and a mother of two living in Edinburgh.