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Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel Adventures

Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel Adventures

Editor's note: The following guest post was written by Emily K. Wolman, the editor at large for Lonely Planet.

What’s your definition of "ultimate adventure"? Whether you get an adrenaline rush just thinking about it or tremble at the thought of something more daring than Korean food for dinner, Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures has bold ideas for you. This new book lists — you guessed it — 1000 ideas to inspire you, covering every continent and nearly every activity you can think of. To help you start ticking off your list of amazing journeys and unforgettable experiences, I've narrowed down the pickings into themes based on some of the latest travel trends. Let's go!


If trekking is your thing, the world is your trailhead. Gear up and hit the spectacular Milford Track, 33 miles (53.5 km) across the fjords, valleys, and waterfalls of New Zealand’s South Island.


On the US's West Coast, the Pacific Crest Trail's 2650 miles cross three US states and seven national parks, including Yosemite.

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Beneath your feet, stalagmites, ancient paintings, and glowworms await in caves from Mexico's Cenote dos Ojos to the UK's Peak Cavern.

On two wheels? Careen down the joint-jarring tracks in Whistler, Canada (pictured below), or Marin County, CA, the birthplace of mountain biking.

Got four? Buckle your seat belt and take a drive . . . of your life. Pakistan's Karakoram Highway follows the old Silk Road for 745 miles of potholes, landslides, vertical drops, and bandits, while Norway's Troll's Road slithers through a netherworld of rugged granite and fairy-tale cascades.

Or let someone else drive as you “capture” wildlife on a photographic African safari.

Sea (or River, Lake, Tide Pool, Bog . . . )

Even timid swimmers can have fun splashing around . . . in a cage surrounded by great white sharks or crocodiles in Australia, of course.

Or, ease into the water on some of the world's best surf breaks for beginners, like Morocco's Banana Beach or Puerto Rico's Playa Jobos. Or ,snorkel or dive Iceland's crystal-clear Silfra rift (pictured below) between the European and American continents where visibility runs up to 100 meters — but don't forget your dry suit, it's chilly down there.

If you prefer to stay above water, paddling in paradise is on offer in Fiji, whose Yasawa Islands — envision Blue Lagoon beaches, gleaming waters, teeming coral reefs, timeless village life — may have been created by a god who fancied kayaking.

Farther north, row through more than 5000 granite and gneiss islands in Sweden's Bohuslän archipelago, pulling ashore in small fishing villages for oysters and Champagne.

Effortless water adventure means someone else is captain, perhaps aboard a junk cruise in Vietnam’s Halong Bay, where 2000+ islands rise from emerald waters like mythical monsters.


Dawn spreads its buttery light over rocky cliffs, and the valleys roll out in ruptured waves as your hot-air balloon lifts gently off the ground and soars over Cappadocia, Turkey.

Skydivers (licensed only!) leap into foreboding volcano calderas, soaring above a steaming crater, then soak away the aerial rush in hot springs in Kamchatka, Russia.

Wannabe Olympic ski jumpers get close to living their dream at Calgary’s Olympic Park, the fastest zipline in North America, clocking speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, nonwinged adventurers take to the skies in a helicopter and marvel at the sheer, overwhelming size of the Grand Canyon's deep hollow, surrounded by mile-high orange-hued rock walls and the mighty Colorado River snaking below.

For Families

“Kids in tow” doesn’t mean only amusement parks and beach time. Discover some of the USA's best undiscovered parks: canoe, angle for catfish, and paddle past giant moss-draped cypresses in Congaree, SC; spy tumbleweeds and ghost towns en route to the colorful buttes and pink-hued cliffs of the splendidly isolated Big Bend, TX (pictured below); and explore a vintage patch of Pacific Northwest wilderness — replete with snowy peaks, turquoise lakes, glaciers, and waterfalls — in rugged North Cascades, WA.

Skateboarding kids can get their wheels grubby year-round at Copenhagen’s indoor skate park.

Equestrian tots can join you and Mongolian young'uns, who are taught to ride before they can walk, on a horseback-riding tour through diverse ecosystems of forest, desert, and lakes, finishing up with a refreshing drink of fermented mare's milk.

Artsy kids will dig discovering ancient Aboriginal rock paintings — not to mention incredible wildlife — in Australia's Kakadu National Park.

Budding Tarzans and Janes will find endless outdoor entertainment in Costa Rica's jungles, teeming with parrot calls, monkey howls, river rapids, ceramics classes in local villages, and ziplines for the speed demons.

Across the sea twists the ancient Nile, where you all can take a relaxing ride on a felucca, a motorless sailboat that has caught Egypt’s breezes since ancient times, and visit the ruins of Karnak and Luxor for an incredible open-air educational adventure for children and adults alike.

Sweat-Free Adventures

Getting out of your armchair is about as hard as you’ll have to work for unforgettable experiences such as skimming across the Indian Ocean with dolphins swimming in your wake on a schooner trip between the islands of the idyllic Seychelles. After traveling all the way to Iceland, the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon (pictured below), near Reykjavik, make for a rejuvenating and breathtaking dip.

Train enthusiasts will swoon over China’s modern-engineering marvel that is the world’s highest rail run, cresting altitudes of over 16,000 feet from Xining to Lhasa, Tibet. Or if you’re okay to sweat a little bit, cycling in tandem as part of a Bike & Barge tour of Amsterdam and its tulip-strewn environs (pictured below) is the ultimate team-building experience.

 Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures brings together activities and challenges to captivate and inspire gung ho adventurers and armchair travelers alike.

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