Adventure travel beckons the curious, the thrill-seeker, the boundary-pusher. And as more and more travelers approach their vacations with active and open minds, hotel and tour operators have either shifted or expanded what they offer to better cater to this breed of adventurer. Travel + Leisure’s editors and contributors search the world for the very best adventure vacation experiences.
The increasing popularity of adventure holidays is likely due, in part, to the increasing interconnectivity of the world. If it is easier to get to a remote but thrilling location, more people will go there. Adventure, in this case, connotes a combination of natural wonder, extreme activities, and remote locations—say, searching for snow leopards in Bhutan or mountain biking through the Dolomites, eating your way through Mexico City’s food markets and street vendors or even climbing up Denali. Even the most dedicated couch potatoes can admit there’s a certain rustic glamor here.
Most of what constitutes this style of travel fits under the umbrella of outdoor adventures, which is to say hiking, biking, walking, climbing, paddling. Adventure travel is almost necessarily active, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be luxurious. Unwind at the end of a long day in a treehouse villa complete with an infinity pool in the Maldives, or a fortress resort equipped for both archery and falconry outside Abu Dhabi. But just as luxurious accommodations appear ever further off the beaten track, so are relatively traditional resorts incorporating elements of adventure travel into their own identities. Zip lines, kayak trips, and nature walks are now standard fare at many destination hotels as well as on cruise ships.
From finding the best off-road vehicle routes in South Africa to seeing snow leopards in Ladakh, India, to simply finding a resort that has plenty to keep the kids busy, T+L has plenty of intel to interest both beginners and seasoned explorers who are planning their ideal travel pursuit.