At Untravelled Paths we pride ourselves on delivering incredible experiences including unique and unusual activities. So, with 2020 drawing to close, I thought I’d list my personal favourites. No mean feet with so many incredible activities available, but I’ve given it my best shot! Which would you like to do in 2021 and how many have you already experienced?
16. Skiing in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco
Although not likely to be the best skiing you can experience, the scenery is breath-taking and there are very few places in the world where you can have a donkey carry your skis to and from the main ski lift! For me the whole experience was just surreal, to be in the Marrakesh souks in 20 degree heat and then within a few hours up at over 4000m skiing in the High Atlas Mountains. A truly fascinating spectacle and the ideal little adventure for those who like something a bit different. Learn more about The Morocco Ski Experience.
15. Learning from the “Pasta Mamas” of Bari
While in Puglia, you’ll enjoy an array of culinary experiences typical of the region, ranging from delicious local restaurants, a cooking class and olive oil tasting, which offers an authentic taste of Southern Italy. However, my favourite experience was making pasta with the delightfully warm and friendly “Pasta Mamas” of Bari. As they demonstrate their craft it feels more like you’re trying to learn a magic trick that takes decades to master, such is their expertise. On my visit I was fortunate enough to witness three generations working together. We all had a blast and then I gorged myself on delicious pasta, so what’s not to like! Learn more about The Dolce Vita Puglia Experience.
14. Feeding Wild Hyenas in Harar in Ethiopia
Hyena-man of Harar feeding one spotted hyena
Enclosed by the medieval walls, the Muslim city of Harar feels like it has not changed in centuries. As it’s famed Hyena men call out to the wild hyenas lurking in the darkness for feeding time, you’ll find yourself questioning their sanity (as well your own!) allowing you to feed them. Granted I’m very at ease with animals but eventually when literally surrounded by a pack of 10 hyenas it felt more like I was with domestic dogs. The only difference being their creepy cries which fill the night as they take turns in being fed leftovers from the local butcher. Truly unique and unforgettable like so much in Ethiopia. Learn more about The Extreme Ethiopia Experience.
13. In search of the Iberian Lynx in Spain
The Sierra de Andujar National park is teeming with wildlife from wild deer, eagles, otters and of course the Iberian Lynx. Aloof and normally very difficult to see, they are more prevalent during the winter mating season, when we visit. There is something truly exhilarating about seeing such a rare animal in the wild, especially when you genuinely wonder whether you’ll be lucky enough to see it. It was a true privilege to get to see the Iberian Lynx, such a beautiful cat. Learn more about The Iberian Lynx Experience.
12. White Water Rafting in Montenegro
White Water Rafting is filled with such contrast, quiet and tranquil one moment as you drift through the valley surrounded by beautiful scenery and crystal clear glacial water before being thrown about as you try to navigate the raging rapids. May is the best time to visit with the grade IV rapids as they are most powerful, truly getting your adrenalin pumping! I rafted in the first week of July and it was still a thrilling ride for me, although I do plan another visit in May in the future! Learn more about The White Water Rafting Experience.
11. Exploring the Sulphur Fields in Ethiopia
The Danakil Depression has been formed by the meeting point of 3 tectonic plates, causing the ground to sink to over 120m below sea level and creating the alien like Sulphur fields on Dallol and active volcanoes. Comfortably the most intrepid place I’ve explored, but with average yearly day and night temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius it is not for the faint hearted. However, for me sacrificing modern facilities and home comforts for a couple of nights was richly rewarded with an intrepid and truly unique experience. Quite literally no other place on earth like it. Learn more about The Extreme Ethiopia Experience.
10. Exploring the Amazon in Colombia
The world’s largest rainforest, famed for its biodiversity, stretches across 9 different countries and is a truly unique jungle paradise, teeming with wildlife from colourful birds to howler monkeys and the pink dolphins. Having visited the Amazon in three different countries, my visit to the Colombian Amazon was my personal favourite, largely down to the pink dolphins but also the amazing accommodation I stayed in, which had no walls allowing me to fully immerse myself in the jungle, which truly comes alive at night time. Instead of walls my room was protected by an impenetrable tight mosquito net – miraculously I didn’t get one mosquito bite! Learn more about The Colombian Experience.
9. Watching a Flamenco Show in Andalusia
No trip to Andalusia would be complete without a dose of passionate Flamenco. This intimate mixture of dance and sound that provides the most fascinating spectacle is highly recommended. Honestly I was somewhat pessimistic about visiting the Flamenco Show, concerned that it would be a tourist trap. I needn’t have worried – it was electric and I’ve been raving ever since! Learn more about The Adalusian Experience.
8. Drive a team of Huskies in Lapland
After a short introduction and the opportunity to meet your team of eager and friendly huskies, you’ll get the chance to sled yourself. Feel the wind rush past you as you’re pulled by your team of huskies through the white sheets that cover the Lappish countryside. I found it a real “pinch yourself” moment as you lose yourself in the still, crisp, quiet setting before coming back to reality and questioning if it’s all actually happen. It was an experience I’ll never forget. Learn more about The Lapland Experience.
7. Spotting Brown Bears in Romania
Travel into the forests of the Carpathians to a bear hide and patiently wait as the wildlife starts to appear, from wild boar to foxes and of course, the majestic brown bear and all in their natural habitat. My first visit to a bear hide in Transylvania, I patiently waited 3 hours for a glimpse of this mighty creature and just as I was about to give up hope a beautiful female arrived – breathtaking. Since then I’ve visited many times and seen some amazing sightings from cute baby cubs, a stand off with a big male wild boar and even a mother ferociously protecting her cubs against a big male bear which we even got on video – see if you can spot one of the cubs climbing the tree for safety! Learn more about The Brown Bear Experience.
6. Sunset Camel ride over the Sahara Desert
There’s nothing quite like being lead out into the heart of giant sand dunes of the desert while riding a camel. Then sitting on a big sand dune while slowly watching the sun set over the horizon. So peaceful and reflective. On each of my sunset excursions into the Sahara desert I’ve never lost that feeling of experiencing a magical, remote and special place with nothing to distract you, except the beauty all around you. Always unforgettable and somewhere I’ll always return to. Learn more about The Sahara Desert Experience.
5. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia
Slowly floating up high above the arid Cappadocia landscape, surrounded by other balloons watching the sun rise is most definitely a pinch yourself moment. Known for its distinctive fairy chimneys, tall, cone-shaped rock formations and Bronze Age homes carved into valley walls by cave dwellers, Cappadocia offers the perfect backdrop for your balloon ride. Even having Hot Air Ballooned before, there is something extra special and enchanting about being surrounded by up to 150 other balloons. Glass of bubbles upon landing provides the perfect finish! Learn more about The Hot Air Ballooning Experience.
4. Marvelling at the Northern Lights in Finland
The magical wonder that is the Aurora Borealis has many people spending years chasing them. The Arctic Circle in Lapland is one of the best places to possibly view them but it’s important to remember there are no guarantees. I was lucky enough to see them on my first visit but even if I hadn’t, Lapland is still an amazing place to visit with so many awesome activities from Husky sledding to Traditional Lappish dinners complete with an Ice Lake dip for the very courageous! Learn more about The Lapland Experience.
3. Swimming with Basking Sharks in Scotland
Feeling pretty vulnerable fully wet suited up in the sea within touching distance of these gentle giants I was simply in awe. Growing up to 12m long and weighing several tons, basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world. Slow moving and archaic, it’s impossible not to be impressed by these truly magnificent creatures. I was also lucky enough to see a white-tailed eagle and numerous playful seals. A fabulous day, neatly and appropriately finished with some of Scotland’s finest whisky. Learn more about The Basking Shark Experience.
2. Sleeping in an Ice Hotel in Transylvania
Being the first ever Untravelled Paths experience I genuinely believe I have slept in the Hotel of Ice more than anyone else! That being said, amazingly I’ve never tired of the experience of sleeping in a ice bedroom. Redesigned each winter, every single room is individual and boasts unique snow sculptures fitting the yearly theme. Enjoy warm bedding and a professional sleeping bag for a surprisingly cosy night’s sleep! Learn more about The Ice Hotel Experience.
1. Safari Game Drives in South Africa
Very much a personal choice, as a wildlife lover I’m very much at my happiest on a game drive. It’s the perfect place to switch off from the modern world and observe nature at work. A trip to South Africa is not complete without a Safari Experience. Morning and evening drives make the most of the times to view the animals, and if you are lucky, you can tick off all of the “Big Five”. Definitely a must-do before you die experience. Learn more about The South Africa Experience.
For further travel inspiration please come and have a look at the Untravelled Paths website.