Death Valley, California (Shutterstock)
List 23 January 2019

2019’s best new trips for great journeys

Trek Croatia's crowd-free trails, embark on a classic road trip in USA, and cruise Italy's Aeolian Islands. There’s the perfect epic adventure for you out there – whether by foot, wheel, rail or sail...

1: Croatia

Croatia's Elaphiti archipelago (Croatian National Tourist Board)

Croatia's Elaphiti archipelago (Croatian National Tourist Board)

See the isles by land and sea

In among Croatia’s wealth of islands (there are over 1,000), the small Elaphiti archipelago harbours some of the most spellbinding and untouched sights in the Adriatic. Artisan Travel’s Elaphiti Islands Active Adventure soaks up many of them on a trip via land and sea. Begin aboard a private ten-berth catamaran as it travels north from Dubrovnik towards the Pelješac Peninsula, before stopping off at the lesser-visited islands of Ston, Broce and Sipan. Breeze past pine-scented landscapes, citrus gardens and sandy coves, then drop anchor to explore ancient ruins and Benedictine monasteries, meander crowd-free hiking trails and swim, kayak and snorkel in sparkling waters. Afterwards, shake off your sea legs in the picturesque fishing village of Šipanska Luka, surrounded by olive groves and ancient relics from when Croatia was a maritime republic.

Who: Artisan Travel (01670 785085)

When: Every Saturday & Sunday, 13 Apr–28 Sept 2019

How long: 7 nights

How much: From £825 (excl int’l flights)

2: Chile

Chile's Route of Park is the world's biggest new road adventure (Shutterstock)

Chile's Route of Park is the world's biggest new road adventure (Shutterstock)

Drive the next great road trip

Chile’s new Route of Parks is one of the conservation feats of our time: a 2,800km trail connecting 17 national parks, many newly created. It was the brainchild of the late Douglas Tompkins (founder of outdoor clothing firm North Face), who together with his wife, Kristine, donated vast tracts of private land. With it finally opening in late 2018, Pura Aventura’s Route of the Parks Uncovered helps cut a year’s adventure into a manageable chunk by self-driving the world’s wildest new road trip. Visitors will wind down from the crystalline waters of the Chilean Lake District, through the peaks of the Cerro Castillo and down to the little-seen Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. Watch condors in Coyhaique, fly into the wilds of Torres del Paine and cruise the Magallanes on one of the great wilderness adventures.

Who: Pura Aventura (01273 676712)

When: Flexible dates, best Oct 2019–Apr 2020

How long: 45 nights

How much: From £12,500 (excl int’l flights)

3: Tibet and Nepal

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, is the former home of the Dalai Lama (Shutterstock)

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, is the former home of the Dalai Lama (Shutterstock)

Take the high road across the Himalaya

China isn’t all rampant modernity and glistening cities. Its scenic south-west is a land barely touched by the sweep of capitalism – and there’s no better way to see it than by car. Dragoman’s Tibet Explorer trip rolls out of Xi’an (after an excursion to see the Terracotta Army) towards the high-altitude plateaus and jade waters of Qinghai, then it’s on to the Tanggula Pass (at 5,231m) that marks the entry point into Tibet. Explore Lhasa’s monasteries and palaces before making for the Tibetan Everest Base Camp and beyond, passing panoramic views and roads that top 5,000m in places, before finally crossing into Nepal for the trails of Pokhara and teahouses of Kathmandu.

Who: Dragoman (01728 861133)

When: 20 July 2019

How long: 31 days

How much: From £1,960 (plus US$1,120/£875 kitty; excl int’l flights)

4: USA

USA's iconic Route 66 (Shutterstock)

USA's iconic Route 66 (Shutterstock)

A classic road trip just got shorter

Wanderlust subscribers can use their £50 voucher for this trip! 

Previously, the classic US road trip required at least three weeks of your time, but Audley Travel’s Highlights of Route 66 Self-Drive tour means you can now get your kicks in a fortnight. Beginning in Chicago, the trip is divided into two parts along sections of the original road. Pass through rural Illinois and the swinging bridges of Pontiac to Abraham Lincoln’s former home and final resting place. The drive then continues along a restored, hand-laid brick segment of Route 66 before the iconic arch of St Louis marks the halfway point. From here, fly to Albuquerque for the second leg, winding past neon-lit diners and old motels to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, finally finishing up in Los Angeles.

Who: Audley Travel (01993 838755)

When: Year round

How long: 15 nights

How much: From £2,305 (incl int’l flights)

5: Greenland and Iceland

The giant 'bergs of Disko Bay (Shutterstock)

The giant 'bergs of Disko Bay (Shutterstock)

Combine two frozen worlds

While Iceland’s glacial icons are seeing more visitors than ever thanks to the transatlantic stopover set, that doesn’t apply to Greenland. Apart from passengers on Arctic cruises, few make it this far north, thus Collette’s A Nordic-Inspired Voyage is a rather special opportunity to glimpse two very different frozen worlds in one go. After the hot springs, geysers and ancient sites of Reykjavík, you’ll board the MV Ocean Atlantic to explore Greenland’s north-east coast, where Inuit traditions and ceremonies echo among the fjords. Here, the frosty waters of Kangerlussuaq precede the colourful wooden sprawl of Sisimiut, where trips out among the monster ’bergs of Disko Bay and the Ilulissat Icefjord (from which 10% of all Greenland’s icebergs emerge) make you realise just how small you are, and how big the world really is.

Who: Collette (0800 804 8701)

When: 16, 21 & 26 Aug 2019

How long: 8 nights

How much: From £3,979 (excl int’l flights)

6: Asia

On the road to Everest Base Camp (Shutterstock)

On the road to Everest Base Camp (Shutterstock)

Overland all the way to Asia (and back)

Wanderlust subscribers can use their £50 voucher for this trip! 

There’s nothing like a road trip to change the way you see the world, and Oasis Overland’s Exploratory Ultimate Asia Overland adventure is an essay in opening eyes and minds as you drive from the UK to Nepal. It’s also a one-off opportunity with limited numbers, so it pays to get in early for this 2020 trip. The whole thing takes about 181 days as you trickle through little-seen parts of Russia and the Ukraine (with a potential side trip to Chernobyl), the mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan’s fiery Darvaza gas crater (dubbed the ‘gates of hell’) and into Central Asia. As onion-domed cathedrals blur into 15th-century mosques, the landscape morphs into a mountainous range of vast glassy lakes and hilltop monasteries; and just as the prayer flags begin flickering in the Himalayan wind, an about-turn sees you finish in Turkey via Pakistan and Iran. Of course, you can break up the trip into bite-size sections (such as the 11-day London to St Petersburg opening stretch), but wouldn’t you prefer a life on the road?

Who: Oasis Overland (01963 363400)

When: 4 Apr 2020 How long: 26 weeks

How much: From £8,349 (plus US$3,495/£2,730 local fee; excl int’l flights)

7: South Africa

An oryx in South Africa's Northern Cape province (Shutterstock)

An oryx in South Africa's Northern Cape province (Shutterstock)

Break for the borders

If you’ve been to South Africa, chances are you’ve been wowed by the Western Cape’s whale-watching and wine tasting. But the country has so much more up its sleeve. Designed for second-time visitors, Imagine Africa’s Off The Beaten Track South Africa reveals its little-visited Northern Cape on a self-drive itinerary that stretches up to the Namibia and Botswana borders. The driving is sensational (think wild coastal panoramas and dramatic desert swathes) and you stretch your legs in spectacular fashion, with walking safaris in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, hiking and wine tasting in Orange River, and spotting black-maned lions in the Green Kalahari.

Who: Imagine Africa (020 3131 5034)

When: Year round

How long: 14 nights

How much: From £3,820 (incl int’l flights)

8: Scotland

The Kyle Line is considered one of Scotland's most scenic rail routes (Shutterstock)

The Kyle Line is considered one of Scotland's most scenic rail routes (Shutterstock)

Ride on the wild side

On Great Rail Journeys’ Castles and Wildlife of Scotland tour, your adventure begins with an overnight trip aboard the Caledonian Sleeper train, whisking you from London to Inverness in comfortable club cabins. Over the next seven days, you’ll explore by road and rail, staying in luxurious heritage hotels. It’s a wild, wonderful week, with dolphin spotting in the Moray Firth, a 4WD red deer ‘safari’, and the chance to see red squirrels and wild cats in the Highlands’ Alladale Wilderness Reserve. Another treat for railway enthusiasts is a journey along the Kyle Line, which chugs at a leisurely pace between alluring lochs and crumbling castles. You’ll soon understand why it’s considered one of Scotland’s most scenic rail routes.

Who: Great Rail Journeys (01904 527180)

When: Selected dates, Apr–Oct 2019

How long: 7 days

How much: From £1,495 (incl travel from London)

9: Italy

Trek to the top of bubbling Stromboli (Shutterstock

Trek to the top of bubbling Stromboli (Shutterstock

Sail the Aeolians in style

Scattered north of Sicily, the volcanic Aeolians are the most ravishing and rambunctious of islands. The Small Cruise Ship Collection’s Sicily and the Aeolian Islands cruise shows the dramatic archipelago off at its best. You’ll hop between sun-kissed islands on an intimate and elegant gulet – which only sleeps 12 people – hugging craggy coastlines, jumping in to swim in Venus’ pool, wandering pretty fishing ports, trekking to the top of bubbling Stromboli and eating the exquisite local seafood and other specialities both onshore and on deck.

Who: The Small Cruise Ship Collection (01432 507280)

When: 8 Jun, 6 July, 3 & 31 Aug 2019

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,265 (excl int’l flights)

10: Mexico

A whale jumping from the water in Baja California (Dreamstime)

A whale jumping from the water in Baja California (Dreamstime)

Whales and tales in Baja California

Wanderlust subscribers can use their £50 voucher for this trip! 

Great American road trips aren’t reserved for the States – in Mexico’s Baja California, you’ll find the kind of backdrop that four-wheeled adventure is all about. Journey Latin America’s Self Drive Mexico: Discover Baja California and the Sea of Cortez tour lets you explore ‘the real Baja’, taking you away from the resorts of Cabo to discover colonial towns, quiet white-sand beaches and the beguiling landscapes of the interior. Expect national parks, dry canyons, hefty mountains, ancient cave paintings and serene bays – and if you’re there from January to April there’s also the prospect of whale and dolphin viewing.

Who: Journey Latin America (020 8747 8315)

When: Flexible dates

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,815 (excl int’l flights)

11: USA

The beguiling landscape of Death Valley (Shutterstock)

The beguiling landscape of Death Valley (Shutterstock)

Get your motor running…

Now half a century old, Easy Rider perfectly encapsulated the freedom of the open road for a generation of motorcyclists, putting the grandeur of the USA’s landscape front and centre. Bon Voyage’s Easy Rider 50th Anniversary Movie Tour aims to recreate the ride undertaken by Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda’s freewheeling bikers in the film, rattling through California’s Death Valley and on to Arizona’s Route 66 and Colorado, before heading down through Texas and Louisiana. From the saloons of Durango and the stone spires of Monument Valley to the jazz of New Orleans, ride your hog through America’s dusty outlaw soul, stopping at key locations from the film on the way.

Who: Bon Voyage (0800 316 3012)

When: 22 May, 6 Jun, 18 Sept & 2 Oct

How long: 15 days

How much: From £4,350 (incl int’l flights)

Your Wanderlust £50 voucher

Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators.

And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!

The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible. 

Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount.

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