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50 best trips for 2013

The definitive list! How do you fancy eye-balling a polar bear? Or walking in Edmund Hillary’s footsteps? We’ve found next year’s best new trips to help you decide where to travel in 2013...

Where, when and why you should travel in 2013 (iStock)

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Festivals and events

1. Nepal: A mountainous moment

Follow in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on Mountain Kingdoms’ Everest Base Camp 60th Anniversary Trek. Led by three-times Everest summiteer Tashi Tenzing, grandson of Tenzing Norgay, you’re in safe hands. As you hike, Tashi will entertain with tales of the region and its inspirational people. Reaching Base Camp (5,364m) on 29 May – the date of the first ascent – try ice climbing, chat to those aiming for the summit and join in the celebrations.

Who: Mountain Kingdoms
When: 16 May 2013
How long: 20 nights
How much: £3,795 (incl flights)

2. Antarctica: Watch floes and films

Set sail aboard the luxurious Sea Spirit with Quark Expeditions for a world first – the inaugural Floating Polar Film Festival. Documentaries on ecology and adventure will screen on the vessel, complementing the Antarctic voyage, which takes in the Falkland Islands, penguin-rich South Georgia and the sparkling ice and profuse wildlife of the White Continent.

Who: Quark Expeditions
When: 2 Nov 2013
How long: 23 days
How much: £8,950 (excl flights) 

3. Bhutan: Celebrate with birds and Buddhists

The Bhutanese love a tsechu (a religious celebration on the 10th day of every month), and the East to West – A Journey Across Bhutan trip from Mountain Kingdoms is timed to join festivities in Trashigang, in the country’s far east.

Celebrate with the locals before heading west, for gentle treks, visits to dzongs (fortress temples) and into Gangtey Valley to watch black-necked cranes. Paro’s Tiger’s Nest Monastery makes a grand finale.

Who: Mountain Kingdoms
When: 8 Nov 2013
How long: 21 days
How much: £4,195 (incl flights)

4. Japan: Be cool

Explore’s Sapporo Snow Festival expedition is full of winter sparkle. You can marvel at the skills of the Sapporo festival’s ice-artists – over 400 glistening sculptures dot the northern city.

Then, for a lower key but no less magical event, head to nearby Otaru for the Snow Light Path Festival. Add on the frosted sights of Kyoto, the hot-spring-loving snow monkeys of Yudanaka and time in buzzing Tokyo and you have one very cool trip.

Who: Explore
When: 5 Feb 2013
How long: 12 nights
How much: £3,961 (incl flights) 

Active adventures

5. Finland: Zip through the wilderness

Get your blood pumping on Taber Holidays’ thrill-seeking Powder Pro snowmobile expedition in Arctic Finland. Over three days you’ll learn the tricks of deep-snow driving through the northern wilderness, covering 100km a day and bedding down in cosy log cabins at night.

Who: Taber Holidays
When: 20 Jan, 3 & 17 Feb, 3, 17 & 31 Mar, 7 Apr 2013
How long: 4 nights
How much: From £1,764 (incl flights) 

6. Baltic States: Get on your bike

Plot a two-wheeled course through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Explore’s brand new Cycling the Baltic States trip. Make new tracks across these three oft-ignored countries, pedalling via medieval towns, picturesque fishing villages and feudal fortifications. Traverse Lahemaa (Estonia’s first national park), catch your breath at Trakai castle, negotiate the comely capitals and spy on winged wonders at the Curonian Lagoon.

Who: Explore
When: 25 May, 13 Jul, 3 & 24 Aug, 14 Sept 2013
How long: 9 days
How much: From £1,041 (incl flights)

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7. UK: Earn your supper  

The Lake District is home to some of the UK’s most dramatic landscapes. And now you can get even more from a yomp amid its fells and waterways. Ramblers Worldwide Holidays’ Nordic Walking in the Lake District tour, lead by local expert Mick Starkey, employs the ‘ski-walking’ technique, which will strengthen your upper body, reduce the stress on your joints and burn more calories.

Who: Ramblers Worldwide Holidays
When: 30 Mar, 21 Sept, 19 Oct 2013
How long: 4 nights
How much: £269 (excl flights)

8. India: Ride and raise cash

Grab life by the handlebars on this charity bike-ride around India. Discover Adventure’s Rajasthan Cycle Challenge encourages you to fundraise for a cause of your choice before pedalling around the country’s most vibrant state. Ending at the Taj Mahal, you’ll ride through Ranthambore NP (watch out for tigers), past ancient forts and palaces, and through pretty ‘n’ pink Jaipur. It will be hot and hard – but utterly rewarding.

Who: Discover Adventure
When: 8 Mar & 8 Nov 2013
How long: 10 days
How much: £1,500 or £3,750pp fundraising target

9. Zambia and Botswana: Raft rivers in high style

Take on the Zambezi – arguably the planet’s best whitewater river – on Water by Nature’s Fine Wine & Game Of Africa Adventure. After four days premium rafting (each ending in gourmet sit-down meals and some of South Africa’s finest wines), helicopter to Victoria Falls to swim in the Devil’s Pool, then head to Botswana for dry-land thrills and luxurious camps in Chobe National Park.

Who: Water by Nature
When: 25 Aug 2013
How long: 8 days
How much: £2,450 (excl flights) 

10. France: Saddle up in the Camargue

Join In The Saddle for its Journey to the Camargue. Ride down from the Cevennes Mountains to the Mediterranean via chestnut woods, the lush vineyards around Claret, idyllic riversides and the magical Camargue itself, home to flamingos, Crusader history and galloping wild white horses.

Who: In The Saddle
When: Various, Apr & Sept/Oct 2013
How long: 7 nights
How much: From £1,237 (excl flights)

11. China: Follow the Silk Road

Hike across the roof of the world on KE Adventure’s Giants of the Pamir trek. It’s a high and wild journey through China’s west Xinjiang province, starting from the fabled Silk Road trading post of Kashgar. Mingle at the famous market with Uighur, Tadjik and Kirghiz people before walking out into the realm of these nomadic herders, supported by a camel baggage train.

Who: KE Adventure
When: Jul, Aug 2013 (dates TBC)
How long: 20 nights
How much: £3,495 (excl flights) 

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12. France and Italy: Learn to climb

Literally beat the Christmas blues on an axe-wielding short break in the Alps. Learn the basics from an expert guide on Exodus’s Ice Climbing Skills Weekend, based in the charming French town of Briançon. From here, over 250 icefalls, ranging from 20m to 700m, lay in wait – some just over the border in Italy. Refuel each night with Alpine goodies such as raclettes and tartiflettes, too.

Who: Exodus
When: 10, 17, 24 & 31 Jan 2013
How long: 4 days
How much: £899 (incl flights)

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13. Burma: Travel on two wheels

See Burma from a unique perspective – by viewing its untainted landscapes and villages on two wheels. On Exodus’s Burma by Bike tour, you will share the roads with ox carts and excited children, able to fully appreciate the Shan Highlands, the central plains and the descent from Mt Popa at a slower pace. The tour also takes in Bagan – a plain strewn with more than 2,200 temples and pagodas – and some welcome relaxation, with cruises on the Irrawaddy River and Inle Lake.

Who: Exodus
When: 23 Feb, 23 Mar, 27 Jul, 10 Aug, 21 Sept, 19 Oct 2 & 16 Nov, 1 Dec 2013
How long: 16 days
How much: From £2,449 (incl flights) 

Great journeys

FREE £50 travel voucher when you subscribe14. Central America: Unearth hidden gems

Get lost in colonial cities; float down the San Juan River; ponder mysterious Mayan ruins; relax on Nicaragua’s Solentiname Island... experience all this and more on the new Motmot Journey from Journey Latin America. The trip uncovers some of Central America’s best-kept secrets, combining Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, from the highs of picture-perfect Arenal Volcano to the tranquil shores of Lake Atitlán.

Who: Journey Latin America
When: 11 Mar, 9 Sept, 4 Nov & 30 Dec 2013
How long: 20 nights
How much: From £3,258 (incl flights)

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15. Cambodia: Immerse yourself

Cambodia is not just part of a whirlwind round Indochina: it’s a worthy destination in its own right, as Selective Asia’s Complete Cambodia trip proves. From Phnom Penh’s moving memorials, you’ll head north, to stay with locals in colonial Battambang and tour the Angkorian temples by tuk-tuk. The laid-back southern beaches offer blissful R&R, while the region of Mondulkiri (new to the trip) is the place to hike amid coffee plantations and waterfall-doused forest and try elephant treks with the Bunong tribe.

Who: Selective Asia
When: Year round
How long: 17 nights
How much: From £1,624 (excl flights)

16. Americas: Trace two continents

Sixteen countries, 207 days, almost 16,000km: Dragoman’s Anchorage-Ushuaia is the ultimate expedition up (or down) the Americas. This epic overlanding adventure – which Dragoman haven’t run since the 90s – links Alaska, via Canada, the USA, Central America and west-coast South America, to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, in a mix of hardy 4WD truck and United States schoolbus. You’ll salsa dance, fjord sail, horse ride, ruin explore, tequila slam, volcano climb, sea snorkel and much, much more.

Who: Dragoman
When: 9 Jan, 10 Aug 2013
How long: 207 days
How much: From £6,980 + kitty (excl flights) 

17. China, Burma and Thailand: Offbeat overlanding

Burma, just back on the travel map, is the hotspot of the moment. But few companies run overlanding trips there. Dragoman is one that does – and its new China, Burma & Thailand journey combines the country’s must-see temples of Bagan, stilted villages and Irrawaddy River views with highlights of southern China and ever-popular Thailand. Start in the fairytale landscapes around Dali and Lijiang before delving into beautiful Burma and then finishing in vibrant Bangkok.

Who: Dragoman
When: 15 Oct 2013, then every 6 weeks until 20 Feb 2014
How long: 28 days
How much: From £2,386 (incl kitty payments; excl flights)

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18. Brazil and Peru: Ride a new highway

Peru and Brazil might be neighbours, but driving between them – via tangled jungle and towering mountains – is near impossible. Or it was: the newly opened Transoceanic Highway has just made it a whole lot easier – though it’s still a challenging journey! Oasis Overland’s Trans Amazon Exploratory trip is one of the first to ride this road, linking Rio’s beaches to Peru’s Andean summits, with diversions to hike the Inca Trail, canoe river tributaries and jaguar-spot in the Pantanal en route.

Who: Oasis Overland
When: 25 June 2013
How long: 55 days
How much: £1,649 plus local payment (excl flights)

19. Morocco: Combine souk and Sahara

Journey from the maelstrom of Marrakech into the sandy south on Specialist Morocco’s new peak-topping, oases-exploring road trip The Deep South. From the city’s souks, head out into the Atlas Mountains to the moviestar kasbah of Aït Benhaddou, traverse the volcanic Jebel Sahro to the dunes of Chegaga, then cross the dry ancient lake of Iriki on your way to Essaouira.

Who: Specialist Morocco
When: Various, May-Sept 2013
How long: 11 nights
How much: From £1,099 (excl flights) 

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20. Canada: Sail around a truly pristine province

Newfoundland is an island of rugged landscapes, home to North America’s only authenticated viking settlement, remote fishing villages and First Nations communities, and the world’s southernmost colony of northern gannets. Discover the World’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation Cruise goes right round it, timing its departure for fall, when the island’s forests blaze fittingly Canadian-flag red.

Who: Discover the World
When: 18 Sept 2013
How long: 9 nights 
How much: From £4,823 (excl flight) 


FREE £50 travel voucher when you subscribe21. Cuba: Find rum and rhythm

Feel the rhythms of the Caribbean at its coolest on Tucan Travel’s Cubano Jazz trip. Get under the skin of the island’s colourful colonial cities – including Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa – by staying with local families, sipping local rum and grooving to local rumba beats. Then explore the swamps and lagoons, delve into slave history and explore the legend of revolutionary Che Guevara too.

Who: Tucan Travel
When: Various, from 1 Jun 2013
How long: 15 days
How much: £839 (excl flights)

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22. Ukraine: Unravel the USSR

Intrepid’s Ukraine Highlights tour starts in leafy Kyiv (don’t miss the Chernobyl Museum), then sets out by train and bus to explore this fascinating corner of Eastern Europe. Cosmopolitan Odessa on the Black Sea is first, then it’s into the Carpathian Mountains for hiking and a cooking class, and on to Lviv for delectable coffee and cakes. A tasty trip.

Who: Intrepid
When: 27 May, 1 Jul, 19 Aug 2013
How long: 9 days
How much: From £1,060 (excl flights)

23. Kenya: Have a feel good adventure

If you can’t take a long break but still want to make a difference on your travels, consider Bales’ new Kenyan Volunteering Discovery. Mix work with play in the Masai Mara – meet with, and learn about, the locals; visit health centres and community projects; and get your hands dirty by helping the community build a school.

As a reward, there are feel-good thrills of a different nature, including game drives and sundowners on the savannah.

Who: Bales Worldwide
When: 6 Jan, 10 Feb 2013
How long: 10 days
How much: £3,495 (incl flights) 

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24. Vietnam and Burma: Do the double

Tick off two South-East Asian gems on Bamboo Travel’s The Jewels of Vietnam & Burma trip. Direct flights from the UK to Vietnam mean you’re quickly negotiating Old Hanoi and over-night cruising on iconic Halong Bay. Then it’s off to Burma, to take in its timeless temples and historic cities.

Finish back in Vietnam, with a relaxing stay at beachside Hoi An. Even better, the itinerary has been designed for ‘green season’ travel, avoiding the areas worst hit by rain and ensuring you’ll encounter far fewer tourists.

Who: Bamboo Travel
When: Various, Apr-Sept
How long: 13 nights
How much: From £2,495 (incl flights) 

25. Romania: Ride the old rails

Trundle around this intriguing slice of Eastern Europe on Ffestiniog Travel’s Romania’s Golden Colours trip. Timed to coincide with the country’s blazing autumn colours, as well as the festivities of Saint Dimitri’s Day, you’ll take trains – including three narrow-gauge locos – between a range of fascinating, time-warped towns and villages. Plus, overnight in homestays en route ensure that you will be completely immersed in the local culture.

Who: Ffestiniog Travel
When: 19 Oct 2013
How long: 11 nights
How much: £1,955 (incl flights)

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26. Indonesia: Pack a punch

Not for the faint hearted, Bamboo Travel’s Wonders of Sumatra & Java trip makes the most of every minute spent on these Indonesian islands. It packs in elephant-trekking in the jungle, hiking up volcanic craters, watching orang utans, taking the train to mystical temples and visiting the must-see monument of Borobudur – with plenty of local life, food and fun along the way.

Who: Bamboo Travel
When: Flexible
How long: 14 nights
How much: From £2,495 (incl flights) 

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27. Europe: Trace the blue Danube

Experience Europe’s most romantic river in all its glory, from Bavaria to Budapest, on Adagio’s Cruising the Delights of the Danube trip. The leisurely pace is perfect for watching the scenery float past; off the boat, you can explore baroque monasteries, castles, lakes, vineyards, ride a scenic Alpine railway, cycle the towpath and delve into historic hubs such as Bratislava and Vienna.

Who: Adagio
When: 26 Aug 2013
How long: 7 nights
How much: From £1,999 (incl flights)

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28. Ethiopia: Visit the birthplace of humanity

Steeped in history, religion and legend, northern Ethiopia is unlike anywhere else. Travel the Unknown’s Ethiopia’s Historic North trip will bring you face-to-face with the rock-hewn churches of the Tigray and Lalibela, the obelisks of Axum (where the Ark of the Covenant is thought to rest) and our ancestor Lucy – the earliest humanoid yet discovered. You’ll also trek to the source of the Blue Nile and spot wildlife around Lake Tana and the Simien Mountains.

Who: Travel the Unknown
When: 30 Mar, 30 Oct 2013
How long: 14 days
How much: £1,995 (excl flights) 

Wildlife wonders

FREE £50 travel voucher when you subscribe29. Iceland: Whale-watch with experts

Combining whale-spotting boat trips, lectures and magical Iceland, Discover the World’s WhaleFest starts from a base in Grundarfjordur; from there visit Stykkishólmur’s volcano museum, dip into the Blue Lagoon and spend evenings hunting the northern lights.

Who: Discover the World
When: 17 Feb ’13
How long: 8 days
Cost: From £1,049 (incl flights)

30. Japan: Diving into the deep

Starting off in chaotic Tokyo, Inside Japan’s Diving Subtropical Japan soon whisks you off to the idyllic Okinawa Islands: waterfall-splashed Kerama, Ishigaki and Yonaguni islands offer something for divers of all levels, from manta ray encounters to underwater archaeology.

Who: Inside Japan
When: Flexible
How long: 13 nights
Cost: £3,128 (excl flights)

31. Sri Lanka: Leopards and leviathans

Wildlife Worldwide’s Blue Whales and Dolphins trip maximises your chances of a cetacean sighting by using two separate bases; observe spinner dolphins from Kalpitiya, in the north-west, then head to southern Mirissa for encounters with killer, sperm and maybe even blue whales.

Who: Wildlife Worldwide
When: 9 Mar 2013
How long: 14 days
Cost: From £2,355 (incl flights) 

32. Malawi: Combine bush and beach

Expert Africa’s Bushpig Safari is a trip of two parts – both indulgent and truly wild. Start in Majete, a reserve on the up thanks to a successful restock. Here, tick off many African animals, from bushbuck to buffalo, eland to elephant – plus recently reintroduced lion. Then transfer to Lake Malawi, to snorkel the shallows, water-ski, sail or simply relax on a private beach.

Who: Expert Africa
When: bespoke
How long: 12 days
Cost: From £3,496 (incl flights) 

33. Canada: Bear-watch in the wilds

Polar bear sightings are virtually guaranteed at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge – the base for Windows on the Wild’s Mother and Cubs Adventure trip: daily excursions depend on how close the creatures venture.

Who: Windows on the Wild
When: Jul & Aug 2013
How long: 6 nights
Cost: £5,419 (incl flights) 

34. Chile: Track pumas in Patagonia

Delve deep into Torres del Paine NP with Naturetrek’s new Chile – Just Pumas trip.

Tracing the apex predator with the help of local guides, you also look out for a host of wildlife from Patagonian hog-nosed skunks to Magellanic woodpeckers – all backdropped by creaking glaciers and jagged, snow-topped peaks.

Who: Naturetrek
When: 14 Mar & 4 Apr 2013
How long: 10 nights
How much: From £3,995 (incl flights) 

35. Madagascar: Walk on the wild side

View the jagged peaks of the tsingy, then hike along the coast to Cap Mine on the Three Bays Walk – the latter exclusive to KE Adventure’s new Beaches and Baobabs of Northern Madagascar trip. After entering bat caves and trekking past crater lakes, plonk down on Nosy Bé island for a well-earned rest.

Who: KE Adventure Travel
When: Mar-Nov 2013
How long: 12 nights
How much: £1,795 (excl flights)

36. Scotland: Highlands and islands

Top-notch guides lead hikes in the Cairngorms National Park and across the Isle of Mull on Wilderness Scotland’s Icons of Scotland, pointing out stags, red squirrels, sea eagles, capercaillie and more. Take in the splendid natural environment, and learn a bit of local history too.

Who: Wilderness Scotland
When: Spring and autumn TBC
How long: 7 days
Cost: From £1,295 (excl flights) 

37. Cayman Islands: The unexpected Caribbean

The expert naturalist guides on Wildlife Worldwide’s Cayman Islands Wildlife Week help you explore forest trails, snorkel around the shallows with a fever of stingrays and kayak with turtles.

Who: Wildlife Worldwide
When: Year round
How long: 9 days
How much: TBC 

New frontiers

38. Colombia: Do culture in comfort

Colombia is one of the most exciting corners of South America – and it’s back on the travel map in a big way.

G Adventure’s ‘comfort-rated’ Colombia Experience trip doesn’t sacrifice style for adventure, using good hotels as you fly, drive and walk between the country’s highlights: verdant coffee plantations, bustling Medellín and Bogotá, the hot springs at Santa Rosa del Cabal and the colonial charm of Cartagena.

Who: G Adventures
When: 24 Apr, 22 May, 19 Jun, 17 Jul, 21 Aug, 18 Sept, 16 Oct, 20 Nov, 18 Dec 2013
How long: 12 days
How much: From £1,599 (excl flights) 

39. Albania: Walk away from the crowds

Pull on your hiking boots for Walks Worldwide’s pioneering The Mysterious South trek though little-known Albania. Far from the tourist trail, the trip passes through verdant valleys, olive groves and quiet villages in the country’s Med-lapped south, overnighting with locals en route. Peak-baggers can drink in the views from Mount Cika’s Kore summit (2,005m), while city-lovers can enjoy time in buzzy capital Tirana.

Who: Walks Worldwide
When: Flexible
How long: 7 nights
How much: From £655 (excl flights)

40. North Korea: Enter the unknown

New for 2013, Voyage Jules Verne’s North Korea – The Last Unknown trip gives you the chance to go where few have gone before. This secretive country has recently relaxed its entry requirements, which makes it easier to explore its scenic countryside, poignant historical sites, fine coast and capital Pyongyang – home to the world’s deepest metro system and many, many monuments to the ‘eternal president’ Kim II-sung.

Who: Voyage Jules Verne
When: 13 May, 16 Sept 2013
How long: 9 nights
How much: £2,295 (incl flights) 

41. Iraq: Explore the safe bits

No, we’re not joking. But this isn’t the Iraq you hear about in the news – Wild Frontiers’ Iraqi Kurdistan Traveller (Recce Tour), which focuses on the country’s safe northern Kurdish region, is one of the first trips into this magnificent and misunderstood section of the Middle East.

Incredible mountains, unexpected glaciers, Mesopotamian ruins, ancient cities, one of Saddam’s most notorious prisons and a picnic with the locals in the lush Ahmadawa Valley will give you an unforgettable experience – and some huge bragging rights.

Who: Wild Frontiers
When: 30 March 2013
How long: 7 nights
How much: £2,650 (excl flights)

42. Kyrgyzstan: Journey into Central Asia

From the Soviet icons of capital Bishkek to the snow-tipped Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan is a new frontier that deserves proper exploration. Adventure Worldwide’s Celestial Adventure does just that, mixing wild, wide scenery with intimate encounters. Befriend local nomads; spend the night in a yurt; try making your own Kyrgyz rug in Kochkor; dine with a Uighur family; walk to Fairy Tale Canyon and Seven Bulls Gorge; and be mesmerised by the golden eagle hunters riding across the steppe.

Who: Adventure Worldwide
When: 22 Jun, 13 Jul, 10 & 31 Aug 2013
How long: 10 days
How much: From £1,543 (incl flights) 

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43. South Sudan: Be the first one here

Be one of the first travellers to explore the world’s newest country on Undiscovered Destinations’ South Sudan tour. Investigate capital Juba, witness a way of life unchanged for centuries and safari in Boma National Park – the wildlife, thought to have vanished during the civil war, has returned in droves, with migration numbers to rival the Serengeti. Though, unlike visitors to Tanzania, you won’t see any other tourists here.

Who: Undiscovered Destinations
When: 17 Nov 2013
How long: 11 nights
How much: £3,499 (incl flights) 

44. Russia: Navigate the wildlife-rich waters

Heritage Expeditions’ Sea of Okhotsk cruise navigates where few have floated before. Aboard the 50-passenger Spirit of Enderby, you’ll traverse the Russian Far East – a region of rugged taiga forest, salmon-rich rivers, dramatic fjords and stark gulag history. It’s a wildlife wonderland, too: the area’s whale population has recovered well, following centuries of whaling; also look out for wolves, rare ribbon seals, seabirds in their thousands and the Kamchatka brown bear.

Who: Heritage Expeditions
When: 5 Jun 2013
How long: 17 nights
How much: From US$8,300 + US$500 local payment (excl flights) 

Learn from the experts

FREE £50 travel voucher when you subscribe45. Botswana: Get close to cats

Welcome to a feline fantasy! World Expeditions’ Wild Africa – Big Cat Conservation with Ben Britton trip offers close encounters with Botswana’s lions and leopards in the company of the Nat Geo Wild presenter. You’ll have the chance to assist in the study of big cats at Mashatu Game Reserve, tracking, darting and collaring these animals to help learn more about their secretive ways.

Who: World Expeditions
When: 2 May 2013
How long: 9 days
How much: £4,990 (excl flights)

46. Jordan: Go beyond the guidebook

Lift the lid on this Middle Eastern marvel by exploring it with former resident, Rough Guide to Jordan author and frequent Wanderlust writer Matthew Teller. On The Go Tours’ Jordan with Matthew Teller trip makes the most of his expertise: get under the skin of bustling capital Amman; take breakfast at a mountain-top altar; go on a dawn walk amid mystical ruins; and visit cities of biblical, Greco-Roman and Crusader importance that most tours miss out. Plus there’s time at Petra, Dana Nature Reserve and the Dead Sea too.

Who: On The Go Tours
When: 15 June 2013
How long: 8 nights
How much: £1,249 (excl flights)

47. Tanzania: Feel the Zanzibari beat

The Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) Festival is a great intro to the sounds of  Zanzibar. There’s everything from traditional taarab orchestra music to more modern Bongo Flava hip-hop; a highlight will be legendary local singer Bi Kidude. Songlines’ Zanzibar: Sound of the Spice Island trip will warm you up for the festival, with trips to plantations, the former slave market and some amazing beaches.

Who: Songlines Music Travel
When: 11 Feb 2013
How long: 8 days
How much: £795 (excl flights) 

48. To be revealed: Be published in Wanderlust

Aspiring travel journalists and photographers: listen up! Fancy having your words or photos featured on these very pages? Want to take the first steps on your path to becoming a travel writer?

Every year Wanderlust leads a group of intrepid writers and photographers On Assignment with the aim of helping them hone their skills and discover how the pros tackle a working trip. Past trips have included Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Jordan and Marrakech; 2013’s assignment is still being planned, but you can register your interest now.

Who: Wanderlust Journeys
When/How long/How much: TBA – keep checking the magazine and the website for full details and latest updates. 

49. New Mexico, USA: Try birding at its most beautiful

It’s a tough call whether to reach for the camera or the binoculars first on Speyside Wildlife’s New Mexico trip. The birdwatching is breathtaking, especially the huge flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes that roost at Bosque del Apache. But so are the landscapes, from the gorgeous gorges of Boca Negra Canyons to the peaks and deserts of White Sands NP.

Who: Speyside Wildlife
When: 30 Jan 2013
How long: 12 days
How much: From £2,995 (incl flights) 

50. Finland: Cook up a (snow) storm

If you like your food local, you’ll like Activities Abroad’s Menesjärvi – Lapland Cookery with Valentine Warner trip. The Sami people have survived for centuries on the game, fish, berries and mushrooms that thrive in Finland’s great wilderness, and celeb chef and Lapland fan Valentine will be using those ingredients to create lovely local dishes. Learn to ice fish, visit Sami reindeer herders and look out for the northern lights too.

Who: Activities Abroad
When: 27 Mar 2013
How long: 4 nights
How much: From £1,995 (incl flights) 

Wanderlust December 2012/January 2013 issueWant to take a look at the next 36 trips from Wanderlust's 50 best trips for 2013 list? Pick up a copy of the new issue of Wanderlust magazine (on sale now) and get your travel plans sorted for 2013!

Wanderlust magazine is available to buy online from the Wanderlust shop, from WH Smiths in the UK, and in digital format.

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