Reclining on the sand, restoring that tan, re-reading your favourite book…sounds like bliss, huh? Well, it might surprise you, that such a holiday isn’t, in fact, music to everyone’s ears. Nope, such a louche, low and lazy trip can be pretty discordant for some. Because for an ever increasing number, it’s thrills, spills and near kills we want from our time off.
It’s no surprise really, is it? We spend so long tied to our desks, the hoover or our bed (nope, not in that way), that when we have the chance, it’s best to make the most of it. How? Well, by raising the adrenaline and the hair, of course. Here’s how, our 5 holidays IDEAL for risk takers.
BIKING THROUGH MOROCCO
When many people think of a cycling holiday, the default route is a section of the Tour de France. As a famous cycling route that takes in so many exceptional vistas and passes landmark locations (and fresh in the memory from its recent residency on ITV), it is the mecca for cyclists, make no mistake.
But for those wanting something a little bit (well, a whole lotta) different, cycling through the Atlas Mountains certainly serves up a dose of the thrilling stuff. The path encompasses both desert and mountain terrain, with the opportunity for rock climbing in the gorges – and the high-altitude cycling will really get your adrenaline flowing. If the scenery doesn’t get you, then the erratically driven taxis certainly will.
In all seriousness, Morocco provides the perfect escape for anyone wanting to travel outside of the summer months. The unique climate around Marrakech means that you’ll be able to see both snow-covered mountains and dry, dusty deserts all in one day. Though the trip on two wheels is the reason you came, be sure not to leave without enjoying a couple of days in this iconic city; a veritable, vibrant feast of culture, cuisine and chaos. Ride the Kasbah, indeed.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF RISK
If you love that sense of the unpredictable but don’t relish the kind of physical danger involved with extreme sports, then maybe a visit to a casino is more your kind of risk. There are many fabulous resort destinations worldwide where you can spin the wheel or black the jack, and while Monte Carlo and Macau might boast some of the gaudiest, glitziest elements, nowhere can hold a candle to the rich history and spectacle of Las Vegas. The Bellagio is one of the biggest and most glamourous casinos in Vegas, sitting near the middle of the strip in prime position, and boasting some of the best tables.
Even if gambling isn’t your thing, there are activities and excursions abundant to raise the pulse there; everything from bungee jumping to helicopter tours and beyond. Should you be intent on a bit of risk-taking at the tables, though, it’s a good idea to first familiarise yourself with the rules of the house, in order to minimise your losses. Indeed, the clientele in Vegas and the rest aren’t playing with pennies either, so make sure you go in with a strategy. Find out how to play roulette by reading up on everything from the basic rules to the best strategies online and put yourself in contention for a huge jackpot, and remember; when the fun stops, stop.
FOR MODERN COWBOYS
The Wild West of America has been much romanticised over the years, with film and TV shows depicting the struggle of the settlers trying to make new lives in inhospitable climes. In reality, life for the cowboys was hard and lonely, with much of the day spent on horseback protecting livestock or riding the trails between traders.
But if you want to relive the stereotypical life, rather than the daily drudgery, of a cowboy, with all the glam it entailed – Old Town Road, we’re looking at you – then there are tonnes of ways to reimagine it for the modern age. Retiring the horses in favour of modern transportation, risk-taking holidaymakers can now travel the old trails on off-road motorbikes or Ford Broncos, taking in the scenery without the discomfort of saddle sores. Most do so in Yellowstone National Park, which straddles the three states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Though it’s the wild life you’re here for, if it’s wildlife you’re also after, then you’ll find a diverse range of American icons here; grizzly bears, elks, bison, and most emblematic of all, bald eagles.
ADRENALINE JUNKIES IN THE JUNGLE
Fancy seeing the temples and artefacts of Mayan culture in Meixco? Though the majority head to spectacular (and spectacularly busy) Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan state, how about instead zip-lining into them from jungle treetops, at night, by firelight? That hair raising enough for ya? Or maybe you’d prefer driving miniature 4×4 vehicles around the jungle floor, abseiling into underground cenotes and snorkelling with turtles? Well, all of these activities and more are available at the Xplor park (in the same state), one of a handful of eco-parks aimed at giving tourists unforgettable experiences of the local landscape, history and culture, with a little thrill-seeking thrown in for good measure.
When you’ve had enough of the jungle, head to the Yucatan’s incredible coast, just a ten minute drive. Here, you’ll find snorkelling and diving opportunities aplenty. The finest water sports are a short ferry ride away, on the island of Cozumel. We’ve written more about that and other great Caribbean island destinations over here; check it out!
HIGH ALTITUDE HOLIDAYING
Mountain climbing is one of the most physically demanding sporting activities out there, and one not for the faint-hearted, that’s for certain. But the reward of dominating a peak and reaching the top feels like nothing else on earth. And that’s before you consider the views. Once you’ve caught your breath, prepare for it to be taken again; nothing short of spectacular.
Once you climb your first mountain, you’ll be hooked for life. So it’s a good thing there are so many different destinations seemingly designed for a holiday getting hooked. From the lush peaks of Wales or Scotland to the harsh, rocky crags in Eastern Europe, or the vibrant desert climbs in Arizona, mountaineering is a hobby with enormous scope for discovery and enjoyment.