Go off grid: five trips to bring out your spirit of adventure

Sam Haddad

A little bored of lying on a sun-lounger day after day on a bog-standard beach holiday? It’s time to escape the everyday. Choose something in an awe-inspiring location, away from the crowds. Go off grid and find the destinations that will leave you with stories to share and memories to savour. Here are five remote excursions to get your started.

The Antarctic peninsula

Admire the world’s last true wilderness and retrace the steps of the famous polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton from the best possible perspective, by taking to the sea in a kayak. Enjoy the silence as you glide through tranquil waters and witness majestic blue and white icebergs of all shapes and sizes, not to mention seals, penguins and – if you’re lucky – whales. Departing from Argentina, you’ll spend 11 days at sea in an ice-strengthened vessel – four days of which are devoted to kayak excursions. You’ll find it easy to see why this wonderful, fragile landscape has captivated the minds of explorers for centuries. Hiking, camping and cross-country skiing are also on offer during the expedition to help you further embrace your inner Shackleton.

From £4,700, including kayak hire; quarkexpeditions.com

Moab: red rock country

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The stunning red rock formations and wide-open skies in Utah’s Moab make it an awe-inspiring location to escape to. It’s one of the most mind-blowing places on the planet to go mountain biking. You’ll get a real sense of solitude and wonder as you ride through towering rocks, canyons, and wild west backdrops. You’ll spend four days loosely following the Colorado River, with camp stops at multiple locations in the wilderness. Much of the ride takes place on a rugged four-wheel-drive road, making this adventure suitable for mountain bikers with an average to good fitness level.

From $925 (£736), with bike hire from $55 per day; rimtours.com

Scottish archipelago: the Hebrides

The popularity of Munro bagging in Scotland can make hillwalking a crowded affair – unless you sail to the remotest of locations, that is. On this four-day Trek and Sail Adventure in the Hebrides you’ll do exactly that. A Mammut Mountain School guide will lead you along unmarked paths few people have ever set foot on, taking in Beinn Bhearnach, Sgurr Dearg and Dun Da Ghaoithe. Throughout the weekend you’ll get to learn the ropes of sailing, all to a backdrop of stunning Scottish landscape.

From £690; venturesailholidays.com

Solitude in Siberia

It’s hard to escape the crowds in most ski resorts. Head to Siberia, however, deep in the heart of remotest Russia – where the population density is just two people per thousand square kilometres – and you’ll be unlikely to see a soul beyond those in your guided ski or splitboard touring group. Your base is Luzhba, a few wooden huts surrounded by mountains, where air masses from the Arctic deliver early, heavy snowfalls, so you can enjoy perfect powder skiing and snowboarding as early as November. All the guides are local mountain experts, and lead guide Grigory Mintsev is the only Russian to be certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Guests should be intermediate and above skiers and snowboarders, comfortable in deep snow and able to ski at least 1,000 vertical metres a day.

From €1,790 (£1,572); skiinginsiberia.com

Vietnam waters

Swim amid spectacular limestone outcrops and karst islands, which rise up dramatically throughout the calm, emerald-green waters of Lan Ha Bay. This naturally beautiful and incredibly photogenic stretch of coastline is adjacent to Halong Bay, yet without the tourist boat traffic – giving it a more intimate feel and making it perfect for wild swimming. Swim Trek’s seven-day trip features at least two guided 2km swims per day, and with the water never dropping below 21C, you won’t need your wetsuit. Air temperature, meanwhile, is usually in the late 20s. Your home for this trip is the rugged, jungle-carpeted Cat Ba Island, a national park bursting with diverse flora and fauna. Optional hiking and trips to soak up local Vietnamese culture are offered and encouraged.

From £870; swimtrek.com

Now you’re ready to swap the same old beach for some spectacular scenery and experience something new. There is a spirit out there with a sense of adventure as large as yours. Shackleton whisky is proudly based on the spirit Sir Ernest Shackleton took with him on his attempt to reach the south pole – and was rediscovered under ice 100 years later.