Don’t overthink it – just go for it!
Ride the rails beside glittering waters and over Norwegian mountains, spend a night in the Andes in the Atacama Desert or under the stars in the deserts of Oman, unravel the mysteries of the Scottish lochs in Glencoe Valley, explore an “Olympic” old-growth forest at the foot of snowy mountains in the United States… Make your trip an unforgettable experience. Here are our top 10 most inspiring adventures for 2023.
#1 – Ride the rails between Olso and Bergen – Norway
Embark on one of the most picturesque journeys Norway has to offer along the highest railway line in northern Europe, the Bergensbanen, connecting Oslo to the coastal town of Bergen. Imagine riding a “forgotten” line in the heart of untouched natural landscapes. Wind your way through the green valleys of Hallingdal and Hemsedal before climbing up to the incredible Hardangervidda plateau to over 1,200 metres above sea level. Take an extraordinary rail journey through alpine landscapes and vast expanses covered with heather, lakes, waterfalls and rivers. It’s sure to stir your imagination!
#2 – Hunt for treasure in Wahiba Sands – Sultanate of Oman
Spend an unforgettable night living like a Bedouin in the middle of the Wahiba Sands desert, on the edge of Rub’ al Khali, the largest continuous sand desert on Earth. Temperatures are milder in winter, making it the perfect time to enjoy the panoramic dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s an incredible experience! To learn even more about Emirati culture and history, get a taste of the age-old hospitality of the Bedouin people in a traditional village in the heart of the Al Marmoom desert. Expect traditional shows and songs, a henna workshop and a coffee-brewing or tea-tasting experience before sampling the ancestral flavours of Arabic cuisine in a Bedouin tent or under the stars.
#3 – Get lost in Glencoe Valley – Scotland
Venture into the Scottish Highlands and explore thistle-covered valleys the way you have always pictured them. You might not know it, but the Highland panoramas that have haunted your imagination undoubtedly include the wild, steep hills of Glencoe, a deep valley bristling with high mountains and dotted with waterfalls. These are the landscapes of Highlander, Skyfall and Harry Potter. Enter them via the picturesque village of Glencoe, nestled on the banks of Loch Leven to the south of Fort William. Then wend your way along the winding A82, one of the most beautiful roads in Scotland, between isolated lochs and picturesque villages. Walk across the high plateaus of western Scotland, conquering grand landscapes that are as dramatic as they are magical, having been sculpted by glaciers and volcanoes.
#4 – Meet a local artist – Seychelles
As the rainy season draws to a close and the sun shines high in the Seychelles sky, treat yourself to a stopover that’s all about nature and art in Mahé, the archipelago’s main island. Seychelles-born artist George Camille has been demonstrating the natural vitality of the Seychelles through his art for many years now. He invites you to discover and get a better understanding of this work during a special visit to his workshop in the suburbs of Victoria before taking you on a tour of his Kaz Zanana gallery, a pretty old wooden house built in traditional Creole style in the heart of the capital. His art encompasses engravings, watercolours, pencils, pastels, silk paintings, acrylics and collages in vibrant colours, reflecting his country and the Creole spirit.
#5 – Gaze at dazzling starlit skies in the Atacama Desert – Chile
Enjoy the mild southern summer at more than 2,400 metres above sea level in San Pedro de Atacama, an oasis village with traditional adobe houses which will serve as your gateway to the wonders of the Atacama Desert. Visit the Valle de la Luna – its combination of canyons and ravines, ridges and dunes chiselled by the wind, hills in shades of ochre-grey and more make it a fantastic place to explore during a hike in the heart of landscapes you won’t find at home. Wait for the sun to take its leave and watch the shadows dance on the dreamlike textured surfaces of this age-old mountain range before the sky is adorned with a dizzying river of stars. The deep, possibly infinite, night sky is phenomenally beautiful here. Welcome to the place with the clearest sky in the world!
#6 – Dive into the Olympic Peninsula – United States
Located in the far northwest of the United States, the Olympic Peninsula is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. Discover exceptionally diverse flora and fauna where several biotopes coexist, ranging from sea level to the 2,000 metre-plus peaks of Mount Olympus, from the wild coast of the Pacific Ocean to snowy peaks dotted with glacial lakes, via a lush rainforest peppered with hot springs and giant redwood stumps. Explore the great outdoors where orcas and grey whales, bears and wapiti live side by side. This is a natural sanctuary with an irresistibly contemplative air! You can also take the chance to learn more about the history of the indigenous peoples of America with a visit to one of the fishing villages where certain tribes still live, including the Makah, Hoh and Quileute.
#7 – Admire the rock masterpieces of Kakadu National Park – Australia
Surrounded by swamps, rivers, rocky escarpments, plunging gorges and waterfalls, Kakadu National Park in northern Australia is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, as well as numerous rock art sites. Discover these treasures that the indigenous Bininj/Mungguy people have been looking after for over 50,000 years! Their ancestors painted these magnificent frescoes of animals and mythological powers – the myths of creation and Dreamtime – on the red sandstone walls, providing priceless records of an ancestral culture. It is best to visit during the dry season between May and October when all the paths are accessible.
#8 – Snorkel in the Daymaniyat Islands – Sultanate of Oman
A small Omani archipelago off the coast of Muscat, the nine Daymaniyat islands are home to one of the richest marine reserves in the Sultanate, making it a popular snorkelling hotspot. The stars of your underwater show include brightly coloured fish with exotic-sounding names, such as the sohal surgeonfish, blackspotted rubberlip, Arabian picassofish and half-moon angelfish, whose bright blue body makes it one of the most beautiful fish in the Arabian Sea. Also, the seagrass beds often hide green turtles who come to feed in these magnificent underwater meadows. And a few harmless whale sharks, who often visit the Gulf of Oman between May and October, could be the cherry on the cake of your incredible sensorial snorkel in the heart of this tropical aquarium. Ready… Set… Snorkel!
#9 – Experience the hospitality offered by the inhabitants of Rodrigues – Republic of Mauritius
Nicknamed the “Cinderella of the Mascarenes”, Rodrigues is the smallest island in the archipelago. A beauty that doesn’t know it, Rodrigues is isolated from its Reunion and Mauritian sisters, almost lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The volcanic Rodrigues has the brilliance of an uncut, unpolished rough diamond, with multiple untouched facets. Go for an unusual destination and visit this natural gem with black basalt cliffs, red soil, white sand shingle beach and a blue lagoon that is almost too big for it, dotted with idyllic islets. The whole of Europe has colonised Rodrigues. As a result, its inhabitants speak English at school, French around the island and Creole at home. And these homes often have open doors and welcoming hosts. This is where you discover all the warmth of Rodrigues: in the kindness and authentic straightforwardness of its inhabitants. Surrender to the laidback sweet life of the people of Rodrigues, where everyone takes the time to truly see and listen to each other.
#10 – Travel to the other side of the world to the Chatham Islands – New Zealand
Imagine you live in France, more precisely in the village of Alzon, Cévennes, and you dig a hole that swallows you up into the depths of the Earth… You would pop out the other side on the Chatham Islands, literally on the other side of the world, somewhere on one of these strips of wilderness bathed in the waters of the South Pacific. This Kiwi archipelago enjoys a peaceful life 800 km east of the South Island of New Zealand. Only two of its ten islands are inhabited: Chatham Island and Pitt Island. Discover their rolling landscapes covered with heather and pastures, crossed by waterways and dotted with numerous lakes. Set off to meet their inhabitants, descendants of European settlers and Polynesian peoples – Māori but especially Moriori. Discover their history and culture on Chatham Island by entering (with a guide) the hallowed ground of the Kōpinga Marae, a sacred Moriori meeting house built in tribute to their ancestors.
Photos credits : © Istock /© PONANT/Julien Fabro / ©AdobeStock-Hilda Weges
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