Ice hotels are so last decade. The accommodation with real cool factor right now is a "snow hole". At Loch Torridon, in the Scottish Highlands, you can build one yourself with a little help from winter mountain guide Chris Wilson, who runs these overnight stays in conjunction with nearby Torridon Hotel (prideofbritainhotels.com).

Click here or on the image to see the activities in pictures

Snow is about all you can see at the moment at Kosterhavet (kosteroarna .com), Sweden's new marine national park. But, come spring 2010, visitors will get the first chance truly to explore this string of westerly islands' species-rich waters. Indeed, wildlife lovers have the forgotten corners of the world within their reach this year. Try this new and unusual offering from Naturetrek (naturetrek.co.uk): a 10-day bird-watching tour in Georgia, seeking the special montane species of the high Caucasus Mountains and the lowland birds of the steppe.

Fancy more of an urban adventure? Take an excursion from Montreal on one of the new float-plane tours (volrecreatif.com) that fly north from the city, putting down on Quebec's vast lakes and rivers. Passengers get a bird's eye view of the Big Canadian Outdoors, then wing their way back to town for dinner.

If it's all about the "getting there" for you, hop aboard the luxury Maharajas' Express (rirtl.com). The first pan-India top-end train will cross state borders, offering four very different itineraries. This plush choo-choo has an observation carriage with a bar, sumptuous suites and two dining cars. Not cheap, but it's a do-before-you-die experience.

Another once-in-a-life-time trip is being offered by the Bushcamp Company (bushcampcompany.com). It has arranged a one-time-only, week-long safari to Zambia's South Luangwa region, led by wildlife experts Phil Berry and Jonathan Scott, also familiar from the BBC's Big Cat Diary, to get you up close and personal with some of the Big Five stars of the TV screen.

Africa will notch up another first, courtesy of Neilson (neilson.co.uk). The Mnarani Beachclub, Kilifi, in Kenya is the sailing specialist's first long-haul destination and the first Royal Yachting Association-recognised training centre in East Africa. Kilifi Creek is blessed by consistent trade winds and warm clear waters, and you'll have the opportunity to add some safari to your sailing holiday.

Closer to home, this year Inntravel (inntravel.co.uk) is expanding its rural activity holidays into Turkey, with a new programme of walks through Cappadocia and the Lycian Way. Expect off-the-beaten-track itineraries that will take you from deep caves to deserted valleys, pristine beaches to sky-scraping mountains – with your luggage spirited from hotel to hotel.

But for a real taste of the remote, try the new 10-day group tour to the little known and even less understood Caribbean island of Haiti, with the pioneering travel company Undiscovered Destinations (undiscovered- destinations.com), which has a reputation for wild adventure destinations, including the Congo, Angola and the Ivory Coast.



Finally, World Expeditions (world expeditions.com) has expanded its programme for 2010 with a quarter of its brochure featuring new trips. Top choice is a trek in the Peruvian Andes with Simon Yates, from Touching the Void. In 1985, he and Joe Simpson became the first people to reach the summit of Siula Grande via its almost vertical west face; their descent passed into mountaineering legend. This is the first time Simon has been back since he "cut the rope" and he will take a group to a peak above base camp, following the path where Joe crawled to safety.

Comments