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Guide to the Best Adventure Holidays for the Over 60s

By Jackie Parsons April 18, 2024 Travel

Are you fizzing with energy and still hankering after adventure? If so, you’re not alone. Travel clearly tops the ‘to-do’ lists for many of us, with plans for the best trips of our lives so often put on hold until post-retirement, and an ever-increasing bucket list of one-off experiences just waiting to be worked through. Safari holidays, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, the Northern Lights… there’s no end to our dreams!

For many of us, the excitement of vibrant cities such as Bangkok and Istanbul beckon well into what is hopefully our golden age, while for others, a chance to immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature, and to bond and connect with like-minded people, may be all that we need. Either way, an adventure holiday involving fresh experiences and meeting new people is, at best, mind broadening and energising.

Until relatively recently, it was easy to assume that when it came to holidays, people over 60 were happiest on a cruise or on a holiday that required minimum energy expenditure. Thankfully, we’ve progressed in great energetic leaps and bounds and the possibilities open to us are as broad as for any other age group.

Of course, an adventure holiday doesn’t need to be just about expending physical energy. For anyone who is culturally inquisitive, learning a new skill or developing an existing one on an experiential trip is a great way of expending mental energy. Similarly, exploring new destinations by train, boat or plane and diving into different beliefs and customs can be just as stimulating and certainly as rewarding. Unsure where to start? Here are a few things to consider when planning your trip.

Plan Well for the Most Rewarding Adventure

When it comes to sightseeing, either in Europe or elsewhere, planning a balanced itinerary can be tricky. For a start, it’s important to be realistic about how much is achievable in a day. Not surprisingly, for anyone who’s fairly active in their day-to-day life, the temptation is to pack as much as possible into every day. This often entails whizzing from one tourist spot to another without either having time to appreciate the attraction itself, or indeed to absorb the surrounding culture.

Think about combining cultural visits with other activities for a more rounded experience that might even add context to the cultural element. For example, why not squeeze a garden visit into a hectic couple of days of sightseeing? Quite apart from the obvious advantages of getting out in the fresh air and being immersed in the natural world, a garden can reveal so much about the local history. But it will also allow you time to digest and appreciate each element of your trip.

Garden visit,

Skip Cruises for Skiing

Cruises are a great way of seeing different places without worrying about the logistics. But if you’re an energetic sort of person and are still seeking high octane activities, then put the cruise on hold for a while. Instead, sign up for any of your favourite outdoor pursuits, whether skiing, cycling or swimming. Or why not shift it up a notch with an organised kayaking, rafting or paddleboarding trip? If you’re new to the sport, do check that the activities are pitched at the right level for you.

Take a Hike

If hiking is more your thing, there’s a world of possibilities. Researching and planning your own route can be part of the adventure if you’re confident about your navigational skills. For those who are new to hiking holidays, travelling solo or who prefer to leave the ground work to someone else, joining a guided group tour is a good option. Be sure to book on to a hiking tour with this age group in mind and ask questions to check that the tour is pitched at the right level. That way, you’ll get to walk with like-minded people and will feel fully at ease.

Don’t feel that joining a group is a soft option. On the contrary, knowing in advance the exact length of each route and without having to worry about map reading, you may feel better able to take on more demanding hikes. This guided tour in the Italian Alps involves spectacular hiking with amazing mountain views and is ideal for anyone looking for a physically challenging experience without the logistics.

Join a group guided holiday for an adventure in Europe,

Boost Your Mental Agility

The selection of experiential trips available today is vast. Boost your creative skills by signing up to one of a wide range of holidays – from painting, creative writing, ceramics and art to jewellery making and photography. Again, do check whether you need any pre-existing knowledge or skills before committing.

Cooking class,

Many experiential holidays will allow you to perfect a skill while also learning more about your local environment. Language learning is an obvious way to do this, but cooking classes can also be a wonderfully immersive experience, opening your eyes to the local culture and also the surrounding territory.

Take a Rail Journey

Flying and airport lounges can be quite exhausting so if you have time on your hands, you may prefer to travel by train. Rail travel adds a very different dimension to a trip and somehow feels more like an adventure than jumping on board a plane. What could be more relaxing and carefree than hopping on a train from the UK to Paris, Milan or Rome before an onward journey to any of Europe’s fascinating towns and cities?

A special rail journey, such as a trip on Europe’s Glacier Express, or the Canadian Rocky Mountaineer, is a popular item on bucket lists. But actually, standard rail travel, designed to get you from A to B, can be just as thrilling. If you’re planning a trip in Europe, train travel is both affordable and less stressful than flying and best of all, you get to swap the view of the airport lounge for wonderful rolling countryside!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you recently taken an adventure holiday? Or do you have one planned? Which holidays are on your bucket list?

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Travel is exciting & at 80 years young I just renewed my passport. Unfortunately I got badly hit with sciatica & am waiting for it to subside!

Jackie Parsons

You are an inspiration Pamela. I hope the sciatica eases soon and you are able to make use of your new passport in the not too distant future

The Author

Jackie Parsons is the co-owner of Hedonistic Hiking. She has been a tour guide since 1992 and has lead walking tours since 2000. She creates and guides Hedonistic Hiking’s all-inclusive gastronomic hiking tours throughout Italy. Alongside the hikes, all tours provide an unforgettable insight into the local history, art, culture, food, and wine, and are graded for ability. Find out more at

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