Whether you’re dreaming of unspoiled nature or diverse cities teeming with culture, there are plenty of destinations around the globe offering women adventure on vacations. Embark on an empowering solo voyage or take the plunge with like-minded travelers; no matter how or where you go, these breathtaking thrills are handpicked for the adventurer!
If chasing the Northern Lights while sailing among gargantuan icebergs speaks to you, Greenland should be high on your adventure list for vacations in the future. English is widely spoken in Greenland, which is fairly tourist-friendly and very safe for women. For a quintessential Greenland experience, head to Ilulissat, a charming town located roughly 300 miles from the Arctic Circle. The name Ilulissat directly translates to “iceberg,” an apt name for the home of the National World Heritage Site of the extraordinary Ilulissat Icefjord. Paddle among serene icebergs on evening kayak trips during the summer months. Beneath the fiery light of a midnight sun, watch as the giant icebergs reflect the many colors of the sky. Hike past stunning silent lakes and towering mountains on walking trails along the Icefjord, go dog-sledding, or take to the sea for whale watching. If you’re there on a winter escape between February and April, you might just catch a view of the dazzling Northern Lights.
Namibia is a beautiful country of stunning desert landscapes, fascinating tribes, and majestic wildlife. Socially, it’s also notable for having the highest percentage worldwide of women legislators in its parliament at 46%. Namibia is on the whole regarded as a safe destination for women travelers, but still, the vast distances between cities and towns make a rented car the best way to get around. You will find that wildlife parks are much less crowded in Namibia compared to those in South Africa, giving you the space to enjoy (and even get up close and personal with) the array of stunning wildlife. For thrilling safari adventures, head to Etosha National Park for premier game viewing of elephants, giraffes, lion, and the endangered black rhino, or to Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park to observe feeding cheetahs. Take an overland truck or ATV over the famous giant sand dunes of Namib-Naukluft National Park, then hit some slopes yourself in the Namib Desert’s Sesriem Canyon, home to the country’s tallest sand dunes.
For an adrenaline rush that’s both safe and exhilarating, head down under and take in an Aussie adventure on your vacation. In Queensland, head out by sea to the Great Barrier Reef for the unparalleled opportunity to snorkel and dive alongside some of the world’s most precious and vibrant marine life. Between July and September, cruise through the tropical Whitsunday Islands to watch for migrating Humpback Whales between or explore the rainforest canopy on jungle surfing tours in the Daintree Rainforest, one of the oldest in the world. Elsewhere, ride your way down the pristine shores of Cape Tribulation on horseback or plunge off of Australia’s one and only bungy tower at the Minjin Jungle Swing, in the heart of the forest. In the red dirt of the Northern Territory, head to the stunning Florence Falls and ancient rock pools of Buley Rock Hole before heading to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Here, honor the grandeur of Uluru and its awesome surroundings while embracing the long-standing traditions of the First Nations People. Keep your eyes peeled for emblematic Australian wildlife by day and dark skies bursting with stars by night.
Known for its deep spirituality and stunning Himalayan mountain peaks, Nepal is a wonderful choice for all intrepid travelers. Locals are welcoming, warm-hearted, and friendly, making a safe place for women travelers. What’s more, Nepal has its very own women-run agency who provide female staff for treks. After experiencing the chaotic buzz of Kathmandu, a trek to the Everest Base Camp offers bucket-list-worthy sights of the tallest mountain on earth, including a glimpse into Sherpa culture and their unique spiritual perspective on the mountains they call home. Another popular choice is a trek through the Annapurna region; a less taxing option compared to the Everest Base Camp, it offers lower altitudes and fewer steep climbs. Tramp through lush Rhododendron forests (which bloom in the spring) and across rushing rivers. Another option is a guided tour of Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to rich flora and fauna, including the elusive Bengal tiger. For a hit of adrenaline, head to the beautiful and laid-back region of Pokhara (also a gateway to the Annapurna region) and take to the skies in a paraglider. Many have claimed this is one of the best spots in the world to do so!
Within the vast UNESCO Biosphere reserve of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park, you’ll find some of the most dramatic vistas on Earth: emerald lakes, colossal glaciers, and the highest natural cliff-faces on the planet. If you’re up for pushing the boundaries of your physical limits in a region largely untouched by humankind, Patagonia calls. For nature lovers, the park is home to great subjects for wildlife watching such as the puma, guanacos, and the South American deer. Put your athleticism to the test by paddling past pristine icebergs on Grey Lake in a kayak, jumping on a bike to cycle past valleys, or riding through fields on horseback. Avid hikers may want to opt for the classic ‘W’ trek for panoramic views of snow-clad peaks and the towering spires of El Paine. Prepare yourself on this trek for one of the most famous mountain landscapes in the world: the three mammoth granite peaks that give the park its namesake. If you’re up for it, take a hike up Las Torres in the middle of the night for a magnificent sunrise show, as the mountain peaks and undulating valley spring to life beneath you . For a more intensive trek, choose The Circuit or ‘O’ hike, which not only encompasses the ‘W’ trail but also ascends behind the towers for more spectacular views. End your days at EcoCamp Patagonia, the world’s first geodesic dome hotel.
For a true nomadic adventure, embark on an exploration of the arid steppes, expansive prairie regions, and exotic culture of Mongolia. The best way to have an authentic Mongolian experience is by an organized tour that will give you the opportunity to stay with a local Mongolian family,sleeping in a traditional tent dwelling or ‘ger’ and unplugging from the modern world entirely Getting up close and personal with Mongolia’s rich history and centuries-old culture, will take you trekking through grassy steppes covered in wildflowers and dotted with Buddhist temples. Ride a camel across the Gobi desert as you take in the sights of the Khogno Khan Uul Nature Reserve beneath the clear skies that earn Mongolia its name of “The Land of Eternal Blue Sky”. For keen horse riders, gallop across the steppes to ancient monasteries, past the magnificent Orkhon Falls, and the picturesque Khuisiin Naiman Lake. Also, be sure to make a pit-stop at the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, home to the largest horse statue in the world, and marvel at the immortalized Mongolian empire towering over you at 130 feet high.
The tropical island of Sri Lanka is an adventurer’s dream locale, offering everything from high peaks to luscious forests, roaring waterfalls, and turbulent rivers. Thanks to its hospitable locals, it also makes an extremely safe destination for women travelers. In the Central Province, nearby the towns of Dambulla and Habarana Village, you’ll find one of the country’s most valuable historical monuments at the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. Don your hiking boots and ascend up a series of 1,200 ancient steps before arriving at the top for views as far as the eye can see. From Kandy, hike up the Knuckles Mountain range into an undulating land of tea plantations and hillside villages. You can also try your hand at white water rafting In Kitulgala, or head for the east coast and Sri Lanka’s smallest national park, Lahugala, where you can go off the beaten track and witness the feeding grounds of the Asian Elephant. In the south of the Hill Country, hike up into the clouds of Sri Lanka’s holiest mountain, Adams Peak. Best done soon after midnight, the climb will take you into the wee hours of the morning before you arrive at the top for a spectacular sunrise.
Interested in learning more about female travel? Click here to read why more women are choosing to take tours or check out these all-female art trips in Latin America.