Since when did the over 50s adventure holidays become a thing? Well, even if sprightly youngsters think they don’t, trust me, they do! So we’ve decided to pull together the best adventures for an older crowd.
There’s a whole generation of walkers, climbers, mountaineers and all-round adventurers leading the way. And an exceptionally fit group of people over 50 putting youngsters to shame.
After all age is only a number, a label used to define you (for good or bad). But numbers don’t tell the whole story, older adventurers can and do summit the highest mountains, reach the poles, and do all manner of crazy things that are at the very least equal to the younger crowd.
Hats off to the long-term older adventurers who could put the rest of us to shame! But there is another group, many people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even older who are looking for an adventure that is less extreme. Something manageable but rewarding and adventurous.
This is why we have pulled together the best adventures for an older crowd. They are trips you will be proud to tell the grandkids about – unlike youngsters you prob won’t have to wait 40+ years to do so! But they are trips which reflect the more mature interests and slightly less extreme goals of the over 50s.
Would you rather explore a city than relax on sunlounger? Prefer to walk up a hill (or mountain) than wake up in five star luxury? Family all left and you have time to go it alone? Insatiably curious with a taste for adventure? Read on!
Here are eight great ideas for over 50s adventure holidays.
It’s never too late to take off for a whole year – or longer or shorter – and travel around the world. Good fitness helps, and common sense provides pretty much the rest. And let’s face it, a lifetime of experiences puts you in a much better position to avoid the pitfalls many younger travellers fall into.
Now with a splash of grey, you’ll probably be sure of where you want to go – and how to go about doing it. If the kids are flying the roost, don’t dare sit on your backside. Now could be your time! Without doubt one of the best adventures for an older crowd as a RTW trip is as extreme and physically as you make it.
If your holidays so far have been near to home, then head east along the world’s oldest international highway, the Silk Road. You’ll have plenty of time to absorb the passing cultures and challenges. You’ll face cultural delights you couldn’t possibly prepare for in places such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan (and that’s just the Stans).
As a trading route it grew from both east and west, with the Han Dynasty pushing far enough into Persia that Chinese goods slowly crept into western markets. It’s a challenge all right and a journey well matched to over 50s keen on mixing culture, history and adventures.
If you have always loved trains then incorporate rail into over 50s adventure holidays by taking the Trans-Siberian railway. Running from St Petersburg to Beijing you can visit Moscow and Mongolia, Baikal the world’s oldest and deepest lake, pass through Siberia, the Gobi desert and so much more.
If you are worried about being alone then join one of the small group Trans-Siberian train journeys. Alternatively book a ticket to do it individually and get on and off where ever you feel like. Just be sure to brush up on your Russian, Mongolian and Chinese before you go!
Great choice for walkers and hikers. And far from easy. The Coast to Coast route takes you from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. It covers some of the toughest, most beautiful terrain England serves up.
The really fit bunch walk it unassisted. But in most cases you can book a B&B, have your main luggage driven ahead for you, and take on the peaks and ghylls with a lighter load.
The Lake District National Park will push pulses skyward and leave jaws dropped. Views here inspired Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, with the traditional route well documented by Wainwright.
There are 14 lakes, waters and tarns, but no need to find them all. Check out Go Lakes, the Cumbria tourism site for help in deciding what to do. After the lakes it’s into the Yorkshire Dales before onwards across the North York Moors.
Altogether, it’s a 192-mile challenge, great for small group holidays and is one of the best adventures for an older crowd. With excellent ales and welcoming hosts along the way its easy to see why it’s one of the more popular over 50s adventure holidays.
If you like the sound of walking, but don’t want to risk inclement British weather than why not head to Italy? From the terrific Tuscan hills to the dramatic Dolomites and stunning Sicilian coast to the undulating Umbrian Hills there are plenty of options for hiking in Italy.
Plus there is a spot or two of culture to explore. Walking tours in Italy don’t have to be in the countryside, it could be around Rome, Pisa, Venice or Florence. There are culinary hikes, wine tasting walks and historic pilgrimages to enjoy.
You’re probably an experienced and safe driver – at least that’s what the car insurance adverts say! So put this to the test on longer overlanding holidays in Australia. You’ll need a well-maintained 4×4 and a spirit of adventure to get through some of the journeys down under.
Take a look at the route from Darwin to Perth for a real challenge. As well as the spectacular scenery, you’ll have a chance to see farming communities working, turtles hatching and get plenty more. Plus there will be plenty of opportunities for swimming, surfing and scuba diving along the way.
Australia may be a long flight, but it’s all about what you do when you get there. The backpacker circuit is hugely popular with a young crowd but there plenty of options for over 50s adventure holidays too. In fact you’ll often be at the same places, you just experience them in a different way.
One of the best adventures for an older crowd revolves around food and activities. They are perfect for people who love foreign food and are happy to cycle, kayak or trek between tables. Commonly run as tailor made holidays, gastro adventuring builds up appetites before satiating them with the finest fare you can find.
Top trips include cycling the Po Valley in Italy. Go in search of Parma ham, Parmigiano Romano and locally produced balsamic vinegars. Or how about trekking in France’s Cevennes National Park, indulging in traditional country menus and a glass or two of wine along the way. Alternatively, try Bordeaux kayaking holidays to explore the wine region.
Many people dream of selling their home, buying a yacht and sailing around the world. Although not many people actually do it, my parents old neighbours did and they have now been floating where the wind takes them for nearly a decade.
But perhaps it’s best to start with a sailing holiday. Either join a flotilla sailing trip, or learn to sail holiday to get to grips with the new activity. Sailing can become a passion and without doubt is one of the best adventures for an older crowd.
Just remember that the world is your oyster. Your age doesn’t matter. And as long as you are still physically able you can take on anything. So walk the Great Wall of China, go dog sledding in Canada to see the Northern Lights or raft down the Zambezi.
Chose you adventure and grow old ungracefully!
If you’d like to book over 50s adventure holidays? be sure to check out our adventure discounts as you could save a fortune.