Scale the heights
Ticked off Everest base camp or put off by tales of crowds and litter? Then head for Argentina instead and make your way to Plaza de Mulas base camp on Mt Aconcagua — at 22,841ft, the southern hemisphere’s highest peak.
Intrepid Travel’s nine-night guided group tour starts at the Malbec wine area of Mendoza. From there, you head to Aconcagua national park and over three days hiking and camping, cross vast rivers under soaring Andean condors to the base camp at 14,000ft, all under the shadow of Aconcagua’s vast South Wall.
From Plaza de Mulas you climb Mt Bonete, which even at 16,400ft is no small feat. Afterwards, return to Mendoza for a glass of the good stuff — you’ll have earned it. Departures on November 23 and December 28.
■ From £1,958pp B&B, including transport and 12 other meals, intrepidtravel.com
Colours of the rainbow
Few Westerners visit the Rainbow Mountains of northern China, a range named after the layers of colours caused by 24million years of wind and water. World Expeditions’ new tour, departing between May 5 and September 1, spends two days hiking here, taking in natural pillars and ravines.
There’s also a tramp around the Mati Temple complex, where Buddhist grottoes await, some time at the Wei-Jin Tombs — all 1,400 of them — and a trek to the Great Wall of China’s westernmost point, Jiayu Pass.
■ From £1,090pp full board including transport, guiding and entry fees, worldexpeditions.com
Deep inside the Arctic Circle, Senja is the second largest of Norway’s coastal islands. It offers wild, moor-like hills speckled with grass and rock, as well as forests and sandy shores.
On Inntravel’s new self-guided break, available from mid-May, you first tackle the open valleys of Senja’s north-west before traversing a fjord below its best-known peak, Segla (‘The Sail’). The final three nights are based in Hamn i Senja, a harbour with wooden cabins. From here, routes pass ancient Sami settlements to sleepy blue lakes.
■ Seven nights from £1,345pp half board, including car hire, inntravel.co.uk
On the rocks
Few Spanish seaboards are as wild as the Costa da Morte in the north-western region of Galicia. Long a magnet for shipwrecks — hence the name — this ‘coast of death’ is characterised by isolated fishing villages, mammoth white-sand beaches, bird-rich wetlands, lunar landscapes and windswept graveyards filled with English sailors.
Also here are lighthouses and barnacle hunters risking their lives to find the precious percebes in frothy rock pools. Requiring daily walks of nine to 16 miles, the Lighthouse Way ends at Cape Finisterre, the end point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
■ New ten-night, self-guided itineraries cost from £920pp B&B, onfootholidays.co.uk
Samurai sword-makers, mysticism and Shinto shrines all feature on Walk Japan’s latest guided walking tour. Called the San’in Quest and launching in April, it travels along the bumpy western coast of Honshu, a tranquil region home to many an ancient myth.
Here, little-populated mountains and abandoned silver mines segue into castle towns and forest trails. You’ll stay in traditional ryokan inns with hot-spring baths.
■ Eight-night tour, departing Nov 18, from £3,023pp half board, including transport and guiding, walkjapan.com
Combine a big-five safari in Namibia’s Etosha National Park with three days of serious walking courtesy of the new multi-day Etendeka walking trail. Trekking northern Namibia’s exceptionally remote Grootberg massif, two or three-night Etendeka circuits feature overnight stays at back-to-basics, open-air camps — think bucket showers and meals cooked over an open fire — where outdoor sleeping platforms allow for superb stargazing in Namibia’s vast skies. During the daytime walking, guides will point out notable flora, fauna and crystal-spiked rock formations.
■ Twelve-night trips combining the Grootberg with walking and car safaris in Etosha start at £2,345pp B&B, including car hire, park fees and most other meals, expertafrica.com