Welcome to the world of Intrepid Travel. As a special offer, exclusive for Virgin Active members, this April you can receive 15% off our range of Walking holidays in 2015. To apply your discount, just quote code 11854 when you book.

Each journey begins and ends with a single step, but some have a few more steps in between than others. If strapping on a pair of boots, preparing the trail mix and setting off with your mates is your idea of a good time, we’d like to introduce you to an adventure with a little sole.

Intrepid has been leading expert -guided treks and walking holidays for over 25 years. We’ve conquered Kili’s rocky moonscape, wandered the rhododendron forests of Annapurna and walked with the hilltribes of northern Thailand.

Whether you want to join an existing Intrepid departure or set out with your own group, finding your perfect trek is easy. The trick is to just put one foot in front of the other.

Serious summits

The beauty of trekking is that it’s open to all. Having said that, there are some mighty ascents that require a little more training than others. If it’s your ambition to reach the frosted heights of Everest Basecamp, stay with Berber tribesmen on the chilly slopes of Mt Toubkal or reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, you need to be prepared. These are trips for really intrepid trekkies, the ones who aren’t afraid of sore calves if it means standing on top of the world. Air is scarce at these altitudes, but trust us, there’s a surplus of life-changing adventure.

 

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Challenging trails

If you’d like to push your boundaries, or simply find out where they are, we’ve got a range of amazing trails for you. These aren’t as hardcore as a Basecamp attempt, but you’ll still feel it the next morning. It might be the world-famous Inca Trail in Peru, a hike along the Appalachians in northern USA or a fresh hot chocolate at a chalet in the Swiss Alps. No matter your age, fitness or experience, there’s a trekking itinerary to suit you.

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Walks in the wilderness

If you’ve already ticked off a few of the world’s walking highlights, or if you’re after something a little more exotic, never fear. We can take you walking through the jungles of Palawan in the Philippines or introduce you to hilltribes in the foothills of northern Thailand. Want to wander the old stones of the Great Wall or explore Iceland’s volcanic landscape on foot? Done and done. Trekking doesn’t have to feature extreme ascents and possible yeti sightings; sometimes it pays to slow down and take a walk in the wilderness.

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Essential info

On all of our hikes, your accommodation is pre-booked and your luggage is transferred from one point to the next. All you have to carry is a daypack that contains water, any snacks or gadgets you may want and a few layers to keep you dry and warm. This means you get to enjoy the best of hiking without any of the hassles.

We offer an extensive range of both small group and self-guided walking itineraries all over the world that cover everything from one-day hikes through to itineraries spanning 37 days. Armed with route notes and maps, self-guided walks allow you to explore at your own pace and are perfect for those wanting more independence. Or, if you want to concentrate more on the scenery, join a small group and explore with new friends. All your accommodation will be pre-booked, and your main luggage will be transferred between properties – so all you have to do is strap on your daypack and enjoy the walk!

We have walks ranging from relatively easy to rather challenging. But no matter what degree of difficulty or distance you choose to walk, we recommend that you have a reasonable level of fitness to ensure that you get the most out of your walk or hike. Try to commit to some type of physical training program around six weeks before you depart. Here are some suggestions: Long walks: go on some long walks of 3-6 hours duration before you leave, wearing the boots you’re taking and carrying a small backpack to get comfortable with carrying your gear for long stretches. Aerobic exercise: running, distance cycling and the various aerobic classes offered at gyms (like pump, spin, zumba and circuit classes) all help to give you fitness and stamina. Strength training: doing body weight training like pushups, squats, dips, lunges, etc. helps to build up your muscle strength, which is needed for the steady climb up a mountain if you’re embarking on this type of hike (bootcamp sessions are perfect for this type of training).

You’ll need a comfortable daypack to walk with during the day and another piece of luggage (preferably not too large) for the rest of your gear to be transported or carried by porters or Sherpa (this depends on the walking trip you choose). Sturdy, good quality and well-fitted hiking shoes will make the difference between a great trip and terrible time – make sure you break them in before you go to minimise blisters. For some tips and ideas about what to take, check out Intrepid’s Ultimate Packing List – you won’t need half of what’s mentioned but things like wet-weather gear, a hat, layers of clothing, head torch, bandaids for blisters, water bottle and sunscreen are essential.

On some of our hikes you will encounter high altitudes. When climbing above 2,800 metres (9,200 feet), it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude, regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

There’s no real way to tell how your body will react to the rigours of altitude trekking, so it is important that you monitor your condition and discuss any prevailing symptoms with your guide. If you have any pre-existing conditions that could be exacerbated by high altitudes, be sure to get them checked out by a doctor before you leave.

But above all, try not to worry, most of our travellers shake off the effects of altitude pretty quickly and enjoy a safe and rewarding trek.

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