Cool even in the height of summer, these mountains were formed more than 224 million years ago, and if you're looking for an active holiday in the great outdoors there are few better places. The mountains are essentially a gigantic natural playground where you can trek, climb, go nordic walking, cycle or go horse riding. There is an abundance of lakes, rivers and swimming pools for a whole range of watersports (try rafting, canyoning or Hydrospeed, a kind of white-water sledging), and the wealth of cycle paths and bike trails are ideal for enjoying unforgettable holidays in the saddle and discovering scenic landscapes at the same time.
The mountains themselves are a source of great geological interest, so make sure you go on a trek with an alpine guide and dolomitic rock expert, who will teach you all about their formation and history. If you prefer to go at your own pace, the Zoldo area is a fascinating destination for high-altitude walkers, who visit the Pelmo, Civetta or Moiazza mountain ranges. There are numerous alpine routes, woodland nature trails and historic discovery treks where you can hunt for prehistoric remains, marvel at the priceless artworks hidden away in the ancient churches and get in touch with industries of the past by visiting a local iron mine.
Tick off your bucket list: Go paragliding – it's surprisingly relaxing once you're in the air.
Where to stay: The Vigilius Mountain Resort is an idyllic retreat only accessible by cable car. As well as several quartzite-lined indoor pools and outdoor sun decks, the hotel also provides mountain bikes, hiking sticks, rucksacks and equipment for Nordic walking. www.vigilius.it
How to get there: Fly from Leeds Bradford to Bolzano (via Rome) with Jet2 and Alitalia
This bustling metropolis in the United Arab Emirates hasn't been established as a holiday hotspot for long, but in recent years it has attracted huge numbers of tourists who flock here in search of heat, luxury and adventure, the three things Dubai is famous for. When it comes to adventure, there's everything from scuba diving to desert safaris. Seawings is a thrilling aerial experience providing flights over Dubai’s scenic city and coastline; you take off on water and ascend to 1,500 feet for panoramic city views. Motorsport lovers should head to Dubari Autodrome, where you can drive on a race track over five kilometres long, while the Omani territory of Dibba makes a charming and unspoilt location to try coastal kayaking and rock climbing.
The oasis of Dhaid, the fishing village of Dibba and the sleepy town of Masafi (with its crafts, pottery and carpet markets) are all charming destinations set among canyons, dry river beds and date palms, so make sure to take a day to explore the picturesque east coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Tick off your bucket list: Experience the majestic beauty of the desert with a morning dune drive. Trek across the sand dunes in a 4x4 as the sun rises in the distance.
Where to stay: One&Only The Palm is stretched out over the Persian Gulf on Dubai's tree-shaped Palm Island archipelago. If you're taking a day off from adventuring, take a dip in the huge outdoor pool while yours drinks are whisked straight to your lounger. The in-house Stay restaurant even has a rather unique pastry library. From £323 per night www.thepalm.oneandonlyresorts.com
How to get there: Fly from Manchester to Dubai with Emirates
Adventure holidays to South Africa offer a truly breathtaking mix of the urban and suburban, allowing tourists to check out spectacular cities such as Johannesburg within a few hours of viewing wildlife on safari. KE Travel's 15-day Zulu Warriors tour, for ages six and over, starts in Johannesburg and explores northern South Africa, with drives through the Kruger National Park, swimming in natural pools, croc-farm visits and an insight into Zulu life. You can also take part in easy walks in the Drakensburg mountains, or enjoy a day of leisure on the beach north of Durban.
Cape Town is the highlight of many travellers' South Africa trips. Along with exploring its bars and restaurants, a climb up Table Mountain is a must. The view of the city from this majestic peak is hard to put into words – you really have to experience it for yourself.
Tick off your bucket list: Snorkelling in the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve.
Where to stay: When booking with KE Travel
(www.keadventure.com) accommodation is in a mix of chalets, lodges, apartments, safari-style bush camps and campsites. If you're going it alone, we recommend the opulent safari-chic Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
How to get there: Fly from Leeds Bradford to Johannesburg (via Amsterdam) with KLM and Air France
Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic children’s story Treasure Island (which was written in the Cairngorms), Wilderness Scotland have designed a family adventure holiday in the Scottish Highlands – a land of myths and legends. This action-packed trip visits both the beautiful west coast and the dramatic Cairngorms National Park, and combines lots of activities including sea kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife watching and bushcraft. Hunt for treasure, visit ruined castles and explore desert islands to your heart's content.
If you're after a more physical challenge, why not spend five days cycling coast-to-coast across Scotland with the whole family? The route spans from Fort William on the shore of the Atlantic Coast and to Inverness on the east coast, allowing cyclists to explore the rugged Scottish landscape. Has your appetite for adventure been whet? You can also opt to try open canoeing, horse riding and monster spotting on Loch Ness.
Tick off your bucket list: Ride on the Harry Potter steam train.
Where to stay: If you book with Wilderness Scotland (www.wildernessscotland.com) your accommodation will be included in the package.
How to get there: By car or train (nearest station Aberdeen)