Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail and rafting the Grand Canyon are the greatest adventures in the world.
That’s according to a new study that also uncovers the ‘explorer gene’, which suggests some of us are predetermined to be more adventurous than others.
Descending into the depths of Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur volcano, potholing in Vietnam’s Son Doong caves and reaching Everest Base Camp in Nepal also feature highly on the world’s greatest death-defying adventure list. Climbing Ben Nevis is top of the UK adventure ranking.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro has been named as the greatest adventure in the world, according to a poll and a panel of travel experts, which included MailOnline Travel Editor Ted Thornhill
Trekking to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail, pictured, has been named as the world’s second-greatest adventure
Rafting the Grand Canyon comes third in the global list of greatest adventures
THE GREATEST ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD AND IN THE UK, FROM CLIMBING KILIMANJARO TO SWIMMING WITH SEALS IN DEVON
Top 20 Greatest Adventures in the world today
1 Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania 37%
2 Trekking along the Inca trail, Machu Picchu, Peru 35%
3 Rafting the Grand Canyon, Arizona 31%
4 Descending into Thrihnukagigur volcano, Iceland 29%
5 Exploring the Son Doong Caves, Vietnam 24%
6 Dog sledding to witness the Aurora Borealis, Norway 23%
7 Kayaking Arctic fjords, Greenland 22%
8 Reaching Base Camp Everest, Nepal 20%
9 Cruising the Antarctic, 19%
10 Cage diving with sharks, Cape Town, South Africa 18%
11 Swimming with Humpback Whales, Mozambique 17%
12 Cave diving, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico 16%
13 Diving the Great Barrier Reef, Australia 13%
14 Trekking the Great Wall, China 12%
15 Paragliding in the Alps, Switzerland 11%
16 Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia 10%
17 Volcano night trekking, Indonesia 9%
18 Hiking Mount Fuji, Japan 9%
19 Diving into Belize’s great Blue Hole, Belize 8%
20 Finding the Lost City of Teyuna, Colombia 7%
Top 10 greatest British adventures
1 Conquering Ben Nevis, Scotland 71%
2 Potholing in Gaping Gill, Yorkshire 40%
3 Swimming with Seals, Lundy Island, Devon 33%
4 Open water river swimming in Oxfordshire 32%
5 Rock Climbing in Snowdonia, Wales 31%
6 Caving in the Peak District, Derbyshire 30%
7 Diving in Scapa Flow, Orkney 29%
8 Surfing off the coast of Fistral Beach, Cornwall 24%
9 Taking on the world’s fastest zip line, Wales 23%
10 Cycling the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland 20%
Source: Dave TV study. The percentages refer to the survey results
The new research was commissioned by TV channel Dave to mark the launch of its new series, Expedition with Steve Backshall, airing Sunday nights at 8pm.
A panel of travel experts, including the author of this article, teamed with Steve and his Expedition team, created a shortlist of the ‘greatest adventures around the world and across the UK’, which was then put to a public vote of 2,000 British adults aged 40 and under.
The research also reveals that over eight in ten (84 per cent) Brits say they prefer to seek out adventurous experiences rather than the traditional ‘fly and flop’ pool or beach holiday.
The poll also shows that Britain is a nation of thrill-seekers, as half (50 per cent) of Brits said the ‘sense of danger’ attracted them most to adventure holidays, with 42 per cent seeking activities that get their pulses racing.
Eight in ten (80 per cent) Brits said they have dreamed of becoming an explorer after hearing tales of historic explorers like Captain Cook and Sir Francis Drake, and watching film icons like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft.
In the ranking for greatest UK adventures, potholing in Gaping Gill, Yorkshire, comes second and swimming with seals at Lundy Island in Devon comes third.
Descending into Thrihnukagigur volcano in Iceland, pictured, comes fourth in the adventure list
Climbing Ben Nevis, pictured, is ranked as the greatest possible adventure in Britain
Expedition with Steve Backshall, pictured, airs on Sunday nights at 8pm on Dave
In fourth is open water swimming in Oxfordshire and rock climbing in Snowdonia comes fifth.
The study also claims that our appetite for adventure, risk and exploring is influenced by genetic and social factors.
Statistical research carried out by Dr Geoff Ellis of 50 of Britain’s greatest ever explorers, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Ellen MacArthur and Mark Kingsley, examined shared characteristics and traits of adventurers through history.
Dr Ellis claims that explorers are most likely to have the Aquarius, Libra or Gemini birth sign and are likely to have been born in the countryside. For example, 56 per cent of British explorers hail from rural locations.
The study also suggests that middle children are the least likely to become explorers and that adventurers normally have dark hair and are 3.5 inches taller than the average person.
Nine in ten Brits surveyed said that they think people are naturally born with an ‘explorer gene’.
Bafta-winning naturalist, explorer and TV presenter Steve Backshall said: ‘From an early age I knew I wanted to explore the world and that’s never stopped. I have spent my life travelling to some of the most remote, dangerous and testing places on the planet. I’m always on the hunt for a new challenge to discover the unexplored – my new show on Dave sees me document a number of world-adventure “firsts”, including the first descent of a white-water river in the Himalayas.’
Dave Channel Director Luke Hales said: ‘Our new research reveals we are a nation of explores who enjoy a sense of adventure and danger. It appears that the passion for adventure runs in our DNA with our research pointing to the discovery of the “explorer gene” – evidence that we could be born with a desire for exploration.’