x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Whether you want to dive into the Arctic Ocean or explore Syria, it's all on offer this year

Even for a two-week trip to that most fashionable of destinations, the North Pole, this is possibly the most expensive trip that we have ever featured.

Even for a two-week trip to that most fashionable of destinations, the North Pole, this is possibly the most expensive trip that we have ever featured at US$78,000 (Dh286,500) per person. However, its main selling point is pure adventure. The tailor-made travel operator Black Tomato has joined up with arctic diving and tandem sky diving specialists to give a handful of daredevils the chance to sky dive from a helicopter at 1,980m over the pristine landscape. You'll then don a dry suit and dive down into the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean where you can inspect the landscape below the ice for up to 40 freezing minutes.

Apart from a fat wallet, to participate you will need a medical certificate saying that you are fit to skydive and a basic Padi diving certificate. The cost of the trip includes: one day of acclimatisation in Kirkenes, Norway; four days in Svalbard learning to ice dive; two-nights sleeping at the pole at a luxury camp; the services of a team of experts (including a chef to serve up the 5,000 calories per day that you'll need to survive); and the chance to feature in the Guinness Book of Records. The trip runs from April 12 to 26 (www.blacktomato.co.uk; 0044 207 426 9888). Start saving now.

It's still freezing cold but the snow has melted from the streets of New York just in time for visitors to take advantage of tumbling hotel prices. There are a number of super new hotels offering special rates to entice guests to check in and warm the sheets. Take, for example, the Crosby, a new boutique hotel in trendy SoHo, brilliantly positioned to help you make the most of seasonal discounts in nearby boutiques and department stores. To book a double room at an opening, discounted rate of $585 (Dh2,148) including taxes, visit www.firmdale.com, or call 001 212 226 6400.

A more affordable choice is Ace Hotel New York, an eco-friendly hangout in a renovated building complete with vintage furniture in midtown Manhattan, near the Theatre District. It's currently offering 20 per cent off a "medium-sized" room which has a double bed, private bathroom and complimentary Wi-Fi, for $224 (Dh823) per night, including taxes. There are cheaper, smaller rooms on offer from $163 (Dh599) per night, but one of you will be staring up at the bottom of a bunk bed. To book, visit www.acehotel.com/newyork or call, 001 212 679 2222.

Balmy and rather sedate by comparison, Wild Photography Holidays, a travel company that specialises in small-group trips, has announced its programme for Iceland this summer. The programme includes new and contrasting trips aimed at keen amateur and experienced photographers, accompanied by a photography tutor and mountain guide. "Glaciers, Volcanoes and Waterfalls" is a nine-day tour, departing on May 22, which takes in the sights of southern Iceland's extraordinary geothermal landscape including the waterfall at Gullfoss, Myrdalsjökull glacier and Strokkur geyser. Departing on June 26, "Flowers and landscapes" is an 11-day trip to photograph floral and fauna as the snows thaw around remote Lake Myvatn. Both itineraries cost $3,040 (Dh11,166) per person, full-board, land only. For more information, visit www.wildphotographyholidays.com or, call 0035 4588 8939.

If you prefer to see wonderful, heart-stopping sights bathed in sunshine rather than huddled under snow, the group-travel specialist Exodus has announced that it is launching a new seven-night tour of Syria taking in the main historic sites and departing on dates in April, May and November. You'll have time to walk the ancient streets of the capital Damascus, stopping to haggle at the Grand Bazaar and study the Omyyad Mosque, before heading out to the desert to explore the mighty ruins of Palmyra, once home to the mysterious, third-century Queen Zenobia. Other highlights include the dead city of Rasafa, the remains of the church of St Simeon the Stylite and the crusader castle of Krac des Chevaliers. The trip costs $899 (Dh3,303) per person, including bed and breakfast, land only. To book visit www.exodus.co.uk or, call 0044 845 863 9601.

travel@thenational.ae