Monday, January 11, 2010

My Favorite Unusual Walking Trails

Hiking and walking are two of my favorite activities when I'm traveling. It's a way to get intimate with the landscape. And though I have a particular fondness for trails that snake through densely forested landscapes, I've also found more than a handful of trails that either snake through unusual lands (such as Turkey's Cappadocia region that's dotted with monoliths that are so curious they resemble images from a Salvator Dali painting) or they don't represent what one typically thinks of as a gravel, dirt or sandy hiking path. (Croatia's Plitvce Lakes National Park with its myriad boardwalks that wander through a land dripping with waterfalls comes to mind here.)


try to walk or hike at least one path in almost every country I visit. Recently, I wrote a feature round-up article for the travel network Boots n'All where I've picked out some of my favorite and unusual trails in the world. They range from the black lava-lined vineyards on Pico Island in the Azores to the serpentine Great Wall of China. Some of the trails I chose, such as the one that runs atop the battlement walls in Dubrovnik, are easy to negotiate on your own. Others, such as along the dry stream beds (or wadis) in the Negev Desert in Israel, are best tackled with a guide because it's easy to lose your way. I've picked out tour companies and guide services that will enhance your journey by pointing out historically interesting and botanically relevant features.

33 comments:

marthaandme said...

We're not big on hiking on vacations due to some physical limitations in the family, but we have done some amazing walks. Hawaii in particular was a great place for short walks to breathtaking scenery.

JTravel said...

Hi marthaandme, Walking is always lovely and I adore the trails in Hawaii, including the short ones. I've walked trails on every island and found them to be real gems.

Frugal Kiwi said...

The Croatian walk sounds fascinating. Boardwalks and waterfalls!

JTravel said...

Hi Frugal Kiwi, So nice to hear from you. Plitvce Lakes National Park is an enchanting place. Everywhere you turn there's another swirling body of water. Loved it.

Kristen J. Gough said...

I'm amazed at all the places you've been. I love your suggestion of Turkey (which isn't a real vacation hot spot). That has to be one of my favorite places to visit in the world--beautiful, welcoming people.

JTravel said...

Hi Kristen, I agree with you completely: I found the Turkish people to be some of the most welcoming and gratious in the world. I'd like to spend another month in Turkey.

Judy Stock said...

Love the idea of interesting trails. Sounds adventurous. Recently spent 10 days in Manhattan and walked more than I had ever walked in my life, although when home I typically walk 45 minutes each morning.

Great post, Jeanine.

JTravel said...

Hi Judy, I live in Manhattan and end up walking about one hour a day as well. (A great workout.)Hope you enjoyed the city during your recent visit. And glad you liked reading my post.

sarah henry said...

I'm a big fan of walking--just back from a hike in the Berkeley hills in fact. And I wrote a guide to hoofing it around my hometown, Sydney and fondly remember a lovely amble through the Cinque Terre in the Italian Riveria.

But this is one exotic list of walks around the world. I'd love to explore any of these trails.

Thanks for sharing.

Sheryl said...

Whenever I travel, I bring a pedometer along, as I love to walk and try to walk everywhere I possibly can. Thanks for these exotic trails!

ruth pennebaker said...

What an amazing assortment of walks. Lovely, informative post.

JTravel said...

Hi Ruth, Thanks so much for your comment. Appreciate your enthusiastic feedback.

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, That's cool that you bring along a pedometer. I've been meaning to do that for awhile. Walking is such a great way of keeping fit while enjoying the scenery.

JTravel said...

Hi Sarah, That's cool that you wrote a walking book. When I was in Sydney I adored the walks that were so accessible. And Italy is another great place to hoof it. I especially love the Dolomites.

kris bordessa said...

One of my favorite things about vacationing is the ability to wander and discover. You see so much more from a path than a road!

Susan Johnston said...

I'm with marthaandme - Hawaii does have some beautiful walks. I'm more of an city girl myself, so I love exploring urban landscapes by foot.

Meredith Resnick said...

I want to share this with my husband - he'll love it, too.

Jennifer Margulis said...

These trails sound amazing. I love reading about them, even though we have NO exotic travel planned for anytime soon. For something closer to home, we have gorgeous walking trails in Ashland, Oregon too! (But not like these!)

JTravel said...

Hi Jennifer, I love Ashland, OR. I haven't been there in years but Ashland and the rest of the state have so many wonderful walking paths. I've also done tons of biking in Oregon along the coast. Can't be beat.

JTravel said...

Hi kris, Yes, walking or hiking paths is, for me, one of the best ways to explore not just new lands but also those I decide to revisit.

JTravel said...

Hi Susan, Because I'm a native New Yorker, I always check out a city on foot as much as possible, whether I'm in the U.S. or abroad. I often discover shops or even gardens that are not on the tourist radar.

JTravel said...

Hi Meredith, Glad to hear that your husband might also enjoy this posting.

Nancy Monson said...

I love hiking, too, though I keep it on the mild exertion side (as I do most exercise!). I took a hiking trip in New Mexico that was fantastic. Such different terrain than the East Coast!

Donna Hull said...

Walking (or hiking) is one of the best ways to really get the feel of an area. I try to always include walking/hiking during my travels. Even cruise ships offer hiking excursions. One of my favorites was a hike in Siberia near smoking volcanoes. Of course the desert Southwest in the U.S. is another top choice of mine.

JTravel said...

Hi Donna, Hiking in Siberia sounds like an amazing place to hike. I'll have to add that to my list. I agree that the U.S. Southwest is fab. I've done a lot of treks in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The scenery can be otherwordly.

JTravel said...

Hi Nancy, I'm glad you've enjoying hiking in New Mexico. When I was there the last time, I did some treks in the Sandia Mountains. Those trails are a perfect day trek from Albuquerque.

Melanie Haiken said...

Croatia's high on my list, too, though it didn't make it into my top 12 for 2010. But I've heard it's gorgeous, and am happy to have hiking ideas, since that's my favorite type of trip.

Peggy Bourjaily said...

I live in Manhattan and walk everywhere!! But I would love to walk like you do all over the world.

There was a really interesting profile Ian McEwan, author of Atonement, in the New Yorker last year and apparently he is such a walker that he takes travels the world to find interesting places to walk. Sounds like you are kindred spirits:)

JTravel said...

Hi Melanie, I spent a month in Croatia and took buses everywhere and then biked or hiked or walked. It's a country with a really varied landscape, all gorgeous. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

JTravel said...

HI Peggy, I'm a big walker in Manhattan as well. I never take a cross town but because it's faster to walk. In fact, I walk 3 miles every day, even when the temperatures really drop. Yes, it seems that Mr. McEwan and I may be kindred spirits. I'm not much for road transportation. Instead I prefer walking, bicycling or cross country skiing.

Soultravelers3 said...

Lovely! We love "walking the land" on our open ended family world tour!

You made me smile & brought back wonderful memories of our walking in Cappadocia, the walls of Dubrovnik, Rhodes & Rothenburg, Plitvice Park, Galicia, Andalucia, Costa Brava, Cinque Terra, Dingle, Sweden,Melk, Norway and more!

It truly is a great way to get a feel for a place!

JTravel said...

Hi soultravelers3, So great to hear from you. And thanks for commenting. I always follow your travels and love how you and your family are on such wonderfully authentic journeys.

Pau M said...

I don't usually go out for hikes. But I really like to hike in Arizona, it's so beautiful and the weather is lovely during winter time. It's a family tradition to spend Christmas in Arizona and then drive to the Grand Canyon and hike, I'm not sure what this means for my family but I like it. This year we are renting a big house cause we invited some friends. Will see if vactation rental homes arizona are fun..