Few hiking routes have it all — mountains, sea, forest and beach — but the Lycian Way’s pine-clad forests edge vertiginous cliffs that drop into lapis-blue waters, lapped by bay after bay of white sand. Old Roman roads and mule paths comprise this 335-mile hiking route from ?lüdeniz to Geyikbay?r? in southwestern Turkey. Designed by British amateur historians Kate Clow and Terry Richardson in the 1990s, it’s named after the Lycian League, a 2,500-year-old civilisation that established one of the world’s first parliaments here, at Patara. The twisting trail passes through olive groves and rustic villages, temple-like Lycian tombs hewn into the hillsides, the remains of Pinara’s amphitheatre and azure seas. Days end at guest houses with cold beers and sunset views. cultureroutesinturkey.com ET
Deep inside a great cauldron of eight mountains, in north-eastern Pakistan, the Hunza Valley was cut off from the outside world until the completion of the Karakoram Highway in 1978. Famed for its 32 varieties of apricots, spring is the best time to visit when valley air flutters with blossoms. A three-hour hike from the village of Tato leads travellers to Fairy Meadow National Park — a 10,800ft-high alpine idyll, at the base of Nanga Parbat. The sight of the snow-dusted peaks mirrored perfectly in the clear mountain ponds is mesmerising. Take strolls across the juniper- and pine-scented plateau and keep an eye out for blue-eyed fairies. Local legend has it this area is paradise for these mystical creatures. Whether you’re a believer or not, a visit definitely contributes to Pakistan’s blossoming tourism renaissance. wildfrontierstravel.com ET
Navigating the turquoise waters of Attabad Lake, Karakoram.
Photograph by Getty Images
Guatemala’s Western Highlands are home to a spectacular spine of volcanoes: 37 thrust skywards before the land tapers away to the shimmering Pacific. They loom over the colonnades and chapels of Antigua Guatemala, their peaks snagging passing clouds and encircling market towns home to communities of indigenous Maya. Local adventure outfits have sprung up in recent years, hoping to tempt travellers to explore the peaks with seasoned guides. There’s quick-to climb Chicabal, with its sacred, high-altitude lake; San Pedro, a tough half-day scramble; and Tajumulco, Central America’s loftiest summit at 13,850ft, best tackled in one gruelling day.
To immerse yourself in the elemental nature of the land, pitch a tent on Acatenango — a forested peak pinned between the volcanoes of Agua (‘Water’) and Fuego (‘Fire’) — and watch fiery-red volleys of rocks and ash streak the star-studded night sky. viaventure.com AD
Becoming a citizen scientist adds depth and purpose to a snorkelling adventure. Spend a week on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, with wildlife operator Aqua-Firma, and you can head out to sea on day expeditions with whale shark researchers, marine biologists and camera operators whose job it is to study the world’s biggest fish.The team operates in July, the busiest month for sightings, when aerial surveys count up to 200 whale sharks near the research boat, many surrounded by remora fish. As well as collecting whale shark data, the team is trying to determine if the local giant manta rays are a new species. Most whale shark encounters are in clear water where, by free-diving down, you can marvel at these gentle giants looming overhead, blocking out the light. aqua-firma.com EG
<img src="http://www.italangue.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/20210820172138-611fe4a2b0e69.jpg" width="710" height="1066" alt="Divers swimming with a whale shark, near Cancún, Mexico.
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Divers swimming with a whale shark, near Cancún, Mexico.
Photograph by Getty Images
This was once a place of bandits and outcasts, where cowboys roamed and legends were made. The Great Hungarian Plain is at the heart of the country’s cultural identity: goulash was popularised here, cooked by herders in cauldrons hung over open fires, and the flat grasslands and big skies have inspired countless landscape artists. Route 33 offers a thrilling road trip through the area, with various options for breaks along the way. Stop off at Lake Tisza for a spot of kayaking and a bowl of local fish soup, or head to Hortobágy National Park for impressive birdlife and mesmerising cowboy shows, with csikós (herders) performing breathtaking acts of skill on horseback. hnp.hu/en AP
Off the west coast of Africa lie the Canary Islands, which have a rich history as a seafarers’ stopover. Board a tall ship in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to embark on an Atlantic sailing adventure, learning how to navigate, set the rigging and unfurl sails. The Santa Maria Manuela, a four-masted gaff schooner, spends a week cruising around Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro before heading back to Las Palmas. Keep your eyes peeled: the nutrient-rich waters between the islands are great place to spot cetaceans. Short-finned pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins often leap through the waves, while migratory species such as spotted, striped and rough-toothed dolphins sometimes appear. sailtraininginternational.org EG
An hour-and-a-half drive from Brisbane brings you to the Scenic Rim, an arc of mountains where you’ll find a 5,000-acre private nature reserve offering luxurious, safari-style camping. No private cars are allowed at Spicers Canopy — you’ll be picked up at the gate in a four-wheel-drive — and there are no computers or TVs on site. This is an opportunity to commune with nature, exploring grasslands, eucalyptus forests, creeks and mountain trails. Treks along the Scenic Rim Trail range from two days to a full week, with local guides teaching you bushcraft secrets en route: learn which plants to eat, how to locate honey and the best way to catch yabbies. spicersretreats.com AP
Spicers’ Eco Cabins, set on the edge of the rainforest in Main Range National Park is used exclusively for those hiking the five-day Scenic Rim Trail, Australia.
Photograph by Spicers Timber Getters Eco Camp
Only in Russia can you board a train that’s timetabled to take around a week to reach its final destination. Covering 5,772 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok, the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway is the world’s longest continuous passenger route.While there’s something inherently thrilling about crossing a continent by train, you don’t choose the Trans-Siberian Railway for its speed — it typically trundles along at around 50 mph — or its views, which are mostly of vast, open landscapes and birch forests. This is a cultural adventure, taking in remote towns such as Perm and Irkutsk while sleeping in what amounts to a mobile guesthouse.
The dormitory-like platzkart (third-class) carriages offer the best opportunities to mingle, perhaps by sharing meals of homemade black bread, cured meat, smoked fish and blueberry waffles bought from vendors on the platforms. trains.realrussia.co.uk/transsib EG
Since its launch in 2012, the route of the Central Asia Rally has changed many times, but now offers an approximate Silk Road adventure in reverse. The 4,000-mile car rally kicks off in Astrakhan, Russia, with participants taking two weeks to travel east through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan before finishing in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Second-hand cars are typically used, and for many it’s a one-way journey, with old bangers sold off at markets in Kyrgyzstan. For those unsure of what to drive, the Travel Scientists, who pioneered the race, can make arrangements in Astrakhan. centralasiarally.com JL