TAKE A HIKE
Lace up your best walking shoes for a new set of mega-trails
A walk en plein air is a pleasant diversion on holiday, but what if the walk was the holiday – and a weeks’long one at that? New mega-trails stretching hundreds of kilometres invite the actively inclined to strap on a knapsack and embark on an intensive hike. This April will see the opening of the Julian Alps Hiking Trail ( bohinj.si), a 400km circular path in Slovenia that starts and ends in Rateče, leading walkers past mountain peaks and through diverse landscapes while introducing them to local stories, crafts and cuisine. Once open, the trail will be well marked and complemented by a digital guide – plan for around two
to three weeks of solid trekking.
Two of the longest of these new trails are now fully open. Best visited from February to April, the Jordan Trail ( jordantrail.org) runs 650km from Al Qais in the north to Aqaba in the south. If you choose to tackle the entire route in one go (there are also options for day or multi-day “thru hikes” at some points), set aside 36 to 40 days over which you’ll pass through eight regions and see fertile valleys, medieval castles, Bedouin camps and historic Petra. Even more exhaustive – literally and figuratively – is the 1,260km-long Via Dinarica ( viadinarica.com), taking explorers through the Balkans, including (on the white route) Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. Expect glacial lakes, fragrant wildflowers and herbs, and primeval forests. Still in the process of fully opening in the area are the parallel green route (further inland, connecting villages) and blue route (along the coast). This is ideal for that three-month
sabbatical you’ve been looking to fill.
Clockwise from this picture: Views above the clouds on the Julian Alps Hiking Trail; swap trails for a river along Via Dinarica; charming scenes and towns in the Julian Alps; pristine forests and snow-capped peaks in Slovenia; visit Kranjska Gorawhile in the Julian Alps