TAKE A HIKE

Lace up your best walk­ing shoes for a new set of mega-trails

Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Word Of Mouth -

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

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