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10 Extraordinary Destinations to Visit in Europe

10 Extraordinary Destinations to Visit in Europe

 
Europe can be an unbelievable place at times, and you have to pinch yourself to be reminded that some destinations are in fact real. In this article we present ten of the most unusual places to explore in Europe, all of which can be seen on our affordable walking and cycling holidays. So prepare to be gobsmacked with these amazing sights that you definitely need to add to your bucket list.
 

1. Sassi di Matera

Viewpoint of Matera and the Sassi cave dwellings |  <i>Ross Baker</i>
 
In Southern Italy, the Sassi di Matera are ancient cave dwellings that have been carved into a mountainside. Absolutely mesmerising!
 
 
 

2. Painted Monasteries of Romania

A visit to Voronet Monastery in southern Bukovina is a cultural highlight
 
In northeastern Romania, you'll find the splendid Painted Monasteries of Bucovina. These frescoes were painted in the 15th and 16th centuries and depict vibrant Biblical scenes.
 
 

3. The Volcanoes of Stromboli

Boat to the Sicilian Island of Stromboli |  <i>Mike Gebicki</i> Eruptions on Stromboli, Sicily |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Guide showing Aeolian Islands, Sicily
 
The island of Stromboli has an active volcanic cone that dominates the horizon. Dramatic cliffs and winding coastline, black beaches and thermal hot springs, a deep blue sea and charming port towns are all characteristic of the Aeolian Archipelago, an enchanting group of islands.
 
 

4. Meteora

The monastery of Varlaam, Meteora |  <i>Hetty Schuppert</i>
 
Viewing the spectacular monasteries of Meteora, perched high on precipitous rock formations in central Greece, has to be one of the great travel experiences in Europe. The monasteries appear to be suspended in the air due to hermit monks choosing to build on such a remote site atop of ancient rock pinnacles that have weathered away over time.
 
 

5. Iceland

Discover the truly unique landscapes of Iceland on a walking holiday Looking out over ice floes in Iceland Dramatic waterfalls are a feature of Iceland's Golden Circle
Truly one of the world's most enchanting destinations, Iceland has terrific natural landscapes that seem to be straight out of a fantasy novel. Join a hiking trip to this magical nation and behold waterfalls, hot springs, mountains of lava, and more.
 
 

6. Saint Basil's Cathedral

Visiting Moscow's iconic Saint Basil's Cathedral is a must |  <i>Phillip Williams</i>
 
The iconic emblem of Russia, Saint Basil's Cathedral is just one of the many curious sights you'll uncover on a trip to Russia. Our Moscow and Beyond cycling trip does just that.
 
 

7. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lake National Park
 
The emerald terraced ponds within Plitvice National Park in Croatia truly needs to be seen to be believed. This natural wonder can be explored on a full day of enjoyable hiking on one of our many trips in Croatia.
 

8. French Way of St James

This is (arguably) one of the most beautiful Camino trails to walk. The French Way of St James traipses through pretty villages in the heart of France, including Conques, Le Puy, and Aumont. Watch our video - it's a feast for your eyes.
 
 

9. Cappadocia

A small town in the rocks of Cappadocia |  <i>Erin Williams</i>
 
Cappadocia, in Turkey, is an extraordinary place to visit. Whatever emotion you're trying to evoke: romance, adventure, discovery, wonder - you'll find it in Cappadocia. A balloon flight over the otherworldly landscape is a must for all travellers.
 
 

10. Northern Lights

Northern lights with Snowmobiles |  <i>Ross Baker</i>
Be mesmerised by the elusive Northern Lights in Sweden or Iceland. This is such a surreal sight and deservedly sits on many people's travel lists.
 
 

 
Do you have any extraordinary or unusual European sights to add to our list? Share your insights in the comment section below.
 
 
 
 
Spring Holidays in Europe & the UK

Navigate your way into spring 

With the days slowly becoming longer, it’s time to ponder your spring holiday. We can’t wait for you to head out and enjoy a spring holiday in Europe or the UK again. 

With the vaccine roll out going great guns, we hope the travel season will be back sooner rather than later. Whether you’ll travel in your own backyard or explore a little further away, with 400+ active UK & European breaks to choose from, we’re confident you’ll find something to your liking. To help you navigate your way into spring, find here 7 of the best places to go in spring. The list is a mix of destinations throughout the UK & Europe - for all of our active travellers right across the UK and Europe, wherever you may be.

Austrian Lakes

From 22 April, you can explore again the UNESCO World Heritage listed Salzkammergut alpine region of Austria. Encompassing 76 crystal clear lakes, the Dachstein Glacier, lush summer meadows, picturesque Hallstatt, and impressive rock faces up to 3000 vertical metres high, this is a magnificent region for hikers. Even though spring is a fantastic time to go, in alpine regions the weather can change severely and without warning, so it is always a good idea to be prepared with different layers and carry waterproof gear. 

Duisitzkar Lake in the Dachstein Alps

> Find a spring departure to the Austrian Lakes

Provence 

Postcard-perfect scenes abound in Provence: sloping vineyards and sunny olive groves, ruined Roman cities, medieval castles and busy market towns, the foothills of the Alpilles, hilltop villages of the Luberon, and glitzy beaches of the French Riviera. So, whether you’re a cyclist or walker, travel to Provence from 1 April for your active break away this spring. The region offers one of the best spring holiday opportunities in Europe as this is one of the most ideal times of the year to visit Provence. You’ll enjoy sunny days, cherry blossoms, deep red poppies and from June the purple lavender fields. Moreover, temperatures are between 20-30°C (68-86°F), so fantastic conditions for an active holiday.  

Descending  through blossom from Saignon

> Find a spring departure to Provence 

Amalfi Coast 

The spectacular Amalfi Coast in Italy brings you sheltered coves, glamorous resort towns and charming medieval villages, all hemmed by impossibly rugged cliffs and steep hills swathed in olives, citrus and grapevines. Narrow walking trails crisscross the hills above some of the world’s most romantic, postcard-perfect coastal scenery. With Pompeii, Rome and the forgotten Cilento Coast all nearby, you are spoilt with options for a truly Italian spring break away. March to June are some of the best months for a walking holiday along the Amalfi Coast. Plan your visit when flowers start to bloom and before the temperatures start to rise, and avoid the crowds that normally draw in during summer. 

Hiking along the Sentiero degli Dei |  <i>John Millen</i>

> Find a spring departure to Amalfi Coast

Transylvania 

Travel to the Transylvania region in Romania this spring, to find flower-filled meadows, the mating sounds of lynx and perhaps here and there a trace of snow. Temperatures from April are rising, making them excellent for activities such as walking & cycling. It is therefore that you can depart for a Transylvania spring break from 19 April onward. 

hiking group in the Bucegi Mountains foothills enroute to Bran |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

> Find a spring departure to Transylvania

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast 

Because of the popularity of this trail, people often fall into the trap of thinking that it is easy. However, our trips on the Coast to Coast trail are amongst our most challenging but rewarding tours in Europe. Travel in spring to kick off your year in active holidays and enjoy the wildlife coming back to life while feeling the first rays of sun on your skin. Experience the diversity of England by choosing a guided or self guided walking or cycling trip on the Coast to Coast trail this spring. Departures start from as early as mid-March each year.

Coast to Coast walkers in Swaledale near Muker

> Find a spring departure following the Coast to Coast 

Mont Blanc 

The first Mont Blanc trips depart early June and the fact that you may encounter snow on the passes brings a nice contrast to the spring flowers that can be seen popping up lower in the valleys. Whether you prefer a guided trip or travel in your own company on a self guided itinerary, with UTracks you have a wide choice of Mont Blanc departures in spring

Refuge on the Tour de Mont Blanc trail |  <i>Dana Garofani</i>

> Find a spring departure to Mont Blanc

Cumbria 

Cumbria combines some of England’s most scenic viewpoints, quintessential English villages, lakes, pastures and fells along moderate, low-level terrain. The shoulder months deliver pleasant conditions for walking in the Lake District with the added advantages of fewer crowds and an abundance of spring flowers. So, if you choose to trek among the stunning bluebell woods, a Cumbria hiking adventure does not come better than this! 

Bluebells and the pikes, Great Langdale |  <i>John Millen</i>

> Find a spring departure to Cumbria

Have you thought of where to go in spring? Will it be the UK or somewhere in Europe? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

Self Guided Camino Tours 2022

Self Guided Camino Tours 2022

Start planning your Camino de Santiago pilgrimage for 2022

 
We're looking ahead to 2022, which will be a great year to walk the Camino de Santiago. With the news that Pope Francis has extended the Jacobean Holy Year to 2022, there's now more opportunity to take part in a pilgrimage during the Holy Year and to celebrate the festivities on the way of St James. (Not sure what the Jacobean Holy Year is? Read our Definitive Guide to walking the Camino during the Jacobean Holy Year.)
 
We have also implemented stringent Covid-19 Health Guidelines on all our trips. Our style of travel already naturally adheres to social distancing guidelines, with most Camino trails in Europe's countryside and, being self guided, you have control over your social distancing. Plus, all our accommodation along the Camino is in comfortable private rooms of guesthouses, so you don't have to share bedroom facilities.
 
In anticipation of 2022, we've made our self guided Camino tours available to book so you can start planning your 2022 Camino de Santiago pilgrimage now.
 

Self Guided Camino Destinations for 2022

Autumn leaves along the Camino trail as we hike towards Roncesvalles |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i> Hiker relaxing before we get back on the Camino Trail |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i> Walking through Spain along the iconic Camino Trail |  <i>Scott Kirchner</i>

Camino de Santiago (Spain)

The classic pilgrimage trail, one of Europe's most famous walking paths. The Camino de Santiago includes various routes, such as the Camino Frances, Camino Primitivo, Camino Ingles (English Way) and the Camino del Norte.
 
 
Arriving in Santiago de Compostela on the final day |  <i>Sue Finn</i>
 

Camino Portuguese (Portugal)

This stunning Camino route takes you through Portugal before coming into Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Choose between the Portuguese Coastal Way or the in-land Portuguese Way.
 
 
Walking the vibrant Camino Trail |  <i>Rob Mills</i>
 

French Way of St James (France)

Arguably the most beautiful of all the Camino routes, the French Way of St James blends the superb cuisine and landscape of France with the joy of walking the Camino.
 
 
Exploring the streets of Conques |  <i>Rob Mills</i>
 

Cycling the Camino de Santiago

UTracks offers a multitude of cycling options along the Camino de Santiago, the French Way of St James as well as the Portuguese Road, or Camino Portuguese. 
 
 
Self guided cyclist making her way on the Portuguese Camino tour from Porto to Santiago de Compostela |  <i>Pat Rochon</i>
 

Via Francigena (Italy)

One of the world’s most rewarding walking trails, the historic Via Francigena is an ancient road and pilgrim’s route stretching more than a thousand kilometres through France, Switzerland and Italy, finishing up in the Eternal City of Rome.
 
 
Pilgrims making their way towards Rome on the Via Francigena
 

St Francis Way (Italy)

The St Francis Way is an Italian Camino route inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi. It links Florence to Rome and is perfect for those looking to absorb Tuscany and Umbria, otherwise known as the Green Heart of Italy.
 
 
Pilgrim walking into St Peters in Rome at the end of the Via Francigena |  <i>Tim Charody</i>
 
 

 

More Camino Information

 
Which Camino trail is on the top of your must-do list for 2022? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
 
Europe, I Can't Stop Loving You

Fall in love with Europe, all over again.

We can’t deny that Europe is a romantic destination for couples in love and that Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to surprise your loved one with a romantic future getaway to Europe. However, not all of us celebrate Valentine's Day (and, indeed, a quick survey of our UTracks team revealed polarising views on what the day means to them). 
We also think we would be selling ourselves short by not pointing out that our active cycling, walking and boat-based European itineraries are suitable for so many types of travellers – whether it’s two or three like-minded friends walking the Camino together, a family with kids on a cycling holiday, a regular bushwalking group who are keen to take on Mont Blanc, or a self-guided walk for the solo traveller. 
So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we are showcasing the best itineraries and activities for those who just want to fall in love with Europe, all over again.

Let Iceland take your breath away

Let the magic of Lake Bled work its charm on you It will be "love at first sight" when you first set eyes on the remote, breath-taking landscapes along Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail. Considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful treks, the Laugavegur offers something different every day – volcanic mountains, steaming hot springs, pristine glaciers, black deserts, great canyons and lush green valleys. Best of all, on our five-day guided Laugavegur Trail Walk you will be spending each night in rustic but cosy mountain huts. This itinerary is the perfect walk for those short on time, but want to see the best of Iceland - and great for solo travellers too. 
>> view Laugavegur Trail Guided Walk

Discover the magic of Mont Blanc

Enjoy the fresh alpine air around Mont Blanc The spectacular vistas of Mont Blanc will have you “up where you belong” on our seven day guided walk through Switzerland, France and Italy. Brimming with incredible landscapes from high mountain passes to lush valleys and highway-sized glaciers, alpine scenery does not get much better than this. Joining an international group led by a bilingual mountain guide, the emphasis is on full immersion into the sublime mountain culture, with overnight stays in mountain refuges or charming village gîtes on a mixed dormitory-share or double-room (supplement applies) basis.
>> view Mont Blanc Guided Walk

Be swept away by Ardèche

Enjoying the breathtaking views above St Martin de Valamas in the Ardeche You will want to “stay just a little bit longer” after your time walking in the Ardèche, one of the most remote, beautiful and scenically-blessed regions in France. Surrounded by ancient volcanoes, the region offers exceptional natural sights including volcanic domes, deep gorges, vast valleys and an abundance of flora and fauna. Based in a specially-designed hiker’s hotel, our Walking in the Ardèche guided itinerary offers a fine balance of activity and indulgence. After each day’s walk you can explore the village to buy local cheese and honey, relax on the terrace with a glass of wine, play bowls on the hotel green, swim in the pool or take a sauna. Perfect for lovers of classic French countryside and the camaraderie of other travellers. 

>> view Walking in the Ardèche

Cycle to your heart's content in the Loire

There's plenty to love about cycling through the Loire Valley “Nothing compares to you…" tracks when it comes to a cycling holiday through the famous Loire Valley. Enjoy the charms of the quiet French countryside as you cycle each day stopping to explore quaint villages, world famous vineyards and magnificent chateaux on our self guided Loire Valley cycling itineraries. Enjoy the highlights and hidden gems of this spectacular region. Join us as we discover the historic heart of France! And we even offer electric bikes for those who are not as bike-fit as they would like to be. 
Jacobean Holy Year 2021 Extended to 2022

Jacobean Holy Year 2021 Extended to 2022

The Pope declares walking the Camino de Santiago in 2022 is officially a Holy Year


It's great news for pilgrims seeking to walk the Camino de Santiago during the Jacobean Holy Year: the Pope has announced the Jacobean Holy Year 2021 will be extended to include 2022. In a statement from the Confraternity of St James:
 
Pope Francis has now responded to Santiago Cathedral's call for an extension of the Holy Year to 2022.  An emissary from Rome delivered the good news shortly before the opening ceremonies began in the last days of 2020.  This will be the second such occurrence in 9 centuries of Jacobean Holy Years, the first being in 1937-8 due to the ramifications of the Spanish Civil War.
  

It is hoped that this decision will allow for a greater recovery period and celebration following the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 
It's now possible to book your self guided Camino pilgrimage for 2021 and 2022 with UTracks. Be sure to take a look at our comprehensive list of Camino de Santiago walking and cycling tours
 
Even better, our Worry Free Booking Guarantee ensures you will have full peace of mind when making your reservation. With this policy, you can enjoy flexible booking conditions so if your trip doesn't work out, we'll make sure you don't lose out.
 
>> Learn more about the Jacobean Holy Year in our Definitive Guide to the Camino during Jacobean Holy Year 2021 (and 2022!).

 

Is walking the Camino de Santiago during the Jacobean Holy Year on your bucket list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

  

10 Best Instagram Accounts To Follow For Europe Inspiration

10 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow For European Inspiration

Treat your eyes to a visual feast with these Instagram accounts

 
Fill your Instagram feed with some of the best photographers in Europe. Here are 10 of our favourite Instagram accounts to follow for stunning photos of travel destinations in Europe. Even if you're not on Instagram, these photos are worth a look.
 

1. Mark & Mim | @thecommonwanderer

 
Mark and Mim are two Aussies living their best life in Budapest. They definitely have an eye for photography and posing!
 
 

2. Becky the Traveller | @beckythetraveller

 
Becky specialises in hiking pictures of the United Kingdom. She has walked in all 15 of the UK's national parks - impressive achievement! See below for an amazing waterfall in the Peak District.
 
 

3. Behind Handle Bars | @behindhandlebars

 
Oliver is a Danish bike rider who really puts you in the cyclists' seat as he explores Europe 'behind handlebars'! If only we could actually have that perspective...
 
 
 

4. Andy Scott | @my.hiking.adventures

 
Andy is another British hiker who loves to get outside, no matter if it's snowing. How pretty is this sunset photo of Caer Caradoc in England.
 
 
 

5. UTracks | @utrackstravel

 
Of course we have to do a bit of self-promotion. But with our great photos and videos, why wouldn't you want to follow us?
 
 

6. I Have This Thing With Bikes | @ihavethisthingwithbikes

 
This is less of a 'using a bike as an activity' account, more of a 'using a bike to take pretty picures' account. And we're fine with that. 
 
No prizes for guessing which country this photo was taken in...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @ihavethisthingwithbikes

 
 

7. Tanya - Hiking in Switzerland | @swissfamilyfun

 
It doesn't get more picturesque than Switzerland, so be sure to add some beautify your Instagram feed with these incredible Swiss hiking photos. Particularly if you like shots of a winter wonderland!
 
 

8. Mel's Food & Travel Log | @girleatfood

 
Warning: don't look at this account on an empty stomach, as you'll be craving some of Europe and the world's most tantalising cuisine.
 
 

9 Camino de Santiago | @caminodesantiagopage

 
Jess' inspiring page will make all pilgrims reflect on their trek to the Cathedral of Santiago in Spain. Use her hashtag to get your own Camino photos featured!
 
 

10. Croatia Full of Life | @croatiafulloflife

 
We're enamoured with Croatia's official Instagram account because it highlights just how diverse this beautiful country is. From glittering beaches to castle-strewn hills, majestic waterfalls and snowy landscapes, this Instagram page showcases it all.
 
 
 

Don't forget to check out our sister accounts for more great inspiration around the world:

 

> World Expeditions | @WorldExpeditions

 
 
 

> Great Walks of New Zealand | @GreatWalksofNZ

 
 

> Australian Cycle Tours | @AustralianCycleTours

 
 

> Tasmanian Expeditions | @TasmanianExpeditions

 

> Great Canadian Trails | @GreatCanadianTrails

> Blue Mountains Adventure Company | @BlueMountainsAdventureCompany

 
If you have a great collection of travel photos on Instagram, we'd love to see them. Share your Instagram name in the comment section below!
 
  
Watch: Laugavegur Trail Guided Walk in Iceland

Watch: Laugavegur Trail Guided Walk

See what it's like to walk Iceland's iconic hike on a fully supported group tour

 
If you are planning to do one walk in Iceland and you are short on time, this is the logical choice. The best known of all treks in Iceland, the Laugavegur Trail​ offers all the colours of the rainbow over the course of this 5 day hike​. Let Gunilla show you what the Laugavegur Trail is like on a small group tour with with a professional local guide.
 

Laugavegur Trail Video

 
 

About the Laugavegur Trail


Beginning in the geothermal valley of Landmannalaugar in the southern highlands, the route heads south past small gorges to the Thórsmörk valley. Arriving at the foot of Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which last erupted in 2010 and whose crater is completely covered by an ice cap, marks one of the many highlights of the trip. 
 
Hike the Laugavegur Trail in the company of a small group and experienced guide Experience the natural beauty of the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland on a walking holiday Traverse deep gorges and breathtaking valleys on the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland

The Laugavegur​ Trail​ then crosses the third biggest geothermal zone in the world, where steaming hot springs are dotted through the landscape, over the yellow rhyolite mountains, through black deserts, past great canyons and into the green valley of Thórsmörk. 

It is no coincidence that the Laugavegur walk​ each year attracts travellers from around the world, in addition to being a great favourite amongst locals. Throughout this guided tour​ you will stay in mountain huts and marvel at the changing landscapes with your fellow walkers and guide​.
 

> Want to walk the Laugavegur Trail on a guided group tour? Check out the trip page here.
 

Have you experienced the Laugavegur Trail? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
7 of Scotland's Best Walking & Cycling Holidays

7 of Scotland's Best Walking & Cycling Holidays

Active trips, from the Great Glen Way to the Scottish Highlands

 
The Scot's are a lovely bunch, renowned for their humour, hospitality and strong accents. They also enjoy lengthy conversations and pleasant banter, so much so that this Scottish phrase 'wur tearin’ the tartan' means To be engrossed in riveting conversation. In other words, ‘having a right old blether’.

This is not surprising given there's much to talk about, as exhibited by the beautiful landscapes they inhabit. So whether you're following the Great Glen Way by boat and bike, tackling the Scottish version of the 'Coast to Coast', or taking in the majesty of the great outdoors - from the Inner Hebrides to Scotland's 'Big County' - after your journey you'll find yourself with many a tall tale to share with your friends back home.
 
Read on to discover seven of the best walking and cycling holidays in Scotland.
  

1. Follow the Great Glen Way by boat

Walking to Achnacarry from Gairlochy
 
From Fort William to Inverness, the Great Glen Way ranks among the most exhilarating long distance trails in the UK. Based on board a comfortable barge, on this trip you will walk from one coast of Scotland to the other over a week. The barge stops are planned to suit the walking stages, breaking the 75-mile trail into manageable day walks, ranging between 10 and 15 miles (16-25km).
 

2. Explore the old military roads of the West Highland Way

 
Group by Loch Lomond and The Highland Fault, Scotland
 
From the south of Loch Lomond to Fort William and Ben Nevis, this famous footpath connects Britain’s largest lake with its highest mountain. The route is a step back into history: many stages follow military roads that date back to the 1700s and used to link the Highlands to the Lowlands, as well as hotels that originated from droving inns that operated for centuries.

> View the West Highland Way trip.
 

3. Relive the legend of notorious Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor

Sample a dram or two at the Edradour Distillery
 
Scottish Rob Roy MacGregor was a notorious outlaw and a folk hero, after escaping capture several times. The 80-mile Rob Roy Way goes through classic Highland scenery and areas that were his old haunts. It begins Drymen, whose Clachan Inn is the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland and would have been known by Rob Roy as it was run by his sister!

> View the Rob Roy Way trip.
 

4. Go island hopping in the Inner Hebrides


Scotland’s Inner Hebrides are known for their wild spectacular landscapes, still largely untouched by mass tourism. Following the Caledonian Canal, explore the Isle of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula, before making your way to the Isle of Jura, known for its red deer and whiskey distillery. Look out for dolphins and seals from the boat – and eagles and otters from your bike!
 
> View the Scotland by bike and boat trip 
 

5. Spot native wildlife as you cycle through the heart of the Scottish Highlands 

Inverness Cathedral St Andrews, across the River Ness
 
A weeklong trip that will see you cycling along scenic paths and quiet forest trails where you can spot native wildlife such as red deer, stag or golden eagle. At Fort William a day is set aside to rest – or ascend Ben Nevis! – followed by a train journey that takes you across desolate Rannoch Moor to Loch Rannoch. The trip concludes at the riverside city of Perth.

> View the Scottish Highlands Cycle trip. 
 

6. Tackle the Scottish version of the ‘Coast to Coast’

Walking near Belhaven |  <i>John Millen</i>
 
Known for encouraging the creation of the Yosemite National Park, John Muir was born in Dunbar and as a child developed a deep love of the natural world around him. Forming a Scottish coast-to-coast route, the John Muir Way links Dunbar, on the southeast coast, with Scotland’s first national park (Loch Lomond & the Trossachs) and the seaside town of Helensburgh in the west. 

> View the John Muir Way trip.
 

7. Discover the diversity of Scotland’s ‘Big County’

Taking a break at Castle Menzies |  <i>Scottish Highlands Cycle</i>
 
Enjoy majestic mountain peaks, shimmering lochs and pretty glens… Take Scotland’s backroads and country paths, explore peaceful villages and rural towns, take a forest walk and visit one of the many castles and ancient monuments found along the way. The trip focuses on Perthshire, known as Scotland’s ‘Big County’ because of the wide variety of landscapes that can be found here.
 
 

 
Have you explored Scotland? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.
 
  
New Camino TV Show: 3 Caminos

New Camino TV Show: 3 Caminos

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

 
There's a new 8 part television series that revolves around the lives of pilgrims walking the Camino in Spain. Called 3 Caminos, this TV show is filmed in a mix of languages (prepare to read subtitles!) and is available on Amazon Prime. Read the show's description and watch the trailer below. Or click here to start watching 3 Caminos (note that it is not yet available in some regions).
 
3 Caminos (2021) - Amazon Prime Video | Flixable
 

3 Caminos

2000, 2006 and 2021. Three trips, three stages of five lives. Jana, Luca, Roberto, Yoon Soo and Raquel are in their mid-20s / early 30s on their first two "Caminos", and past 40 on their third. So much will happen until then: Jana's anti-establishment rage will have calmed somewhat, revealing unexpected compassion in the German woman. Luca, the Italian, will hit rock bottom and resurrect himself with a little help from his friends. Roberto, the Mexican, will learn to forgive himself by accepting that another's death was not his fault. And while their passion for music makes Korean Yoon Soo and Spaniard Raquel the perfect couple, they must learn the hard way that they have mistaken friendship for love before they can once again find peace of mind. All of them experience friendship and loss, jealousy and love, courage and despair, forgiveness, bliss and finding their own personal purpose in life.

 
 
Another option is to consult our excellent library of videos. Or you  can watch the entire Camino de Santiago, every step of the way, in this YouTube series.
 
If you've been inspired to walk the Camino de Santiago yourself, don't forget to check out our comprehensive walking and cycling tours. We also have a plethora of Camino stories, advice and inspiration on the Camino section on our blog
 

 
Have you watched 3 Caminos yet? What is your review of it? Let us know in the comment section below!
 
  
Transylvania Holidays: Vera’s Travel Review

Transylvania Holidays: Vera’s Travel Review

 

Vera Aurbach is a 29-year-old passionate traveller who was born in Germany and currently lives in southern France. For more than 10 years now she has been travelling regularly especially countries and continents far away from home. With this latest trip she did with UTracks, Vera was able to have two ‘firsts’ experiences in one holiday: hiking and discovering Romania – a country she, until recently, only connected with Dracula and Bran Castle. Read on for a travel review of Vera’s Transylvania holiday – hiking the hills of Romania.

 

The scenery when hiking in Romania's Transylvania region - UTracks travel
 

How did you prepare for this Transylvania holiday?

I have to admit that I did not follow a strict program but I did go for longer walks, weekly running and swimming. In my opinion, it was sufficient. However, going uphill was something I had to get used to again. In some parts, the path was particularly steep (going downhill). Maybe this is something that I could have practised more before going on the trip.
 

What was the weather in Romania?

The weather was perfect - sunshine together with clear blue skies! What more can you ask for? In the evenings/nights it got a bit chilly but by we were ready to relax by then anyway.
 
I remember the wide and calm green forests and meadows, as well as the very friendly and helpful inhabitants of Romania.
 
One of the pensions on a UTracks Transylvania hiking holiday
 
Hiking towards Bran Castle in Romania - UTracks walking holidays
 

What is special about hiking in Romania?

What I enjoyed most was the fact that the trails were not too touristy.  Our route notes clearly marked which direction we had to take. And this was very useful. Not many other hikers frequented those paths which added to the flair and allowed ourselves to fully relax.
 

Is it easy to communicate with the local people?

It helps to know French but even without there were not many difficulties, in the end people can always rely on the good old sign language which makes for a lot of laughs!
 

Are there enough places on the route to have a drink or a snack?

Not all places we stayed at had a bar or similar available. But around Bran Castle there were many offerings - great local beer, bakeries and snacks! I have a feeling that many people will also enjoy the comparatively cheap prices. It is hard to describe the atmosphere you experience there, which is a great reason for everyone to find out for themselves.
 

Was it easy to navigate?

We were equipped with a map of the whole region and our hiking route was marked out well. Additionally, we were given a booklet with very a detailed description including minutes and meters. We only got slightly lost on one of the trekking days – perhaps we were distracted by the beautiful scenery? However, we met a friendly local by chance who helped us getting back on the right track. A little adventure is part of the game I would say!
 

What was the accommodation like?

The accommodation was spacious and warm. In all places people were friendly and we were served great, locally grown, home cooked food! Some rooms were basic but all of our needs were catered for.
 

What 3 items should others definitely pack for this holiday in Transylvania?

I recommend bringing blister plasters, hand sanitizer and a good book. First item in case you are not used to going for long hikes, the second one in case you do not find a toilet, and the third item to make a deserved quiet evening even more comfortable.
 

Did you encounter many other walkers in this part of Romania?

Not at all. The first day we had a little dog following us for half an hour which was really cute. After this, we in total saw a shepherd with his herd and around five other hikers. Around Bran Castle, of course, there were many other tourists, waiting to see everything about Dracula’s Bran Castle!
  Picturesque churches along the trail in Romania - UTracks travel
 
Looking out over the Piatra Craiului Mountains on a Transylvania holidays - UTracks
 

To what other region in the world can you compare the landscape?

We encountered a lot of rolling green hills and huge, thick forests. It reminded me a lot like south-east Bavaria in Germany. The Romanian cities, however, have their own charm, something I had not seen elsewhere in the world until then.
 

What was the food like?

The food was delicious! In the evenings, we were always served three courses and there was plenty of food. Our meals always including vegetables or/and salads. In the mornings, there was either bread with meat, cheese or jam, omelette or fruit. If you have any dietary requirements the hosts will do their best to cater for you. Each morning, we were also provided with all the necessary foods in order to prepare for our own picnic lunch.
 

What extra costs did you make on this trip?

There was an additional cost for a taxi/bus between the airport and the train station and this cost us less than €15. Other additional costs were also very low due to the good exchange rate between the Euro and the Romanian leu. I think I spent around €50, which included my souvenir shopping.
Is Romania on your list of travel destinations? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
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