Exceptional journeys for 2017

20/12/2016 11:42

Written by Bradt Travel Guides

Everyone knows that travel isn’t just about the destination – it’s about the journey, too. We’ve put together a list of exceptional journeys to take in 2017, from a road trip through epic Patagonian wilderness to a little-known European hiking route. And, of course, each is recommended personally by an expert who has travelled the route from start to finish. 

Alpe-Adria Trail

Nockberge Mountains Alpe Adria Trail Hiking through Nockberge National Park © Franz Gerdl, Kaernten Werbung 

The Alpe-Adria Trail is an epic trans-border hiking route stretching 750km through the diverse and often spectacularly beautiful landscapes of Austria’s Carinthia province, Slovenia and northern Italy. From the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps to the sun-drenched shores of the Adriatic, with sublime scenery, fascinating history and fabulous food, the Alpe-Adria Trail is a great long-distance hiking trail – and since it’s still a relatively new route, there are still comparatively few people walking it, meaning you’ll still have many of the views to yourself! Rudolf Abraham

The Carretera Austral, Chile

Cerro Castillo Carretera Austral Chile by Hugh Sinclair© Eduardo Findi, Wikimedia Commons

'How come no one told me about this region sooner?' That was my overriding question following my first visit to the Carretera Austral. Despite travelling extensively, and living in Patagonia, I am yet to discover a single road traversing such a wide variety of spectacular vistas. To the west of the 1270km road lie fjords, sub-tropical rainforest, and the largest ice fields on the planet outside Antarctica and Greenland; to the east the Andes loom, with fierce rivers irrigating the narrow strip of inhabitable land between two natural barriers. The road is also a gateway to countless adventure activities, from multi-day treks and serene scuba dives to some of the finest fishing and rafting found anywhere. Despite this almost ludicrous array of spectacular scenery and activities to explore, almost no-one inhabits or visits this region – it is entirely possible to spend days without human contact, making it an ideal destination to recharge ones batteries and appreciate the joys of nature, uninterrupted. The more pertinent question as one potters along the Carretera is, perhaps, 'Why leave?'. Hugh Sinclair

The Camino de Santiago

Santiago de Compostela Basque Country Spain by Natursports DreamstimeThe Santiago de Compostela – the end point of the pilgrimage © Natursports, Dreamstime

Whether your motivation is religious, spiritual or just downright fun, trekking the Camino de Santiago through Spain will leave you with a lifetime of memories and a massive sense of achievement. Overnighting in posh hotels or Spartan dormitories each provides very different experiences as you rest your weary limbs after a hard day of being a pilgrim. Cross the heights of the Pyrenees and the rolling terrain of the meseta to marvel at towering cathedrals before reaching Santiago de Compostela itself.  And after a few weeks of walking, you’ll be returning home fighting fit, full of anecdotes and with a host of new friends! Murray Stewart

Britain’s bus routes

Purbeck Breezer Bournemouth Swanage UK by Angela SimpkinsThe Purbeck Breezer is undoubtedly one of Britain's best bus routes © Angela Simpkins 

Hop on a bus! Britain is networked with bus routes accessing beautiful parts of the country. Some cross national parks, others pass through isolated villages; some run several times a day, others only once a week (or even once a summer!). All can be taken for the sheer pleasure of the journey rather than with the intention of reaching a destination. And you don’t need to be a bus-pass holder; pay your way and help keep local buses on the road. Hilary Bradt

The Via Dinarica

Via Dinarica by Adnan Bubalo© Adnan Bubalo

The Via Dinarica is more than just a hiking trail – it is a journey to forgotten times where the customs of old-world Europe thrive. Encompassing seven countries across the Balkans, it is a rustic and raw symbiosis of the cultural and natural heritage of the Dinaric Alps, where traditional architecture, lifestyle and gastronomy are matched by some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the continent. Split in to three trails that wind through 1930km of pristine wilderness, it remains untouched by mass tourism – go now, while this is the case! Tim Clancy

Britain's newest rail route

Oxford Oxfordshire UK by aslysun, ShutterstockOxford – the city of dreaming spires © aslysun, Shutterstock

For British railways, 2017 is all about the new direct route from London to Oxford, the first new link to an English city this century. The really clever thing is the line already existed, going to Banbury, but some bright spark noticed that it crossed the little-used remains of the Oxford–Cambridge line at Bicester. They built a new curve and bingo! – this fabulous route was born. Starting at London's friendliest terminus, Marylebone, it winds through the gorgeous Chilterns, lovely in any season, with charming towns and villages a-plenty. For commuters and rail-lowers alike, it is an exceptional route, and you can read more about it here. Ben Le Vay


Inspired to take the journey of a lifetime this year? Get 10% off all our titles, all the time:

 Basque Country - Exceptional Places Britain from the Rails the BRadt Guide Bus-Pass Britain the Bradt Guide  

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