Sometimes it’s about the journey as much as it’s about the destination. This could not be more true for the best Untravelled Paths journeys that we’ve listed below. When travelling from one location to another within a trip provides the best way to either soak up the culture, enjoy the great outdoors or see incredible scenery – often on our trips it’s all three! So if you truly like to explore the more remote areas then have a look at these mini journeys within our experiences. Which one would you most like to do?
1. Shkoder to Vusanje
The tranquil setting of Valbona midway through your journey from Albania to Montenegro.
Experiences: The Mini Albanian Experience, The Albanian Experience
For: Great Outdoors, Local Flavour
After about a 2 hour morning transfer to the Koman Ferry departure point, this is where the real journey starts. You’ll board the ferry before embarking on a truly stunning 3-4 hour journey through deep mountain gorges comparable with the Norwegian fjords and described by Brandt Travel guide “one of the world’s great boat trips”. You’ll then disembark in Fierze before being transferred to the beautiful village of Valbona where you’ll have the opportunity to hike or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Next up is a two-day hike through the relatively untouched Accursed mountains. You’ll pass local shepherds, cross mountain passes offering panoramic views, through alpine forests and green meadows which blossom with colour in spring. Your first stop is in the picture-perfect village of Theth where you will overnight and learn about the unique folklore of the region including the blood feuds and sworn virgins. Finally, you’ll cross the border from Albania into Montenegro ending near the village of Vusanje with its mystical “blue eye” spring. Learn more about this journey here.
2. Sighisoara to Bucharest
Aerial view of the Transfagarasan and Balea Lake in Transylvania, Romania.
Experiences: The Dracula Experience
For: Local Flavour
Leaving the colourful medieval citadel of Sighisoara, the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (aka Dracula), you’ll begin your journey through rural Transylvania before starting to ascend the famous Transfagarasan. Described by Jeremy Clarkson as “the best road in the world” the Transfagarasan is an incredible engineering feat, built between 1970 and 1974 but at a high financial and human cost. It is estimated that 6 million kgs of dynamite were used and many died during construction. The road elevates up to 2000m at the breathtaking Balea Lake and crosses between the country’s two highest peaks. After having enjoyed a hearty lunch at Balea Lake you’ll start the gradual, winding descent through the breathtakingly scenic mountain landscape towards the impressive Vidraru Dam, before passing the ruins of Poenari Castle. This is often referred to as the “Real Dracula’s Castle” as it’s believed Vlad Tepes actually spent more time here. Should you wish you’ll have the opportunity to ascend the 1500 or so steps to the castle ruins which offer fabulous views of the area. Finally, you head back to Romania’s buzzing, vibrant capital of Bucharest. Learn more about this journey here.
3. Marrakesh to the Sahara Desert
A magical sunrise over the Sahara desert in Morocco
Experiences: The Mini Sahara Desert Experience, The Sahara Desert Experience, The Morocco Experience
For: Once in a Lifetime, Local Flavour
It’s difficult to find a more contrasting landscape within such a short period. After having had your senses awoken in the different world which is Marrakesh and its chaotic souks, you’ll snake your way from the low lying Marrakesh up the dramatic, and often snowcapped mountains of the High Atlas. Once you have descended the Atlas mountains you’ll stop at the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou which has been made famous by various movies and tv shows such as Gladiator and Games of Thrones. After you’ve explored Ait Ben Haddou, you’ll have the opportunity to barter for souvenirs and enjoy a delicious local lunch. Then you will head to the natural oasis at Skoura where you can relax after your day on the road. The following day you’ll travel through the Valley of the Roses, then the arid Dades valley before stopping for lunch at the spectacular Todra Gorge. Finally, you’ll arrive at the dunes of the Sahara Desert where you’ll mount your camel and literally ride into the desert for sunset. Then finish with dinner under the stars, truly magical. Learn more about this journey here.
4. Kotor to Podgorica
The stunning Black Lake near Durmitor National Park in Montenegro.
Experiences: The Mini Montenegro Experience, The Montenegro Experience
For: Great Outdoors, Local Flavour
Starting in the enchanting old town of Kotor you’ll travel up to Lovcen National park and visit the Mausoleum of Njegoš which offers stunning panoramic views of the country. Then you’ll wind your way towards the capital and onto the stunning Moraca valley with its lime green glacial river. As the landscape gets more and more dramatic you’ll come across the remarkable Tara Bridge with a zip line for those seeking a fix of adrenaline where you’ll stop for a coffee. Continuing onto the Black Lake where you’ll explore before having lunch and for those that wish, a chance to hike the picturesque landscape. Then you’ll take one of the most spectacular drives in Europe as you travel through Durmitor National Park onto your charming mountain accommodation at the ethno village at Izlazak. Gorge yourself organic local cuisine in the cosy restaurant before heading to bed for a well-earned sleep. The following morning you’ll be transferred to Podgorica for your flight home. Learn more about this journey here.
5. Crisan to Sfantu Gheorghe
Drifting through the channels of the old Danube Delta which is teaming with wildlife.
Experiences: The Danube Delta Experience
For: Into the Wild, Great Outdoors, Local Flavour
If you’re looking to truly getaway from it all then the Danube Delta Experience is the ideal trip for you. Arguably Europe’s last remaining wilderness, the Delta has the 3rd largest biodiversity in the world, only behind the Galapagos and the Great Barrier Reef. The highlight of the trip is the journey from Crisan to Sfantu Gheorghe. You set off in the early hours of the morning so you have the opportunity to admire the abundance of flora and fauna as you drift through the channels of the old Delta. Then you’ll stop for lunch at an authentic lunch in a Ukrainian speaking Romanian village bordering both countries. After lunch, you’ll continue on your journey through the channels on to the delta’s biggest town of Sulina where you’ll stop for a drink and wander before continuing on to your final destination, the fishing village of Sfantu Gheorghe situated at the mouth of the Danube Delta. Learn more about this journey here.
If any of these epic journeys have appealled to your wanderlust nature then please contact us and we’d be more than happy to organise your next adventure.
Written by James Chisnall, Untravelled Paths