While world-famous trekking routes like the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit in France and the Inca Trail in Peru are popular for good reason, there are many other less-visited paths, that lie far away from your average tourist trails which are equally as fascinating to explore. Below, we’ve shared a few of our favourite, more remote trails that will undoubtedly inspire your next walking holiday in 2024.
Summit Jebel Aklim in Morocco
When heading to Morocco on a trekking holiday, the first peaks that come to mind may be Mount Toubkal, (4,167m), M’Goun (4,068m) and the Rif Mountains, but there’s something to be said about the rewarding climb to Jebel Aklim (2,531m). On day four of our Undiscovered Atlas trip, you’ll get the opportunity to ascend Jebel Aklim, one of the highest summits in the Anti-Atlas. Once you reach the top, you’ll enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, the High Atlas range, and the extinct volcano of Jebel Siroua. However, we believe that the actual climb itself is just as beautiful and fascinating, as you get to traverse landscapes that have been home to the Amazigh people for generations.
The Amazigh people have a distinctive cultural heritage that includes their language, traditions, music, and crafts, and during this trip, you’ll get a chance to meet and chat with the local people as you pass through their remote mountain villages en route to Jebel Aklim. You’ll find that the Amazigh people are very welcoming – invitations to enjoy traditional mint tea or local delicacies in their homes are not uncommon. The Amazigh often spends time maintaining traditional agricultural practices, including terraced farming and the cultivation of crops because of the challenging mountainous terrain. So, if you travel during their harvest season you may get to see brightly dressed women and children working in the field. Our Undiscovered Atlas trip is not just a walking holiday, as it gives you a unique opportunity to engage with the local culture, witness traditional practices, and appreciate the resilience of communities in this remote region.
Visit Cappadocia’s hidden valleys and churches in Turkey
Our Walking in Cappadocia itinerary ticks off major bucket list sites, including the ancient hermit dwellings in Pasabaglari (Monk’s Valley), the fascinating underground city of Kaymakli, Byzantine monasteries in the Ihlara Valley and the breathtaking painted-rock churches in Goreme Open-Air Museum. You’ll also get to experience a bird’s-eye view of this fairytale region on an optional early morning hot air balloon ride on day three. But this trip also ensures that you get to trek through many of Cappadocia’s under-visited valleys like the Pancarlik Valley and the Kizilcukur Valley (also known as the Red Valley).
On day four, you’ll get to wander through Pancarlik Valley, a beautiful area where the rocks undulate like waves and its pastel colours effortlessly intertwine with vineyards and cultivated gardens. You may also see three different churches on your trek, the most significant being the Pancarlık Church, which is located in an ancient monastic settlement southwest of Urgup and has been a place of worship for Christians for over 1400 years. Inside, you’ll see its well-intact narrative frescoes, which include 29 detailed paintings depicting the story of Christ’s life, from birth to his resurrection. As you continue on your walk, your expert local guide will be able to point out the churches of Sarica and Kepez ingrained into the rock chimneys as you pass by. In Kizilcukur Valley, you’ll find even more churches and monastic complexes artistically etched into the pink rock faces, which look like meringue set in stone. You’ll finish this day by watching the sunset over the spectacular Kizilcukur landscape – a view so otherworldly, that it’ll be remembered for years to come.
Swim in the Blue Eye of Kapre in Albania
Until very recently, Albania remained a hidden gem for many trekkers. But thanks to its pristine, unspoilt landscapes, ancient paths, rich historical monuments and warm hospitality, Albania is emerging as an increasingly popular destination for trekkers who are craving that off-the-beaten-track appeal.
Tucked away in the heart of the Balkans, Albania offers a treasure trove of trekking opportunities, and on our Walking in Albania trip, you’ll cover spectacular trails leading through the Albanian Alps, Theth and Valbone National Parks, before heading south towards Koman Lake, Kruje and Berat, a city on the Osum River, known for its gleaming white Ottoman houses, Ethnographic Museum and King Mosque. En route, you’ll visit Rozafa Castle and Shkodër’s city centre, one of the oldest places in Albania. You’ll also get to explore one of the last remaining shutting towers in Theth, locally known as “Kulla”. These fascinating historic stone lock-in towers were traditionally used to protect families involved in blood feuds in the surrounding regions.
However, the most beguiling place you’ll visit off the main routes in Albania is the Blue Eye (Syri i kaltër) of Kapre. On day three of your trip, you’ll walk from Theth Valley towards Theth Waterfall, where you’ll come across the pinkish stone groves of Nderlysa, rock formations that were created by the abundant flow of the black river. As you continue, you’ll see a string of breathtaking natural rock pools with the most impressive amongst them being the Blue Eye of Kapre. Here, you’ll get the chance to stop for a refreshing dip, so don’t forget to pack your swimming costume and towel with you on this trip!
Take a picnic in the Sierra de Aitana mountains
The striking Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa may attract more international trekkers each year, but the Sierra de Aitana’s dramatic peaks, dense forests, and meandering trails are equally worth exploration. With its secluded location, nestled in the Valencia region, this breathtaking mountain range offers a tranquil and undiscovered haven for those seeking a more authentic, quieter and less-explored trekking experience.
Our Sierra de Aitana Trek begins in the charming village of Guadalest, and from there, trekkers can walk towards the limestone needles of Penya Roc, with its soaring towers and rock walls, and up to Collado Papatxi. Next, your group takes an exhilarating ascent up to the high pastures of Foia Plana and Morro Blau. The following day, you’ll climb Serrella Peak for incredible vistas of the Aitana range, before a descent through a sweeping gorge filled with terraced olive groves to the village of Abdet. After a free day where you can choose to visit Villajoyosa Beach or a local chocolate factory, you’ll summit Puig Campana (1,410m) on day six. As you near the end of your trip, we save the best vista for last, with a spectacular walk along the dramatic Simas limestone fissures on a ridge near the summit of Aitana – where we’ll stop for a well-earned picnic to take in the views. For the adventurous, there’s also an option to scale the Aitana Peak. So, there you have it, if you’re looking for a trek off the beaten path this year, the diverse trails and natural wonders of the Sierra de Aitana are bound to impress.
If these trips have spurred you on to book a walking holiday somewhere new and exciting in 2024, take a look at our full collection of walking trips here.