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Backpacking Adventures - Off The Grid

Embarking on a backpacking adventure is an exhilarating way to explore the world, immersing yourself in new cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or new to the world of backpacking, here are some top recommendations for your next adventure:

  1. The Inca Trail, Peru: Trekking the Inca Trail is a dream come true for many backpackers. This ancient trail takes you through the stunning Andes Mountains, leading to the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu. The journey is not only physically rewarding but also culturally enriching as you witness the remnants of the Inca civilization and soak in the mesmerizing beauty of the Peruvian landscape.

  2. The Himalayas, Nepal: For those seeking an epic backpacking adventure, the Himalayas in Nepal offer a world of possibilities. Trekking through the Himalayan trails provides breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, serene valleys, and remote villages. The famous Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp treks are popular choices for backpackers, offering a blend of challenging terrain and cultural encounters with the warm-hearted locals.

  3. The Camino de Santiago, Spain: The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a legendary pilgrimage route that attracts backpackers from around the globe. Spanning across various regions of Spain, this long-distance trail offers a transformative journey both physically and spiritually. Along the way, you'll encounter picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and a diverse community of fellow pilgrims.

  4. The Great Ocean Road, Australia: For backpackers seeking a coastal adventure, the Great Ocean Road in Australia is a must-visit destination. Stretching along the scenic southeastern coast, this iconic road trip offers breathtaking ocean views, dramatic cliffs, and famous landmarks like the Twelve Apostles. Campgrounds and hostels along the route provide budget-friendly accommodation options for backpackers.

  5. The Balkans, Southeast Europe: The Balkans region offers a diverse and off-the-beaten-path backpacking experience. Countries like Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro boast stunning landscapes, ancient cities, and rich history. From exploring the picturesque Plitvice Lakes National Park to discovering the historic city of Dubrovnik and venturing into the rugged landscapes of the Balkan Mountains, backpacking through the Balkans promises adventure at every turn.

  6. The Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia: For an unforgettable journey through vast landscapes and diverse cultures, consider the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia. This legendary train route spans over 9,000 kilometers, taking you from Moscow to Vladivostok or other destinations like Mongolia and China. Witness the ever-changing scenery, interact with locals, and embrace the unique charm of each stop along the way.

Remember to plan and prepare accordingly for your backpacking adventure. Research the best seasons to visit, pack essential gear, and be open to unexpected experiences. Backpacking allows you to step out of your comfort zone, connect with nature, and create lifelong memories. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and set off on a thrilling adventure that will ignite your wanderlust and leave you with stories to tell for years to come.

So if you are considering a trekking holiday in Spain where do you start? In 1995 Bob Stansfield prefaced his guide Mountain Walks on the Costa Blanca (Cicerone Press) with the observation that "Las Marinas has the potential to rival Mallorca as a winter walking venue". Walking and trekking holidays in Mallorca have become a well-established business but the mountainous area behind the Costa Blanca has been almost completely ignored. The only time you will see anybody is on the weekends when a few local residents take to the mountains.

So where is this area? The hinterland of the Costa Blanca, known as Las Marinas, includes the Sierras, valleys and small farming villages of the Marina Alta and the Marina Baja districts. Occupying the northern third of Alicante Province, it is defined by the triangle of towns with Oliva to the north, Javea to the east and La Villajoyosa to the south. It is made up of a series of six valleys, Vall de Laguard, Vall d'Ebo, Vall de Pop, Vall de Seto, Vall de Tárbena and the Vall de Guadalest that are separated by the Sierras of Aitana, Serrella, Aixortá, Alfofra.

What local residents know is that Las Marinas has spectacular trekking trails, a combination of mountain tracks, farm lanes and old Mozarabic paths that have linked the small villages of the interior for over a thousand years. They pass between rugged peaks whose lower slopes are covered with almond and olive trees, through high valleys with cherry and apricot down to the orange, tangerine and nispero (loquat) orchards of the coastal plain. From September to May this almost deserted part of the Costa Blanca offers some of the best winter trekking in Europe. Sunshine predominates and comfortable temperatures that typically range from 12º C to 22º C provide ideal conditions for trekking holidays. The beauty of the landscape and variety of the walks has impressed those who have visited the area and have found it to be an alternative to better-known winter trekking areas like Mallorca, the Canaries or Andalusia. Rainfall does occur, but as intense downpours that usually last from one to three days. Extended periods of continuous rainfall are almost completely unknown so the probability of your trekking holiday being a washout is negligible.

The climate apart, Las Marinas as a trekking destination has traditionally suffered four principal drawbacks: the lack of up to date maps, inconsistent or inexistent way marking of trails, the absence of public transport to and from the trekking areas and the lack of accommodation outside the coastal resorts. To some extent all of these drawbacks still exist, but today can be overcome with foresight and planning.

There is no comprehensive selection of maps or trail-guides for planning trekking routes through Las Marinas. Maps published more recently are better but do not provide coverage of the whole area and in some cases replicate the mistakes of previous maps, which are inadequate and often years out of date. It is also worth bearing in mind that in general Spanish maps are not up to Ordnance Survey standards in terms of presentation or reliability. Trail guides suffer from the drawback that they attempt to describe something that neither appears on the maps or on the ground. Basing your trekking holiday on the idiosyncrasies of local trail guides and unreliable maps is a recipe for becoming frustrated and possibly getting lost.

More recently GPS technology has leapfrogged ahead and the new generation of Smartphones and handheld GPS navigators means that depending on out of date maps and guides is no longer a problem. Websites, such as or, provide GPS routes that have been tested and then uploaded by other trekkers and can be downloaded directly onto the users device. The advantage is that it provides all the relevant walking information like the start and finish points, trekking time, distances, ascents, descents, restaurants, accommodation and points of interest on the route. The main drawback is the absence of a common industry standard; this means a route recorded on one device may not be readable on another To overcome this routes can be converted into GPX format that can be read by most GPS devices.

The lack of public transport means hiring a car, hiring a taxi or using a local walking holiday company to get to the start and from the finish of the trek. Taxis are an option for getting to and from treks but you will need to speak the language to arrange the drop-off and pick-up after you have finished. An alternative solution is to rent a car at the airport when you arrive; the high demand for hire cars during the summer means there is a large of fleet available during the autumn, winter and spring at competitive rates. However, unless you plan to some sightseeing afterwards you will only use the car to get to and from the airport. The main difficulty with hiring a car is then having to navigate unfamiliar roads, signposting in Spain is sporadic at best and problems getting to the start of the trek may be not be the best way to start your holiday. A practical solution is to use a local walking company; they will transfer you to and from the start and finish of the trek and arrange to transfer your baggage from village to village for you as well as arranging accommodation and trail guides.

Many associate the Costa Blanca with mass tourism and the down market image it had from the seventies. Apart from acting as a tourism shield for the interior the coastal resorts have, in general, all moved up-market and towns like Denia, Calpe, Javea, Altea and La Villajoyosa provide a range of accommodation options combined with easy access to the coast.

However, the most interesting development over the last decade is the availability of hotels and casa rurals in small villages in the heart of the Las Marinas trekking area. They offer accommodation for trekking holidays in traditional rural surroundings, with local dishes and the opportunity for visitors to experience real Spain rather than the more international and anonymous coastal resorts. This is exactly the type of accommodation most appropriate for trekking holidays: comfortable and welcoming establishments with Spanish hosts, local cuisine and a personal touch you won't get in a five star hotel.

There are a variety of choices when it comes to arranging a winter trekking holiday in Las Marinas.

Firstly, trekkers who prefer a higher level of service with local knowledge of the walks, the area, accommodation, meals and transportation then using a local walking company makes sense. All the details are taken care of leaving visitors to enjoy the countryside at their own pace and in the company and get the maximum out of their holidays. These companies can be found via the Internet using search terms like 'trekking holidays in Spain' or 'trekking in Spain'.

Secondly, independent travel is easier than ever. The Internet offers a wide range of travel and accommodation options plus the advent GPS navigation provides a reliable way of finding and staying on the right trail without having to depend on out of date maps and guides.

Finally, there are various tour operators that offer all-in trekking holidays. Flights, board and lodging in the coastal resorts and/ or the interior villages are all included in the package, these can be found via the Internet or through travel agents

However you choose to travel, Las Marinas offers visitors an attractive destination for winter trekking holidays. The climate, the peace and quiet, the exceptional countryside and traditional Spanish culture provide a hard to equal experience of real Spain as well as a great way to relax and enjoy your well deserved break.