Top six new trails for 2020

Whether cycling or hiking, these epic new trails for 2020 are a byword for adventure.

Published 14 Dec 2019, 07:00 GMT, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 05:13 GMT
Astronomy trail across the Cambrian Mountains
The new astronomy trail across the Cambrian Mountains covers 50 miles and links nine Dark Sky Discovery Sites — six of which are newly classified.
Photograph by Dafydd Wyn Morgan.

Slovenia
Scores of travellers look to Slovenia for hiking and biking, particularly to the country’s highest peak, Mount Triglav, and the picturesque shores of Lake Bled. But the new 186-mile Juliana Trail loops around the lesser-explored, mountainous north west of the country, bringing off-the-tourist-path spots to the fore. Not that the whole route has to be attempted in one go — the trail has been split into 10-mile stretches: some you can hike, others you can cross by train or bus, pulling in at tiny villages to refuel at family-run restaurants and holing up in off-grid mountain huts. 

Venice to Beijing
Adventure cycling operator Ride and Seek is gearing up for an epic biking expedition, pedalling over 1,180 gruelling miles from Venice to Beijing in the footsteps of Venetian merchant Marco Polo. This is cycling at its most extreme, and so the route is divided into manageable stages, with cyclists signing up to different sections. The first two sections have just been released: from Venice to Dubrovnik, soaring down the Dalmatian Coast; and from Dubrovnik to Athens, dipping into Montenegro, Albania and Corfu along the way. Venice to Dubrovnik, from €4,795 (£4,129) per person. Selected 2020 departures. 

Wales
The launch of a new astronomy tourism trail across the Cambrian Mountains is set to cast light on rural Wales’s celestial skies. Covering 50 miles and linking nine Dark Sky Discovery Sites — six of which are newly classified — the free trail will host after-dusk wanderings where stargazers can spot the Milky Way, meteor showers and even the International Space Station thanks to minimal light pollution.

Andorra
Come winter, the tiny landlocked state is a haven for skiing and other winter sports, but in the height of summer, Andorra becomes a walkers’ wonderland: all craggy peaks, hidden lakes and ancient forests. For an intense and challenging hike, the new Coronallacs Trail is a circular, 58-mile walking route linking Andorra’s four remote refugis guardats (mountain refuges), where hikers can bed down in hammocks or bunks. Days, meanwhile, are spent tackling tough ascents amid the spectacular scenery of the Pyrenees. Macs Adventure offers a full hike of the Coronallacs Trail on its Lakes and Mountains of Andorra trip, from £565 per person.   

Nepal
One of the Himalayas’ most well-trodden regions, the Annapurna region is hardly new territory for trekkers. But the new Dhaulagiri Sanctuary Trek, however, offers amateur climbers the chance to be among the first to reach Dhaulagiri South Base Camp. So remote is this trail in the shadow of the world’s seventh-highest mountain that it’s unlikely you’ll pass any other Western hikers at all — just sprawling verdant terraces, pine forests, tiny mountain villages and breathtaking panoramic views. Mountain Kingdoms’ new 16-day Dhaulagiri Sanctuary Trek starts at £2,395 per person, excluding flights. 

Patagonia
For a road trip that’ll take you to the ends of the earth — almost literally — the Route of Parks is a visionary new 1,700-mile trail passing through Chilean Patagonia. Created as a means to preserve vast swathes of land, the route takes in 17 national parks and joins three existing routes: the Carretera Austral road, the central fjordlands, and the End of the World route, which plunges as far south as Cape Horn. Pura Aventura’s 45-day Route of Parks Uncovered trip costs from £14,430 per person, including use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle. 

Read our story from the Route of Parks here.

Published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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