Three Of The Best Alternative Ways To Travel
Looking for a holiday that’s a bit different to the standard flight-hotel package deal? Sometimes it’s fun to try something a bit different, and there are a variety of ways to see the world without travelling along the well-worn routes that most people take.
If you’re looking for a renewed sense of adventure, you’ve definitely come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the best alternative ways of travelling that will take you to some of the most beautiful and culturally-rich locations around the world. Read on to find out more.
Taking the slow train
While taking the train sounds like quite an everyday way to get around on your trip, that’s not exactly what we had in mind. There’s something about boarding an old-fashioned steam train that is deliciously nostalgic, while also adding a real sense of adventure to your journey. The slower pace of the trip will allow you to take in much more of the scenery, while the classic ‘chug-chug’ motion of the train make you feel like a child again.
In the UK there is only one regularly timetabled steam service — the picturesque 84-mile Jacobite route. It travels through the Scottish Highlands, from the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, to Europe’s deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar. The journey has been described as ‘the world’s best’, and it also gives travellers the chance to travel across the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, as seen in the Harry Potter films.
If the boy wizard is not magical enough for you, how does a trip through the fairy-tale towns, villages, and hamlets of Germany’s Harz mountains sound? The Harz railway is Europe’s longest network that has regular steam services, travelling from from the World Heritage Site of Quedlinburg to the giddy heights of Brocken station at 1001m. Go when the mountains are frozen and you’re in for an even more spectacular journey.
Explore by sea and river
Like boarding a steam train, there is a real sense of adventure attached to travelling by ship. Again, we aren’t talking about the floating mega-complexes that ply their way through the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, but about vessels that will take you to places that others can’t. Seeing the world from the deck offers a unique view that you don’t get on other journeys, where you get to view places in a completely new light.
Europe has many rivers that are worth discovering, but the low-lying geography of the Netherlands is ideal for exploring from the water. The country is criss-crossed by many canals, which offer a route straight into the heart of both the Dutch countryside and the quaint towns and cities that populate it. From the iconic Amsterdam to medieval Heusden, there is plenty to see — take a look at The River Cruise Line’s guide to the top 10 cities to see in the Netherlands to get a sense of just what’s on offer.
Looking to take to the open oceans in search of something completely different? A trip to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of South America should match your criteria. Here you can retrace legendary naturalist Charles Darwin’s steps and find a unique world of natural wonder. From plodding giant tortoises to frolicking sea lions, there is a huge amount to find on land, air, and sea. Lonely Planet have extensive listings for group tours of the islands, so it is worth taking a look to see which is best for you.
Using your feet
Though you might have to fly to reach your starting point, there are some great travel routes that are designed to be explored on foot. Providing you are fit enough, there are many hidden, rarely-seen locations that other means of transport cannot get to and must be reached under your own steam. This hard work and effort is usually paid off with spectacular sights that you will remember for the rest of your lifetime.
The UK is home to quite a few beautiful hikes, many of which have been designated as National Trails, a testament to their quality. Undoubtedly one of the best is the Hadrian’s Wall Path, which runs the 84 miles from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway, taking in the historic landscapes of Cumbria and Northumberland along the way. The walk is one for the history buffs, with plenty of Roman forts to visit along the ancient northern border of their Empire.
For the dedicated trekkers, the eastern coast of the USA is home to the legendary Appalachian Trail, with runs an eye-watering 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine. Only the most serious hikers will walk the whole thing — it’s something many give up years of their life to do — but a walk along some of the best stretches is well worth the effort to get to. Because of its extreme length, the trail passes through a whole range of landscapes, from forests to mountains, but The Wilderness Society have broken down 12 of their favourite sections that you can cherry pick from. Just remember to clear your schedule.
There you have it, these are three of our favourite alternative ways to travel, and they’re each worthy of your time. When the time comes to book your next holiday, take our advice and think outside of the box.