Many hard-core hikers these days are searching out adventures in remote areas where they can find a sense of peace and solitude. This longing to hike in mountains that are off the beaten path is why Ryder-Walker has created what we refer to as our Hidden Gem treks.
We chose countries that are not typically thought of when you plan a European mountain trek get-away, yet all have extensive hiking trails for all abilities, and are based out of remote villages abounding with historical culture. We pair all of this with excellent accommodations and delicious, traditional cuisine to further enhance the experience.
If you are ready to explore more secluded trails in mountains different from our classic Alps hikes, consider one of our five guided Hidden Gem treks, and just maybe one will spark your wanderlust.
Pindus Mountain Range; Southern extension of the Dinaric Alps
Our Northern Greece Trek explores the far reaches of the Pindus Mountain Range, a remote extension of the Dinaric Alps defined by its deep valleys and sweeping alpine grasslands. Along the way we visit monasteries in Meteora, isolated villages built by Christian refugees during Ottoman occupation that were only rediscovered after WWII, and one of the only ski areas in all of Greece. Of note is the day we spend hiking along the base of the stunning Vikos Gorge, the most iconic of the region’s gorges.
Northern Greece, May 3-12
Montenegro and Croatia have both become world class destinations seemingly overnight. Our journey along the Dalmatian Coast brings us to the enigmatic Dinaric Alps, a region seemingly forgotten by tourism. On this route we ascend high above the shoreline in the National Park Lovćen to survey the sweeping Montenegrin wilderness, explore historic pirate’s coves in the Bay of Kotor, and visit the mediaeval walled cities of Korčula and Dubrovnik.
Montenegro and Croatia May 27-June 3
The Transylvanian Alps have captivated the imagination of travelers and artists for centuries. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was written while travelling through this eerie landscape, known for its seemingly impenetrable forests, gothic castles, and horn shaped mountains. While we hope you won’t run into any vampires or werewolves, one can easily feel the mystery of Transylvania while staying overnight in a 200-year-old farm that has been renovated into a hotel or sitting above the clouds and forest in a hut in Bucegi National Park. Romania is a land rich with mystery and the opportunity to visit Bran Castle (Dracula’s castle and surprisingly romantic structure) is not to be missed.
Romania July 7 -14
Ryder-Walker has been exploring Slovenia’s Julian Alps for over a decade, and we still hardly ever see other travelers there. Our adventure begins in the heart of Slovenian mountain tourism, Kranjska Gora, where climbers ascend via ferrata, and older visitors enjoy the village’s lively cafes. From here we travel deep into the Julian mountains, stay in a hut beneath the summit of the mighty Triglav, hike through the Valley of the Seven Lakes, and end our tour in the waterfall-valley of Ukanc.
Slovenia, Summit Series July 11 – 18
Pyrénées Mountain Range
The Haute Pyrénées are a wild mountain range that straddles the border between Spain and France. Home to the unique Basque culture, visitors will notice that the architecture, spoken language, and cuisine are entirely different from those found in either France or Spain. Highlights include an overnight in the highest mountain refuge in the Pyrénées, the spa town of Cauterets, and a lovely hike through the Valle de Ordesa in el Parque Nacional. If you are looking for a truly unique hiking experience, look to the Basque country, where the locals have been so fiercely protective of their isolated culture that even their spoken language is the most divergent from any other language on earth.
Haute Pyrénées, August 27 – Sept 3