Tired of oh hum travel and longing to spice up your globe-trotting? The members of virtualtourist.com have 10 ideas to ramp up your travels for 2015 from Italian hikes to cycling Canada, Skywalking in China, romancing the falls along the road to Hana Maui and more. Check them out to get inspired to book you next exciting excursion that will take your breath away. Who knows even the most well-trotted jet-setter might learn something.
Hiking in Italy
Hiking Cinque Terre, Italy–Italy has long been a bastion of cultural icons and landmarks, from religious sites to Renaissance masterpieces. Of the sites to be visited, Cinque Terre is among the most beautiful, and also the most unique. Composed of five small villages perched above the Ligurian Sea, the towns date back to the late medieval period and are still, in 2012, unable to be reached by car. While one can access them by train and boat, neither transport provides the same experience as the hike between the towns: slowly descending from the rocky cliffs into each brightly painted fishing village is an experience unlike any other in the world. Hiking from Riomaggiore, the southernmost village, to the fifth town, Monterosso, is quite a workout (18 kilometers, or 11 miles, and usually takes about five hours, but can take longer depending on how fit you are). Instead, many complete the first leg of the trip, from Riomaggiore to Manarola. This section is commonly called the “Via dell’ Amore” and is both paved and level, so it’s a great 1km (about half a mile) stroll for travelers of all ages.
Bicycling in Canada
Cycling in Motreal, Quebec, Canada–While Montréal’s most famous paths may lie underground, its most intriguing routes lie amongst its 2,400 miles of bike trails and paths. The first North American city to adopt a bicycle-sharing program, Montréal has a few popular rides, including along the Lachine Canal, the quays of the Old Port, and Rue McGill. In addition to paths within the city, Montréal lies in the center of the Route Verte, a series of bikeways throughout Quebec modeled after Denmark’s national cycle routes and the Danube and Rhine bikeways. The route, which starts further west at Fort-Coulogne, also connects Montréal with Québec City to the north.
Skywalking on Tianmen Mt.
Skywalking on Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China–Located more than 1,323km (800 miles) from Shanghai and 1,012km (628 miles) from Guangzhou, the Skywalk on Tianmen Mountain is unique in the astonishing height at which it was built, while also being built onto a natural object. The pathway, which runs alongside the Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, suspends the visitor 1,430 meters high in the air, providing amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the nature of Hunan Province. A fun fact about this Skywalk: visitors are required to wear sock booties because they have been unable to find workers willing to clean the glass floor at this height!
Exploring the ruins
Exploring the Ruins of Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico– Calakmul was once home to more than 50,000 inhabitants. Though the city’s timeline goes as far back as the Preclassic period (300 B.C. to 240 A.D.), its golden age was in the Classic period (250 A.D. to 900 A.D.), when it served as Tikal’s main rival and battled for dominance of the central Mayan area. Many visitors might focus on the 6,000 structures within the city, but it’s equally important to experience the surrounding Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses over 723,000 hectares (292,594 acres) of protected land and wildlife. While the reserve is a paradise for bird watching, the site itself is a hotbed of stelae, or stone monuments, often in the form of a high-relief sculpture, that were popular and characteristic of the Mayan civilization. 117 stelae have been discovered at Calakmul so far, more than any other Mayan site, and all of them from the Classic
Romancing the falls
Romancing the falls along the breathtaking Road to Hana await countless picturesque spots, including Mokulau and Honomanu Bay. On the southeastern side of Maui, just off Route 330, visitors will find the Pools of Oheo, commonly known as the Seven Sacred Pools. One of the most popular attractions in East Maui, the gulch is a string of pools and waterfalls that are easily accessed for swimming, cliff jumping, and people-watching. While the Seven Sacred Pools is beautiful, continuing on the Pipiwai Trail for 1.8 miles into Haleakala National Park is truly rewarding. First, you’ll come across the Falls at Makahiku, which plunge almost 200 feet (60 meters). If you continue on, the hike culminates at Waimoku Falls, which drops more than 400 feet (121 meters) above you. The trail is maintained by National Park Service, so it is relatively well-traversed and you will most likely pass other people while on the