Posts tagged solo travel
Seven Crucial Questions for All Who Dream of Hiking Solo!

Do you toy with the thought of going hiking just by yourself, all alone?

I hike solo. When I started, there wasn't much thought process put into it, to me it was obvious it's the style for me. I'm a loner, an introvert struggling with social anxiety, and I find being alone very rewarding. It helps with my anxiety, brings relaxation and simple happiness. Hiking solo gives me also a great boost to my confidence and pride of own accomplishments.

A lot of people find trekking solo as equally rewarding – although it’s different for each person. But even extroverts find the experience worth the effort. In our times, when we are surrounded by people almost all the time, it is good to be one-on-one with Nature and listen only to the sounds of wind, birds, and waterfalls every once in a while, am I right?

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Hiking Solo in Ireland: Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai Trail from Millstreet to Ballyvourney

Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai trail can be walked over 3-4 days by experienced hikers, I did it in five days. The official description says it's 50 km long, but according to my ViewRanger, it's more than 70 km. I will get into details of my take on this trail in a moment, but let me preamble it right here by saying it is a beautiful trail that I can highly recommend. It's filled with fantastic views, challenging walking, and is steeped in culture. There is really only one small downside to it - right at the very end, which I hope will be remedied soon, to make the trail genuinely excellent. 

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Hiking Solo in Ireland: Blackwater | Avondhu Way from Clogheen to Mallow

The Avondhu/Blackwater Way. The whole trail takes one from Clogheen to Bweeng (awesome name, kept saying "bling" in my head) in 94 km. From Bweeng one can naturally continue on the Duhallow Way (Avondhu together with Duhallow make the Blackwater Way) through Millstreet to Shrone. The combined trails are 168 km and are also part of the European E8 long-distance trail.

Ireland was such an excellent choice for my big summer trip. I was happy to escape the heat waves plaguing continental Europe. The rugged landscapes of far west coastal walks filled my heart with bliss and the memory card with hundreds of photos (OK, fine, five thousand to be exact). I enjoyed hiking solo on mostly deserted trails, wild camping in a few places, and talking to the very positive locals. As I mostly walk during my trips, I can't see much at once. From the big Irish island, I only saw West Cork and some bits of southern Kerry. I hope to see more another time.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: Marmelete - Bensafrim - Cabo de São Vicente

In February I embarked on a three-week-long hike across Portugal. 300 km on the Via Algarviana trail took me through some remarkable landscapes and tested my body's abilities and mind's strength.

In this article, I invite you to read about the section from Marmelete, through the narrow streets of Barão de São João, all the way to the farthest point in Europe: the Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente.

The last days of my Via Algarviana adventure took me through some mighty rains, but also beautiful views. I left the big mountains behind me and could experience changing landscapes as I neared the Ocean.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: Silves -Monchique - Marmelete

In February I embarked on a three-week-long hike across Portugal. 300 km on the Via Algarviana trail took me through some remarkable landscapes and tested my body's abilities and mind's strength.

In this article, I invite you to read about the section from Silves, through Monchique, to Marmelete. I can promise beautiful photography of some truly stunning mountain views!

I didn't plan it, but I ended up spending two days in Silves. It proved to be exactly what my body and mind needed - after the break (which was pretty active, sightseeing Silves and taking a trip to the Ocean) I felt refreshed and ready to climb the big mountains of Monchique.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Barranco do Velho to Silves

Tune in to the next section of my hiking adventure on the Via Algarviana trail in Portugal: from Barranco do Velho, through Salir, Benafim, Alte and a rest day in Messines to Silves.

I left Barranco do Velho not only with a refreshed body but most importantly - with a much lighter soul and happier mind. When I went down for breakfast that morning, the manager told me that the puppy was gone. I didn't understand well if it was the owner who picked him up or if someone else took him home, but the most important thing was, that the dog was safe and not with me.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Vaqueiros to Barranco do Velho

My solo hiking adventure on the Via Algarviana trail in Portugal continues! Here comes the second part: from Vaqueiros, through Cachopo and Feiteras all the way to Barranco do Velho. 55 km through stunning mountains and tiny villages, challenging trail with stunning landscapes, with added problem of a … dog who wanted to take a long hike.

I woke up to a very cloudy and chilly day in Vaqueiros. I had my breakfast waiting in the restaurant down the street, so I packed almost wholly and walked to see what they had for me.

The day before I explained my diet issues and showed a card in Portuguese on a gluten-free diet. It's not very popular around here, and I am happy I had that card.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Alcoutim to Vaqueiros

First section of the Via Algarviana adventure: starting in Alcoutim on the Spanish border, and arriving four days later in Vaqueiros.

I arrived at Alcoutim after dark. There was only one bus reaching the town, so there wasn't much choice. On the bus, I met a fellow female hiker, who was also about to start her Via Algarviana adventure. We slept in the same hostel room, so we had a chance to chat a bit later on. Her style of hiking was a bit different: she had no tent nor a sleeping bag, and she decided to rely on established accommodation only. Thanks to it she could hike very light, with just the basics in her pack.

The bus stops right before a bridge you need to cross to find your way to the hostel. Later on, I found out that the trail's start was just meters away on the right. The walk to the hostel was uphill and at least 2 km, so the next day I decided not to be the purist and just continue on my way on the trail.

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Via Algarviana: All You Need to Know to Hike Across Portugal

If you are looking for a long-distance hike which provides beautiful views, cultural heritage sites, and safety - I have good news for you! Via Algarviana is a fantastic destination, and I am happy to explain why.

The Via Algarviana trail is a long-distance path stretching between the Eastern-most edge of southern Portugal, near the border with Spain, all the way to the Ocean on the other side. It crosses through the region of Algarve (hence the name) showing the interior side of this famous tourist destination.

The trail is about 300 km long and is divided into 14 official sections. Unless one is used to making long distances in a day, it takes about 3 weeks to complete. If you have more time, you can combine it with many local paths or continue along the Western shore north from Cabo de São Vicente.

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Why I Do What I Do: On Hiking Solo & Taking Selfies

Why do I go alone into the Mountains? And what’s the deal with all these selfies?

I can’t help the smile. It doesn’t matter that I’m puffing, I am sweating, and there is some aching in my knees. The smile is there. It’s probably not even visible all that much to passing me hikers (although I always try to smile nicely to all hikers me on trails) but I feel it. I sense the smile.

And it’s a different kind of a smile than the one I give a colleague at work in the morning or after hearing a cute joke. This one is different, it radiates from a different place, somewhere deep inside. It’s a bit like when we fall in love, the smile we can’t stop after remembering the cute moment a day before.

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