Friday, 13 April 2012


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There are thousands of paths around the globe known for their natural environment and breathtaking views, but there aren't many of paths that are unique. Many people around the world come to these places to enjoy the beautiful and unique paths. Enjoy a walk with us, through the most beautiful and unique paths from around the World.

1. Wisteria Tunnel, Japan

Wisteria (known as Fuji in Japan), is an ancient Japanese flowering vine. In mid April these plants begin to bloom. The effect is stunning. The soft hanging blooms range in colour from light pinks, purples, yellows, and reds. These whimsical gardens are breathtaking and inspiring.

This stunning flower walkway is the known as the Wisteria Tunnel, situated in the Kawachi Fuji Garden (City of Kitakyushu). It is an 80-meter (260 ft) long tunnel of white Fuji flowers, while a tunnel of yellow Kingusari needs a few more years to become an actual tunnel.

[More stunning images here and here] [View Google map]

2. Plitvice Lakes Paths, Croatia

The Croatian National Park Plitvice Lakes, which has been included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage since 1979, is widely known for its sixteen cascading lakes and waterfalls. With the aim of bringing the forest eco system closer to visitors and promoting the natural values of the park, two educational recreation trails have been opened: the 9 km long "Plitvica" and the 21 km long "Corkova Uvala".

The paths are marked with hiking sign posts and arrows that have to be followed by the rules of the Park. With the help of local guides and information billboards that have been put up along the two paths, visitors are offered the possibility of getting to know the richness of the biological diversity of the National Park.

3. Bamboo Path, Japan

The Sagano Bamboo Grove is located in the Sagano Arashiyama area of Kyoto (about 25 minutes from central Kyoto). It is a beautiful forest with a path through its heart. The fences alongside of the paths are still made from the twigs of fallen bamboo stalks as used to be everywhere in Mainland Japan.

The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth. This is a recommended spot for photos and a quiet, still away from the tourist crowds.

[More information here and here] [View Google map]

4. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

One of the most beautiful tunnels in the world can be found near the city of Klevan in Ukraine - The Tunnel of Love. This is in fact a train tunnel of trees. It's the main attraction in the area and also one of the most beautiful places in Ukraine.

During the warm months of the year the trees planted next to each other form a fairy green tunnel along one kilometer (0.6 mi) long section of the railway. Not a lot of people seem to know very much about the tunnel, or have ever heard of it at all, making it a well-kept secret.

5. Ha'ikū Stairs, Hawaii

The Haʻikū Stairs is a steep hiking trail on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii. This locally famous 3,922-step stairway ascends to the summit of the Koolau mountain range. The stairs climb 2,800 feet (850 m) up a nearly vertical cliff from the base of Haiku Valley to the summit of Puu Keahi a Kahoe.

The ascent is so steep that sometimes the stairs disappear behind the climber into the clouds that blanket the sharp peaks. That is why some call the Haiku Stairs the “Stairway to Heaven.” The hike is extremely popular because it is easily accessible, and a thrilling adventure for those who do not suffer from the fear of heights.

6. Santorini Path, Greece

In 1715, the island inhabitants built a rough path into the side of the sheer mountain so they could hike to the summit. Before long, donkeys were enlisted to help carry cargo and passengers to and from the ships and town. In 1930, the walkway was improved and more donkeys were added to aid in the assent and decent. Finally, in 1979, a cable car was installed to automate the process - but the most fun ride is still by donkey.

The zigzag walkway from sea to city is paved in stone, and because of the many switchbacks, the distance from one end to the other is 1300 meters or 4,265 feet. There are 657 four-inch (10 cm) tall steps on the walkway, and this natural stair-master provides a very good workout on a sunny day.

7. Great Wall Path, China

China’s Great Wall no longer stretches along its 4,200-mile-length (6.700 km) that dated to the Ming Dynasty - some 30% has almost vanished. But the remaining sections - some within day trip access of Beijing - present walkers with varying states of preservation, from the overdeveloped Badaling portion with its museum, shops, and bathrooms to those wilder, dilapidated portions with no facilities.

One of the more authentic paths atop this serpentine wall wanders from Jinshanling to Simatai, a five-hour hike along mostly derelict ribbons encrusted with storied watch towers and crenellated ramparts. Meandering over undulating peaks, the route often requires scrambling, sometimes on all fours, up and down tall decrepit stone steps and around gaping holes. But the sweeping vistas of the mostly forested hills, lush valleys and snake-like wall make the effort worth every step.

8. The Dark Hedges, United Kingdom

This avenue of beech trees is known locally as "the dark hedges" which are thought to be around 300 years old. There are over 100 beech trees which line the Bregagh Road which is near the village of Stranocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. They form an arc over the path and there have been concerns that some of the trees present a risk to path users because of their condition.

It is a much photographed scene and is a popular location for Northern Ireland photographers and international visitors. It has featured in the UK Landscape Photographer of the Year book in each of the first 4 years. Regrettably the character of the site has now been spoiled by the recent construction of a bright green sheep fence built inside the tree line.

9. Cappadocia, Turkey

You don’t have to close your eyes and daydream to be transported to a fantastical land. Just hike the myriad paths that weave through the valleys slicing through the Cappadocia region and you’ll feel like you just dropped into a Salvador Dali painting.

Standing sentinel all around are curious monoliths - appropriately termed “fairy chimneys.” Many are undeniably sexually charged - phallus-shaped, to be exact. Centuries of erosive forces have also sculpted the soft volcanically-derived tufa into more PG-rated shapes, including mushrooms and cones seemingly wearing top hats.


Penetrating these spectacular columns are hand-carved portals into cave churches, houses, pigeon coops - the droppings were prized as a fertilizer - and even bee hives. Some of the richest array of fairy chimneys in this land that’s deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site can be found in the Love and Honey valleys.

10. Madeira, Portugal

Set some 600 miles from Lisbon, the leafy island of Madeira has a reputation among acrophobes as having some of the most vertiginous trails around.

This rugged isle is networked with some 1,000 miles of irrigation channels (or levadas) that are bordered by a narrow level-walking path. These aqueducts have been hewn into cliffs and solid rock producing claustrophobic tunnels and paths clinging at times to the edge of sheer chasms.


However, there are also plenty of more gentle levadas, including those coursing through Madeira’s native laurisilva forest. Even families can walk Levada dos Balcoes that starts in the mountain hamlet of Ribeiro Frio and terminates at a dizzying overlook of jagged high peaks and deep verdant valleys. Another levada starting from the same hamlet takes slightly more adventurous walkers to Portello, a four-hour trek past heather, lily of the valley trees and wild orchids.

11. Westmann Islands, Iceland

Heimaey, the only inhabited isle among Iceland’s Westmann Islands, shows off its volcanic origins wherever possible.

A four-mile path threads atop the towering cliffs on the island’s west side, starting at the 18-hole golf course where the lava fields are out of bounds. Flanked by the crashing sea and a conglomerate of black lava and verdant farmland, the trail provides plenty of close-ups of puffins, the island’s signature birds, as well as guillemot, oystercatchers and others.

The trail wanders near some curious features, including wooden racks hung with dried fish heads, and a 1940s ship’s motor beached on a stretch of black sand that also harbours plant fossils. Once the trail climbs to the island’s southern tip, you’ll be standing near an old weather station that’s recorded winds as high as 110 knots.

12. Pico Island, Azores, Portugal

In the Azores archipelago, Pico Island’s most famous commodity is wine. But the island’s vineyards are hardly ordinary. On this volcanic isle, a maze of black lava stone walls shields the grapes from salt and wine.

The five-mile Vinhas da Criacao Velha trail slices through this landscape where waves tumble against coastal jagged rocks and natural pools, while small sandy beaches break up the desolate volcanic scape. The grapes responsible for Pico’s notable aperitif wine, Verdelho, grow along the latter part of the trail providing views of a seemingly endless expanse of vineyards that are a patchwork of lava stone walls. This landscape, where the grapes are cultivated on mineral-rich volcanic soil, is so unique, it’s designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Also visible along the path are the rocky profiles of the Islets of Madalena, stately old manor houses, and curious tracks, evidence of where wagons once transported grapes and wine barrels.

1. 8 of the Most Unique Paths in the World
2. 8 of the Most Unique Walking Paths in the World

[Edited. Some links and images added.]

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