6 PLACES OFF THE BEATEN PATH TO BACKPACK AROUND THE WORLD

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1.PEAKS OF THE BALKANS TRAIL—ALBANIA, KOSOVO, AND MONTENEGRO

For many years the Balkans were associated with a tumultuous and violent political landscape. Thankfully, those days are long over, and now the region offers adventure travelers a blend of jaw-dropping scenery and rich culture heritage. The transnational Peaks of the Balkans Trail leads trekkers through the Dinaric Alps and into corners of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.

Once a literal no-go zone for travelers, this 120-mile route is cobbled together from the ancient footpaths once trod by local shepherds. It’s also more than a mere backpacking loop—locals offer home stays for hikers, complete with home-cooked meals and a packed lunch for the trail. While the trekking route is signposted, guides are recommended for outings into the remote and sparsely populated highlands. Rugova Experience, based in Peja, Kosovo, is a good resource.

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