The Best of the Lycian Way
Callisthenes, an ancient Greek propagandist, once wrote that when Alexander the Great's army approached the Lycian Peninsula, in what is now southern Turkey, the Mediterranean Sea receded so his troops could pass along the coast with ease. Even today, the intoxicatingly beautiful Turquoise Coast seems charmed. Follow in Alexander's footsteps for 15 days, trekking the Lycian Way, a 310-mile trail waymarked in 1999 that hugs the Mediterranean from Fethiye, in the west, to Antalya, in the east. You'll walk the most scenic parts of the Way—ambling along clifftop paths descending to fishing villages, and visiting ancient ruins—then head inland to top out on 8,343-foot Uludag before returning to coastal beaches. You'll camp nine nights; the other five you'll stay in lodges, like the very Zen Sazlik China House, at Adrasan Bay.
High Point: Hiking to the lost city of Patara, site of one of the oldest-known temples dedicated to Apollo, thought to have been built more than 3,000 years ago.
Low Point: Learning to cast aside all notions of mealtimes—most Turkish café; owners open when they're good and ready.
Travel Advisory: The U.S. State Department has warned Americans to defer nonessential travel to Turkey, largely due to terrorist bombings in Istanbul late last fall. This trip takes place on a remote coast 300 miles to the south.
Outfitter: KE Adventure Travel (800-497-9675, www.keadventure.com)
When to Go: April, May, and September
Paddling Lakes, Rivers, and the Adriatic Sea
During eight days of paddling and swimming in western Croatia, you'll explore the Mreznica, Zrmanja, and Krupa rivers, which flow from dense forests through canyons where dozens of waterfalls tumble down high limestone walls. Then spend a day hiking or mountain-biking Plitvice Lakes National Park. You'll do lots of riverside camping, with optional hotel stays.
Outfitter: Huck Finn Adventure Company (www.huck-finn.hr)
When to Go: June to September
Price: From $418
Cycling Europe's Eastern Alps
Tucked between the Julian Alps and the Adriatic Sea, tiny Slovenia has virtually escaped the notice of Europe-bound cyclists. This ten-day trip from Vienna to Venice takes you over rolling hills and mountains, past vineyards, pristine lakes, and underground caves. Refuel with good Slovenian eats like sausages and pastas, and spend your nights in family-run pensions and a medieval castle.
Outfitter: REI Adventures (800-622-2236, www.rei.com/adventures)
When to Go: May to September
Hut-to-Hut in the High Tatras
They may be hard to pronounce, but the peaks (including 7,313-foot Jahnaci) and pathways (such as the Tatranska Magistrala) of northern Slovakia's High Tatra Mountains are an untapped playland. Spend nine days hiking, climbing, and overnighting in rustic high-alpine huts—like the 100-year-old Teryho chalet—en route to your summit goal, 8,711-foot Mount Gerlach, the tallest peak in the High Tatras.
Outfitter: Outdoor Travel Adventures (877-682-5433, www.otadventures.com)
when to go: June to September
Price: From $1,350