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Hiking has long been considered one of the premier ways to experience top world vacation locations.
International travel experts recommend three locations - with hiking trails ranging from afternoon strolls to 10-day treks - for hikers looking to experience local cultures in adventurous ways.
Total Distance: 3-4 miles
— Kurt Kutay, president of Wildland Adventures
For centuries, the island of Corsica was a highly coveted piece of land and an important war pawn. Now its beauty makes it one of the best hiking destinations, says Ward Luthi, president and founder of international travel group Walking The World, in Fort Collins, Colo. Luthi recommends a trail on the west coast of Corsica that runs between the small towns of Macinaggio and Barcaggio. "You can bring a picnic lunch and spend a day meandering on this gentle trail, taking in incredible views of the Mediterranean and the aquatic life," he says.
For additional views of the sea, Luthi recommends climbing Corsica's signal towers. "The towers are made from white rocks in which they've carved windows that just frame the ocean perfectly," he says.
The land cost for the trip to Corsica is $3,595.
Total Distance: 3 to 5 miles
The Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's main attractions, tower 214 meters above the Atlantic. The trail along the cliffs offers spectacular views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the Maumturk Mountains, as well as other sights along the western seaboard of County Clare. Nature lovers will also enjoy the large population of cliff-nesting seabirds on this trail. Luthi recommends hiking along the cliffs to Doolin, a small fishing village about five miles off the coast, for a traditional Irish dinner and live, authentic Celtic music.
The trip to Ireland, including airfare from Denver, is $3,899.
Total Distance:40 miles
Petra (Greek for "rock") is an ancient city carved from the red sandstone cliffs of southern Jordan that once served as the hub of international trade 2,000 years ago. Today, it's Jordan's top attraction. Kurt Kutay, president of Wildland Adventures in Seattle, recommends breaking away from tourist-heavy trails by taking a five-day trek along the well-preserved Nabatean Temple Trail that starts at the Feynan Ecolodge in the Dana Nature Reserve and ends at the Monastery, Petra's largest monument. "We suggest using the communal Bedouin tent for the most authentic experience, but for those trekkers preferring more privacy, four-person dome tents are available for each couple," Kutay says.
Along the way, Kutay recommends taking a dip in the Dead Sea, appreciating ancient petroglyphs and watching the sunrise from behind the beautiful red mountains.
Petra offers two different options: Jordan Explorer starts from $2,685, and Bedouin Trek to Petra starts from $4,995.
To cover the costs for international travel, individuals can wire money transfers to France, Ireland or Jordan with the help of an online foreign exchange service, which provides tools such as a free online currency converter and 24/7 customer service. Oftentimes, travelers overlook the fees and spread in currency rates that are associated with making international travel payments from a bank account or credit cards. These expenses can be avoided when using an online foreign exchange service.
In the end, every trail leads to a better understanding of the world. "Getting out of the vehicle and walking across a community gives you the chance to interact and learn about their cultures," Kutay says.
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