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Famous Journeys

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Introduction

There are many forms of travelling. You can take a city break, relax for a week on a nice beach, spend a month in a country visiting several places or even do an extensive round the world trip. During all these travels, you are bound to visit specific sights, places, buildings and other landmarks. Still, sometimes and for some people the travelling itself is more important than arriving or to visit specific places. It's all about travelling and although you are definitely going to see and do what others will as well, the main reason is to travel between point a and point b and just see what happens. The travelling becomes an addiction, feeling restless while staying in one place to long. There are dozens of journeys in the world and you can create your own one without any problem. Still, these journeys tend to take quite a while and cover quite a large distance. The journeys described below are just an example and there are many varieties on these routes. There are also dozens of possible things to do and see along the way which you are totally free to do or just to skip and move on further. They are just meant to get people started, searching for the numerous possibilities that are out there.
For more information about road trips, visit the Famous Roads article.

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Africa

Cairo to Cape Town

Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

© All Rights Reserved Ivory

Trans-African trips are less popular compared to travelling across Asia or South America for example. It also requires some more research regarding visa regulations and safety situation, to name just a few. Still, for those who make it these trips are very rewarding. Cairo to Cape Town is just one of the numerous possibilities and there is no real fixed route, although most travellers stick to at least certain roads or railways. Sometimes you even need to fly parts if safety is a concern. Countries to be visited along the way are Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

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Asia

Banana Pancake Trail

No real trail, but a tongue-in-cheek reference to routes that connect places in South East Asia visited by young Westerners. The nickname derives from the typical backpackers' hangouts that serve banana pancakes for breakfast. A popular connection of these routes is Bangkok to Singapore overland or the circuit ThailandLaosVietnam - Cambodia - Thailand.

Hippie Trail

While thousands of travellers have taken the Hippie Trail route in historic times, the modern incarnation of the trail came into being in the late 1960s when thousands of young Europeans boarded their VW buses and drove them down to India via Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many of todays backpackers' hangouts and hostels along this trail trace their origins or their claim to fame back to this time, most noteable the Lale Pudding Shop in Istanbul, between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

The exact route changed overtime as security issues became worse or better and visa rules changed, but the flow of overland travellers from Istanbul to India never really stopped. Fixtures that stayed were the SultanahmetSultanahmet area in Istanbul, Goreme in Cappadocia, Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd and Bam in Iran and as important milestone the crossing from Iran into Pakistan at Zahedan.

Silk Road

The name Silk Road alone is magic. For thousands of years it has made people dream of exotic countries and great riches that could be made and lost along this road. While there has never been just one silk road but more a network of trade routes, many people mean the Northern Route through Central Asia first described by Herodot in 430 BC when they talk about the Silk Road. Noteable cities along the Silk road still in existence today are Xi'an, Turpan, Hotan, Kashgar, Peshawar, Kabul, Bamyan, Herat, Urümqi, Samarkand, Bukhara, Yazd, Tehran, Konya, Bursa, Istanbul.

Trans-Siberian Railway

UB-Irk-Train022

UB-Irk-Train022

© All Rights Reserved mvicol

Although technically this journey starts in Europe, the majority of the trip will take you along the northern parts of Asia. The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the longest continuous railway trips anywhere in the world. The original route starts in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok in the far east of the continent.

However, more travellers take the Trans-Mongolian, which travels south from Irkutsk and Lake Baikal towards Mongolia and further one to Beijing, making this trip an excellent start of a trip to the eastern and southeastern parts of Asia.
Other options include the Trans-Manchurian train from Moscow to Beijing and the Baikal–Amur Line (BAM) which is partly a more northern variety of the trip towards Khabarovsk in the east of Russia.

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Central America

Maya Route

TIkal, main plaza

TIkal, main plaza

© All Rights Reserved ericurly

Although you might follow a specific route you have in mind, bascially the former Maya Empire is formed by the current countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, parts of Honduras and the Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Campeche and Tabasco. Therefore, you do not have to visit all countries where you can find Maya Ruins, you can even choose to stick to just one country, for example Mexico or Guatemala.
Still, a suggested route leads from the Mexican part where you can visit for example Chichen Itza and Palenque or Calakmul, towards the eastern coast of the country where you can also relax and enjoy some fine beaches. From here the route goes southwards into Belize and west to Guatemala where you will find the famous Tikal ruins. Further south in Guatemala there are other things to explore as well, including Antigua. Just across the border in the east of the country you will find Copan, the famous ruins in Honduras. After visiting ruins, ancient cities and some fine natural wonders, you can finish your trip in a more relaxing way at Roatan, off the northcoast of Honduras.
Although El Salvador is less known, you might find yourself totally alone when visiting ruins or other sites. The choice is yours!

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Europe

Gibraltar to North Cape

Nordkap

Nordkap

© All Rights Reserved leopard

There are dozens of routes in Europe but if you have the time and the choice to just make one, be sure to drive all the way up north until you can not go any further. Then you've arrived at the North Cape, the northernmost piece of land in mainland Europe. And why not start in some of the most southern places in Europe: Gibraltar! It's roughly 6,000 kilometres from there and there are numerous routes to choose from. From Gibaltar the usual route goes through Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and northern Finland before ending up at the North Cape in Norway.

Although officially there is another point just to the west of the North Cape that is actually the northernmost point, the North Cape itself has all the glory. You won't be the only one, that's for sure, but it will be a memorable trip and experience, standing on the cliffs of the cape, overlooking the ocean towards Svalbard and the North Pole.

Way of St. James / Camino de Santiago

Santiago Cathedral

Santiago Cathedral

© All Rights Reserved Rish_n_Ben

All roads to lead to Rome is one saying, another could be that all paths lead to Santiago de Compostela. At least it looks that way if you take a look at how many different ways there are to walk to the Cathedral in Santiago. From almost any European country there is a Pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostela.

The most common routes get together in the north of Spain near Puenta de Reina, and go to Santiago de Compostela, via Burgos, and Léon. A less busy 'camino' goes along the coast, and is often considered to be more beautiful, because of the landscape. For some people however Santiago is not the end of the walk, their goal is the original end. Even in the years before Christ, a lot of people went on a pilgramage. They went to Finesterre, to what was then considered to be, the end of the world.

The Blue Waves of the Danube

Partially following the classic route of the famous Orient Express trains from Paris to Istanbul, the Danube Cycling Trail is easily the most popular cycling trail in Europe. Starting in the Black Forest area in Southern Germany the Danube is the most European of all rivers, touching Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.

reflection on the danube 2

reflection on the danube 2

© All Rights Reserved em78


From Donaueschingen until Gyor in Hungary most of the trail is smooth asphalt, flat and either car free or with low traffic, making it immensely popular with cycle tourists. Hardy riders continue from Budapest along the Danube to either the Black Sea at the very end of the river or turn south at the Romanian-Bulgarian border town Ruse to follow the wake of countless historic travellers on foot, camel and horseback to Istanbul.

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Middle East

Istanbul to Cairo

Palmyra

Palmyra

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Travelling from Istanbul to Cairo is travelling through history. Although there is no specific route and there are many side trips to take, there are certain highlights along the road which are definately worth a visit. After visiting Istanbul it is recommended to go to the central parts of Turkey, including the great landscapes and otherworldly places of Cappadocia. From there you can head towards the east of Turkey or travel southeast directly towards Syria, a country with friendly people, fantastic culture (Palmyra for example), one of the oldest cities in the world (Damascus) and great desert scenery. Other highlights include the bustling city of Aleppo and the Crac des Chevaliers, a real crusader castle like in a boy's dream. If things are safe, a side trip of a week to Lebanon is definately worth a try.

From Damascus, most people travel south to Amman and on to Petra and the deserts of Wadi Rum, before taking a break at the wonderful underwater world of the Red Sea near Aqaba.

From Aqaba, boats go to the Sinai peninsula from where you can go either directly east to visit Cairo and the Pyramids or sea something more of Egypt and take a Nile cruise towards Luxor.

Red Tape
One big issue in organising this trip is getting a visa to Syria, especially when you also want to visit Israel. Syrian officials (and immigration officials from some other muslim countries around the world) will deny entry to anybody with an Israeli stamp in their passports, even if they have a valid visa. It is for this reason that this journey is usually done Istanbul to Cairo and not the other way around - going Istanbul to Cairo allows you to make a detour to Jerusalem after you have visited Syria.

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North America

Route 66

Historic Route 66 Motel, Seligman, Arizona

Historic Route 66 Motel, Seligman, Arizona

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Route 66 is probably the most imaginative route there is in the United States. Route 66 was established in 1926 and officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985, but keeps being popular among people wanting to travel as much of the original route by car or motorcycle. Route 66 basically was not just one simple road between Chicago and Los Angeles. Instead, constant changes over the years meant that routes and total length constantly changed. But during the years, Route 66 at least was recognisable as a road that you could actually follow all the way towards the west coast of the USA.
Nowadays, it is much more difficult to travel this route. Parts of the road are now designated a National Scenic Byway or are named Historic Route 66, and are perfect for those who want to combine a more modern roadtrip to the USA with some historical background by following as many parts of the original Route 66.
The traditional start of Route 66 is near downtown Chicago by the train station. It is possible to eat at a restaurant that claims to be the first (or last) restaurant on the road depending on which way you're going. One of the longest and most popular stretches travels between Kingman and Seligman in Arizona, making a loop northwards from Interstate 40 and passing several smaller villages. Great vintage signs, some diners and motels can still be found on this stretch of historic Route 66.

The Wilder Trail

The Wilder Trail is one way to truly experience the Midwestern USA. Its travels to several of the homesteads that the famous frontier children's writer Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in, or more correctly suffered in. Its starts in Pepin, Wisconsin and meanders through Independence, Kansas to Walnut Grove, Minnesota to De Smet, South Dakota. There are other Wilder sights scattered throughout the midwest including Missouri.

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Oceania

Explorer Highway

Coober Pedy welcomes you!

Coober Pedy welcomes you!

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The Explorer Highway is just one of the examples of great road trips in Australia. The route follows the trail of legendary explorer John McDouall Stuart, the first European to cross Australia from south to north. Although the original route is not exactly the same anymore, parts of it still are. The route starts in Adelaide, or actually in Port Augusta, north of the city. From there you cross the deserts of South Australia and the Northern Territory before ending in tropical Darwin. Along the way are many points of interest including Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Katherine. But don't forget to take bypasses to Uluru (Ayers Rock) for example, or to Kakadu National Park up in the north of the country. To enjoy this trip, take at least about 3 to 4 weeks. Since several years, it is also possible to travel all the way by train from Adelaide to Darwin.

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South America

Amazon River

Night spotting in the Amazon

Night spotting in the Amazon

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

As the Amazon river is one of the biggest and longest rivers in the world, it is also one of the best journeys over water anywhere in the world. Although you can comfortably cruise on a ship towards Manaus, the best way to travel along the waters of this mighty river, is by the local boats which travel up and down the Amazon river between Belem in the northeast of Brazil and Pucallpa in central Peru. There are also a number of relatively fast boats that travel mainly between Manaus and both Santarem to the east and Tefe and Tabatinga to the west. There are plenty of places to stop during the journey including the places mentioned earlier. From most of those places you can explore the Amazon Rainforest, either on very basic and rustic trips or spending time in luxurious floating lodges in the middle of nowhere. Places to arrange this best are Manaus and Tabatinga, both in Brazil, and Iquitos in Peru.
Travelling all the way from Belem to Pucallpa by slow boats will cost you at least several weeks, including stops a month or more. But the good thing is, it won't cost you much money as trips on these boats are cheap and come with three meals a day as well. There are also numerous side rivers to explore including the Rio Madeira and Rio Negra in Brazil, both from Manaus.

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This is version 50. Last edited at 10:17 on Jul 5, 13 by KellieBarnes. 5 articles link to this page.

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