Whether you are planning a hike in the Cévennes (France) or Romania, believe us the amount and quality of data available is not the same! You will find out what were our three sources of information.
For the part of our journey between Portugal and Montenegro, we relied heavily on the layout of the GRs (Long Distance Footpaths) and the European trails ; on one hand because these routes cross mythical places that we did not want to miss, on the other hand because the information concerning these busy roads is available and rather reliable.
It is relatively simple to find on the internet detailed information about the GRs and in particular on the site of the French Federation of Hiking (FFR). It is difficult to quote them all but note that the GR system is also used in other European countries like Portugal, Spain or Italy.
On the European side, a network of long-distance hiking trails has been developed thanks to the European Walking Federation (ERA-EWV-FERP)’s initiative and efforts. Today there are 12 of these E-Paths and they are marked and maintained by the member countries and organizations of the Federation. Over the past decade, more and more long-distance hiking routes have been set up in Europe. On our route, we decided to follow the Rota Vicentina, the Via Alpina and the Via Dinarica. Fruits of public or private initiatives, as the case may be, these trails are meant to make tourism live in sublime regions, out of the question therefore to miss them!
After Montenegro and as we left these trails with a higher frequentation, the sources of information became rarer. We relied heavily on various dedicated sites and participatory platforms.
The following three applications work substantially on the same principle: free and collaborative resources shared by users.
Partner of the European Federation of Hiking, the Dutch site Traildino is full of detailed information on itineraries: descriptions, gpx tracks, comments, associated bibliography, pictures... all of it sorted by continent and then by country!
The Wikiloc application, entirely designed with free software, allows to create and share itineraries for hiking but also for other activities. The courses are created, documented, communicated, and sometimes evaluated, by the members of the community. In Albania, Greece or Romania, we were inspired by the itineraries found on this site.
The small “plus” of Walkopedia is its rating system of routes according to several criteria, even if it is quite subjective: beauty, interest of the natural site, negatives, etc.
Sometimes our usual allies were not enough to allow us to see clearly on the route to be taken. In these cases, we left our instincts and Google Images decide for us. Concretely, this represents a few evenings spent side by side in front of a screen, one on the map that asks the other "Hey, check how looks like the" Parku Kombëtar Bjeshkët te Nemura ", the other doing the Internet search: "Awww that looks amazing, must absolutely go! Ah, mmmhh there are also lots of bear pictures ... "
It is quite simple, don't you think?
See you soon.
Read the Part 1 of the article: Knowing what you want