10 of the best off-grid adventures in Europe: readers tips

From islands in Sweden to peaks in Georgia, readers reveal their favourite unspoilt corners

Winning tip: Roaming Romania

The Fagaras are Romanias highest mountains and we spent a couple of days hiking them from our base in the beautiful town of Victoria; the open-air market had everything we needed for the day, and trail markings were excellent. We stayed at Podragu chalet (open May to November) where we swam in the beautiful lake before breakfast and had a late lunch on the top of Moldoveanu. In nine hours of hiking the only communication we had was from a dog on a remote hill, barking to keep us away from its flock of sheep.
Ruth

Spains Picos ring

Hiking
Hiking to Refugio Vega de Urriellu, in the Picos de Europa. Photograph: Alamy

For hiking, the Anillo de Picos in Asturias is an extreme mountaineering experience. It takes anything from three to eight days to see the whole national park, with its incredible limestone canyons and cliffs. It is very hard work, so a good level of fitness is key. Avoid starting from Covadonga on the edge of the park: it gets insanely busy and the obligatory shuttle bus is expensive. Staying in Gijn or Oviedo beforehand means easy access to the airport, and buses run from there to Cangas de Ons or Cabrales where you can pick up supplies although the parks nine refugios are well-stocked with beer, blue cheese, chorizo and stews. They are also relatively cheap, but camping just outside is free.
elanillodepicos.com
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Readers’ tips competition: send a tip for a chance to win a 200 voucher

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print, and the best entry each week (as chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet) wins a 200 voucher from hotels.com. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage

Untrodden Croatia

Kuterevo
Photograph: Alamy

Exploring Croatia? Skip overcrowded and over-explored (although stunning) Plitvice national park and instead visit Kuterevo bear sanctuary. Youll probably need a car or to hitch a ride, as this haven for native brown bears is tucked away but its worth the effort. Operating on donations, the sanctuary is a community project where everyone chips in. You can potter around and get a real feel for the effort and heart that has been invested in this unique home for its rescued residents. The natural landscape has been used to create enclosures for the bears, and a sighting of one of these majestic natives will leave a lasting impression.
visit-lika.com/en
Rachel

Lakeside Sweden

House
Lake Mlaren. Photograph: Alamy

Our cabin on Selan, a small island in Lake Mlaren, north-west of Stockholm, had no water or electricity. We had to get water from the lake and use candles in the evening. It feels a million miles from the hustle and bustle of Stockholm, yet is a mere 1.5-2-hour drive from Arlanda airport. We loved swimming/rowing in the lake, running/walking in the woods, and reading books in front of the fire. For those who prefer modern conveniences, there are fully equipped cabins with everything you need.
Find cabin stays at
camping.se/en/
Natalie

St Anna Archipelago, Sweden

Sea
St Anna archipelago. Photograph: Anders Blomqvist/Getty Images

We visited in July for a week of kayaking and wild camping around the small, mainly uninhabited islands. The weather was warm, averaging 25C most days, although the nights were much cooler. The Baltic sea was also very warm, at 17C. Food was fairly expensive compared with the UK, but Sweden made up for it with its breathtaking landscapes. A must to try is blbrssoppa berry-flavoured tea. The islands are mainly uninhabited, meaning there are not really any places to get supplies, so youll need to carry all your water and food in your kayaks.
Local company
Do the North offers equipment hire and advice
Abi

Off-the-beaten-track cove

Cala
Cala Coticcio, Caprera island, Sardinia. Photograph: Alamy

A ferry ride across stunning waters from Palau in north-east Sardinia is the beautiful island of La Maddalena. From there, take the causeway east to the isle of Caprera. Experience a magical and sensational adventure as you travel to its far side, called Cala Coticcio, or Tahiti beach the most secret beach in the whole of Sardinia. You park close to weird rock formations off the road in the north-east of the island and then it is a steep and rocky hike of almost an hour to the beach. This is a hidden paradise not to be missed.
Ellen Hinkley

Remote Azerbaijan

The
The shepherds village of Khinaliq. Photograph: Chris Pickles

OK, this is the very far fringes of Europe: the small shepherds village of Khinaliq in the Caucasus mountains, the highest village in Azerbaijan. The drive from the nearest town, Quba, is extreme enough, as a beaten-up Lada screams around hairpin bends and through deep gorges. The village offers fantastic hiking in one of the most rugged mountain ranges on earth. In the evening, stave off the cold with a traditional tea and watch the shepherds drive their sheep in from the mountaintops. The drive costs about 18, and accommodation (can be booked online) in a hospitable shepherds house, with lots of hearty stew, was also 18 for a night.
Chris Pickles

Georgian trekking

Meadows
Meadows in the village of Zhabeshi, Upper Svaneti, Georgia. Photograph: Andrew Mayovskyy/Getty Images

Georgia is one of the most amazing yet underrated destinations for hiking. The four-day Mestia-to-Ushguli trek is the easiest logistically: a minivan takes you to Mestia from Zugdidi (20 lari, 6), which is reached by night train from the capital Tbilisi. You can camp or stay in guesthouses in villages Zhabeshi (pictured), Iprali and Adishi on your way to Ushguli, a Unesco world heritage site with a stunning glacier walk. Guesthouses typically charge about 15 a night with breakfast and dinner. Most have limited hot water and the electricity supply is intermittent. The mountain views, however, are truly stunning.
caucasus-trekking.com
Genevieve

Climbing waterfalls, Wales

Clydach
The Clydach gorge. Photograph: Alamy

The Clydach gorge, west of Abergavenny, is a spectacular location at any time of year, but we recently took part in a spot of gorge scrambling there with Inspire2Adventure. Climbing waterfalls isnt something most people do every day. We absolutely loved it. Seeing such a natural spectacle as well as the beautiful viaduct that runs across the top of the valley from the gorge itself was spectacular. There are plenty of campsites nearby for a cheap stay. Inspire2Adventure
Alexandra Sore

La Finca Paradiso, Andaluca

La
La Finca Paradiso

This perfect art retreat is set in 33 acres of stunning gardens, with cacti standing like magnificent statues. Off-grid, and using only organic products, food and vegetables sourced locally and onsite, it makes for a beautiful and highly unusual holiday, amid desert country.
lafincaparadiso.com, from 75 B&B
Dee Wadham

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