The Natural Adventure was founded by people who love hiking and cycling in wild and wonderful places. Places that we want to keep that way. Responsible tourism has, therefore, been at the heart of what we do since the get go.
Responsible, sustainable, ethical or regenerative tourism, call it what you will – tracks and trails are more our thing than terminology. Our thing is also to respect and work with the main pillars of responsible tourism on these trails. We call these pillars the four Ps of people, profit, place and philanthropy – and we walk the talk whenever we can.
“Responsible tourism is all about respect. When you hike, you are in someone else’s garden. When you cycle, you’re following in the slipstream of local people’s lives. And when you buy your picnic from the local market, you are sustaining someone’s family.” – Alex Pazderski, CEO and co-founder, The Natural Adventure
Working closely with local partners, from hoteliers to hikers, we create holidays that are immersed in cultural heritage, where you meet local people and have plenty of time to engage fully with them too. The Natural Adventure is a slow adventure, so that you can savour and learn from new cultures on your travels. From meeting traditional cheese makers in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains to vintners in the Rahovec Valley of Kosovo, we keep your journeys real. This is why most of our holidays are self-guided so that you can chat til the cows come home.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our adventure in the Tusheti region of Georgia. It was remote, beautiful and we experienced a way of life forgotten in much of Europe. Our luggage was transported by horse and we stayed in individual family run guesthouses, each different but all hospitable. The Albano Pass lived up to its nerve wracking reputation but we felt safe with our local driver.” – P. Jones on our Transcaucasian Trail holiday
The majority of our walking and cycling holidays are in remote parts of the world from Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains to Ireland’s Beara Peninsula, where tourism is a vital source of income and the money we spend on beds, brekkies or booze goes a long way.
Using small, independently-owned hotels when possible, tried and tested by our team, is rule number one for us. Encouraging our hosts to use locally-produced food as best they can, and we recognise that this isn’t always easy, is rule number two. And using local transfer companies or guides is always of prime importance.
In addition, if we direct you to the local market to buy a picnic for your pannier before heading off into the Tatras in Poland, or to a particular valley on Cape Verde’s Santo Antão Island so that you can sample the best local grog en route, then we are scratching even deeper beneath the surface of sustainability. And rest assured, we will keep scratching that itch.
The Natural Adventure is one where we promote and protect our precious landscapes. It’s why we were founded in 2009, creating low impact adventure itineraries in the Balkan countries. By highlighting the likes of Bulgaria or Bosnia-Herzegovina for walking holidays, for example, we engage with local people committed to conservation, we reinforce a pride of place for local communities, and we support families to keep living in some of the planet’s most pristine and remote locations, by providing income and incentives for them to do so.
We now operate in over 50 countries, showing people that they can have a superb holiday by walking or cycling, going gently and graciously.
In terms of the bigger picture and the climate crisis, we promote public transport within our destinations, we rarely use car rentals and we recommend getting to places without flying when possible.
“Particularly welcoming was the Nderlysa gueshouse experience – talking to the family via their younger daughter. Their hospitality, eating inside their house, being entertained by a visiting musician and their local food was exceptionally good. Hotel Dini food was also special. All local people were helpful and attentive and we did exchange conversations in a very friendly manner -sometimes by signing and laughing! Basically we had a really wide-ranging, fascinating experience of a country and people. Thank you for all your care.” – Linda and Bob on our Trails of the Albanian Alps holiday
In April 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we launched the Support Local Communities Initiative. We have enabled an option when booking a tour for customers to make a donation to support our local partners. 100% of the donations go directly to our local suppliers. This way clients will give back to the places they visit on their travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn some much-needed income.
We are also very mindful of the fact that, while so many of us are enjoying the freedom of travel again, our friends in Ukraine have suffered the exact opposite. Russia’s war in their country has been the most horrific happening in Europe in recent times, and we continue to stand in solidarity with Ukrainians during this time. We also continue to offer a way for you to support them by buying a virtual tour of their beloved Carpathians, or else by donating directly to our chosen charity there.