17 May 2017
Sometimes, you can’t beat long, lazy days sunning yourself on the beach. But when you’re used to a hectic pace of life, spending your holiday sitting still can be quite a challenge can’t it? Dare we say even a little boring? That’s why we love a walking holiday. While your legs settle into their pace and your eyes take in the ever-changing landscape, your mind clears and you start to really unwind. And there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a new location than on foot.
Fancy exploring coastal paths with beautiful ocean views or breathing in pristine air up in the mountains? We've chosen 6 of our favourite walking holiday destinations from around the world to inspire you to pull on those walking boots!
There’s more to the popular Algarve region of Portugal than championship golf and beach resorts. Head over to the rugged west coast and you’ll find wild Atlantic waves, secluded coves and over 300km of hiking trails. Follow the clifftop Castelejo Trail past tiny white-washed fishing villages and long sandy surfing beaches, to Europe’s most south-westerly point, Cabo de São Vicente. The lighthouse perched at the end of this dramatic headland is a stunning place to watch the sun dip behind the ocean at the end of the day.
Visit unforgettable Costa Rica and you’ll be spoilt for choice with walking routes. Want the thrill of climbing an active volcano? No problem. Fancy exploring dense tropical rainforests bursting with wildlife from bright-beaked toucans to loveable sloths? Certainly! Chances are you’ll also stumble across paradise beaches, deserted lagoons and tumbling waterfalls, perfect for diving into after a long trek. Don’t miss a cool walk through the eerie mists and towering trees of the Monteverde cloud forests up in the Costa Rican highlands.
Travel Counsellor Jakki visited Costa Rica on holiday - "We hired a car to do some exploring (with a very useful GPS), visiting the active Arenal volcano and some of the protected wildlife areas. We encountered howler monkeys overhead in the rainforest as well as white faced capuchins and spider monkeys as we followed jungle trails. We searched out tarantulas and tree frogs as well as ant-eaters and sloths, all seemingly harmless but very fascinating. All our trekking was very manageable and would be easily achievable by the moderately fit."
For a real trekking adventure, it has to be the Himalayas - home to the world’s highest mountains. The tiny kingdom of Bhutan offers you spectacular trekking opportunities, with views of mighty snow-capped peaks and deep forested valleys, along with the chance to experience ancient Buddhist traditions and a truly peaceful and remote way of life. Visit the mountain monasteries, or ‘dzongs’, built on the edge of heart-stopping cliffs, take in colourful Bhutanese festivals, and find yourself head over heels in love with the captivating land of the Thunder Dragon.
Travel Counsellor Jennifer visited Bhutan for a holiday - "The imposing Paro Dzong or monastery overlooking the town is a huge Tibetan like structure emanating peace and tranquillity and further out is one of Bhutan’s oldest and most revered temples dating back to the seventh century, the Kyichu temple. The most famous monastery in Bhutan though requires some effort and ideally suits those with a penchant for walking. This is the Taktshang Goemba or Tiger’s Nest, which literally clings to the side of a steep rocky cliff face 900 metres above Paro valley. It is hard to pinpoint highlights as there were so many, but this was indeed one of them. It was a breath taking and exhilarating walk up affording fine views of the surrounding valley and snow-capped mountains. Many monks were also walking up with very heavy loads on their backs from timber to tiles for the renovations that were taking place. As soon we entered the monastery, a feeling of peace and holiness enveloped us. This monastery is deeply venerated and to meditate here as we did, is a very powerful experience."
Europe’s highest mountain range spans a grand total of eight countries, including Switzerland, Germany and Italy. All of them boast spectacular walking trails, but our personal favourite has to be France. Nestled beneath the majestic Mont Blanc, the famous alpine town of Chamonix is a great place to start. Follow the Tour du Mont Blanc trails through this beautiful valley to discover vividly blue (and freezing) glacial lakes, breathtaking snowy ridges, and alpine meadows full of summer flowers. And the best part? You’ve really earned that delicious French cheese and wine at the end of the day!
Away from the hubbub of the souks and medinas, Morocco is a fantastic destination for a walking holiday, with several impressive mountain ranges to choose from. The most popular and serious routes are in the Atlas Mountains, where Mount Toubkal offers you a real hiking adventure to sink your teeth into. However, you don’t have to go all-out on the intrepid front, as there are plenty of gentler valley walks to enjoy, taking you past dusty Berber villages, remote gorges, and amazing viewpoints. You can even see the Sahara Desert on a clear day!
The Lake District
Take a trip to the beautiful Lake District, home of craggy mountains, famous poets and pretty market towns to find lovely walks for all abilities. Amble along the shores of the vast, silvery Lake Windermere or scale the heights of Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak. And while the Lake District might not be renowned for its sunny weather, there’s a certain romance to braving the rain for your walk before drying off in a cosy pub with a well-earned drink beside a roaring log fire.
Travel Counsellor Sarah visited the Lake District on holiday - "The 6 mile walk from Pooley Bridge to Howtown takes you over Barton Fell Common and bracken and sheep filled fields, with stunning views across the lake to Helvellyn Range. Picture postcard! There's plenty of photo stops along the way which made it an easy wander and the Ullswater Steamer is an alternative to walking back. "
Are you ready to explore the world on foot? Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today for even more great ideas for your next walking holiday!