As another summer is slowly drawing near its end, you might be already considering a holiday to take in the fall. Hitting the beaches may be fun, but as the weather turns, you are looking for something exciting, different, and new.
Walking holidays are hardly anything new, but if you have thus far limited yourself to visiting beaches and capital cities, this might be a treat for you. Bear in mind that you do need to have a bit of stamina, but a walking holiday can also be a great way to get yourself moving. If you are not motivated to join a gym, but do want to take care of your health, walking is a great way to get started.
In order to combine these two things, your plan to get healthier and your desire to get away for a bit, we give you our pick of the five best walking holidays in Europe.
The Tour the Mont Blanc
First on our list is a walking tour taking you through some of the most breathtaking nature in France, Italy and Switzerland. While it is more famous as a cycling tour, you can certainly walk it as well.
The tour is 170 kilometers long, and you can complete it in 10 days. Of course, you can linger longer at certain stops, and expand your holiday to two weeks or more. Bear in mind that if you are not at all fit, this route will be quite a challenge, as some of the bits are rather steep. However, the views will make up for it every single step of the way. You will be at the top of Europe, well, you will feel like it.
The accommodation choices are excellent, and you can choose anything from charming hostels to more luxurious hotels.
The West Highland Highway
The West Highland Highway is Scotland’s oldest footpath, and is one of the most popular walking holidays in the country. It totals 154 kilometers, so just a bit less than the Tour the Mont Blanc. The road itself leads mostly through pastures, and moors, and some of the views are captivating. For example, you will have a splendid view of the Campsie Fells. After that, you walk on to hills and farmlands.
You can choose among eight different stages of the highway, and explore to your liking. If you want, you can also go camping and experience a bit of the wilderness.
Most of the route is quite easy to tackle, and you will likely run into a pack of tourists wherever you go. Make sure to take a map with you, so you can go off exploring off the beaten path.
The Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is a collection of routes taken by pilgrims to the town of Santiago de Compostela. There are literally dozens of them you can choose from, ranging anywhere from a thousand kilometers, to a few hundred kilometers.
Some of the more popular Camino routes are the Portuguese, the French and the Northern way, but you can choose to go on any of the others, like the Original Way or the Silver Route.
Also, don’t think you need to be religious to go on a Camino. People walk them for different reasons, and you will certainly enjoy your time spent in Spain, France or Portugal.
The oldest walking holiday in Europe is Pennine Way, established in 1965. Today it is a national trail, another popular choice among hikers.
Its full length is 429 kilometers, but you can tailor it to your own liking. You will be able to get to know England from quite a different perspective, and build up your stamina as you go. There are plenty of historic sites to visit, from Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm.
Bear in mind that some of the routes on Pennine Way can be demanding, so check a map before you leave, and choose a trail in accordance with your fitness levels.
If you want a road that has a bit more mountain involved, then Wicklow Way is the perfect choice. Dating back to the 1980’s, it is still a tourist and hiker favorite.
There are 131 kilometers to walk in total, through forests and villages. The northern part of the route is a bit more steep, but as you move south, you will move onto easier going and a more hilly landscape. Most people walk the Wicklow Way from north to south, which is admittedly easier, but without the sense of accomplishment as the reverse.
Hopefully you feel inspired to jump into a pair of hiking boots, and take on the road. Happy trails!