Are you tired of the same type of holiday every year? During the summer, you go to the seaside, bask in the sunshine and work on your tan. Come autumn and spring, you head out on a city tour, and spend your time in pubs and museums, walking around and getting to know a city as much as you can over a weekend or a few days more. Are you ready for a different kind of holiday, something both adventurous and exciting? Why not go on a walking holiday?
A walking holiday is precisely what you think it is – you travel to a certain destination, and spend a weekend, a week, or more, walking, getting to know a certain area, and most importantly – enjoying nature and your time alone. Don’t think you need any special kind of stamina. You do need to be in a bit of a shape, but you can take your time, work up your own pace, and walk at your own leisure.
To get you inspired, here are five of the best walking holidays to take in Europe, this year, and any other year.
A Tour the Mont Blanc
This one will take you through some of the most amazing parts of France, Italy and Switzerland, going around Mont Blanc itself. It is mostly known as a cycling route, but you can of course walk it as well.
It totals a relatively short 170 kilometers, and you can tackle it in about 10 days. It is challenging though, so be prepared. The going can be steep at times, so you will need to dig deep, but that should not discourage you at all. The view all the way around will make it all worthwhile.
You can find decent accommodation all along the way, ranging from hotels to hostels and bed and breakfasts, and you can even book some of your stays in advance, if you feel you need to know where you will be spending a given night.
Wicklow Way runs through the Wicklow Mountains, and was first established back in the ‘80s. Today it is one of the most popular walking holidays you can decide to take.
Your journey begins at Rathfarnham and takes you all the way to Clonegal – through forest and country, and plenty of rural scenery. In the north, you will also have your eyes on the mountains themselves, but as you move on south, the climb will be much gentler. In fact, most walk from north to south, which is easier, but does not offer the same sense of accomplishment.
Bear in mind that the climb up north can be difficult, so don’t attempt it if you are not properly prepared.
The French Way of the Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is one of the most popular pilgrim routes on Europe, and the French Way is in turn its most popular route. You do not need to be religious to go on this walking holiday though.
If you decide to walk the full length of the French Way, you will start out at St. Jean Pied du Port, and take the 780 kilometers to Santiago de Compostela, over any length of time that suits you best. The accommodation along the route is great, so you will always be able to take a break if you need to, and rest up.
The going itself is tougher in France than in Spain, but the sights along the way are amazing, and you will have plenty of people to talk to and share experiences with, so you will easily be able to take your mind of the distance, if you need to.
Pennine Way is one of the oldest walking holidays in Europe, first opening in 1965. Today, it is recognized as a national trail, yet it has still retained most of its old-world charm.
The Way totals 429 kilometers, and starts in Derbyshire, ending just near the Scottish border, at Kirk Yethold. You will be passing through many a national park on the way, so you will certainly be experiencing nature at its most potent. You can tailor your experience to your level of fitness and time off, and many walkers tackle the Way one bit at a time, and spend a few days in a certain area before moving on. There is something for everyone here, and the serenity and the calm will certainly have you engulfed in no time.
There you have it – four holidays to get you moving, and keep your heart and mind working. Make sure to pack well, and don’t forget your spirit of adventure.