Of late, searches for ‘experience’ vacations are on the rise, with most travelers looking to be at one with nature, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, and at the same time working off the holiday calories. A walking vacation offers all that and much more. Europe has many such places that you can explore on foot. Here is a round-up of some of the best walking trails that help you discover the continent’s natural beauty.
Hadrian’s Wall Walk
If you want to enjoy the beautiful English countryside, a must-do is the Hadrian’s Wall walk. Built in AD 122, the wall is a fine example of the might and power of the Roman Empire. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is spread across 130km. From the Wallsend near Newcastle Upon Tyne to Solway coast in Cumbria. It is a unique way of relishing history and soaking in natural beauty. walking tours spanning a few days are organized here for adventure enthusiasts. They usually start from the countryside of Northumberland, walking through the historic city of Carlisle and lastly, going into the Solway Coast. All along this long walk, you can feel the cool coastal breeze, watch the verdant green meadows, and the azure blue waters, invigorating every part of your being and at the same time reliving history. In fact, you can also check out some great walking trails at https://www.mickledore.co.uk/walking-holidays/hadrians-wall/ for your next vacation.
The Far East of Iceland
For ardent trekkers and hikers, this 8-day walk through Iceland is the best walking holiday you could have asked for. It starts with a hike to the tallest and most significant waterfalls in Iceland- Strútsfoss. Thereafter, you wade deeper into the cold country to Snaefell, a snow-capped peak at the height of 1,833 meters, taking in the beautiful panorama of Vatnajökull, and Bárðarbunga, an active volcano that had erupted in 2014. From here, you walk down to Jokulsa gorge and have three days of easy walking across the coastal region and through the ridges into the mythologically significant regions of Alfaborg. All along the walk, you can spot different wildlife and beautiful flora.
Amalfi Coast – Path of the Gods
Fill your palette with Europe’s most romantic coastlines at Amalfi. An eight-day walk, this trip will take you through coves, mountains, off-beat tracks, quaint villages and towns. Set against the classic Mediterranean backdrop with tall mountains and the blue ocean, this coastline along the southern edge of Italy is a must-do for all trekkers. The walk starts from the Agerola Plain going through ancient, rugged hillsides framed with deep gorges and down to the town of Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi. It takes you to the top of Monte Tre Calli, where you will be blown by the breathtaking views of the jagged coastline. The highlight of the trip is walking to the Path of the Gods (Il Sentiero degli Dei). Perched high above the Amalfi Coast, this 7.8 km route follows undulating hills, dotted with flowers, ancient stone houses used by primitive travelers, historic towns and a view of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
The Highlands, Scotland
The West Highland Way is a famous hike meant for walking stalwarts and is designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trails by Scottish National Heritage. In this 96km. trek, you experience different landscapes starting from Milngavie to Fort William, taking you through some stunning vistas. The high point of the trail is the Devil’s Staircase. It is a meandering track that takes walkers to the highest point of the walk from where you can get some of the most magnificent views of the countryside. A walk through the ‘lost valley’ of Coire Gabhail is enchanting too. It is a tough trek, but every step taken will be worth the effort as you end the walk with some extremely stunning vistas. You could choose mountain biking and horse riding when your feet start to give way.
Pirin and Rila Mountains, Bulgaria
A week-long trek, the Pirin and Rila mountains are home to rare wildlife, pine forests, panoramic views of glacial lakes, and the highest summit in the Balkans. It takes trekkers to some great peaks, including Vihren at 2,914 meters and Musala. All through the walk, you can feast your eyes on rare flower species, alpine meadows, and rocky cirques, along with spectacular summits and ridges. In this hike you get to visit the world-famous UNESCO site, Rila Monastery– the largest Christian monastery in Bulgaria You canalso take and pass through the ancient town of Bansko.
Julian Alps to Triglav- Slovenia
Walk across the spectacular Julian Alps of Slovenia to the summit of Mt. Triglav at 2,864 meters. Along the way, experience jaw-dropping mountain views including Triglav National Park, cross magnificent passes and relish lush green valleys before you climb up to one of the loftiest summits in the Alps – the triple-headed Triglav. This exhilarating trail offers an extensive panorama of the Julian Alps, Italy, and Austria, which is sure to take your breath away.
Picos De Europa, Spain
In this eight-day trek, you get to walk past green meadows dotted with colorful flowers. Explore traditional villages, and unearth some of the stunning coastal footpaths in the Liebana Valley of the Picos de Europa. While traversing through some of the most exquisite landscapes of Spain, sample cheese at the Cangas Market, meander around some of the quaint villages, tread past the narrow roads of the Hermida Gorge and experience the cable car at Fuente Dé that takes you to a 1000 meter peak.
The Corfu Trail, Corfu
Spend ten days walking across 200km. through about a hundred traditional villages, Byzantine monasteries, and ancient manor houses. Start from the mountainous north and come down to the rolling landscapes in the south. All along this sojourn, you will be spell-bound by the serenity of nature- from the high-peaked mountains, olive groves, beaches, and to unheard-of inland villages. Enjoy an excellent blend of idyllic coastal views, picturesque towns, and heritage sites in this popular walking trail in Europe.
Experience the mountains in traditional style in this majestic alpine trek – from shapely peaks, strolling routes, winding slopes, green pastures, to snow-capped mountains. The hike takes you to the Zillertal Alps, one of the most popular tourist spots in the alps. The highest point in the Zillertal is the Hochfeiler with an altitude of 3,509 meters above sea level with spectacular peaks all around it. During the hike you get to visit the picturesque towns of Innsbruck too.
Historic Bavaria, Germany
Germany has got many great walking trails such as this one along the Bavarian border in the heart of the country. This trail takes you through unspoiled farmlands, historic towns, vineyards and ancient forests. Don’t miss looking out for wild boar, goshawks and spotted deer in the woods. The highlights of the walk include; Nördlingen, a circular town with humongous gate towers, Dinkelsbühl, famous for its beer cellars, and the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, renowned for its medieval architecture.
It’s time to bid goodbye to rush-rush holidays. Instead escape into nature and enjoy these exciting, adrenaline-filled walking trips. All you need to pack is a comfortable pair of walking boots ) and you are all set to enjoy these scenic locales on your next holiday.