Walking holidays, for a variety of reasons, are getting more popular. Whether it is the fact that people are pulled to their simplicity, the idea of getting exercise whilst relaxing or the fact that they often let you see and appreciate parts of a country or region that are missed in other types of holiday – there are frankly a whole host of reasons for their popularity!
There is also the fact that we live in Europe, and therefore have access to some of the best walking trails anywhere in the world right on our doorsteps!
So whether you are already a seasoned walker or are looking to try it for the first time, here are some of the best walking holiday routes in Europe.
The island of Jersey has a lot going for it when it comes to walking holidays. The first and foremost is that it is, wait for it – an island – and not a particularly big one at that.
This means that navigation is pretty straightforward, especially on the coastal routes where it is possible to get lost, but not for too long as there is an abundance of landmarks.
The terrain is generally easy going with most walking routes a mixture of coastal trails and country lanes, meaning that a walking holiday on Jersey can be particularly good for the newcomers to walking holidays – a kind of gentle breaking in as it were!
Iceland is by now very much recognized as one of the most uniquely beautiful spots in Europe and it is now rightly a popular destination for all sorts of holidays, not just walking-based ones.
However, the east of the island remains unspoiled, a majestic landscape forged of ice and fire. Indeed, a route across this side of the island will take in everything from majestic waterfalls to ascents up small mountain paths and around the bases of rumbling volcanoes.
If you want a walking holiday where nature is the star of the show, then the east side of Iceland could be right up your street!
The Camino de Santiago
If you want a walking holiday with slightly more creature comforts then consider the Camino de Santiago.
This is in truth actually a series of walks that cover vast swathes of northeastern Spain and south east France that all lead to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
The routes are in fact to serve pilgrims making their way across northern Europe to the cathedral itself – though you don’t have to view it as a religious experience if that doesn’t appeal.
Instead, the appeal lies in the variety of routes available – there are dozens – and the fact that these routes have been in continuous use for hundreds of years. That means that the towns and villages you pass through are well used to walkers, and equipped with an excellent array of hotels, bars and restaurants designed to refresh and relax the weary pilgrim.
The Pirin and Rila Mountains
Located in Bulgaria, these mountain ranges are true hidden gems of European walking holidays.
Routes through this area will take in fragrant, dark pine forests, a wide variety of incredible wildlife (including bears!) high peaks, cool valleys, stunning waterfalls and glacial lakes.
A full trip through the region is going to take a week, and you do need a certain degree of fitness – this is a walking holiday at expert level. Your reward for the hard work in that week however will be to see some of the best natural landscapes that Europe has to offer.