For some of us, travel is a chance to get away from it all, escape and relax, but for others travel is an adventure to be savoured, and it involves a lot of exploring. For those of us with a consuming sense of wanderlust, there are many destinations around that world that offer us the chance to surround ourselves with awe-inspiring nature, marvellous architecture and great volumes of local culture. These make some of the most fantastic and memorable walking holidays you can imagine, so take a look at our top 5 destinations, and tell us, where would you go?
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is a castle straight out of the fairytale books; it was a personal project by Ludwig II of Bavaria, and he funded the build entirely out of his own fortune, rather than from public money. The castle is situated in the Alpine foothills, which make for a spectacular walk! Wander around the surrounding old towns, treating yourself to bakery treats along the journey, and finish up with a tour of the castle – the building is so immense that the tour is even a trek in itself, but we promise it’s worth it to take in the castle walls painted with old Bavarian legends and the flamboyant style of Ludwig II.
Cinque Terre, or The Five Lands is likely one of the most photographed destinations in the world, and it’s no surprise; these five towns on the coastal cliffs of Italy are a feast for the eyes. The houses in one of the towns, Riomaggiore, are painted in a rainbow of warm, sunshine tones, and they are stacked upon one another in traditional style.
It’s possible to hike along the coast and visit all the towns, but consider stopping off in each destination to sample some of the wonderful local cuisine; it’s world renowned – make sure to try the famous focaccia and the mouth-watering local honey ice cream.
A mountain range located in the North East of Italy; the Dolomites offer some of the most extraordinary mountain landscapes you’ve ever seen. Characterised by strangely jagged mountains made of carbonite rock, set against a background of contrasting rolling green hills dotted with traditional villages, the Dolomites are one of the walking ‘meccas’ of the world, attracting thousands of hikers every year.
The mountains are covered in twisting trails which were forged during WWI, where the Italian forces met the Austro-Hungarian troops, they are known as the ‘high paths’, and they can take a week to traverse – however, if you’re serious about hiking and you want to see some once-in-a-lifetime views, the trails come highly recommended.
When people think of the Fjords of Norway, they tend to instantly think of a river cruise; but did you know there are actually some wonderful hiking trails around the Fjords too? Why not take a 4-5hour hike to the famous Pupit Rock, a plateau that sits 604 metres above a landscape of sweeping hills and Fjords? There are also treks that take in lush valleys, rocky foothills and they allow you to finish up in a cosy lodge!
Giethoorn in Holland is the perfect getaway if you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the city; it’s an extremely famous village because it has no roads. That makes the whole place extremely peaceful! The idyllic homes are all adorable thatched roof houses with traditional shutters, and the gardens are all meticulously kept. 4 miles of canals run the village, but it is possible to explore by foot if you use the bridges!
Hiking Essentials for the Frequent Traveller
If you’re thinking of taking a walking holiday make sure you invest in a few good pairs of hiking boots, like these from Ptarmigan. For shorter walks that require comfort, but still would have you benefit from a short boot due to the warmer climate, the Yearling Craftsman Boot from R M Williams Boots is ideal. However, if you are heading out to a colder destination, and you’re looking for a boot more suited to longer walks, then you can’t go wrong with Dubarry Boots like this classic Galway boot!