Walking Holidays in Europe – Five of the Best Spots
Dave Johnson | On 28, Aug 2013
Walking holidays are a popular choice for many – whether it’s backpacking from place to place, trekking in the mountains or rambling in the countryside, walking holidays are a healthy option. Whatever type of scenery you enjoy, there are bound to be some great walks that take in the views as you go. We’re taking a look today at some of the best spots in Europe for walking holidays.
The Lake District National Park, England
The Lake District National Park boasts suitable walks for everyone, from those who just want to amble around the lakes, enjoying the stunning scenery and mellow waters to hardcore trekkers who’ll walk (and scramble in places) along the high ridges where you can marvel in breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. There are plenty of volunteer guides in the area who can bring the walk to life with their local knowledge and history, making for an even more enjoyable experience. Visitors will be filled with wonder at this stunning landscape that was the inspiration for t he Lake Poets (including Wordsworth and Coleridge) – it might even motivate you to read the poems that you’ve forgotten since your school days.
The Cyclades, Greece
Although not the most obvious destination for walkers, the smaller islands of the Cyclades can be a great choice. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to go – it’s really too hot here in the summer for any serious walking and, conveniently, flights are much cheaper during this period, making this a good choice for walkers on a budget. Koufonissi makes a great base for catching the daily ferries to the smaller islands, such as Iraklia where you can follow the pilgrim’s trail to the remarkable Cave of St. John. The island of Naxos is a must – with accessible ruins and Mount Zeus – the highest peak in the island group.
The Chunnel means that France is closer than ever these days, so setting off by direct train from London for a walking holiday in Provence is the way to go. Aix-en-Provence marks the beginning of the GR2013 footpath that marks Marseille’s year as the European Capital of Culture. The trail was designed by artists to show the secret and unexpected aspects of Provence that are rarely seen. This is Cezanne country at its very finest and a stop in the town of Aix means that you can visit the artist’s purpose-built studio where he contemplated his main muse, Mont Sainte-Victoire.
The Majella National Park, Italy
Majella National Park is in the Abruzzo region of Italy, and contains about 500 kilometres of hiking trails through the mountains. The footpaths are lined with flowers, including rare Ballerina orchids. Hikers can visit a genuine Hermit’s Cave where Celestine V spent his time before becoming Pope. For any art lovers in your party, a visit to the cave paintings in Grotta Sant’Angelo and Grotta del Cavallone are a must. This area has been the subject of geoscientific research and was originally established by the Worldwide Fund for Nature to protect areas of wilderness and special scientific interest.
Peddar’s Way, Norfolk, England
Peddar’s Way is the medieval name of an old Roman road that runs for 46 straight miles – it goes from nowhere to nowhere nowadays, of course. However, the road was built around AD60 after Boudicca’s insurrection against the Romans to get Roman troops to the heart of the Iceni territory fast. The road itself has been way marked as a long distance footpath and begins in Suffolk at the Knettishall Heath country park stretching all the way to the coast at the Wash. Along the way, hikers can see Castle Acre Priory; walk past forest and barrows, enjoying the surrounding countryside all the way to the very first glimpses of the sea.