- Brilliant ideas and inspiration for walking holidays in Europe combining city walks with countryside exploration
- Discover walking holidays in Italy, Spain, and France renowned for their spectacular walking routes
- Walking holiday itineraries with example routes and must-see sights, culinary experiences and stunning vistas
Fly and flop holidays are not for everyone. Many travellers prefer to spend their leisure time keeping active. If discovering new destinations on European tours – perhaps on a walking holiday in Spain appeals – then consider taking a trip that combines inspirational days exploring the countryside with enriching walks around cities.
Check the itinerary carefully when choosing a walking holiday. Look at the distance of each walk, the surface type and whether there are any steep ascents or descents. Many travel companies offer a selection of routes to suit all different fitness levels, so you can choose what best suits you, whether that’s a gentle stroll along a level path or a climb up a challenging mountain trail.
Need some inspiration? Here are five recommended walking tour holidays in Europe worth exploring:
Walking holidays Europe: The Italian Lakes
Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Orta – the Italian lakes are a joy to behold. No wonder so many artists and writers have been inspired by their beauty. Despite their tranquil setting, Italy’s lake district is a mere hour’s drive from Milan, which makes transfers quick and easy.
In no time at all, walkers on a holiday to Italy can be strolling alongside crystal-clear waters, soaking up the spectacular scenery. With forest-clad hillsides to appreciate and quaint villages to admire, exploring your surroundings on foot will be a breath-taking experience.
The Italian Lakes itinerary is ideal for hikers who prefer a slower pace. Three easy walks, lasting an average of two hours, will allow you to enjoy sweeping panoramic views with plenty of time to relax at a waterfront café or bar. Those feeling more energetic can opt for longer, slightly more challenging treks. The reward? Stunning vistas out across to Switzerland.
Walking holidays Europe: Florence and Tuscany
Walking holidays in Italy don’t get much better than a week spent in timeless Tuscany, a region of the country much-loved by historians and ramblers alike. With days spent discovering the delights of Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Seville, it’s easy to immerse yourself in Italy’s glorious art, architecture and culture. City walks are accompanied by informative and enlightening experts who assist in bringing the achievements of yesteryear to life.
Two walks in the Tuscan countryside will allow you to explore the picturesque hilltop town of San Gimignano, as well as the Chianti region, famous for its fine wine. An easy two-hour walk or more moderate three-hour trek are your options. Both follow cypress-shaded country roads, past vineyards and olive groves. Bring your camera to capture typically stunning Tuscan scenes.
Afterwards, the two groups reunite for a visit to a local winery for lunch and the much-anticipated Chianti tasting. Cheers!
Walking holidays Europe: Majestic Provence
It’s easy to be seduced by Provence. With its purple lavender fields, yellow sunflower meadows and white horses of the Camargue, the landscapes are a treat for the senses. The soothing scent of pine and cypress trees fills the air, the sound of vibrant market squares echoes through the towns, and local cuisine served in cafés and restaurants in the spa town of Aix-en-Provence will tantalise your taste buds.
Walking in Provence is a sensational experience, too. The Camargue saltwater marshland teems with around 400 bird species, including pink flamingos, and is also home to black bulls. In the Luberon Mountains, while on a moderate five-mile trek, you’ll find red-hued cliffs and ochre quarries. Join an easy four-mile escorted stroll from Les Baux and you’ll loop around the charming hilltop town, stopping to admire the curiously named Valley of Hell – was Dante’s Inferno inspired by these fantastical limestone features?
Walking holidays Europe: Andalucía and the Algarve
Thinking about guided walking tours of Spain? They’re a great way to explore the country, especially enchanting Andalucía, a region that’s captivated travellers for centuries. With days discovering Málaga, Cádiz and Seville and an expert guide by your side, you’ll learn about Moorish fortresses, Gothic cathedrals, maritime heritage, Columbus and Picasso – along with sampling some delicious tapas.
Walking in Andalucía is sure to be a highlight of a holiday to Spain, and exploring the nature parks at Sierra de Grazalema and Estrecho are a must. Being on foot certainly enables visitors to appreciate the latter’s astonishing biodiversity. Estrecho is home to over 1,900 species of flora and fauna. On a three-mile easy walk look out for turnstones and dunlins. The more challenging trek, up some 1,200 feet, takes you high over the Sierra de la Plata ridge.
Then before you return home, it’s off to Portugal, to walk along the Algarve coast.
Walking holidays Europe: Slovenia and Lake Bled
The fascinating capital of Ljubljana is a convenient base for exploring more of historic Slovenia and embarking on some memorable walks, including one around the iconic Lake Bled. An easy four-hour walk takes you along mostly flat paths across a river to an impressive waterfall, then continues through wildflower meadows to Lake Bled’s scenic shores. Choose to join the moderate walk instead and more active hikers can climb country paths up through verdant forest and mountain pastures, all the while absorbing the wondrous fairy-tale church below.
Another morning walk, this time at Lake Bohinj in the heart of the Julian Alps, involves some steps and steep gradients, but keep to a slow pace and the rewards will be worth any effort. At the top, you’ll see the magnificent and unique A-shaped Savica waterfall.
A guided tour at Lipica, where the elegant Lipizzaner horses are bred, also includes a dressage performance by the Classical Riding School and white stallions.
Planning your walking holiday in Europe and beyond
Escorted tours taking a path less travelled are a rewarding and insightful way to discover new destinations – and give you a different outlook on life and culture across the world. Dig out your walking boots, pack your rucksack and see where you’re tempted to roam. Check out Riviera Travel’s Walk & Discover active holidays for ideas and inspiration.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.