Have you ever sped by alluring scenery on a European holiday and wished you could stop the train, bus or taxi to explore a little? If so, it might be an idea to pull on a pair of hiking boots and take a walking holiday that allows you to truly embrace the beautiful and varied nature of the continent – from craggy coastlines to forest-lined lakes.
Walking holidays offer you a new perspective on a destination and often give you the opportunity to eat and drink locally for a more authentic experience. You don’t have to be an experienced walker to indulge in a revitalising walking holiday. If you’re new to this, start slow by rambling in Slovenia or along the sparkling Croatian coast. While if you’re feeling up for an adventure you could head to the foothills of the Pyrenees or traverse Iceland’s otherworldly glaciers.
Here’s the Flexicover team’s guide to some of Europe’s most breathtaking walking holidays for scenery lovers.
If you like the idea of rewarding yourself after a day of walking with indulgent Italian cuisine and wine, then a walking holiday in Liguria is hard to beat. Try following the ‘Via del Sale’ or ‘Salt Road’. The first couple of days take you through pastoral Italy - think vineyards and idyllic woodland scenes. Then passing through the historic valley town of Varzi, you’ll ascend to 1,000m. The route ends in the quaint fishing port of Camogli, 30km west of iconic Cinque Terre. If you can manage roughly 15-24km per day you’ll be able to complete the full route in six days, but weary walkers have the option of a few days at the end to relax on the Italian Riviera coastline.
The Julian Alps, Slovenia
Travellers are increasingly discovering the wondrous scenery of Slovenia, with its glassy lakes and dramatic, snow-dusted mountains. What better way to immerse yourself in this otherworldly scenery than with a walking holiday that takes in the nation’s most picture-perfect locations. The Julian Alps, through Slovenia’s Gorenjska region, takes in the country’s biggest Kodak moment: the famous Lake Bled, with diminutive Bled Island sitting on the water. From the route you also get brilliant views of the beautifully wild Lake Bohinj. As you walk you’ll be stunned by the constantly majestic backdrop of the Julian Alps, which include Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav. You don’t need to be a super experienced walker to enjoy this unbelievable scenery - those of average fitness will be able to enjoy the relaxed village-to-village rambles.
The varied landscapes of northeast Spain offer a plethora of treats for keen walkers. Trek through cool, bright Mediterranean forests and clamber over rocks before landing on a paradisiacal sandy beach. Catalonia is a particularly popular walking spot - and with good reason. A week in the region offers highlights including L’Escala, the Bay of Roses, Aiguamolls Natural Park, Girona, Cap de Creus National Park, the Greek and Roman ruins at Empuries, and much more. Those up for a challenge can incorporate the tracks that wind up and down the Pyrenees into their route. This extra effort is rewarded by extra spectacular views. Architecture enthusiasts, meanwhile, will be charmed by the Romanesque and Gothic styles, while foodies can dive into the region’s gastronomical delights.
There are few sights more appealing than the terracotta rooftops and azure waters of the Croatian Coast. As the Balkan country has soared in popularity among travellers, walking holidays offer a different way to see this incredible nation. Dubrovnik is an enchanting starting point for a walking holiday: spend a day or two soaking up the boundless culture within the polished marble Old Town. Then spend the rest of a week exploring the spellbinding hikes found on the southern islands, which are well within Dubrovnik’s reach, such as Korcula, Mljet and Sipan. Altogether, Croatia is an excellent choice for fans of epic scenery, medieval history and Game of Thrones.
The Laugavegur Trail, Iceland
For the adventurous among us, the land of ice and fire is a dream hiking destination. Iceland’s iconic Laugavegur Trail has been rated amongst the best 20 hikes in the world by National Geographic. Iceland is home to some of the world’s most dramatic and otherworldly scenery and a hike amongst this landscape makes for a truly unforgettable experience. Along the way you’ll explore rainbow mountains, fizzing hot springs, mighty glaciers, lava fields, tumbling waterfalls and black volcanic beaches. End the adventure with a guided hike on the Solheimajokull Glacier – it’s a holiday you won’t forget in a hurry.
Wherever you plan on heading to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.