Best European Walking Holidays

We all have days when we feel like running off to an unfamiliar place. Everyone has their reasons. Boredom with their routine, pressure at work, or an itch to escape the city are just a few of them. A simple walk in the park is sometimes enough to rid us of that unsettling feeling. For others, a weekend getaway usually does the trick. However, nothing beats a long walk in the great outdoors. And we couldn’t think of any place better than Europe for an unforgettable walking holiday.

Camino Portugues

The Camino is a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a historic city nestled in Galicia, Spain. It encompases numerous routes called ‘caminos’ throughout Europe. Since they start at different places, each offers a unique experience – from local delicacies to the sights you’ll encounter. Travelers can start anywhere. With caminos ranging from 100 to 780 km, it can take as little as a week to over a month to finish.

The Camino Portugues is our favorite go-to. Its main route sets off from Lisbon and wanders through the sleepy countryside, though it can be quite challenging if you’re not used to long distances and difficult terrain. Thankfully, the Camino Portugues has alternatives which are easier on the feet. You can start at Tui and do the minimum 100-km walk to Santiago, or you can take the Coastal Route and cycle past checkpoints. The scenic route leaves from Porto and passes beautiful seaside towns, where you get to have a taste of their savory seafood dishes and hit the beaches.

The Lewis and Harris Trail

Whereas most tourists opt for a Scottish Highlands Tour, there’s nothing quite like a wilderness walk on Outer Hebrides. Here, there are no asphalt roads,  just the earth beneath your feet, untouched mountains, and sprawling white sand beaches. Its off-the-beaten trails get tough as they lead up the highest points to Lewis and Harris. The views are spectacular once you reach the summit of these Hebridean islands. Private lodgings are available to anyone who wishes to spend more time exploring the islands before heading back to the mainland.

Outer Hebrides is home to wildlife you wouldn’t find anywhere else in Scotland. Aside from the common red deer which roam freely, the islands are famous for birdwatching and marine life encounters. Eagles and other fearsome predators can be spotted on the Birds of Prey Trail. Orcas, whales, dolphins, and porpoises can be seen at a distance from the ferry, or up-close with the help of local boat tours.

The Fjord Trek

The Norwegian landscape is nothing short of breathtaking, owing much of its charm to the Scandinavian countryside. Stunning features such as fjords, glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls make it an ideal candidate for a European walking tour. The price of trekking in Norway is surprisingly cheap, especially if you go with a self-guided tour. Still, booking a walking tour gives value for your money since it includes an itinerary and overnight stays at hotels.

You can begin your journey at Geilo and slowly ease your way up to Finse to get yourself warmed up, or you can walk straight into the mountains from Bergen to Voss. From there, you can board a ferry that will take you either to Aurland or across Sognefjord for a hike up the Raudelen awaits. This is followed by a cruise from Balestrand to Flam and an exciting ascent to Prest, before ending with a train ride back to Flam and then Bergen.

Hiking Norway’s fjords need not be a struggle. You can use cable cars and railways to avoid the difficult and impossible sections of the trail, as well as make your trip more enjoyable.

European countries have always hit the right notes among travelers. Rarely do we find places that strike a perfect balance between history, culture, and natural beauty, and yet manage to stand out as individual destinations. When you’re in a desperate need of a break, their food, architecture, and landscapes serve as wonderful distractions, be it in Spain, Scotland, Norway, or any other place in Europe.

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