Can’t wait to get walking? Here are our top recommendations for fantastic trips this summer. There are classic walks amid Europe’s stunning lakes and mountains, as well as challenging treks such as the Tour du Mont Blanc and climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal. If you’re looking further afield, why not consider our picks to lesser-known walking destinations in China, Madagascar, Georgia, Canada and Peru.
1. The Alps
The Alps are the ultimate European mountain playground because they are so diverse and offer something for all walkers, especially spectacular views. Our Walking Holiday in Austria's Tyrol (AUT) is graded easy to moderate and takes in this beautiful mountain region of peaks, green valleys and quaint villages, based in charming Alpbach. In Italy, the Dolomites (DW) offer moderate walking among strikingly beautiful rock towers and limestone cliffs in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On both trips you can enjoy post-trek relaxation in comfortable hotels with indoor pools. The Tour du Mont Blanc in Switzerland (SZM) meanwhile, is one of the most spectacular, challenging treks in Europe. Stay in the shadow of the Matterhorn in the picturesque resort of Zermatt and admire the distinctive north face of the Eiger. Superb hikes include a section of the famous 'Europaweg' high mountain route and a trek to the mirror-finish turquoise lake of Oeschinensee. Also discover Lauterbrunnen, a classic glaciated valley with 600m high cliffs and crashing waterfalls. Take the 'James Bond' cable car to the Schilthorn too.
2. Pyrenees and Picos de Europa
Hidden deep in the Pyrenees, Andorra is one of the smallest countries in Europe and it offers superb summer walking. Our moderate grade Trekking holiday in Andorra (PAW) is based in the village of Soldeu, where you are set to enjoy some of the area's most beautiful walks including the UNESCO-protected valley of Madriu-Perafita-Claror, the glacial landscapes of Incles Valley and Sorteny Valley, home to more than 700 species of flowers and plants. Cross the border into Spain for another moderate grade trek, this time ‘On Foot in the Picos De Europa’ (PC). We explore the area in depth from our base in Sotres, the highest inhabited village in the Picos, with walks in the unspoilt and wild landscapes of the western, central and eastern massifs. This tour showcases some of Spain's finest scenery, including a hike to the base of the iconic peak Naranjo de Bulnes, and a trek along cliff-cut pathways through the imposing Cares Gorge - over 1000m deep and 12 kms long.
Combining a challenge with some culture and sightseeing has become very popular and our week-long Morocco Trekking Adventure (MJ) offers just that. The tour in the High Atlas mountains, trekking through juniper forests and Berber villages, culminates in the ascent of North Africa's highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4167m). Then there’s the chance to explore Marrakech, with its captivating squares and souks – perfect for a haggle. Or you can do the more challenging Toubkal Long Weekend version (ATA).
There’s something very satisfying and appealing about walking around islands; perhaps because they all have their own character and a variety of different landscapes to explore. Take our Walking Week in Madeira trip (TM) for example, where you follow the country’s unique network of narrow irrigation channels known as 'levadas', and ancient footpaths. Discover rocky shorelines, waterfalls and stunning mountain vistas, as well as spending time in the laid-back capital, Funchal.
Of course, a spot of island hopping blends perfectly with walking, as on our Walking Azores Island Hopping trip (AZ). On a series of easy walks, we explore five of these unspoilt islands: San Miguel, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial, and discover crater lakes, thermal springs, deep gorges and craggy coastlines. There are also opportunities to take boat trips in search of whales, and to spend time in picturesque fishing villages. You could also combine a Greek Cruise and Island Walking (GCW), sailing around the beautiful island of Evia on board a traditional Greek caique. Cruise from village to village and walk to hillside settlements, through olive groves and around ancient sites. Don’t forget to sample the local food on board and at waterside tavernas.
For something a little more far-flung here are our five suggestions for worldwide walking:
- Walk The Great Wall of China (WG) and see spectacular sections of the Wall including Old Dragons Head. Visit the stunning Imperial Tomb Complex of the Qing Dynasty near Zunhua, as well as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
- Madagascar Wilderness Trek (MF) - verdant rainforests and dramatic landscapes are the setting for this moderate grade hiking adventure in Madagascar. Supported by local porters we get off the beaten track, trekking through lush tropical vegetation, granite hills, highland meadows, and surreal sandstone landscapes. Look out for lemur, as well as the unique endemic reptiles and birds, and unusual plants that Madagascar is famous for.
- On foot in the Caucasus (TGG) visiting Georgia on a moderate grade trek in the remote regions of Svaneti and Kazbegi, through deep valleys and past villages to dramatic glaciers. Also explore the capital Tbilisi, discover a cave town and learn about the unique culture.
- Walking in the Rockies, Canada (WRK) - enjoy moderate grade hiking in some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, visiting stunning national parks including Kootenay, Yoho, Jasper and Banff. Discover unspoilt views of jagged mountain peaks, glaciers and waterfalls.
- Salkantay Trek (SKT) in Peru, is so much more than an alternative to the Inca Trail. Supported by our experienced trek team ascend Salkantay Pass (4525m), overlooked by the magnificent snow-covered Mount Salkantay (6271m) and glacier. Descend through tropical forest and small mountain villages and visit the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the historic capital of the Incas, Cusco.