There is no better way for visitors to witness Europe’s astonishing natural beauty than to travel by foot. See the golden sun rising behind the glorious sun-coated Alps and the waves of the Spanish sea crashing powerfully against the rocks, on an exciting walking holiday in Europe. Here is a guide to five great walking holidays, which will take visitors on unforgettable journeys through worlds of tranquility and beauty.
The GR10 Route
The classic and famous GR10 route, will take hikers across the spectacular Pyrenees Mountains. A route which is 850km long, the GR10 would take even the most energetic, fitness fanatics around 52 days in total. Therefore both hiking enthusiasts and determined strollers should give themselves plenty of time if they want to complete the entire trail. Located in France and beginning at the Atlantic Ocean, this route passes through some of the planet’s most breath-taking scenery. Hikers will get to run through marvellous meadows, dip their feet lavish lakes and lay their eyes on majestic mountains, during this superb walk.
A lighter walking holiday in England’s picturesque Lake District, the Cumbria way trail will have hikers dancing through the hills, singing that famous Sound of Music track. This self-guided walking tour passes through the charming towns of Coniston and Keswick, where walkers can stop off at a good, ol’ local English pub! A 112km route, the Cumbria way hiking holiday, is great for those who consider themselves light walkers and like to take it a little on the easier side. Pass through endless, green pastures and delight in typical English beauty on this great trail.
St James Way, North-Western Spain
An old and traditional Pilgrim route, St James Way is perfect for hikers who love history. Located in North-western Spain, this trail leads participants to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. An archaic, Roman Catholic church which boasts a beautiful, Gothic exterior, visitors will be mesmerised by this sight. Believed to be the burial place of one of Jesus Christ’s apostle’s, St James the Greater, this cathedral carries much historical significance. A route which has been popular since the Middle Ages, the St James Way trail remains magnificent even today.
Tour de Mount Blanc, France-Italy-Switzerland
A route that passes through France, Italy and even parts of Switzerland, the Tour de Mount Blanc trail is a popular walking holiday. Hikers will see Mount Blanc, the king of all mountains. Known as being the ‘monarch of archs’, Mount Blanc is 4807 meters high and majestic in appearance. This circular route will take hikers an estimated 7-10 days to complete but with top accommodation available along the way, the walk can be done in style and luxury. Starting at Courmayeur in Italy and points such as Chamonix valley or Les Houches in France, this route starts in a number of places. An exciting trail through mountains and meadows, Tour de Mount Blanc, is a once in a lifetime opportunity for hikers.
The Catalonia route, Spain
A route in Catalonia, Spain, this trail travels through a variation of villages. Provided by On Foot Holidays, the route begins in the intriguing, medieval town of Besalú. Here visitors can explore the historic, unique village before moving on to see the fascinating volcanic landscapes of La Garratxa. Proceeding to travel on through the El Cabrerès hills, this walk showcases some of Spain’s finest sights. With accommodation provided along the way, hikers can simply relax and enjoy the supreme views that surround them.
These five great routes in Europe make for perfect hiking holidays. Strollers who aren’t quite ready to brave the mountains can take a relaxing and wonderful trip through England’s Lake District, and those looking for a more extreme route can try out the classic GR10. With chocolate packed for energy and a camera in the bag, hikers will have all they need to enjoy Europe’s stunning scenery.
I’ve had the privilege of hiking the Camino de Santiago twice, walking up Ben Nevis, and spending three weeks hiking in the Candian Rockies. I love the peace that comes from getting out of the cities I have lived in to enjoy hikes of all lengths in various countries.