walking holidays

walking holidays

walking holidays

  Think walking holidays are for hardened  hikers? Think again. A spate of new  on-foot tours include leisurely meanders  with good food and boutique hotels. It’s  a hot trend.
  In San Diego, California, a distinct  buzz fi lls the air. Office workers begin  to fi lter out from their buildings,  cars begin to choc up the highways, and  one by one the lights start to twinkle  against the skyline. But I’m watching  all this chaos feeling distinctly calm.
  That’s because around 15.00 I made my  way to Cowles Mountain, for a walk. As a  keen hiker, I’ve enjoyed a host of walking holidays around the world. I’ve undertaken  a two-week altitude battling trek to Everest  Base Camp in Nepal; I’ve walked innto-inn along the Camino de Santiago in  Spain; section-hiked chunks of the USA’s  Appalachian Trail and  climbed the highest  point in Japan. But  it doesn’t have to be  an all-encompassing  multi-day hike to  make it worthwhile.
  The two-hour stroll  up Cowles Mountain  was a happy add-on  to a city break that  included the usual museums, excursions  and good food. Yet, standing atop that small  hill, being able to watch the cityscape fade  into the horizon, against the border with  Mexico, a patchwork of wetlands and the  Pacifi c Coast stretching out in front, gave me  an instant understanding of the place.
  I spoke to Californians who were out  walking their dog or going for a jog many  gave me tips on where to eat or pointed out  the American kestrel soaring overhead.
  Simon Wrench, Head of Marketing at  Inntravel. says more people are discovering  specialist operators. “They’re recognising  that we can design holidays as much for  leisure strollers as for hardened mountain  hikers, where they can walk light as their  luggage is transferred between hotels, go  at their own pace instead of being part  of a group, and where the standard of  accommodation is a delight.”
  Andrew Turner, Head of Sales for Intrepid,  adds: “Walking gives clients the chance to  see a country up close, rather than from a  tour bus window, local interaction, and a  sense of accomplishment.”
  And, despite the feeling of uncertainty  around Brexit, it seems that when it comes  to hiking the numbers are not slowing down: “We have seen bookings growing  for the last four years,” says Steve Berry,  Managing Director of Mountain Kingdoms,  which has off ered mountain hiking trips  to the Himalayas since 1987 but now sells  South East Asia, Central Asia, the Americas,  the Middle East and Africa.
  But where are people going and why?  “Japan has really taken off thanks to Joanna  Lumley,” says Berry. “Uzbekistan is also a big  surprise hit this year and again all thanks to  Lumley’s programme on the Silk Road.”
  TV Adventurer Levison Wood, who  walked through the Caucasus (Georgia and  Armenia) in 2017, has impacted numbers  on Explore’s trip  to that region,  according to its  Walking Programme  Manager, Caroline  Phillips. She  says it’s led to  customers “looking  outside of Western  Europe for more  adventurous short  haul destinations that are good value.” She  adds: “Turkey and Jordan have made big  comebacks in 2019 and further afi eld places  like Madagascar are also doing well.”
  So, who is going on these walking trips? It  may not be who you expect. Wild Frontiers’  Marketing Manager, Michael Pullman, says:  “For the retired demographic, who are now  staying healthier and more active for longer,  walking trips are proving popular.”
  But he says there’s a growing number of  young travellers interested too: “They want to get away from city noise and the  all-pervasiveness of technology,” he says.
  The UK is a great starting point, with trails  like the popular seven-day West Highland  Way an achievable undertaking in Scotland.
  Europe also off ers the chance to sample  some great routes while a ‘sherpa’ luggage  transfer service carries bags from hotel  to hotel, making circular routes such as  the Tour de Mont Blanc passing through  Italy, Switzerland and France – and the  Camino de Santiago in Spain easy even for  newcomers to hiking (off ered by companies  including Headwater, Explore and Ramblers  Walking Holidays).
  For those nervous about committing to a  whole week (or more) spent walking, there’s  the option of self-guided ‘centred’ walking  trips, like those off ered by Inntravel, where  the accommodation is located somewhere  with plenty to do and provides the base for  several walks of diff erent levels.
  The itinerary is fl exible and self-guided,  that way if days off are required or one  member of the party wants to walk and one  doesn’t, there’s plenty to explore from the  hotel door or the option to do nothing at all.  
  Companies, such as Intrepid have noticed  that “many clients want to combine walking  with other activities such as kayaking or  cycling on multi-activity trips”.
Or consider adding on hiking perhaps  a section of the Amalfi Coast as part of a  relaxing break to Italy
  Or a visit to Jordan to  see Petra and the Dead Sea, with a two-day  hike and overnight in Wadi Rum.
Germany
  The country has unveiled 10  new hiking routes for 2019. These include  the foodie-themed 8km Rundweg Bussard  in the Bavarian Forest, which takes in small,  independent restaurants and local produce,  and the art-themed TalaueKunst Weg in  Stuttgart, which circles the city in 4.5km  alongside rivers and half-timbered houses.
Spain
  Camino Ways can work with agents  to take clients on the established Camino  de Santiago pilgrimage’s hottest new route the Sea of Arousa Camino Walk and Boat. It combines walking the dramatic coast of  O Salnes with a boat trip across the Ria de  Arousa and up the River Ulla to Padron,  where the boat carrying St James is said to  have fi rst landed in Galicia.
Portugal
  The Algarve’s popular Rota  Vicentina coastal route has been extended  to include 16 new circular side trails. Recommended is the Fisherman’s Trail,  which will now continue on to Lagos.
Tenerife
  The fi fth Walking Festival takes  place May 21-25 and enables participants to  explore its volcanic scenery, ancient laurel  forest and starlit skies on a series of routes  aimed at families, couple and individuals.

Other Travetou Articles :

Scroll to top