It’s Beautiful Out There: What to Look Forward to in Europe This Year

Caledonian Canal near Fort Augustus
Caledonian Canal near Fort Augustus

It’s Beautiful Out There

What to look forward to in Europe & active holidays in 2020

It’s beautiful out there and, despite turbulent times, in the world of active travel there is always something positive to look forward to. From some of the most exciting developments, events, anniversaries and new trips coming up this year, read on where to go in Europe in 2020. 

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

Andros Island makes for an enjoyable walking holiday in Greece |  <i>Sarah Baxter</i>
First celebrated on 22 April 1970, next month marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement, it is now recognised as the planet’s largest civic event, celebrated in nearly 200 countries across the globe.
Being a thoughtful traveller has always been at the core of our ethos; all trips are carbon neutral while, from animal welfare to child safe tourism, we have always adopted and adhered to responsible and sustainable travel practices.

Watch the new version of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ on our TV screens

Looking down towards Keld, Yorkshire Dales
Channel 5 is reviving this year the much-loved TV series about a rural vet in the Yorkshire Dales, which was based on James Herriot’s real-life memoirs. The remake is scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original publication of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.
The James Herriot Way takes in some of the countryside that James Alfred Wight, the vet who wrote about his experiences in the Yorkshire Dales as James Herriot, was so fond of. Choose from daily departures between March and October.

Enjoy a smooth train journey on the way to and from Amsterdam

durgerdam a historic dutch village
The long-awaited, non-stop train link from Amsterdam to London launches on 30 April. Eurostar has been running its popular non-stop service from the British capital to the Netherlands for two years now but, on the way back, passengers had to change trains at Brussels.
Allowing passengers to travel directly between London and Amsterdam in both directions in just four hours, the new service makes it even easier to enjoy a Classic Holland Cycle with UTracks. Choose from daily departures between April till September. Or join a tulip tour by bike and boat. 

Have a quieter, more spiritual experience on the Camino before the next Holy Year

Exploring vineyards on the Camino Portuguese self guided walking tour
The number of pilgrims on the iconic Camino de Santiago increase sharply every time there is a Holy Year – and the next one is only one year away, in 2021. Travelling this year on one of the less popular Camino routes will make for a quieter, more spiritual experience.
The coastal route of the NEW! Camino Portugués - Baiona to Santiago ranks among the quieter, less busy Camino paths, with ample reminders of past pilgrims offering an insight into its religious significance. Departs year round.


Join in the celebrations of the 75th Liberation Day in the Channel Islands

Coast and flowers |  <i>John Millen</i>
Guernsey and its sister islands of Herm, Sark and Alderney are celebrating in 2020 the 75th anniversary of their liberation from German occupying forces. From April until October, visitors can join the locals in one of 75 heritage-themed celebrations.
The German Occupation left a lasting legacy. On the Guernsey Islands – the Channel Island Way you will walk along a coastline dotted with well-preserved fortifications built by German soldiers, while taking in the stunning views. Daily departures between April and October. 


Admire 800 years of the world’s largest expanse of stained glass in France 

Inside the impressive Metz Cathedral in the Lorraine region of France
Home to one of the highest naves in the world as well as the largest expanse of stained glass, covering nearly 70,000ft2, the Metz Cathedral is also known as ‘Good Lord’s Lantern’. It began construction in 1220, with a series of events planned throughout 2020 to mark its 800th anniversary.
On the Lorraine by Bike and Barge trip you cycle on quiet forest trails and past Roman villas before arriving in Metz. Here you’ll enjoy a guided walk of the city to take it all in. Departs every Saturday from late August till mid-October.


Celebrate classical music and rolling hills by bike for the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth

Quiet cycle paths near Salzburg are great to enjoy with the family
At 17, Mozart was already engaged as a court musician in Salzburg; however, after travelling restlessly, he chose to stay in Vienna, where he composed many of his best-known symphonies. The region between both cities is sublime: from the deep blue lakes of Austria's Lakes District, to the majestic Danube River, renowned for its vineyards, castles and historic towns.
Cycle from Mozart’s birthplace to the city where he achieved fame on the Salzburg to Vienna Cycle, with daily departures between May and October. 


Holiday here and celebrate 10 years of the South Downs NP

The stunning cliffs of the South Downs Way
On the doorstep for a few of us, England’s youngest National Park was established in April 2010. A rare large ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ in crowded southern UK, it is described as “a real haven for outdoor enthusiasts”.
Follow the 100 miles of the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne on your own pace. Self guided departures are available daily between April-October. Or explore the area on the Paris to London by Bike guided trip. 

NEW in the UK

Stunning view of Ben Nevis from the sea basin of the Caledonian Canal Shopping, Cotswolds style |  <i>John Millen</i> A group of walkers arrives in Broadway in the Cotswolds

GREAT GLEN WAY >>> Scotland Coast to Coast Walk and Barge 

Based on board a comfortable barge, a guided hike-and-sail trip that offers the opportunity to walk from one coast of Scotland to the other over a week. From Fort William to Inverness, the stops are planned to suit the walking stages, breaking the 75-mile Great Glen Way into manageable day walks.
> Scotland Coast to Coast Walk and Barge launches 4 April


Walk from Chipping Campden to Bath through a patchwork of rolling hills dotted with picture-postcard villages. The Cotswolds is one of the most quintessentially English parts of the country, with a wealth of castles, manor houses, abbeys and Roman villas.
> Cotswold Way launches 16 March

NEW in Eastern Europe

Fields of purple crocuses in the shadow of the Carpathians Enjoying the splendid view over Trnovacko Lake on the Via Dinarica walk Postcard perfect view of a packhorse in Albania

POLAND >>> Carpathian Mountains

A new trip to the mountain ranges of Pieniny, known for their impressive gorges and almost vertical limestone walls, and Tatra, home to Zakopane, the so-called ‘Chamonix of the Carpathians’. The region has strong folklore and highland traditions, while the mountains are inhabited by rich fauna.
> Poland: Carpathian Mountains Guided Walk launches 28 June

VIA DINARICA >>> Bosnia to Montenegro 

Follow one of the original and most breathtaking stretches of the Via Dinarica long-distance mountainous walking trail that spans 1,200 miles across seven Balkan countries. Through primeval forests in the Dinaric Alps, take in natural sights such as the heart-shaped Trnovacko glacial lake.
> Via Dinarica: Bosnia to Montenegro launches 28 June

BALKANS >>> The Accursed Mountains

Also known as the Accursed Mountains, the Prokletije Mountains extend from Kosovo to eastern Montenegro and northern Albania. Joining in Pristina (the capital and largest city of Kosovo) and over passes and across borders, this new guided trip is a culturally immersive yet challenging hike.
> High Trails of the Balkans launches 5 July

Travel News, Coronavirus, 2020

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