Here is our list of Europe's Top 10 greatest walking holidays. We wish it could be Top 100, but we've tried our hardest to keep it short.
1. Hiking in the Dolomites | Italy
If you like your alpine hiking then Italy's Dolomite mountain range is a must. The mountain scenery is gorgeous, with new panoramas unfolding with each turn and every crossing of the passes. High mountain paths are interspersed with lush meadows and pretty hamlets and villages.
Refuges and mountain restaurants provide a perfect excuse to rest from your walking and drink in the views as well as welcome refreshments. To cap it all, there are opportunities for the not-so-faint-hearted to stand on a couple of summits and peer down the almost vertical rock faces. It's an ideal hike for those who have already completed the Tour du Mont Blanc
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Dolomites Self-Guided Walking Tour
"What a fantastic holiday! Our accommodations were lovely, our hikes were stunning and the planned routes really gave us some beautiful scenery to enjoy. I appreciated the routes provided as they helped avoid the very popular touristy routes. The bag courier service was flawless and we felt very at home at each of our accommodations."
2. Transylvania Castles & Mountains Walk | Romania
Explore some of Romania's most stunning mountain landscapes and soak up the unique culture of Transylvania on this inspiring self guided walk. It is also where you can find Bran Castle, connected through folklore to the fictitious character, Dracula. Whilst the legends of Transylvania are an enticing reason to visit this region, the walking opportunities and the friendly atmosphere created by your hosts in the rural pensions guarantee this will be a unique and diverse adventure.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Transylvania Castles & Mountains Walking Tour
"We are at the end of our trip on the self-guided Transylvania Castles and Mountains tour. We had a fantastic time. The organisation was superb. Everything ran to schedule, the people were very helpful and the food was hearty and good. We felt as though we really experienced rural Romania.
The scenery was spectacular, far more than we had imagined. The walking at times was tough with some days of solely steep ascents and descents, but so worthwhile for the variety of scenery experienced. It was lovely to walk through the wild flower meadows full of insect life. It felt as though we had gone back in time. We are finishing our trip at a hotel in Bucharest, all very luxurious, but frankly we could be in any city - good to have a bath though! Thank you for a great holiday."
3. Camino Portuguese | Portugal
The Camino Portuguese provides walkers and cyclists with a quieter, and flatter, experience than the Camino de Santiago
in Spain. The traditional Camino Portuguese route, the Portuguese Way
, is beautiful and packed with history, taking you through World Heritage-listed Coimbra, Portugal’s early medieval capital famous for its 13th century university, and rural regions that you may otherwise never experience on a tour of Portugal.
Another option is the even quieter Portuguese Coastal Way
. This stunning alternative to the Portuguese Way takes you along the wild Atlantic coast of northern Portugal, past charming seaside villages and picturesque beaches, before meeting up with the traditional route in Spain to the end point in Santiago de Compostela.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Camino Portuguese Walking Tour
"Having walked the Spanish Camino a few years ago I was wondering how this would compare. There is no comparison, that would not be fair to this trail. It's quite a different experience indeed, and much quieter. The Portuguese people and culture bring this trail to life and given my interest in this topic I was pleased I chose a self-guided holiday so that I could satisfy my interests without feeling guilty about holding up a group. Everything was well organised and I certainly would recommend this trip to anyone. Thank you."
4. Walk France's Vineyard Trails | France
Europe is home to the world's finest wines and the world's most beautiful walking trails. Why not combine the two into an unforgettable walking holiday? Discover the iconic wine regions of Bordeaux, Alsace, the Loire Valley and Burgundy on foot, with plenty of time to sample the local drop.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Alsace Vineyard Walking Tour
"A great trip in the Alsace - an area not well known in the walking world. We found the food very interesting and the people friendly and helpful. The walk varied between wandering through vine areas and forest walking. There were ruined castles, wild cherries to pick, a visit to a monastery, and always vast vistas out over the never-ending vineyards."
5. The Coast to Coast | England
The very first ‘Coast to Coast’ guidebook was published in 1973, with author Alfred Wainwright describing the route as “one of the world’s great walks”. Fifty years on, the idyllic Coast to Coast is widely considered as the most classic of all UK hiking trails, with recent news that it will soon receive ‘National Trail’ status, which is set to increase its popularity even further.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Coast to Coast Walking Tour
"We were very impressed with how well organized our Coast to Coast trip was, from the friendly accommodations, excellent maps and reliable bag service. We loved the opportunity to experience the English countryside through our daily hikes across the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors. Thank you to everyone for making this memorable trip possible. We will treasure the experience and bask in our accomplishment for years to come."
6. Island Hopping | Croatia & Greece
When people take an active holiday in Greece or Croatia, they typically think of a wonderful bike and sail trip. Yet these island destinations have a great range of walking trails to discover too.
From Crete and Santorini in the Greek Islands to the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, you can find a splendid hike between the traditional villages of the Mediterranean. There are harbours and medieval walled towns that dot the seaside; to the countless beaches, bays and islands of the country’s spectacular coastline, studded with impossibly-coloured lakes and framed by rugged limestone outcrops, caves and canyons—this region of Europe is a place of rich history and outrageous natural beauty.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Santorini & Naxos Walking Tour
"Loved Naxos and Santorini, beautiful islands, good accommodation, great food. The routes were a good mix and there was plenty of scope to make your own alterations to the routes given the excellent trail systems on the Cyclades. Definitely recommended for first-timers walking in Greece."
7. The Via Francigena | Italy
One of the world’s most rewarding walking trails, the historic Via Francigena is an ancient road and pilgrim’s route stretching more than a thousand kilometres through France, Switzerland and Italy, finishing up in the Eternal City of Rome. Often referred to as 'the Italian Camino', the Via Francigena is a great alternative to the Camino de Santiago.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Via Francigena Walking Tour
"Gorgeous landscapes, beautiful people, delicious food and exquisite wine. How can you go wrong?! Logistics worked very well from beginning to the end (apart from a blister or two), the hotels ranged from basic to rustic but were sufficient for a night's sleep after a 20km walk. An unforgettable holiday with many fond memories and a couple of extra kilos around my waist! :-)"
8. The Lycian Way | Turkey
Between Fethiye and Antalya along Southern Turkey's Tekke Peninsula, or Lycia as it is historically known, is one of the country's first waymarked trails, the 509km Lycian Way. This mountainous route encompasses spectacular coastal views, archaeological treasures dating back to the 8th Century BCE and interesting villages with their unique Lycian flavour.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Self-Guided Lycian Way Walking Tour
"Would highly recommend this trip. It provides great variety in scenery, beginning in the very hilly area around the base of Mt Olympus; down into lovely valleys and then stunning coastal scenery. We found the written directions to be excellent while the red and white track markers gave us lots of help as well. We were very impressed with Mehmet who kept in contact with us at the end of each day."
9. Via Alpina Trail | Switzerland
There are few walks that capture the essence of the Alps as this classic trail through Switzerland's most stunning scenery. As you walk there is a constant backdrop of 4000m+ peaks including the Jungfrau (4158m), Schreckhorn (4078m) and Mönch (4107m) together with the famous Eiger (3970m) and the Wetterhorn (3692m).
Whilst the high mountains are an obvious drawcard, there are so many other highlights such as the sound of cowbells as you make your way along scenic paths, the picture postcard villages and towns you pass through and the wildflowers lining the trail. At night experience the engaging hospitality of the hosts in our specially handpicked accommodation and sample local delicacies.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Via Alpina Switzerland Walking Tour
"Everything was well organised, and the office in London were really supportive with all my questions. The hotel in Wengen was particular good. Luggage transfers worked like clockwork. Great walk, not too crowded, and really beautiful views, planning my next walk now with UTracks."
10. Camino Frances | Spain
Of all of the incredible Camino trails, the Camino Frances is by far the most popular route. On average, over 60% of all people who walk along a section on any of the seven main Camino pilgrimage routes follow this path to Santiago.
These numbers are bolstered by the fact that the most popular starting point for today’s travellers is the delightful town of Sarria, which conveniently sits 115km from Santiago, just enough for people to earn their official Compostela certificate and complete it within a week.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review of the Camino Frances Walking Tour
"I walked the Camino with no expectations, I just wanted to get away and it seemed to be a good choice for being alone, active and still safe. What I got from this trip was so much more. I ended up with scenes of nature, culture, history and my mind automatically cleaned up as I walked. I made peace with whatever decisions I have to make when I’m back. It will be okay. I’m more relaxed now and strangely enough, more organized. And the top bonus is the beautiful friends I gained along the way…"
Where is your #1 walking destination? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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