Walking holidays are a great way to explore beautiful landscapes, discover flora and fauna, get in touch with nature and unearth your creativity. They offer something for those who don’t just want to laze around in the sun. If you’re an experienced walker you’ll know that no two walks are the same and even if the route is identical, there will always be something new to be encountered.
From charity treks to more laidback, gentle walking holidays, there is something for everyone who loves the outdoors.
How to Prepare
The climate of your walk will affect what you should bring, however, if you are walking in the mountains, the weather can change quite dramatically. You should therefore pack lots of layers, including thermals, a fleece and waterproofs- jacket and trousers, as well as a big hat and sunglasses. If you’re an old-hand, you will know the importance of good walking boots, the beauty of clean socks and the life-saving quality of lots and lots of blister plasters. You’ll need good quality water bottles and maybe even walking poles too.
Gentler walks will not necessitate much preparation with regards to fitness- though you might be surprised- but the higher level treks will definitely need some groundwork beforehand. The tour organiser will be able to tell you the difficulty of the walk, and then you can decide for yourself how fit you are. You will be trekking all day, for up to seven hours in potentially hot, cold or wet conditions. Some of it will be uphill, but don’t underestimate the downhill either- it’s just as difficult!
Where and When to Go
You can either plan your own walking holiday, or go on a pre-organised one. Companies like Collett’s European Walking Holidays offer both, as they have accommodation in beautiful places like the Italian Dolomites or the Yorkshire Dales where you can join organised walks or amble along on your own path. Good walking tours will also offer themed walks where the guide has good knowledge of flowers and plants, or animals and birds and the general history of the area. Depending on the time of year, the weather and the type of tour you’ll be going on, you can either camp in different places as you travel or have a lodge of some sort as a permanent base.
Walking holidays are not just a summer activity either, as with the right equipment you can go walking in the winter too. With extra warm clothes and maybe even snowshoes, there is no reason why you can’t see stunning snow-covered mountain ranges and arctic hares.
You can go on walking holidays anywhere, as there are so many different beautiful sights to be seen. Think about the weather you want to be walking in and the terrain that you’re comfortable tackling, whether you want to be self-guided or not and the accommodation you would like to stay in. If you have enough resources, you might even be able to tour a few countries at a time!