[Disclosure: This article was brought to you with support from our partners]
We’ve got some great tips for hiking holidays around the world. For information and advice on planning a walking holiday abroad, www.touchingnature.co.uk is a good resource, providing information from safety to equipment and accommodation to seasonal walking.
Yosemite Grand Traverse, California, United States
This trek, in Yosemite national park, takes six or seven days, and takes in around sixty miles: the route is only open only for two months of the year, from mid-July to mid-September. The trek starts with views of the Sierra Nevada peaks, then follows the Merced River, joining the John Muir Trail, and finishing at the aptly named Cathedral Range.
Beware: of bears. American black bears (although typically not dangerous) have been seen on the trail. While being a lucky sight, ensure you follow the Park’s guidelines on food storage to avoid having to come face to face with one.
Most visitors fly to San Francisco International Airport and then take the four hour journey to the park and Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides can be your expert guides.
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, Ireland
The Croagh Patrick summit can be scaled all year round provided it isn’t covered with snow and ice. There is no guarantee of perfect weather, and July might be as foggy and wet as February. That said, the eight-mile round trip draws visitors not for the guarantee of sun and picnics, but for its challenge, wild beauty and spiritual attraction. Many of those who climb the peak are not climbers but modern-day pilgrims: St Patrick is said to have spent 40 days and nights in prayer at its summit.
The ascent is steep: the word ‘croagh’ means ‘sharp mountain’, but the reward is, however, the eye-watering views of County Mayo and its Clew Bay; with your back towards the tiny white chapel at the peak, you feel tiny against the vast expanse below.
The nearest airport is Knock International Airport.
Zell am See, Austria
Flying into Salzburg airport in Austria brings you just 80 km from Zell am See. Hikes take in glaciers, mountains and lakes, providing panoramic views and picturesque rest stops at rustic Alpine huts and mountainside restaurants. The landscape caters for all levels, from relaxed walks to challenging hikes and even true mountaineering. There are local guides who can accompany you and for something different, try ‘llama trekking’ (www.kaprun-burgi.at).
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
For an easier, gentler hiking experience, Lake Geneva has over 3000 km of marked trails, easy on the eye as well as on the feet. Once you have flown in to Geneva, it’s easy to venture further using the to-the-minute Swiss rail network. Guides are not required as a rule, as the trails are so well marked both on the ground and online – so you can prepare well before you set out.
Alsace Wine Trail, France
Grabbing a cheap flight to Paris and taking the train to Turckheim is the best way to begin the Wine Trail. The distance between the stops of Bergheim, Turckheim, Riquewihr and Kaysersberg can be travelled by foot in a day – around 17km – and the routes are pretty and gentle. Although you might still want to go easy on the wine in between…
There is good information available on the wine regions and how to travel them at www.winetravelguides.com.