Bright flowers and warm breezes make the early summer months ideal for a European walking holiday. From remote alpine meadows to dramatic coastal pathways, there’s no better time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. Whether you’re a hardened hiker or a scenic stroller, we’ve shortlisted some of our favourite spots to holiday on foot.
1. Italian Dolomites
How about hiking winding trails between jagged peaks then spending the night in a high-altitude mountain hut? A walking holiday in the UNESCO listed Italian Dolomites will see you scaling new heights of exhilarating activity. Choose your own adventures, from cycling the beautiful larch forests of the Alta Badia, to exploring dramatic mountain tunnels constructed during World War I. The extra-intrepid can even learn to climb a via ferrata, protected mountain climbing routes known as the ‘iron paths’ of the Dolomites.
Top Hike: Spend four days trekking hut-to-hut while tackling a portion of the classic Alta Via No.1 mountain route.
Where To Stay: Reward your exertions with a stay at the Rosa Alpina, a chic spa hotel with Michelin starred restaurant in the village of San Cassiano.
If you thought Madeira was just for winter sunseekers of a certain age, think again. With over 2,500 kilometers of walking trails and year-round warmth, it’s every bit as suited to active types seeking to explore on foot. The best way to explore its lush green interior is on one of the numerous levada walks, alongside ancient irrigation canals which criss-cross the island. These paths will take you through laurel forests and volcanic valleys, past exotic blooming flowers to towering sea cliffs.
Top Hike: The clifftop section of the Levada do Furado trail, one of the island’s most beautiful day hikes, promises dramatic views of swooping green ridges and the blue Atlantic Ocean.
Where To Stay: Perched on a clifftop above Funchal harbor, Belmond Reid’s Palace delivers old-school charm and spectacular sea views.
3. Sibillini Mountains, Umbria
Forming a natural border between Umbria and Le Marche, the majestic Sibillini Mountains offer some of Italy’s most beautifully wild walks. Trek to the fabled Cave of Sybill or through plunging Hell’s Gorge, keeping an eye out for wolf tracks below and soaring golden eagles overhead. If you visit in early summer you’ll find meadows carpeted in extraordinary displays of wild flowers. It’s ideal for foodies too, and we can even arrange for you to join a professional truffle hunter and his dog to hunt for some of Italy’s most prized fungi.
Top Hike: Follow wooded valleys to the rocky summit of Mount Patino, the park’s most western peak, for fine views into the heart of the range.
Where To Stay: Set within the medieval village of Norcia, stylish Palazzo Seneca makes the perfect base from which to explore.
With such varied terrain, Greece’s largest island is a wonderland for walkers. Explore the wild regions of Sfakia and Selino, where you’ll have at least 30 gorge walks right on your doorstep. Hike through ancient olive groves and cypress forest in the foothills of the White Mountains. As you go, you’ll come across remote monasteries and hidden Byzantine chapels before stopping at a family run taverna for lunch. Picturesque coastal paths lead you past ancient ruins to some of the Mediterranean’s most idyllic coves and warm, crystal clear waters.
Top Hike: It may be obvious, but Samaria Gorge is famous for a reason. This jaw-dropping 10-mile hike from the Omalos plateau to the beach at Agia Roumeli is best attempted in spring or autumn.
Where To Stay: Depending on how active you want to be, we can arrange self-guided hotel to hotel walks or hikes accompanied by expert guides. If you prefer a single base to do day walking from, we can arrange that too.
Ready to lace up your boots? Call us on 0207 359 3938 or contact us for further information on these and other great walking destinations.