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9 of the best guided walking holidays in the world

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 10/07/2018 Laura Hampson

walking holiday is now the third most popular holiday behind city breaks and culture tours. © Provided by Shutterstock walking holiday is now the third most popular holiday behind city breaks and culture tours. Long have Brits relished the relaxing summer holiday. You know, the one where we all jet off to the Spanish coast or Greek islands and lie on a beach for a week.

Yet, the tide is changing and we’re embracing a new type of holiday: the adventure holiday.

While mountain biking may not be your cup of tea, the walking holiday is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, a recent survey by the Association of Independent Tour Operators found that 54 per cent of the 25,000 respondents said they were interested in a walking holiday.

For the age groups 18 to 24 and 25 to 34, women were three times more likely than men to say they were interested in a walking holiday - which is now the third most popular holiday behind city breaks and culture tours.

In light of this, we’ve rounded up nine of the best walking holidays around the world below.

1. Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage, Japan

(Unsplash) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Unsplash) Duration: 9 days, 8 nights

What to expect: Starting in Osaka and finishing in Ise, this nine day walking tour will take you along the sacred World Heritage-listed Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage to the Ise Shrine. You will be walking around four to six hours per day and at night you will stay in a mixture of hotels, Japanese inns and a temple. During the walk you will pass through the mountain temple community of Koyasan which will make for some stunning scenery.

Cost: From £2,574

2. Ausengate (Rainbow Mountains), Peru

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Duration: 7 nights

What to expect: One for experienced walkers who want to see a different side of Peru. Not so much a walk rather a trek, this seven night guided walk along deserted Peruvian paths to the coloured hills is nothing short of magnificent and to top it off, your end destination is Machu Picchu - a must when visiting Peru.

Cost: £1,053 per person for seven nights or £587 for six nights excluding Machu Picchu.

3. Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

(Shutterstock) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Shutterstock) Duration: 1 to 14 days

What to expect: Whether it’s one day or two weeks, trek this World Heritage mountain site and look out for some endemic Gelad Baboons, the Alia Ibex and the Simien Fox along the way. The area is also home to over 50 species of birdlife so perfect for an avid bird watcher or nature lover.

Cost: £225 per person for five day guided tour.

4. Liguria, Italy

a large body of water with Cinque Terre in the background © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Duration: Varies

What to expect: Bordered by France and Tuscany, the Italian region of Liguria is home to the stunning coastal towns of Portofino and Cinque Terre - and some of the most spectacular walking tracks in the world. While there are a number of different walks to choose from, try one of their gastro walks to combine beautiful sites with delicious Italian food.

Cost: From £530 per week.

5. Verbier, Switzerland

(Unsplash) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Unsplash) Duration: 7 days, 6 nights

What to expect: The famous ski slope turns into a hikers paradise come summertime. There are endless hikes to take from the village of Verbier during the summer months from the upper reaches of the Val de Bagnes to the preserved nature park surrounding Lac Mauvoisin. This particular trip includes trips to local cheesemakers to try some Swiss raclette and fondue. Dreamy. 

Cost: Price on request.

Related: Alternate Vacation Destinations (provided by Espresso)

Alternate Vacation Destinations: From crystal-clear bays of southeast Asia and ancient customs of the Far East to lush mid-Atlantic islands and down under to rich coral reefs, it’s the perfect moment to seek out alternate holiday destinations away from hurricane-stricken areas. Whether you want to rest on powdery African sand dunes, cycle along Europe’s cobblestone streets or roam the world’s southernmost stretches in Patagonia, here are travel ideas to match every globetrotter’s dream. Alternate Vacation Destinations

6. Bergen, Norway

(Pixabay) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Pixabay) Duration: 5 nights

What to expect: After spending two days exploring beautiful Bergen, journey deeper into the countryside to explore the Naeroyfjord area for a few nights. Here climb some stunning Norwegian mountains and admire the lush landscape. 

Cost: £841, including flights. May to September.

7. Hollyford track, New Zealand

(Pixabay) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Pixabay) Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

What to expect: The Hollyford Track is a spectacular way to see one of the least-discovered parts of New Zealand, Milford Sound. Milford Sound is a fjord just west of tourist hotspot Queenstown and the Hollyford Track will take you through the surrounding area. During this three day, two night adventure, you will walk through a beech forest, go wilderness jet boating, meet fur seals and take a helicopter flight over the Milford Sound. A true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Cost: £1,024 per person, including transfers from Queenstown or Te Anau, accommodation and helicopter journey and jet boating.

8. Scottish Highlands and Lochs, Scotland

(Unsplash) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Unsplash) Duration: 6 days, 6 nights

What to expect: This walking trip will be split into two parts, the first half will be spent exploring the Loch Lomond area while the second half you will visit the famous Glencoe. Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater Loch in Scotland and you will spend your time here exploring the hills surrounding Scotland’s first designated national park. Glencoe will show you the more rugged side of Scotland while you explore a place rich in both culture and history. 

Cost: £995 per person including transfer from Edinburgh, May to September.

9. Borgarfjordur Eystri, Iceland

(Unsplash) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited (Unsplash) Duration: 6 nights

What to expect: This moderate walk will take you through the Borgarfjordur Eystri area of Iceland which is home to stunning vistas, stretching coastlines and ancient tales of the elves which legend says once lived in this area.

Throughout the walk, you will stay in one hotel which will act as your base and a cosy place to return to after a day of exploring the rugged coastline and rolling green hills of Iceland.

Cost: £1864 excl. flights, May to September

Related: Travelling with your pet? Here are some useful do's and don'ts (provided by Buzz60)


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