Hill walking holidays are ideal for those seeking some upland scenery and a moderate amount of exertion. timeoutdoors’ Travel Editor Tom Le Bas outlines the appeal.
In return for some healthy legwork, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views, clean air and a gratifying sense of achievement. The walking is not overly strenuous, and distances are generally modest, although there will of course be some significant ascents and descents: the emphasis is on climbing to hilltops and making the most of the views.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A typical hill walking itinerary will be an activity holiday of seven days or more, and most will involve walking as part of a group with a guide (particularly in wilderness areas), although – especially in Europe – there are self-guided options, too: these are similar to rambling holidays, with your luggage transported by road to the next night’s accommodation.
Overnight accommodation will vary between different companies and different itineraries. Many will offer a mixture of hotels, inns, mountain huts – and perhaps some camping, too.
Levels of difficulty may be graded, typically starting with gentle week-long hikes and extending to challenging longer routes: the idea is that you can choose an itinerary to match your level of fitness.
Some trips will be composite in nature, whereby a few days hiking in the hills is combined with city sightseeing or some form of road tour. Other tour companies offer day walks in the hills from a single base, or specialise in themed walking tours – wildlife and birdspotting being some of the most popular. A few hill walking holidays on the market are breaks of shorter duration, sometimes sold as an adjunct to a longer trip.
WHERE TO GO
Organised hill walking holidays are big business in the summer months across the Alps and other upland regions of Europe including the Pyrenees, the Picos de Europa and Sierra Nevada in Spain, and parts of Italy. The Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Pennines in the UK are perenially popular. Other destinations for this kind of walking holiday include highland regions across North America, South America and parts of Asia.
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