Top self guided walking activities

what COMPLEMENTS a walking holiday

Cultural engagement

Most walkers don’t just want to just ‘bag’ a mountain, or race from one valley to the next. Unless they are in search of complete solitude, most walkers enjoy getting off the beaten track on holiday to help them get in touch with the real country and its culture. Not the one laid on for tourists. A lot of walking holidays cater for this craving for cultural exchange, staying in traditional rural accommodation such as mountain auberges in the French Alps, or pensions in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey. In France’s Mercantour National Park, you sample food that is heavily influenced by its proximity to Italy, And in Catalonia, you score major brownie points by giving a greeting in Catalan as you cross paths with a local walker. That is one of the most wonderful things about walking holidays in remote spots. Hosts rarely feel threatened or ‘invaded’ by walkers. Turn up with a coachload of camera slinging tourists, however, and it’s a different story.

Local food

Hikers like to pack their bags full of energy bars and drinks, but it is worth remembering that buying local food is sometimes the only way that a destination can make money from tourists coming to hike their natural wonders. So you need to shake off that Tupperware full of homemade sandwiches and flask of tea frame of mind, eat local and gorge yourself on the cultural goodies on offer whenever you can.
If you'd like to chat about walking holidays or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
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Wildlife watching

If you want to include wildlife watching as part of your walking holiday, tell your tour operator that this is one of your interests, as they might be able to include extra details in your information pack before you go. That way you won’t miss the likes of the wild goats in Spain’s Sierra de Gredos, griffon vultures in the Picos de Europa and dolphins along Ireland’s Dingle Way. Or in Croatia’s Northern Velebit National Park there are wolves, lynx, birds of prey and capercaillie. Which people might associate more with Scotland, also a country that will convert you to wildlife watching if you weren’t a fan already, with handsome residents such golden eagles and red deer. The secret is to read up on the country’s wildlife before you go, bring binoculars, keep your voice down and your eyes peeled. And don’t forget to just stop and listen.

Wild swimming

For hikers who don’t like to wander too far from water, self guided walking holidays are great, as there are so many options. Plus you don’t have to worry about slowing down a group of walkers with your urge to submerge. On the Amalfi Coast, for example, you need a very fashionable swimsuit at all times, in Croatia you will fall in love with and into the Krka Waterfalls, and in Scotland, you need a sense of adventure, and humour for total Celtic immersion.
Photo credits: [Cultural engagement - auberge: eGuide Travel] [Local food: James Theophane] [Wild swimming: nijaba]
Written by Catherine Mack
Japan self guided walking holiday, Nakasendo Trail

Japan self guided walking holiday, Nakasendo Trail

Self-guided walking along Japan’s ancient Nakasendo trail

From £750 5 Days ex flights
Piedmont walking holiday, Vineyards of Barolo

Piedmont walking holiday, Vineyards of Barolo

A gastronomic gem quietly tucked away

From £1849 9 Days inc UK flights
Pisa to Lucca walking holiday in Italy

Pisa to Lucca walking holiday in Italy

Self guided walking between Italian cities Pisa and Lucca.

From €529 8 Days ex flights
French Alps self guided walking holiday

French Alps self guided walking holiday

Chalet based, self guided walking holiday in the French Alps

From £525 8 Days ex flights
Catalonia self guided walking holidays

Catalonia self guided walking holidays

Self-guided walking holidays in Catalonia

From €715 8 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Thomas Schweighofer]
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