Our Walking holidays in Europe
With free movement of people in Europe an ever-topical subject, it’s worth remembering the journeys people have made across Europe for centuries. Shepherds, pilgrims, migrants, traders and conquerors have created one of the most exciting and eye-opening maps of our time: the walking map. Hike trails created by the Romans through Turkey’s Taurus Mountains or shepherds across Montenegrin peaks. Or wander around and wonder at the multinational massif that is Mont Blanc. We vote ‘yes’ to walking in Europe and welcoming the kindness of strangers whom we meet along these well-trodden paths.
Our top European walking holidays
From £1149 to £17498 days inc UK flights
Walk in lemon groves and hillside villages
Small group2021: 30 Oct, 6 Nov, 23 Dec, 30 Dec, 2022: 12 Feb, 19 Feb, 26 Feb, 5 Mar, 12 Mar, 19 Mar, 26 Mar, 2 Apr, 9 Apr, 16 Apr, 23 Apr, 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 18 Jun, 25 Jun, 2 Jul, 9 Jul, 16 Jul, 23 Jul, 30 Jul, 6 Aug, 13 Aug, 20 Aug, 27 Aug, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 24 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct, 15 Oct, 22 Oct, 29 Oct, 5 Nov, 12 Nov, 19 Nov, 24 Dec, 31 Dec
Map & highlightsOur top walking holidays in Europe are all about variety. From Spain, with the iconic Camino de Santiago, or mixing walking with language lessons in the Picos de Europa, to trekking between ancient ruins, and island-hopping as part of a small group in Greece. There are routes along the beautiful Riviera or through the Alps in France, and through rugged, remote landscapes in little-visited Albania. In Italy you might explore volcanoes in Sicily, or snowshoe through the Dolomites. And Croatia offers many sublime guided and self-guided options: Dubrovnik and the islands, walking and wine-tasting, and dipping into magnificent national parks.
Albania is a corner of Europe that’s been overlooked, but walkers should beat a path to this still emerging country, to explore its spectacular scenery and brilliant hiking trails. Small group trips take on the impressive hikes running through the rugged Albanian Alps in the north of the country, while a tailor made holiday can take you walking in even more remote regions, such as Dibër, Mat and Çermenika.
Walk the glorious coast of Croatia, island hop its archipelagic highlights or head inland to its secret wonders. There are eight national parks here, protecting the 16 emerald green lakes of Plitvice, the canyons of Paklenica and the waterfalls and karst formations of Krka. You can just walk the coast too, of course, hopping the islands such as Mjet NP and hiking around them. And always pack your swimmers.
France – Alps
3. France – Alps
The Tour de Mont Blanc, which circumnavigates rather than conquers the massif magnifique, is a superb option for a walking holiday. For quieter Alpine paradise, the Ecrins NP is a French secret they like to keep to themselves, also fab for winter snowshoeing. For warmer climes, head south to the Alpes-Maritimes’ Mercantour NP, hike for days from inn to inn, with a donkey to carry your bags. Eeh-aw. Eeh-aw. Eeh-aw.
For Hellenic hiking, discover deserted trails on secret islands like Syros, Sifnos, Tinos or Ulysses' rugged home Lefkada. Or Santorini’s volcanic virtuosity, as you hit the hills away from tourist crowds. Everywhere you walk in Greece, scented olive groves and sensational sandy coves cross your path. As does culture, such as on a trek to Mt Olympus, home of the ancient gods. It all still feels like you have died and gone to heaven.
Italy – Amalfi Coast
5. Italy – Amalfi Coast
If jetset Amalfi isn’t your thing but you still crave its coastal candy, walking it is the way to go. Within 20 minutes of affluent Amalfi is a world of subsistence farmers, lemon groves, waterfalls and idyllic towns nestled neatly into isolated coves. Follow ancient mule paths and trails through Valle delle Ferriere NP, Naples, Pompeii, Ravello, Capri and Positano. Amalfi may be grand, but it has ancient culture and natural chic.
Spain – Andalucía
6. Spain – Andalucía
Walk through Moorish history and culture in the Spanish heartland, where walking holidays take you to Arab-influenced cities of Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz and Huelva. The Sierra Nevada, Europe's highest mountain range after the Alps, makes for stunning summer hiking, but also perfect during the winter, when the foothills are still mild and where gorges, glacial lakes and green valleys are always moor-ish.
Best walking holidays in Europe
Well, this is a tough one to narrow down! There are 51 European countries, each with its own waymarked wonders and hiking highlights. Many need no introduction, but there are also lots of lesser-known beauties that we consider the best walking holidays in Europe. Albania, where you can have remote trails almost entirely to yourself. France’s Mercantour National Park, where kids will love walking alongside a friendly donkey that carries their packs. And Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, a land of folklore, wolves and rural idylls where you can walk at any time of year, strapping on snowshoes in the winter.
Easy walking holidays in Europe
Not everyone wants to climb Mont Blanc or push themselves on a taxing pilgrimage trail. There’s much to be said for slowing things down, which is why we’ve put together some of our favourite easy walking holidays in Europe. Think Tuscany, where the hillsides are interspersed with shady olive groves and vineyards where you can dally with a little tasting. Or the Cyclades Islands in Greece – an easygoing mix of hikes between Classical sites and stylish sailing from one bay to the next. They’re holidays ideal for those wanting to gently break themselves in without compromising on the scenery.
Challenging walking holidays in Europe
Our challenging walking holidays in Europe often involve long ascents, exposed paths and rough terrain, but your stamina and aching muscles are rewarded with truly spectacular views. They range from the gruelling Mont Blanc Circuit (three countries, eight days and six mountain passes) to Slovenia’s best-kept secret, the Julian Alps, where you’ll tackle an easy via ferrata and hike from hut to hut. And for those with plentiful experience in high altitude walking, we recommend Corsica’s GR20, one of the demanding long-distance routes in Europe where you’ll need a head for heights and the surefootedness of a mountain goat.
More holiday ideas
From £1549 to £16998 days inc UK flights
The best of the Tour du Mont Blanc
Small group2022: 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 2 Jul, 9 Jul, 16 Jul, 23 Jul, 30 Jul, 6 Aug, 13 Aug, 20 Aug, 27 Aug, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 24 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct
From £982 to £17588 days inc UK flights
Small group walking tour of madeira
Small group2022: 12 Feb, 5 Mar, 19 Mar, 2 Apr, 16 Apr, 28 May, 18 Jun, 6 Aug, 3 Sep, 17 Sep, 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 29 Oct, 2023: 11 Feb, 4 Mar, 18 Mar, 1 Apr, 15 Apr, 13 May, 27 May, 17 Jun, 5 Aug, 2 Sep, 16 Sep, 30 Sep, 14 Oct, 28 Oct
From £15798 days inc UK flights
Wolves, bears and sightseeing
Small group2022: 30 Apr, 14 May, 4 Jun, 11 Jun, 2 Jul, 16 Jul, 6 Aug, 13 Aug, 20 Aug, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 1 Oct, 8 Oct
More about walking holidays in Europe
Classic walking holidays in Europe
Don’t expect to have the trail to yourself on any of our classic walking holidays in Europe, but do expect to quickly understand what gives them such popular appeal. They include Spain’s epic Camino de Santiago, one of the world’s oldest pilgrimage walks that comes with several different routes. The two-week Pilgrim’s Way in England is equally historic and has daily opportunities for a hearty pub lunch to keep you going. And if you really fancy escaping civilisation for a while, try hiking Norway’s magnificent national parks, with ice-capped mountains, fjords and glaciers your backdrop for the obligatory ‘made it!’ selfie.
Family walking holidays in Europe
The trick to coaxing your kids on a family walking holiday in Europe is to sugar-coat it a little. So you’re not just going for a week of walking in France; you’re going to be walking with your own personal donkey. On Italy’s bejewelled Amalfi Coast, there is the promise of a beach at the end of every day’s trek. In Romania’s Carpathian Mountains there is the promise of tracking wolves in the woods and visiting vampire castles. And Montenegro walking holidays also mean wild swimming and waterfalls. Our expert travel partners curate walking itineraries designed expressly for littler legs to enjoy.
If you'd like to chat about Europe walking or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.