If you’re interested in finding out what we rate and what we don’t as part of our walking travel guide then you’ll be pleased to know that you have no further to travel other than right here. Find out whether you should go on a walking vacation as well as what we love and what we consider overrated.
Responsible tourism on pilgrimage walks
Take ‘er easy there, pilgrim
When you have many thousands of people all walking the same route every year, there are obvious environmental implications, a perfect example being the Inca Trail in Peru that issues a limited number of daily trekking permits, and closes every February for restoration. But the effects of ever increasing numbers of walkers aren’t always so obvious as litter or worn down paving stones.
The more people there are on the trail the more potential there is for conflict (we don’t mean fisticuffs) between genuine religious pilgrims, those just walking for the fun of it, and local people along the route. This can result in a degradation of the spiritual experience for the pilgrim, and a degradation of the cultural heritage that affects everyone, such as the way that historic towns can be overtaken by chain restaurants and souvenir shops.
Ultimately it all boils down to respect, for other walkers whatever their motivation, and for the places you are passing through. You may not be doing the Camino de Santiago for religious reasons, but the person right behind you could well be.
Our Pilgrimage walking Vacations
How to be a responsible pilgrim
More about Pilgrimage walking
Some take a pilgrimage walk in search of spiritual fulfillment, some relish a physical challenge, and others want a total retreat from the day job for a few weeks.
Not all that wander are lost, but certainly all those that read our list of the top pilgrimage walks around the world will feel inspired.
This was 500km of feudal forays through mountains and valley, along ridges and through ancient forests - read more about ways in which you can include it in your walking vacation plans.
Over 250km of hiking from shrine to shrine, temple to temple, the Kumano Kodo walking trail is like a journey through Japan’s spiritual history.
Read more below about the Pilgrims’ Way, a centuries-old, long distance walking route between the cathedral cities of Winchester and Canterbury.
One of the oldest and most famous pilgrimages in the world, the Camino de Santiago is less a route than a network of trails from various points in Europe to Santiago de Compostela.
The epic Shikoku Pilgrimage trail loops around the smallest of Japan’s major islands, taking in dozens of temples and offering the faithful a path to enlightenment.
The Portugal Way is a popular route on the iconic Camino de Santiago, with the option to walk either inland or along the wild and beautiful Atlantic coast.
Pilgrimage walks aren’t meant to be easy, and neither are they to be embarked on lightly, especially if you intend to reach your destination on time and in good condition!