Family walking vacations in Europe

We went hiking in the Alps with a donkey when our sons were 6 and 8. Then back again when they were 16 and 18. Same donkey. Same big love.
Unless you are dedicated weekend walkers as a family, selling a walking vacation to your children may feel a bit like offering them carob instead of chocolate at Christmas. It might be better for you, but really? For a treat? So, sometimes you need to sugarcoat it just a little. Which you can easily do with family walking vacations in Europe, hiking the Alps with a donkey to carry your bags, for example. Or sailing the Cyclades in Greece, hopping and hiking islands as you go. Opt for a guided walking vacation, with a guide who knows exactly how to keep young people interested, and where the best secret beach is; or a self-guided walking vacation, so you don’t have to get your teens up too early and where you have hotels with pools at every stop. Whatever you choose, walking vacations are wonderful for pure family time, slowing down the life pace, but also catching up with each other.

Activities for families on
a walking vacation

Walk with a donkey

Popular in France's Mercantour National Park, walk along ancient mule trails through the Alpes-Maritimes, from auberge to auberge, with a donkey to carry your bags.

A real family adventure, pack up your donkey every day, with packed lunches all done for you and dinner waiting at the inn, all you have to do is walk. And look after your donkey. An adventure to remember forever, perfect for 8+.

Walking ‘n water

Earth doesn’t have to be the only element of a walking vacation. Water can play its part too. Sail around the Cyclades in Greece, hiking the islands with a guide as you go. In Montengro, activity vacations on Lake Skadar mean that you have canoes and wild swimming at your disposal, as well as myriad waterfalls as you hike. On the Amalfi coast, there is a beach at the end of every walk, and Croatia’s archipelago is heavenly.

Animal magic

You don’t have to be on a safari to go wildlife watching. On European walking vacations there is a lot to spot. Especially if you swot.

Do a bit of research before you go, pack binoculars or, even better, walk with a local guide who will point out the chamois or ibex in the Alps, wolf tracks in the Carpathians and bears in Finland.

Our top Europe walking family Vacation

Dubrovnik & islands hiking vacation, Croatia

Dubrovnik & islands hiking vacation, Croatia

Walking vacation in Dubrovnik and islands in Croatia

From 710 to880 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 10 Jun, 2 Sep, 9 Sep, 23 Sep, 7 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Europe walking or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Walking vacation advice for families

Melanie McAnaw, walking vacation expert from our supplier, Headwater:
“We recommend our single center vacations for families. These are great because you’re based in one hotel and can enjoy lots of other activities as well as the great walking routes. Or go for a combination activity vacation, such as our Dordogne or Austrian vacations, that combine walking with cycling and canoeing.”
Christine Kieffer, from our Mercantour National Park in France and walking vacations expert, Itinerance Trekking: “Go with a donkey. These affectionate animals have been part of our family for as long as we can remember. They love the company of humans, especially that of children, who they will encourage to keep on walking without sulking. For people who want to hike from place to place, but don’t want a donkey, we can also organise luggage transport by car of course!”
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Aneta Ivanova] [Intro: LaraBadioli] [Ancient mule trails: Delpixel] [Melanie McAnaw quotes: Bad Kleinkirchheim]