Top 10 easy walking vacations in Europe

We are all keen walkers here at Responsible Travel and so it wasnít hard for us to put together our top 10 easy walking vacations in Europe. We donít all want to climb Mont Blanc or trek up the Tatras, but we do seek out great landscapes with locally owned accommodation along the way. This is walking thatís slow, sumptuous and soothing for the soul, rather than crippling on the calves.

1. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Some go for the speedboats and jet set, others go to completely slow down. Hike through lemon groves or small farms with vast views, follow ancient mule trails through Valle delle Ferriere National Park and explore Naples, Pompeii, Capri and Positano. If you want to walk gently but seek beauty that will make your heart race, Amalfi is for you.

When to go: All year round
Our top selling trip: Amalfi Coast walking vacation
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Italy
Read more: Amalfi Coast travel guide, and Self guided walking travel guide

2. Croatia

Choose between inland national parks such as voluptuous Velebit and the prolific lakes of Plitvice, and the Dalmatian coastline with its island idylls just a hop, skip and a hike away. Walking vacations in Croatia are easy, accessible and exquisite. Or go on a small ship cruise offering island hiking excursions.

When to go: April to October, although avoid coastal hiking in the height of summer
Our top selling trip: Croatian coast walking tours, self guided
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Croatia
Read more: Croatia walking vacations travel guide and Small ship cruising vacations in Croatia travel guide

3. Catalonia, Spain

Gentle walking trails lie within easy access of Barcelona. Hike through landscapes where snow dusted mountains meet gorgeous bays. Stroll through Aiguamolls Natural Park one day and to a Benedictine monastery or Greco-Roman ruins the next. Hike the coastal Cap de Creus Peninsula for littoral loveliness.

When to go: May and June, September and October
Our top selling trip: Catalonia self guided walking vacations
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Spain
Read more: Catalonia travel guide and Self guided walking travel guide

4. Cyprus

Some of Europe’s most underrated hiking can be found in Cyprus, with easier trails taking you through North Cyprus’ Five Finger mountain ridges, past ancient monasteries, Crusader castles and through orchid filled woodland. There are beaches galore, too, particularly along the Cape Kormakitis Trail. Be careful where you walk on Alagadi beach though – turtles may be nesting.

When to go: March to April and October to November
Our top selling trip: North Cyprus walking vacation
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Cyprus
Read more: Cyprus walking travel guide and Cyprus travel guide

5. Cyclades Islands, Greece

Hellenic hiking at its most heavenly. Spend a week island hopping and hiking around Paros, Naxos and Santorini, following ancient mule paths overlooking the Aegean or testing yourself a tad by heading to the highest point on the Cyclades Islands, Mount Zas at 1,004m. The heady mix of sailing and hiking the Cyclades is as blissful as it gets.

When to go: April to May and September to October
Our top selling trip: Cyclades walking vacations in Greece
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Greece
Read more: Greece walking vacations travel guide and Cyclades travel guide

6. Sardinia, Italy

You might think that walking in Sardinia is tough going, with its craggy, vertiginous landscapes, but a guided walking vacation here paces things beautifully. Explore this wild and wonderful island via the likes of mule trails in the shadow of Monte Tului, or down through Gorropu Gorge, with river pools to dip into en route. Ancient archaeology is two a penny, too.

When to go: April to May and September to October
Our top selling trip: Sardinia walking vacation, Italy
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Italy
Read more: Walking vacations in Italy guide

7. Tuscany, Italy

One of the ways to ensure that your walking vacation in Tuscany is on the easy side of things is to combine it with some wine tasting. Rude not to really, with regular toasts to this region’s heady mix of ancient stone villages, cedar and olive groves and urban utopias such as Siena and Florence.

When to go: April to October
Our top selling trip: Tuscany tours, walking and wine tasting, Italy
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Italy
Read more: Walking vacations in Italy guide

8. Poitou-Charentes, France

Off radar for some, but actually one of the most accessible regions for stunning hiking, just a quick TGV journey from Paris. Walk through leafy ancient woodland trails, the pretty Pays de Gâtine area, Beugnon Lake and medieval villages. Great for center based, easy self guided walking vacations.

When to go: April to October
Our top selling trip: Self guided walking vacation in France
See all our trips: Walking vacations in France
Read more: Walking vacations in France guide and Centre based walking vacations travel guide

9. Andalucia, Spain

This is hot hiking, weather wise and landscape wise. Stay in friendly fincas as you enjoy the likes of Las Alpujarras, with the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada, or trek in the Sierra de Los Filabres. Sounds hard, but there are plenty of self guided introductory walking routes. Flora and fauna fans, head to Cabo de Gata-Nijar National Park in spring. It’s buzzing.

When to go: October to May is best; July and August can be uncomfortably hot for walking
Our top selling trip: Andalucia self guided walking vacation, Spain
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Spain
Read more: Walking vacations in Spain guide and Andalucia travel guide

10. Ireland

This Irish writer at Responsible Travel likes to save the best for last, it has to be said. Great for self guided walking, the Dingle Way is a 162km walking trail in County Kerry. If you thought the name was appealing, wait until you see the cliff tops, hidden bays, dolphins and pubs. Takes about nine days to hike. Don’t miss the Blasket Islands.

When to go: All year round, this is four seasons in a day territory
Our top selling trip: Dingle Way walking vacation in Ireland
See all our trips: Walking vacations in Ireland
Read more: Ireland travel guide
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Aneta Ivanova] [1. Amalfi Coast, Italy: Ken Mayer] [4. Cyprus: pxhere] [7. Tuscany, Italy: Rob van Hilten] [10. Ireland: d_marino2001]
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