Taking a walking vacation, whether professionally guided or self-guided, is a great way get explore a destination. Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to leave the navigation to someone else, so you can just enjoy all of the fun, but other times it can be exciting to go off on your own independently. No matter which type you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a walking vacation that’s just right for you among these incredible options.
Bryce Canyon, Utah (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If you’re looking for great walks closer to home, Bryce Canyon is a walker’s, or hiker’s, paradise. A true geological wonder of jagged spires known as hoodoos, combine to create what looks like a jaw-dropping fiery sunset, with hues of brilliant orange, lemon, blood-red and dusky pink. Located in southwest Utah, there are countless trails through the canyon, including the day-long treks like the Fairyland Loop and the absolutely magical Wall Street trail, which snakes its way through a incredibly narrow gorge. From the colors and the plant life to the birds and animals, you’ll truly be amazed. While it’s easy to go on your own, Back roads offers guided walks in the park as well. The Stone Canyon Inn Hotel and Restaurant is an must-consider place to stay while visiting Bryce Canyon. With spectacular vistas from their deck, the sunset views and stargazing are more than enough to entice you to visit.
Crete: In the Footsteps of Ancients (Hotel Prices & Photos)
On this island where, according to myth, Theseus slew the half-bull, half-human creature known as the Minotaur, saving numerous young Athenians from being sacrificed to the monster, you’ll find the opportunity for magnificent coastal walks and a whole lot more. History buffs can look forward to classical ruins that are scattered across the flower-covered plains and along the rugged coast. Inntravel offers the chance to experience this walk around western Crete, passing through Aiolos, the homeland of the god of the winds, as well as the pirate country of Gramvoussa, and Elafonisi, land of the Cyclops according to legend. The adventure includes sometimes full days of walking across the rugged countryside, along with stays in simple, welcoming hotels and guest houses.
Kenya: Walking Safari (Hotel Prices & Photos)
In what’s considered to be one of the great destinations for lovers of wildlife, in Kenya, visitors can even enjoy some of the parks on foot. World Walks provides this opportunity that will allow you to gaze upon some of the continent’s finest wildlife, while enjoying a sense of freedom from walking, and in a safe situation. It includes some of the most scenic areas of the Great Rift Valley where walking and game viewing take place absent of mass tourism. Some of the highlights include the Crater Lake and Crescent Island sanctuaries, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Elementaita, and plenty of giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and gazelle sightings. You’ll stop at Lake Nakuru National Park, where thousands of pink flamingos can be seen, along with giraffe and white rhino in the open grasslands, while black rhino black rhino are typically found in the forests nearby. The final three days are spent at the Masai Mara, which is famous for its cheetah, leopard, lion, elephant and more.
Italy: Along the Amalfi Coast (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This self-guided Amalfi coast tour by Onfootholidays brings walkers from Amalfi to Sorrento, taking in Ravello, Praiano, Positano and the Sentiero degli Dei. The eight-day itinerary includes highlights like the gardens of the Villa Cimbrone, castle Torre dello Ziro, which overlooks both Amalfi and Atrani, as well as the Marina di Furore fjord and an uninhabited monastery, San Domenico. You’ll also get the option to stay overnight in beautiful Positano and the Sorrento Peninsula, renowned for its three stunning beaches: Ieranto, Marina del Cantone and Recommone. If you’re looking for something more, you can easy extend your stay and visit places like Naples, Capri, Pompeii and Herculaneum too.
Vienna, Austria to Prague, Czech Republic, World Walks (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This walking tour will bring you all the way from Vienna to Prague, or you can take it in reverse. You’ll pass through picturesque areas of historic Czech provinces of Moravia and Bohemia, and trek across the White Carpathian mountains, hiking in beautiful orchid-filled meadows as well as enjoying the opportunity to meet up with locals in some of the charming Moravian villages and even visit the wine cellars of local producers to taste delicious local wines. Some of the highlights including winding trails that lead to Baroque churches and orchards, tree-lined paths, rivers and lush forests. You’ll gaze up at magnificent architecture and expore archaeological sites in places like Cesky Krumlov, Telc, Dolni Vestonice and, of course, Prague, an incredibly romantic city, filled with fairytale-like castles, colorful red-tiled roofs, picturesque bridges and Gothic churches.
Switzerland: Swiss Alps Panoramas (Hotel Prices & Photos)
This eight-day walk from Sherpa Expeditions features everything from tranquil strolls to high ridges and even glacier exploring. A self-guided tour, highlights include a walk from the village of Gschwantenmad along the Reichenbech River to Schwarzwaldalp across the Brünig Pass, a walk through the forest and pastures to the pass at Kleine Scheidegg for breathtaking views of the Eiger and Jungfrau, as well as a trek past meadows and rugged limestone crags to the Bernese Oberland Massif. Stops along the way include Piz Gloria of James Bond fame, the Ballenberg open-air museum at Brienzwiler where you can explore traditional farm buildings from all over the country, and the Reichenbach Falls. It’s available during the warmer months, between May and October.
Peru: Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Just about everyone has Machu Picchu on their travel bucket list, and Countrywalkers offers the chance to fulfill that dream while savoring some of the best of Peruvian cuisine, including refined versions of local specialties like rocoto relleno and chupe de quinoa. The eight day, seven night trek, journeying four to seven miles each day, brings the chance to pass ancient temples and ruins, as well as terraced fields that grow quinoa, maize and potatoes. If you want to get away from the crowds, you can join your guide and take a sunrise tour of Machu Picchu for a particularly unforgettable chance to soak up the mysteries of the remarkable ruin. In the Sacred Valley, you’ll wander the busy stalls at Pisac Market, browsing or buying everything from fresh veggies to brightly colored fabrics. The trip also includes a visit to a primary school in a remote-traditional village high in the Andes.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain (Hotel Prices & Photos)
An ancient pilgrimage route, dating from the tenth century, the Santiago de Compostela, also known as the Way of St James, continues to be an extremely popular path today, both for religious and secular reasons. More than 100,000 people undertake the journey to the resting place of St James every year. The most popular route begins in the southern town of Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port in France, winding across the Pyrenees through Lower Navarre, and proceeds through northern Spain to the iconic cathedral where the apostle St. James is said to be buried. The very long, 450-mile stretch makes its way between charming towns and vast cornfields. Walkers spend the night in basic, family-run hostels that are dotted along the route which takes about three weeks to complete.
Fitz Roy Massif, Patagonia, Argentina (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor pursuits in Argentina, and there may be no better place on the planet to enjoy long walks than Patagonia, located in the southern region of the country. This is the ultimate paradise, where you’ll be surrounded by craggy mountains crowned with pristine glaciers, dazzling glacial lakes, breathtaking waterfalls, lush forests and meadows. dotted with the wildflowers. One of the world’s most impressive treks leads from El Chalten, a village set against the soaring peaks of Monte Fitz Roy, taking you to the base of the needle-shaped granite spire of Cerro Torre. The pinnacle is along the shores of Laguna Torre, a lagoon at the foot of the Adela range where a number of icebergs from the Grande glacier can often be seen.
Swoop Patagonia offers a 5-day trip that includes three full days of trekking based out of El Chalten. You’ll see Cerro FitzRoy and Cerro Torre, and even hike across a glacier, camping in the mountains, but returning to a cozy lodge back in Chalten.