We all love to travel and are likely to use many different modes of transport during our holidays. There is something so satisfying, however, about setting out on our own two feet and discovering a place under our own steam. Walking is a wonderful, gentle form of exercise and is a great way to see the little things that pass by at high-speed when travelling by car, train or bicycle.
So where should you go if you want to put walking at the heart of your trip? Read on to discover some of the best walking tour destinations out there and how to make the most of them.
Madeira has gained quite a reputation in recent years as a walking destination, mainly due to its system of levadas. This network of mini-canals was originally built to irrigate the island and ensure its most arid areas could be used to grow everything from vegetables to apples and grapes. Now, they provide wonderful routes to follow on walking tours, taking visitors through diverse landscapes and stunning scenery.
Paths have been constructed alongside the levadas, making them particularly welcoming to walkers wishing to spend anything from a few days to several weeks exploring the island. No matter how much time you have to fill in Madeira, it is difficult to run out of walks as the levadas cover no less than 2,500 kilometres in total. Add to this the knowledge you are following routes laid out in the 16th century and you are bound to have a wonderful time.
It’s almost as if Tenerife was created with walking in mind. Whether it’s a volcanic plateau, lush forests or deep valleys, the ever-changing countryside of Tenerife has so much to offer the avid walker. With this in mind, the Canary Island is aiming to highlight its credentials as a walking destination with a new annual festival dedicated to the pursuit taking place each March.
Visitors do not need to wait until then to enjoy its delights, however, with walking on Tenerife possible all year round. The weather can vary in different parts of the island, with the north getting relatively more rainfall, but Tenerife experiences sunshine every month of the year.
The island is well set-up for walkers, with many of the routes furnished with way markers to ensure nobody gets lost. Heading out on a tour will also add to this, but be sure to decide the level you are capable of and the type of walking you wish to do in advance. Some people cannot resist the temptation of tackling Mount Teide – Spain’s tallest mountain, while others will enjoy coastal walks or the delights of inland Tenerife.
Portugal’s Algarve has plenty going for it, with walking just one of the great things to enjoy in this part of the world. When you head away from the beach and explore inland, you may be surprised by what you find. This area of Portugal boasts unspoilt scenery, with a wide variety of flora and fauna on display. Walks can take visitors across gentle hills, into fields of wild flowers and past acres of cork trees. All the while, picturesque villages and even single houses dot the landscape welcomingly.
Many walking tours to the Algarve combine the stunning scenery with the delicious food on offer, allowing visitors to tuck into hearty meals that are well-deserved after a long day exploring the countryside. With natural springs often seen on routes to quench a walker’s thirst and the opportunity to see native wildlife including interesting birds, reptiles and even small mammals such as mongeese, the Algarve is the perfect walking package.
There is lots of potential for walking holidays in Cyprus, with coastal walks that include beaches a great option for cooler months of the year. As the island can get pretty hot in the summer months, heading up into the Troodos Mountains to spend the time walking not only brings the temperature down, but also offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Whatever time of the year, it is important to be prepared for the heat in Cyprus, however, with a good supply of both sun cream and water.
While walking in Cyprus, visitors are likely to come across Byzantine chapels tucked away in the countryside, which are worth peeking inside, as many have impressively frescoed walls. Paths tend to be well-marked and interspersed with interesting things along the way. As well as the Troodos Mountains and the coast, the Krasocheria wine-making region and the Akamas Peninsula both have some wonderful routes to discover.
More detailed walking tours in the destinations above will be coming soon!