European walking holidays

The path less travelled: discover Europe's finest walking tours

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Russ Sanchez

Russ Sanchez
HomeAway travel expert


1Although perhaps better known worldwide for the spectacular architecture and history of its timeless cities, Europe suffers no lack of humbling wilderness panoramas: from the Alpine peaks of France to the vast pine forests of Bavaria, the coastline of the Turkish Aegean to the wetlands of Spain; all just a stone's throw from the UK. Add to this a European rail network that makes crossing the continent in search of the best walking trails quick and inexpensive, and it's never been easier to explore the astonishing variety of landscapes on offer for your next European walking holiday.

Spring and autumn, the walking tour off-seasons, are in fact fantastic times to holiday, as the weather is usually still warm, but the locations less crowded. And by taking private rental accommodation for your walking holiday in Europe, you'll not only save your wallet a lot of stress, but ensure that serenity and comfort await you on your return from the great outdoors.


 

Top five destinations for walking holidays in Europe


   

Walking holidays in Madeira Walking holidays in Madeira

The variety and staggering beauty of the landscapes makes walking holidays in Madeira some of the most exquisite in Europe: there are alpine plateaus, sensational coastal paths and rocky mountains all awaiting exploration. Especially charming, and unique to Madeira, are the levada walks – trails that run alongside the small irrigation canals that embroider the island, feeding its numerous orchards and vineyards.

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Walking holidays in Iceland Walking holidays in Iceland

The wild, windswept landscape of Iceland seems almost to have been pulled from a Tolkien novel; it resembles a fairyland more than the earth. The open plains, crystal-clear meltwater lakes, and volcanic plateaus, to risk a cliché, must be seen to be believed. And of course, no visit to Iceland would be complete without a trip to its famous hot springs – immersing yourself in the delectably warm waters is an alternative to the holiday-standard beach trip that may change your standards for aquatic adventures forever.

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Walking holidays in Scotland Walking holidays in Scotland

Scotland is a world-famous walking destination, with limitless stretches of highland ruggedness to tackle, if you dare. This is the landscape that inspired the Romantic notion of the 'sublime' – a majestic awe, bordering on terror, that inspires poets to write of the grandeur of nature. At the other end of the scale, however, Scotland's delightful and cosy rural pubs, full of friendly locals and hearty food, offer the perfect place to revive your weary limbs after a long day of walking, adventuring (and perhaps having epiphanies). Even poets have to eat, after all.

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Walking holidays in Switzerland Walking holidays in Switzerland

The Alpine scenery of Switzerland is famed far and wide, and with good reason. Whether you are looking for casual strolls through flower-strewn Alpine meadows, or strenuous treks into the mountains, in Switzerland, the hills (I apologize in advance) are alive with the sound of holiday bliss. Given the steep terrain in Switzerland, holiday bliss can sometimes sound a little wheezy – make sure to keep hydrated, and not overexert yourself at high altitudes – but invigorating nonetheless. The views are unparalleled.

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Walking holidays in Norway Walking holidays in Norway

The home of Nordic walking, the landscapes of Norway can never tire you (well, mentally). Soaring mountains, glittering fjords and lush green hills – Norway's iconic landscapes are a delight for all lovers of the outdoors. And since the appreciation of nature has long been central to the Nordic ethos, you'll find well-maintained trails (often dotted regularly with cabins where you can rest and refuel) of various difficulty levels throughout the country.

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More European walking locations

Family-friendly Luxury Villa in Provence, close to Luberon and Avignon,18x5 Pool

Situated at the entrance of the charming Provencal village of Cairanne, and surrounded by orchard, olive trees and luscious wine vineyards, Mas Meyeau is a superb holiday rental for 10/12 people offering excellent facilities for a relaxing time,...

ANTICA FILANDA 10 / 8 Sleeps, Charming Characteristic Villa With Pool, Tennis Table, Soccer Table, A Few Minutes From Arezzo, Tuscany

THIS VILLA IS AVAILABLE ALSO IN 8 SLEEPS VERSION, PLEASE CONTACT EMMA VILLAS. PRIVATE STRUCTURE. The Antica Filanda is a charming characteristic residence situated at the edge of the borgo of Santa Firmina, an old village just 3 km from the centre...

CASA DEL SOLE 4 Sleeps, Holiday Family Villas With Private Pool In Tuscany, Near The Splendid Cortona

PRIVATE STRUCTURE. The house, which dates 19th century, as can be seen from the inscription on sandstone conserved by the owner, has recently undergone renovation which has maintained the interior structure that the preceding owners had given it. ...

BELLORA 6+2 Sleeps, Villa With Private Pool And Park, In The Beautiful Tuscan Countryside Between Cortona And Montepulciano

PRIVATE STRUCTURE. Bellora is a charming little brick property which is situated in the beautiful Tuscan countryside between Cortona and Montepulciano, close to the natural oasis of the lake of Montepulciano. Internally the property has been finis...

PRATELLE 12 / 10 / 8 sleeps, old Umbrian farmhouse with private pool, park and porch, near Orvieto

PRIVATE STRUCTURE. Pratelle is an old farmhouse composed of two residential units dating back to the last century; over the years it has undergone successive renovations until 2000 when it took on its present form. The farmhouse is situated in a 3...
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