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

Hillside Site With Stunning Views Across The Valley To The Ridge Of Hills Beyond

Casa Calandra's accommodation is arranged on 2 levels: the upper entrance level comprises a light and spacious living/dining/area with sliding/folding doors and french windows on 2 sides allowing the space to be opened up to views from balcony and...

High Quality Accomodation Set In Grounds Of 8 Acres In A Rural Location Close To Amenities

The Manor House and Pigeonnier are set in beautiful grounds in a rural location close to the three South Charente towns, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Chalais and Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard. The two gites can be let together for groups of up to 21 or let se...

Character Cottage Near Looe. Walk To Beach. Fantastic Setting For Walkers.

A walk to the beach. A pretty, high standard end terraced renovated 17th century character cottage in the Nat Trust beauty spot of Lansallos, 2 1/2 miles from Polperro and 7 miles from Looe, South Cornwall. The cottage has been tastefully modernis...

Masia Catalana in the Natural Park of Barcelona 40 min -Montnegre Corredo

At the heart of our Masia Montnegre Corridor Park, offers tranquility, relaxation, rural atmosphere and enjoy together with friends, family. Ideal for sports (running, mountain biking, hiking). Country walks, woodland walk a horse. The farm with o...

The Hay Loft G40, very roomy and comfy house converted from a barn

1½ miles from both Kentisbeare and Cullompton, a very roomy and comfy house converted from a barn across a courtyard from the owners’ part 17th cent. listed farmhouse on their 5 acre organic smallholding (fresh salad), which you are welcome to wal...
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