Nowadays there is a wide range of walking and hiking holidays available which can accommodate everyone’s needs. The options can vary from guided groups to tailor-made tours. So if it is a leisurely or a more gruelling adventure you are after, there are many ways to achieve your walking desires. An increasing number of companies offer walking tours all around the world, as after all the best way to get the ultimate feel of a landscape is to walk!
On our very doorstep you can celebrate the best of British scenery, from coastal paths and countryside to the wilds of the Peak District and Scotland. There is Arnside Knott in Cumbria overlooking Morecambe Bay on one side and the Lake District on the other. If you happen to be on the Northumberland coast, soak up its wide open skies and colourful variety of birds and flowers and for the more adventurous, go hiking in Britain’s National Parks. The Norfolk Broads, New Forest, Peak District and the Brecon Beacons National Park offer short or long walks, a leisurely stroll or a more demanding hike. The National Trust website has suggested routes and great walking ideas with downloadable maps, ideas for places to eat and stay and also points of interest on each walk. The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is also worth a visit to discover the Dorset and East Devon Coast which has achieved World Heritage status, and the Lake District National Park’s site guides you through leisurely walks to more demanding hill walks.
There is nothing quite like exploring beautiful lakes and mountains on your travels. For example the breathtaking scenery of Carinthia and the Dolomites in Austria are great places to visit. Another popular place for British tourists is Mallorca (Majorca). Walking through La Serrania allows you to soak up the picturesque island by foot and is certainly worth slotting it into your itinerary if you are thinking of going there.
If you happen to be in the region of Australasia, the Blue Mountains in Australia’s New South Wales or the walks of South Island and North Island in New Zealand can cater for every type of walk or hike. The snow capped mountains, alpine lakes, rainforests or valleys that make up the natural scenery of New Zealand is something else, and the added bonus is the climate is similar to the UK even if takes over a day to get there! Alternatively climb Table Mountain in South Africa and take in the best ever views imaginable. To get the ultimate challenge in hiking and if you really want to test yourself, the Himalayas is a must.
To be able to undertake your proposed walk or hike, it is essential that you are fully prepared and equipped. These are a few tips we have put together:
1. A Topographic Map – A good topographic map is essential as it has features such as rivers, hills and other terrain to help you get from A to B.
2. Always warm-up – Stretching out before and after walking is important to prevent injuries. In particular, pay attention to the calf muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps.
3. Wear the right clothes and footwear – Light layers are advisable as you are likely to get warm whilst walking. It’s always worth taking waterproofs too. Comfortable footwear that has preferably been worn before is essential to avoid blisters and calluses.
4. Take enough water and food – It is important to keep hydrated, especially if walking long distances or exercising in hot weather, as well as taking enough food. For a more leisurely approach, why not take a picnic and make a day of it.
5. Don’t forget – Do not carry more than you need and always have a compass and mobile phone with you. It is also vital to let people know where you are going.
Don’t forget your travel insurance!
Wherever it is that you may be planning to walk in the world, don’t forget to take out travel insurance before you go. 24/7 travel insurance offers great deals, for example if you happen to be visiting Europe for 2 weeks the cost is only £10.01* – a small price to pay for peace of mind whilst walking and hiking!
* £10.01 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a Standard single-trip policy for 14 days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (September 2008) and are subject to change.