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Top Three Countries to Explore on Foot

Posted 02 May 2018

There are few things more wonderful than experiencing a country by foot, taking in the sights, smells and sounds, not to mention the tastes, at a leisurely pace. Here are our three top destinations:

The best of Italy

Puglia’s southeast coast throws up many delights for walkers, from La Cutura Botanical Garden in Giuggianello to the ancient standing stones of Dolmen Stabile. You'll traverse the alien-esque landscape of the blue lake at Uggiano La Chiesa, along a glorious coastline to one of Italy’s southernmost tips, via some incredibly fresh, homemade mozzarella.

Up in the north of Italy lies Südtirol in all its Alpine glory. The region is rich in vineyards, orchards and castles, with the dramatic backdrop of the Dolomites. It produces some fantastic wines, which the easy route allows you time to sample. You’ll walk to flower-filled meadows and seek out spectacular mountain views. Tyrolean cuisine blends the Austrian penchant for desserts and dumplings with Italian specialities like exquisite cheeses and fresh tomato.

  • Average temperature, May-Sept: 18-24 degrees
  • Puglia terrain: almost entirely flat
  • Südtirol terrain: easy/moderate, mainly flat
  • A stop in the spa town of Merano is an indulgent highlight of northern Italy. To the south, the fantastic coast and view across to Albania will take your breath away.

Click here to find out more about our walking holidays in Italy.

The highlights of Portugal

From the glorious golden cliffs in the south to the rich, rust-coloured wine country in the north, Portugal is paradise. The Algarve is romantic, with great cliffs, secluded coves and a riot of cliff-dwelling flowers, all edged by the aqua-marine sea.

Alternatively you might like a walking tour to the fairy-tale town of Sintra, via the undulating ‘Moon Hills’. Your destination is a hillside collection of some of Europe’s most stunning follies, castles and Moorish and Gothic architecture. While here, stop at a Ginja cafe – often just a kiosk in a wall – for a warming shot of cherry liquor served in an edible, chocolate shot glass.

Further north still, our walking tour of Douro starts in the pretty town of Porto, before following the course of the Douro river into the rippling hills. Douro wine country lends itself to wine tasting and to line your stomach, Portuguese cuisine typically includes fish dishes, like cod and octopus, cured meats and cheeses and bakeries galore.

  • Average temperature, May-September: 20-25 degrees
  • Terrain: easy/moderate, mainly flat
  • Wine tasting in Portugal is a huge highlight, as are the romantic castles in World Heritage Site Sintra.

Click here to find out more about our walking holidays in Portugal.

The delights of Austria

The chocolate-box countryside of Austria will not disappoint, from mountainous terrain to lush, green meadows with the jangling of cow bells, from crystal clear air to sparkling great lakes and quaint alpine huts. Lake Zell, just outside of Salzburg provides easy walking and glorious views of the wide blue expanse of water and up to the mountain.

Alternatively you can don your boots and head from the quaint ‘Gasse’ (alleys) in Salzburg, to the Pilgrim Trail, along gentle river paths into the Tyrol region. While walking in Austria, pit stops for apple strudel, giant, soft pretzels and ‘Pinzgauer Kasnocken’ (indulgent cheesy dumplings) are highly recommended.

  • Salzburg average temperature, May-Sept: 18-23 degrees
  • Terrain: easy/moderate, mainly flat
  • Lake Zell is a true highlight, as is stopping off at a pretty mountain hut for a cold drink and to take in the scenery.

Click here to find out more about our activity holidays in Austria.

Discover our walking collection here.

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