|From easy treks to tough hikes, Europe has walking holidays to suit everyone. We look at some of the best walks for those ready to escape city life for fresh air and gorgeous views.
1) Tenerife in Spain:
The Canary Islands boasts an average temperature in the mid twenties so it’s ideal for walking holidays. The island is surrounded on all sides by the Atlantic Ocean and each side can be reached by car in under a day. El Teide is the highest mountain in Spain and is home to a volcano that attracts many visitors throughout the year. The volcano has not erupted in thousands of years.
However, it provides an amazing viewpoint for a walk along the path, which will take you more than 1300 meters above sea level. The easier route crosses Canadas and visits the unique rock formations of the Roques de Garcia. The more demanding walk ascends Montana Guajara. You will reach the highest point when you are on the crater rim that gives dramatic views across the island.
2) Pyrenees in France:
Situated on the border between Spain and France this four hundred kilometre trail can take more than forty days to complete in full.Although for those looking for a week’s holiday in Europe, there are shorter trails that can be completed in about five days or so. The name ‘Pyrenees’ is derived from ‘byren’, a Celtic work, which translates as back or ridge. As the Pyrenees is also a popular skiing resort, when there is no snow, cable-cars can still be used to get you across the steep mountain paths travelling at altitudes of over 11,000ft. An outstanding achievement that you’ll want to appreciate, so don’t forget your camera.
3) Madeira in Portugal:
About three hundred miles to the north of the Canary Islands is Madeira, where walkers will find some outstanding trails. These trails are again physically demanding and the route of La Gomera and will take you up 1,000 metres above sea level. During the course of the walk, you will travel across exposed sections of pathway, as well as through levada tunnels and a truly beautiful forest of laurel trees that are unique to the island.
Levadas, meaning ‘irrigation’, originated out of the necessity of bringing large amounts of water from the west and northwest of the island to the drier southeast, which is more favorable to farming and living conditions. Madeira is very mountainous, and building these levadas, some up to 25 miles in length often proved difficult, so a must see during your trip here.
4) Dolomites in Italy:
Located within Italy’s northeast region, this long trail spans more than ninety kilometres and will take walkers through charming meadows that are populated by clover, flowers, harebells and hawkit. The trail reaches altitudes of 2300 metres and passes by the best known mountain groups in the Alps, the ‘TreCime di Lavaredo’. The three mountains that make up the ‘TreCime di Lavarendo’ are the Cima Piccola ("little peak"), Cima Grande ("big peak") and Cima Ovest ("western peak").
The Dolomites offers some of the less demanding walks, in terms of physical effort and so is ideal for those with low to moderate levels of fitness, wanting a relaxing walking holiday.
5) Mont Blanc in France:
Mont Blanc, meaning ‘white mountain’ is situated on the borders that separate Switzerland, Italy and France. The Mont Blanc region offers walkers treks that are upto 150 kilometres in length and will bring you to altitudes of 2500 metres. The spectacular mountain scenery makes visiting this area top of the list. For walkers who have a gentler pace in mind they can take a cable railway some of the distance and still enjoy the trail.These are the most popular walking holidays in Europe for 2013 so far, and suitable for people of all levels of fitness so just get your walking boots and get out there.