Walking holidays come in many forms, but the one thing in common for all of them is experience. There is no better way of getting to know a certain part of the world.
They also all carry a sense of achievement and daily adventure. If you are spending your holidays sitting around bored, then this is something you shouldn’t miss out on.
1. The Six Foot Track, Australia
The Six Foot Track is a 44-kilometre long walking trail from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves, although it was originally built as a riding path. The track winds through forests and the Blue Mountains National Park, passing wild rivers and cascading waterfalls.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity for overnight camping and stargazing. If you get off the main road, you can get to a couple of lookouts and enjoy the views. See what’s left of the Megalon Village, which used to be a small mining town. Another highlight is the Bowtells Swing Bridge over the Cox River. Crossing this suspension bridge is a thrill, but only do it one person at a time.
When you reach the Jenolan Caves, make sure to explore them too. Find out if the Cathedral Chamber really has the perfect acoustics and see the Orient, one of its most beautiful caves.
If you have always wanted to see a Platypus, you can go to the Blue Lake, nearby.
2. The Camino de Santiago, Spain
The Camino de Santiago is for some just a beautiful walk, for others it is a spiritual journey. It is a network of pilgrim routes leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
Although there are many routes, by far the most popular is the Camino Frances. It starts from the French town St Jean Pied de Port and it’s a 780-kilometre long route. It would take you about a month to get to Santiago, provided you walk 15 miles a day on average.
However, you can walk slower and take your time to appreciate different landscapes and explore cities along the way. Take in the view of the snow-capped Pyrenees and green Galicia. Don’t miss your chance to see some interesting buildings such as Gaudi’s Episcopal Palace.
3. Kumano Kodo, Japan
Kumano Kodo is a series of routes that cross the Kii peninsula, leading to the sacred site of Kumano Sanzan. Japan’s emperors and nobleman who lived in the ancient capital of Kyoto started the Kumano pilgrimage in the 10th century.
The most popular trail is the Nakahechi route. You’ll pass through mountains and cedar forests, and the trail itself involves quite a bit of an ascent and descent. It’s a bit of a rural experience, but it will give you a chance to take in the scenery from the coastline to the high mountains. Along the way, you will encounter Oji shrines, where the imperial family performed rituals and prayed.
Make sure to arrange an overnight stay in the Yunomine Onsen, because this village was built on a natural hot spring. It is commonly referred to as Japan’s oldest spa. Enjoy regional cuisine and traditional accommodation, sleeping on futons or on the floor.
4. Walking the Hardangerfjord, Norway
The 179-kilometre long Hardangerfjord is the second longest fjord in Norway and among the longest in the world. It is your ticket to breathtaking natural landscapes. One of the routes in this region is the Hardangervidda, a 67-kilometre long national tourist walk. High mountains, glaciers, vast plateaus and azure fjords are just a part of what you’ll encounter. It can be pretty hostile during the winter, but it’s far more welcoming in the summertime.
The trail goes through the Hardangervidda National Park. You’ll see the largest mountain plateau in Northern Europe and experience a stunning panorama. The ardangervidda plateau has one of the biggest populations of wild reindeer in Europe. You may see them if you are lucky and patient enough.
You can also glimpse rare and beautiful plants in the wild Mabodalen canyon. Visit the Hardangervidda Nature Centre for some great exhibitions and panoramic films. Don’t miss the Voringsfossen waterfall, it is an very impressive sight. It is Norway’s best-known waterfall with the water thundering down from 145 metres on high. Besides, there is probably no better place in the world to see the aurora borealis, the northern lights.