Monday, 1 July 2013

Best Dramatic Locations for Walking & Hiking Holidays

The beauty of walking and hiking is the freedom and the distinct lack of cost. Read on for a selection of especially beautiful places around the world for unique and notoriously abundant walking and hiking opportunities, where some of the best sights can only be properly appreciated on foot, whether with walking boots or flip-flops...

Walking and Hiking in Corsica

The narrow winding roads of Corsica are overloaded with all sorts of vehicles in summer, including the customary enormous camper-vans clogging up even the most minor of roads. Hiking and walking is a far more peaceful way to enjoy the scenery and many of the walks afford views only visible when traveling on foot.

The GR20

This is a serious hikers' paradise. Stretching the length of the enormous island, hikers take days on end to complete this fantastic route through the dramatic mountainous landscape, often camping along the way.

Less serious options for hiking and walking are also possible all over the island and you can even joint parts of the longer trails where they pass by places with vehicle access.

Les Calanques

The red rock formations of Les Calanques have some excellent walks for stunning views. The 20 minute walk to the ‘Fortress’ (a tall, flat rock) offers panoramic sea and mountain views and the unique rock formations themselves. Walking through the trees and semi-climbing (or ‘scrambling’), between huge red rocks takes you out onto a sheer rock ledge overlooking the sea and the opposite side of the wide bay from a great height. The start of the trail can be accessed by the roadside, Southwest from Porto (around five minutes by car). The landmark is the ‘Tete du Chien’ – a large boulder shaped like the head of a dog.

Walking and Hiking in Maui, Hawaii

Maui is an island packed full of hiking and walking opportunities, and with its 3000 metre-high peaks, contrasting tropical and up-country climates, and unearthly volcanic landscapes, it makes a totally unique place for appreciating on foot.


After taking a bus or driving a car up to the Haleakala Crater (3000 meters altitude), the contrast to the luscious vegetation and golden beaches below is immense. The sparse, dry landscape with its dusty red volcanic earth and endemic silversword plants never fails to impress. Various long and short hikes are possible up here, just be careful of dehydration due to the altitude. Please note there is a small fee to enter the national park on approaching the top of the mountain/crater.

Road to Hana: Seven Sacred Pools, Bamboo Forest & Waimoku Falls

The road to Hana is evidently not a hike or a walk, however it is a legendary trip to take on the island, on winding coastal roads through tropical forest and over various narrow bridges. Along the way are other stunning sights such as waterfalls, and on arrival at the car park of the national park various walks are immediately accessible. It is around 3 miles through a dramatic bamboo forest on wooden walkways to the tall and graceful Waimoku Falls, and not too far from the car park is the idyllic ‘Seven Sacred Pools’ - a stunning water-feature of nature.

Walking and Hiking in the Swiss Alps

Hiking mecca Grindelwald is where it all happens in Switzerland in the summer (at least for outdoors addicts anyway). Alpine views of the Jungfrau dazzle amid unbelievably cute wooden chalets and luscious green meadows. Visiting in late springtime is also a delight, for the meadows are packed with Alpine wildflowers and it is hard to fight a strong urge to skip through them singing at the top of your lungs!
Interlaken is the tourist hub of Switzerland but for good reason - it is at the centre of Alpine beauty and right in between two huge stunning turquoise lakes. Not far from here is a place called Lauterbrunnen, where the thunderous Trummelbach Falls are found also. This stunning valley is adorned with graceful waterfalls on either side and hikes to the waterfalls and up to the top are relatively easy, with excellent snow-capped peak views.Interlaken has a range of hotel and accommodation options, including static caravans in the summer for a very affordable self-catering experience. Nearby town Thun is a beautiful place with a very youthful feel, and there are some excellent hotels in the centre including atmospheric Hotel Emmental with views of the stunning, historic castle.

Walking and Hiking at Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Towering cascades of crystal clear water plunge into shining aqua pools over sheer drops. Serene lakes shine green with reflections of the lush green forest and hilly landscape.

Plitvice is home to an exotic range of flora and fauna including wild bears. The wooden walkways lead visitors along the lake edges, close to the waterfalls, up hills for fantastic views, and to various little lakeside ports for a boat across the lake.

The ticket price depends on the route (of which there are around 6). It includes the boat-trips needed unless you choose a walking only ticket. Some basic trails take less than an hour. Longer ones cover a larger area of the national park.

Plitvice is in central Croatia. It is easy to find when driving, and well signposted (Plitvicka Jezera). Without a car, the best way to visit is either a bus from Zagreb the capital (around 2 hours), or an organised tour. Most hotels will be able to connect you with a tour to this major attraction.

Walking and Hiking at the Fitz Roy Los Glaciares National Park, El Chalten, Argentina

The absolutely stunning Andean mountain range called Fitz Roy in Patagonia is the centrepiece of the area for hundreds of miles around. El Chalten village provides an excellent base and there are endless trails in the area ranging from short 15 minute walks to 2-3 day hikes. It is best in autumn when the colours are so vivid and the weather at its most stable - visitors are more likely to catch glimpses of the peaks backed by a rich blue sky (cloud cover can be a pain).

Highlights include a hike to the foot of the spiky Cerro Torrre peak and to the sheer rock face of Cerro Fitz Roy itself, aswell as smaller hikes to waterfalls like Chorillo El Salto. There is also a fantastic bunch of lesser-known hikes at a nature reserve near Lago Azul before you get to Lago Del Desierto.

Another option for Argentine Patagonia, is the simply once-in-a-lifetime experience of ice-trekking on a Patagonian glacier. An organised trek on the famous, enormous and immensely blue Perito Moreno glacier near El Calafate is easy to book with tour operators Hielo Aventura in the town centre - and through most hotels. An organised trek on the stunning Glacier Viedma near El Chalten is also easy to book with local tour operators and hotels.

To get to El Chalten fly to El Calafate and take a tour bus from there, or rent a car (approximately a 2 hours' drive on a paved road). An excellent clean and pretty 3 star hotel is Cumbres Nevadas - it is in the village centre right beside a number of shops and restaurants.

For great sights and experiences in Britian that can only be appreciated on foot head over this page at The Telegraph

Text and Images Copyright © Lise Griffiths, 2013
All Rights Reserved


    helped me to get the perfect boots that are required for an ample traveler like me .I know that they are bit expensive but worth every single penny

  2. Great hiking boots! So important if you want to look after your feet and stay comfortable as well as safe. On a recent trip to Vesuvius and Amalfi, Richard did the walk to the Vesuvius crater in flip flops and didn't have a problem, but I on the other hand had worn out converse on, and they were so uncomfortable! Not to mention the stench of my feet afterwards. Lesson learned!


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