UK & European Holiday News
The latest travel news, interviews, traveller reviews, inspiration & advice on cycling and walking holidays in the UK and Europe..
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Following our guide to trips in the UK that are ideal for walkers with different fitness levels, now it’s the turn of Europe.
An important factor in the fitness levels required when choosing a walking holiday in Europe is the weather and the time of year. Although most of our European trips fall into the ‘moderate’ category, it obviously gets hotter as you head further south, and a trip in central or southern Europe is going to be more challenging in the height of summer than it is in spring or autumn.
This is just a small selection of the European trips that we offer. Just check out the suitability description on any of our trip pages to work out if it’s the right one for you.
GENTLE TRIPS FOR FIRST TIME WALKERS
This is a gentle walk that allows time to visit historic sites and vineyards along the route. Although the second half of the week provides a little more of a challenge as the distances and climbs increase slightly, it’s generally an extremely pleasant route that allows you to discover the landscape and savour some of the finest food and wine on offer anywhere in Europe. Travellers will discover a fabled land of mediaeval chateaux, ancient monasteries and fragrant breezes where the art of living is pursued to near perfection at a gentle unhurried pace.
Vineyard Trails of the Loire
The Loire is also one of the major wine producing areas of France, and it also has the advantage of being a great centre for cuisine and historical monuments. The walking is hilly at times, but generally the mix of old pathways, farm and forest trails make for fairly gentle walking. The combination of walking, spectacular historical sites, the food and wines of the Loire, makes this walk full of interest and pleasure and an ideal place to start for those with a love of France or setting out on a walking holiday for the first time.
MODERATE TRIPS FOR THE MORE ACTIVE
Starting in France and ending in Spain, this walk follows the steep coastline where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean. With some days stretching for 22km and with ascents of up to 700m, you’ll certainly know that you’ve been working your legs hard by the end of the day! But this is generally a lovely walk that will pose no difficulties for someone with a decent level of fitness and experience of hill-walking. The walk includes visits to some charming fishing villages and you’ll be able to sample some lovely wines and delicious Catalan cuisine.
Lake Como Rambling
This is a lovely walk, which includes some days that you can lengthen for a slightly bigger challenge if your legs allow it. The spectacular Lake Como, formed by glaciers during the last Ice Age, is lined by Roman Villas with beautiful gardens, and grand hotels built during the Victorian era for European and American tourists. You’ll also be able to savour some delicious Italian food and wine whilst enjoying some of the country’s most stunning views.
CHALLENGING TRIPS FOR MORE EXPERIENCED WALKERS
Our trip takes in the most impressive two-week section of the full classic Alpine Pass – it’s a route that takes you over many alpine passes, some a leisurely stroll, others a tougher proposition, but all offering their own spectacular visual rewards. There are some long days but lifts and cable cars can be used to shorten some of the walks and overnight locations can all be reached by public transport in case of bad weather. However, this trek is a definite challenge, which involves much daily uphill and downhill walking, and is only suitable for fit walkers who can readily manage days with more than 1000m ascent and descent.
Tour du Mont Blanc
This classic alpine walk circumnavigates Western Europe’s highest mountain over passes and through the valleys of three contrasting countries. Walkers can savour the food and wine of France, Italy and Switzerland and enjoy some of the finest scenery in the world. There are no vertigo-inducing sections on this walk provided you stick to the itinerary as described in the route notes and defined on the maps; and avoid the ‘variations’. We make it clear in the notes which alternate routes in our opinion do require a ‘head for heights’. Some of the walks can be shortened if desired by the use of cable cars or (in Italy) a local bus service.
Planning a trip to Italy and looking for holiday ideas that you can undertake fairly soon? We have created an overview of the first trips travelling to Italy this year. You can be packing your bags and hitting the Italian trails in spring undertaking one of these pleasant walking holidays in the land of pizza and the Romans.
The itineraries travel across the country and from the first of March, be among the firsts this year to enjoy the Italian walking paths, sip from your cappuccino on a quiet terrace in the first beams of sun in spring, visit ancient Roman sites without the crowds, and follow the trails of the Cilento Coast, Lake Como, Amalfi, Sardinia and Cinque Terre.
The great lakes of northern Italy have been a popular holiday destination since Roman times, evidenced by the array of lavish villas and sumptuous gardens which line their shores. When you visit Italy in March, April or May, you can enjoy full flexibility on this itinerary that uses the old Roman tracks. They cross the mountains on the west side of Lake Como, exploring forested valleys, mountaintops and traditional villages. Still in use today by the locals, they have been transformed into a series of way marked trails offering breath-taking views.
>> Learn more about the 8-days Lake Como Rambling holiday
A brand-new trip in Italy to the less known side of Amalfi was launched in March 2017. Most visitors to Italy’s world famous coastal strip do not continue beyond Vietri sul Mare, the Amalfi’s easternmost point. Go a few miles further south though, and you will find Cilento: the country’s largest National Park. Richly scented pinewoods, mediaeval farm houses and traditional water mills remain largely ‘undisturbed’ by the 21st century.
>> Learn more about the 5-days Cilento Coast and Mountain walking holiday
Few trips in Italy take in such a diverse combination of iconic highlights and stunning seascapes, making it impossible to escape the hordes of crowds that head to ‘Nastro Azzurro’ (Blue Ribbon) in the summer months. But, travel between March and May and you will have the Amalfi Coast virtually entirely to yourself.
>> Learn more about the 11-days Classic Amalfi Coast walking holiday, or check out the 6-days or the Classic Amalfi Coast - 8 Days options
The Cinque Terre (Five Lands) is Italian Riviera at its best. The coastline of the Cinque Terre in north-western Italy is as stunning as Amalfi, yet somehow even more colourful! For centuries artists and poets have praised the tiny aquamarine inlets that serve as fishing harbours and the ancient terraces rising steeply out of the coastal crags in words and pictures. You can opt for the gentle coastal strolls or strenuous hikes into the surroundings hills. Visit churches and viewpoints, walk through cliff-side vineyards and pine forests, while reserving ample time to feast on the rich Italian cuisine.
>> Learn more about the 6-days Cinque Terre Villages walking holiday
The weather in Sardinia in March and April is often already relatively warm and pleasant for undertaking outdoor activities. When you visit the Italian island in early spring, stay around the coast to enjoy gentle walks and explore secluded bays and ancient watchtowers. Taste the clear spring water, spot birds like Grey Herons and Pink Flamingos, and watch the sunset turn the cliffs to shades of yellow and pink.
>> Learn more about the 8-days self guided walking holiday A Saunter in Sardinia
For more information on your options for visiting Italy in March, April and May and for booking details, you can download the trip notes on each trip’s page or contact our team of travel experts by phone or email.
Do you expect me to talk?
No, Mr Bond we expect you to walk (or cycle)! I’m sure many of you will have seen the new James Bond movie ‘Spectre’, with its spectacular scenery and beautiful locations.
So, now you’ve seen the film, it’s time to visit sites that have featured in some of the movies over the last 50 years.
For your eyes only – Corfu, Greece
The backdrop for the opening sequence of the 1981 movie “For your eyes only” was set on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu. With beautiful diving and swimming opportunities, your visit to the UNESCO World Heritage listed old town of Corfu will be a travel memory to treasure forever.
You can follow in Bond’s footsteps by island hopping in Greece, travelling from Corfu your journey will lead you to some of the least visited regions.
Soak up the authentic Greek hospitality with your family on our adventure trip. For more information, please click here.
Quantum of Solace – Siena, Italy
As a direct sequel to the 2006 Casino Royale film, you’ll remember the famous closing scenes where Daniel Craig utters for the first time the famous line "The name's Bond, James Bond" with its stunning backdrop of Lake Como, Italy. Thankfully Quantum of Solace continued with the Italian theme, this time featuring the historic city of Siena in Tuscany.
Our self-guided Cycling South of Siena tour enables you to explore the medieval but bustling city before pedalling off into a photogenic Tuscan landscape of gentle hills. Along the way you’ll discover fantastic hot springs, wine and breathtaking views.
Up for the challenge? Discover Italy by cycling through Tuscany, read more.
Diamonds are forever – Amsterdam, Netherlands
One of the most famous films in the franchise, Diamonds Are Forever will forever remain a classic. In the movie, Bond travels to Amsterdam where he discovers diamond smugglers. Thankfully on our Bike & Barge journey through The Netherlands and Belgium, you’re more likely to discover Gouda cheese and incredible Belgian chocolate.
This unique cycling tour is graded as “Introductory”, enabling a fairly relaxed pace perfect for you to take in all attractions with time to stop and take photos or visit the interesting places along the route.
Casino Royale – Lake Como, Italy
In 2006 the producers decided to start from the beginning with "Casino Royale". The final scenes of the movie included stunning panoramic views of Lake Como in Italy. You can also encounter the beautiful contrast between the gorgeous blue water and rugged mountains, carved during the last ice age by powerful glaciers.
Our 8 day self-guided walking tour provides you with the opportunity to see Italy’s chic and charming side.
Goldfinger – Alps, Switzerland
Let’s face it; you can’t go wrong with Switzerland as a back-drop for a movie. The incredible natural beauty of the Swiss Alps was used during the third Bond installment "Goldfinger".
Our 8 day self-guided walking holiday is based in the Alpine town of Meiringen, the perfect place to be situated as you can fill a week with excellent day walks at any time of the year. Although Switzerland is visited by millions of tourists each year, Meiringen has none of the trappings of mass tourism and thankfully remains unspoiled.
See the real Switzerland on our “Panorama’s of the Swiss Alps” tour where you’ll experience Lakes, Gorges, Glaciers and Dramatic Alpine Scenery.