Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned walker, the following destinations contain treasures that can only be unlocked when you’re travelling on foot.
Hadrian's Wall, England
Walk the well-preserved Roman frontier, Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland was a major frontier of the Roman Empire and walking the 73-mile-long, well-preserved ruins you get a real sense of the might of the Roman Army. Apparently Roman soldiers could march 20 miles in five hours, while carrying armour, weapons, food, and wearing leather sandals. Take a more leisurely trip along Hadrian’s Wall and you’ll have time to admire remarkable Roman artefacts and the stark, rolling, fern-covered landscape.
Rest your weary feet in the traditional bedrooms of converted old stone barn, Wydon Farm Bed and Breakfast and enjoy a full English breakfast in the morning.
Take a mid-walk swim in a mountain lake in Bavaria
Germans love to hike. So the Bavarian countryside is crisscrossed with walking trails. Walk through ancient forests and vineyards, from medieval town to town, and swim in the refreshing, deep blue water of Lake Rachelsee.
Start your walking holiday off in style at the Hotel Splendid Dollmann in Munich, a 19th-century townhouse with extravagant decor and a patio where you can enjoy breakfast in dappled sunlight.
Hike to the top of Pulpit Rock, Norway
Fjord-filled Norway has walking trails linking up all of the country’s epic viewpoints and one of the most visually stunning is Preikestolen, aka the Pulpit Rock. It’s an angular slab of rock, 604 metres’ tall, with a plateau at the top for visitors take in the awe-inspiring panorama. The walk up and back takes is approximately a four-hour round trip, recommended in summer.
Flørli 4444 Hostel is right on the banks of the same fjord that Pulpit Rock overlooks.
Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
Bulgaria's misty Rhodope Mountains
Bulgaria’s misty Rhodope Mountains are covered with beautiful deciduous forests, waterfalls, deep gorges, glacial lakes, valleys coated with rare wildflowers, and monasteries perched atop rocky summits.
Stay at Guest House Stoletnika in Yagodina village for quietude, a terrace with forest views and a rose-filled garden (plus BBQ).
Inca Trail, Peru
Trek to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru
The Inca Trail is no easy trek but is undoubtedly worth the effort. Spanning several days, the route travels from the Urubamba Valley to the 15th-century citadel of Machu Picchu. You’ll have seen the photos but the sight of this mysterious monument with vertiginous, green mountain peaks never fails to impress.
The Antigua Casona San Blas is located in Cusco, near the start of the trek. Its handsome rooms with carved wooden shutters and generously-sized beds are perfect for resting up before the trek.
Cross canyons and icy rivers walking through Quebec
In Quebec’s many national parks, the walking trails are seemingly endless and give you access to some very special, isolated places. Take in extraordinary views from the top of granite cliffs, dip your toes in icy rivers flowing rapidly through steep canyons, and come across thunderous waterfalls pouring through the forest.
Stay at Le 253 for a handy location, a garden overflowing with flowers, and modern decor (Rothko-style paintings and painted brick walls).
Walk the historic Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail is a historic, wagon route, which hundreds of thousands of immigrants traversed in the 1830s. From Missouri to Oregon City, it crosses dusty prairies, the Rocky Mountains, and pristine forests. You can choose from several modern walking routes that break up this mammoth journey, stopping for picnics next to crystalline mountain streams and waist-high wildflowers.
The R&R Guesthouse is a small, friendly property near the start of the Trail, with an outdoor pool, outdoor hot tub, marble-clad bathrooms, and mountain views.