Fabulous walking holidays that won’t feel like exercise

Walking holiday slovenia

Whether you’re into hardcore hiking or a just light stroll every now and then, there’s a walking holiday for everyone in this list of the top trips to take on foot.

Forget fly-and-flop trips – we’re all about walking holidays this year. There’s something so rewarding about arriving in a place knowing you’ve had to work to get there, and there’s no better way to understand a landscape and a culture than by taking to its footpaths, passing through rural and remote communities and meeting locals along the way.

And don’t be put off by the thought of having to carry your bags. All of these walking holidays offer hotel-to-hotel transfers when necessary, so you shan’t be laden with your belongings all day. If this sounds like your cup of tea, then you should book one of these top walking holidays for your next trip.

1. Stroll around Slovenia’s Lake Bled

Slovenia is small, but it packs some seriously spectacular scenery into its tight borders. From the moment you land in the capital, Ljubljana (pronounced ‘lub-li-ana’) you’ll see snow-capped mountains in the distance and plenty of open, green space.

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Lake Bled, just an hour from the airport by car, is a stunning, fairy-tale-esque lake, surrounded by mountains and punctuated by a small central island where a pretty 15th century Gothic church stands tall. On this trip with Riviera Travel, you’ll also discover Lake Bohinj, the gorgeous coastal town of Piran and enjoy what Slovenia’s leafy capital has to offer.

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2. Take a hike in southern Portugal

The Algarve is the mainstay of beach holidays for Brits – its wide sandy stretches make ideal places to lay down a towel and catch some rays. But walking along the coastal paths here offers an entirely different perspective on this pretty region of Portugal.

On Riviera Travel’s Portugal for Solo Travellers trip, you’ll spend eight days exploring the quaint towns and villages that pepper this coastline. There will be basked weaving, cheese making and private boat rides, plus you’ll get to explore the gorgeous medieval town of Tavira, and dip into Spain for a guided tour of Seville.

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3. Lend a helping hand in Tenerife

This is a walking holiday with a difference. Travel Eyes is a tour operator that specialises in taking people with impaired vision on holiday. But that’s not where the story ends. They also invite people with full sight to book – for a discounted price – so long as you’re open to lending a hand with mobility when necessary.

Their Tenerife walking holiday is a wonderful way to help people with impaired sight while enjoying the spectacular scenery of a volcanic island. You’ll hike in Mount Teide National Park, explore the Upper Orotava Valley and spend time on glorious beaches. Plus, describing your surroundings to your fellow travellers who might not see so well will help you remember it all the more vividly.

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4. Take a self-guided tour of the Venetian hills

This is a very different way to see Venice. If you’ve ever wanted to explore one of Italy’s most visited cities but don’t fancy the crowds, Headwater’s holiday is the way to do it. You’ll spend some time in Venice proper, of course, but then retreat to the hills where you’ll get gorgeous views of the bucolic landscape, stroll among stunning wildflower meadows and visit architectural treasures like churches and monasteries on route.

Expect to walk through vineyards, orchards and olive groves on this Italian adventure, and to eat exceptionally good pasta to keep that energy up.

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5. Amble through the Austrian Lakes

Discover Mozart’s home, see the setting for The Sound of Music, and be spellbound by the beauty of Austria’s alpine scenery. This Riviera Travel walking tour takes in the true highlights of this small but mighty country, all on foot.

You’ll not only walk in the incredible mountainous countryside, but also see gorgeous palaces, walk up to a waterfall and even dip your toes in the shores of Wolfgang Lake. There may be no better way to take in Austria’s beguiling beauty.

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6. Explore England’s countryside in Sussex

Tall chalk cliffs, undulating hills and grassland that seemingly goes on forever – the South Downs is idyllic. And it’s right on your doorstep! Head there for a walking holiday with HF Holidays and you’ll get to see the Sussex countryside at its best. Whether you want a three-night mini break or a week-long hike, they offer some fabulous guided and self-guided walking trips that take in all the best scenery.

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You’ll meet the imposing Seven Sisters cliffs, take a dip in the ocean, and stay in some delightful country house hotels.

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Lottie Gross

Lottie is an NCTJ-trained journalist, an experienced travel writer and an expert in creating compelling digital content. 

Lottie has been in the travel writing business for nearly a decade and has writing and photography bylines at The Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, the i and National Geographic Traveller. She's done broadcast work for BBC Radio 4 and have contributed to a number of guidebooks and coffee table titles during her career.