There is nothing more rejuvenating than a ‘slow holiday’. Where you decrease your normal pace by several notches and just enjoy the state of ‘being’. Our hectic ways have forced us to live a life full of stress and excess. Walking holidays give us a chance to explore at our own pace and wander amidst the magnificent natural beauty of the world in our own style. Simple, spiritual, convenient and greatly rewarding, walking holidays are a superb idea for weary urban souls.
These are some of the best walking trails around the world.
1. Rivers and Chateaux of the Loire, France
Image Source:Pedro Szekely/flickr.com
Great for couch potatoes even, this trail is easy but takes you through gorgeous sights including vineyards, lush fields and French chateaus. Strolling along the River Cher you will discover the hidden gems of France like an underground town sculpted in a limestone quarry, Chateau de Chaumont and its manicured lawns and many such interesting landmarks.
2. Cinque Terre, Italy
Prepare for breathtaking vistas and smiling faces at these small charming villages that make for amazing walking holidays. A perfect way to explore the World Heritage coastline of the Cinque Terre, a walking holiday here would entail delicious seafood, warm sunshine and azure sea amongst other things. As you stroll through quintessentially Tuscan villages, you will fall in love with the ‘slow’ way of life.
3. Cloud Forests of Costa Rica
Image Source: Sabrina Setaro/ flickr.com
Costa Rica is a blessed land. Its cloud forests that are perched high up on coastal cliffs are full of striking natural beauty. You will cross crystal clear lagoons, fluorescent flora, deep craters and unimaginable varieties of birds, insects and sounds. Amidst towering trees with suspended bridges and vibrant colored surroundings, you will both lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.
4. Quebec, Canada
This cultural and natural dreamland is packed with awe inspiring sights- from granite cliffs to hanging waterfalls and sparkling lakes as well. The region near Quebec city holds a plethora of stories that are embedded in its unique ecosystem. You will come across unforgettable water’s edge views and panoramas that will make you believe in heaven. The trails in the Saguenay National Park are packed with these rare sights.
5. Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine is filled with overwhelming sights. Its grandeur is on a scale that can easily skew your perspective - colossal mountain peaks, stunning glacial lakes, verdant green landscapes are just a part of the brilliance of this region. If you’re the one who enjoys solitude, this is the perfect place for you. The sheer vastness of this region ensures that you don’t rub shoulders with other travelers often.
6. Nakasendo Trail, Japan
The Nakasendo trail was once an important route that connected Kyoto and Tokyo. It was used by merchants and tradesmen and feudal lords on a routine basis. It passes through 69 towns and some striking scenery that reveals this volcanic country’s understated natural beauty. The route will take you through the mysterious, ancient part of Japan- famous temples, inns and hot springs. Although the whole trail is about 530 kilometers, the bit between Magome and Tsumago is the most popular one.
7. Norfolk Coast Path, Britain
Image Source: Derek Lee/flickr.com
The Norfolk Coast Path passes from Hunstaton to Cromer and is privy to outstanding scenery on the whole 47 mile stretch. Sand dunes, white beaches , ancient windmills and tiny coastal villages make this a sheer delight to walk on. On your way, sample delicious seafood as you mingle with friendly villagers. Dramatic scenery unfolds as you tread along this glorious route.
The entire country of Bhutan makes for an awesome walking holiday. Bhutan is a rite of passage for any peace loving, spiritual soul. With its unadulterated beauty in deep valleys, meandering streams, monasteries and its rich cultural heritage, this country offers a lot in a small package. Bhutan is the off-beaten path but feels strangely like a welcoming home. From gentle slopes to challenging hiking, there’s something here for everyone.
9. Garden Route Trail, South Africa
Image Source: Michael Mayer/flickr.com
South Africa’s Garden Route is a beautiful trail that is host to outstanding scenery and variety. From vineyard-hopping to game-watching, there are hundreds of exciting opportunities here. There are white beaches and charming villages on the way and a chance to do whale spotting too. Picturesque and thrilling, this route is a fun way to discover the bounty of South Africa.
There are a number of tour operators that specialize in walking holidays. Your luggage moves with you along with a car for emergency supplies. A walking holiday provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the world in a whole new perspective.
*featured image:Bryan Sereny/flickr.com