In the age of Fitbit and smart watches attributing calories to every step we take, the pleasure of walking should not be forgotten. Here are five walks that will inspire while you respire.
On Foot Holidays, which organises self-guided walking holidays in Europe and the UK, says there are myriad benefits to getting from A to B under your own steam and at your own pace, from keeping fit to allowing for a much more intimate experience of a destination and its inhabitants.
It’s also affordable, eco-conscious and pretty inspiring. With this in mind, here are a few journeys worth getting your legs pumping and your heart beating.
1. Porto to Santiago de Compostela
The celebrated El Camino is a network of pilgrim trails in Europe, all coming together at the tomb of St James in north-west Spain. One of the most popular routes is the Camino Francés from St Jean-Pied-de-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago 780 kilometres away.
2. Costa Rica
This sprawling Central American nation is a nature-lover’s dream come true, so walking in these parts presents plenty of scope for wildlife spotting and lots of variety in the landscape, from dense, close rainforests to jutting mountains, volcanoes and ethereal cloud forests.
3. The Swiss Alps
Switzerland is a paradise for walkers, with all that lovely fresh air and an outdoorsy focus. Check out itineraries in the Bernese Oberland to get the best of everything: stunning scenery, picture-postcard towns, and pristine natural surroundings.
4. The Garden Route
Stretching 300 kilometres from Mossel Bay in South Africa’s north to Plettenberg Bay in the east, this journey takes in an incredibly diverse landscape, from the rugged coastline dotted with lovely beaches, to inland mountains, to lakes and lagoons, and forests teaming with wildlife.
5. The Amalfi Coast
With soaring mountains, picturesque fishing villages, secret swimming spots and ample opportunity to sample pasta and vino, walking the coastline from Amalfi to Sorrento, taking in the towns of Ravello, Praiano and Positano, is an ultimate Italian experience. You can cheat and catch a bus or two if you are strapped for time.
In Europe and ready for a faster pace? see Cycling Amsterdam: a bespoke biker’s guide.
More tips for Keeping fit on your travels