Slow travel, wellness travel, eco travel, flightless travel, sustainable travel, authentic travel – so many buzzwords, so many seemingly disparate topics. However, he could cover all these bases in one go, nay, land, one hit. Just take a walk.
Even before the dark days of confinement, another mistake was consolidating: walking. Now that we've been released from our travel cages, the growing demand has piqued the interest of tour operators. And not just commercial businesses: Visit Wales has declared 2023 the Year of the Trail (as has North Carolina, perhaps less pertinently).
“During the pandemic, we rediscovered the love of discovering places with our own feet,”says Michael Edwards, CEO of Explore!, reporting that demand for walking increased by nearly a third in 2019.
“According to Mintel, walking is the most popular type of active vacation,” says Fiona Marshall, product manager at Macs Adventure, “and the number of active hikers has increased by 29% over the past five years. Tastes for different active holidays are constantly evolving, so there is now a huge range on offer, whatever your skill level.”
Eager to tap into this booming market, tour operators are creating increasingly diverse trails. You can sleep in castles, cabins or remote camps; wander among wineries or along ancient pilgrimage routes; track wolves, find nomads, cross borders, conquer peaks. The selection of 20 trips below, many new this year, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Views of Déjà from Everest in Nepal
The coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 made the front pages with the news that the highest peak in the world had been conquered. Fittingly, in this coronation year, the Mountain Kingdom's special party arrives at Base Camp on May 29, the 70th anniversary of Tenzing and Hillary's triumph. Trekkers tackling the grueling trek from Lukla along streams of melting ice, past traditional teahouses and ancient remote villages and Buddhist monasteries will be regaled with tales of Himalayan exploits by guide and three-time Everest climber Pertemba Sherpa.
Mountain Kingdoms’ (01453 844400) 19 diasEverest Base Camp 70th Anniversary Hikecosts from £3,700pp, including flights, accommodation and meals on the trek. Departure on May 18
Explore the alternative Alps in Slovenia
Marking ink is barely dry on the Julian Trail in Slovenia before it hits tourism. So this 160-mile loop around Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps still feels freshly minted and nowhere cooler than in its quieter southern reaches. Flewinter's new week of self-guided hikes focus on the Soča Valley, traversing the dramatic gorges and wide meanders of its strikingly colored river: teal, emerald, turquoise? – with a touch of World War I history and a taste of local wine and cuisine. There is also time to admire the heavenly lakes of Bohinj and Bled.
Flewinter's (0207 112 0019)Personalized itinerary Vale Esmeraldacosts from £975pp including B&B, three dinners, luggage and airport transfers, excluding flights.
Fall in love with southern Iceland
Away from the well-known Golden Circle, southern Iceland is peaceful, but perhaps that's a little misleading. Waterfalls thunder, hot springs boil, seabirds scream, vast glaciers creak menacingly, and thanks to G Adventures' new mid-level small-group tour, hiking boots crunch on the trails. From the popular Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and the mighty Skógafoss, plunge into the magical Múlagljúfur gorge, sail through the crevasses of the Svínafellsjökull glacier and hike to the base of the Mt Laki volcano, the epicenter of one of the most violent eruptions in history.
G Adventures’ (0207 313 6937) six daysHiking in Southern Icelandcosts from £2,099pp including guide, transport, accommodation and some meals, excluding flights. There are several departures in June and July.
Cross England from coast to coast
When the notoriously reluctant hiker Alfred Wainwright published his handwritten guideA coast to coast tourin 1973, you will have little idea of its impact. Fifty years later, the experimental route between St Bees Head and Robin Hood's Bay through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors is among the most revered in England and has recently been given National Trail status. Macs Adventure offers several options for traversing the 197-mile route, all dotted with cozy country pubs, high moors and mountains, valleys and lakes.
Macs Adventure's (0141 530 5452) 14 daysself-guided tourcosts from £1,265 per person, including B&B, bag transfers, maps and route information.
Play the pilgrim in Japan
Finally welcoming international visitors after a long isolation, Japan's cherry blossom viewing spots are packed to capacity.sakuraStation. Not so in autumn.learnLeaf raising period, perfect for walking the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail and the historic Nakasendo stone paved path. Within Japan's Honshu self-guided gentle walking itinerary, you can enjoy all the rice terraces and pine forests, hot spring towns, temples and shrines, mountains and waterfalls your camera can handle, as well as time in Tokyo , Kyoto and Osaka. With the pound strong against the yen, it's also great value.
Inside Japan Tours' (0117 244 3380)Honshu Hiking Customized Itinerarycosts from £2,660pp including 14 nights bed and breakfast, some meals, domestic transport and some private guide, not including flights.
Enter the structure of Sicily
The creamy sands of Cefalù are featured in the next Indiana Jones adventure and close out HBO's final season.The White Lotus.They also invite Inntravel's new self-guided hikes, revealing two very different sides of Italy's largest island. Golden and Bonelli's eagles soar over rocky trails that skirt the rarely visited Madonie Mountains, where moderately challenging hikes through ancient forests and between timeless hilltop towns are rewarded with panoramic views over limestone peaks to the Aeolian Isles.
Inntravel's (01653 617001)Sicilian mountains with Cefalùcosts from £1,355pp including 10 nights bed and breakfast, luggage transfers, maps and notes, not including flights.
Establish a Border Patrol in France
Compared to the Alps, the Pyrenees can offer a wonderfully serene experience: you're more likely to catch transhumance herders heading for high-altitude summer pastures than hikers meandering through the passes. The new mid-level self-guided holidays in Headwater feature the most spectacular views of the spectacular strip that divides France and Spain: the Vignemale massif reflected in the Lac de Gaube, the suede of the Pyrenees whistling between granite spiers, the great amphitheater of the Cirque de Gavarnie and panoramic views from the summit. from the Pic du Midi.
Header (01606 369121)Touring the best of the trip to the Upper Pyreneescosts from £1,549 per person, including seven nights' accommodation and breakfast, dinners, luggage transfers, route notes and maps, excluding flights or trains.
Canyons and grapes in Galicia
Just south of the well-trodden Camino de Santiago, in Spain's most northwestern region, the trails connect to the wine country of Ribeira Sacra ("bank of the holy river"), named after the vineyards established by medieval monks. The new On Foot Holidays self-guided trip skirts the steep valleys of the Sil and the Minho, from the gray mass of the citadel of Castro de Caldelas to the historic center of Ourense. Modest distances link characterful accommodations that include an 18th-century mansion and a grand former monastery.
Hiking Holidays' (01722 322652)Gorges of the Sacred Rivercosts from £1,190 pp, including nine nights' bed and breakfast, various meals, luggage transfers, maps and route notes, excluding flights or trains.
Climb among the Caucasus in Georgia
Medieval hilltop villages framed by snow-capped massifs, limestone spiers and gorges, unspoiled nature, fine wines and delicious food, plus great value for money - with these credentials, Georgia is ready to top the lists of hikers wishes this year. Corinthian Travel's upper-middle-range private guided itinerary links routes in the Lesser and Greater Caucasus, including the spectacular Georgian Military Highway for hikes around the massive dormant volcano of Mount Kazbek, the 'Valley of 60 Towers' and the top of the hill Gergeti, much photographed. Trinity Church.
Corinthian Travel’s (020 3583 6089) a medidawalking in georgiaTour costs from £2,175 per person, including nine nights' accommodation and breakfast, most lunches, guide and transfers, not including flights.
On the way to the ruins in Turkey
St. Paul knew a thing or two about evangelism and about planning wonderful hikes, if the 300-mile trail that followed its route through Anatolia is anything to go by. The new moderately challenging small group tour from Ramblers Holidays takes you on remote trails through forests, along the spectacular Koprulu Canyon and through high grasslands, climbing from the ancient city of Perge to the Taurus Mountains. Along the way, explore Roman temples, baths, libraries and theaters with a local guide.
Hikers holidays (01707 818705)Way of Sao Paulocosts from £1,445pp including flights, seven nights full board, guide and local transport excluding flights. There are four matches for 2023.
Conquer the Cairngorms
Covering over 50 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet high), Britain's biggest, wildest and highest national park is turning 20 this year. Wilderness Scotland is celebrating with a week of moderately challenging small group walks tackling some of the highest peaks including Sgorr Gaoith, Meall a Buachaille and Cairn Gorm. Departing from a private lodge in nature-rich Glen Feshie, keep your eyes peeled for grouse and red squirrels in ancient pine forests, as well as partridges and even reindeer in the high tundra.
Scottish Wilderness (01479 420020)Highlights of the Cairngorms National Parkcosts from £2,185 per person, including six nights of all-inclusive accommodation, transfers and a guide. There are five matches for 2023.
Hike the highest points in the Balkans
The offset backbone of the Balkan Peninsula is the 1,200+ mile jagged massif of the Dinaric Alps, traversed by the newly created and highly aspiring Via Dinarica trail. Intrepid's new small-group cross-country tour brings together a range of demanding hikes. Departing from Split, Croatia, follow wild horses in Blidinje Nature Park, hike to the highest village in Bosnia, hike the glacial lakes of Durmitor National Park in Montenegro, and tackle the trails of Albania's Cursed Mountains.
Intrepid Travel (0808 274 5111)Hiking in the BalkansTour costs from £1,739 per person include nine nights' bed and breakfast, some meals, guides and transfers, not including flights. There are four matches for 2023.
Wines and wild wanderings in Portugal
The vintages and views of the Douro Valley are loved by British walkers; less oppressed is the northern region of Minho, equally adept at grapes, but more wild and solitary. Updated this year, Collett's Mountain Holidays self-guided tour combines the best of both. Hikers walk the vine-lined slopes on the northern banks of the Douro, then head north to the rugged Peneda-Gerês National Park, the oldest in Portugal, home to wolves, wild Garrano horses, ancient stone villages and sites of pilgrimage, before freshening up. on the Atlantic beaches.
Collett's Mountain Holidays (01799 51333)The highlights of northern Portugalcosts from £1,195 per person, including eight nights' accommodation and breakfast, some lunches, route notes and baggage transfers, excluding flights/trains.
Walk through India's Little Tibet
For ambitious hikers and climbers, the remote reaches of the "Little Tibet" region of northern Ladakh offer a challenge of another level: non-technical peaks above 5,000m, secluded Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, forts, palaces and villages, towering meadows dotted with wildflowers and hardly beautiful desert landscapes. At KE Adventure's tough new 18-day small-group camp, you'll encounter Bactrian monks, marmots and camels, but likely not other hikers on the remote trails of the Nubra Valley. India eVisa return also makes planning easy.
KE Aventura (01768 773966)Peaks and passes of the Nubra Valleycosts from £3,145 per person, including flights, meals, camping equipment, local transport and guides. July and August departures.
Ride an eclipse in Utah
Utah's list of natural wonders - red rock arches, hills, hoodoos, pinnacles and canyons - is augmented in October by an annular eclipse that creates a ring of fire in the sky. From Las Vegas to Salt Lake City and back, Explore's special 12-day small-group itineraries include moderate hikes in Canyonlands, Arches, Zion, Bryce and, of course, the Grand Canyon National Parks, with an astronomer expert on hand for the sun-darkening show at Capitol Reef National Park.
Explore's (01252 240826; explore.co.uk)Visiting the Western US and Eclipse National ParksTravel costs from £3,519, including 11 nights accommodation, some meals, leader and driver, excluding flights.
In the footsteps of the Knights of Menorca
Created in the 14th century for soldiers on horseback patrolling the coast, the restored Camí de Cavalls ('Way of the Horses') is now a 186-mile trail that circles Menorca. In 2023, the island itself will celebrate 30 years of being designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which recognizes its natural diversity and distinct cultures. Pura Aventura's new partially guided lodge to lodge tour selects select sections along the North Shore, blending hikes inleavesgorges, bird-filled swamps and hidden coves with guided tours of an artisanal cheese factory, an archaeological monument and the historic former capital of Ciutadella.
Pure Adventure (01273 676712)Routes on the Coast of Menorcacosts from £1,950pp including eight nights' bed and breakfast, various meals, luggage transport and some directions, not including flightts.
Complete a short in Jersey
The reboot of John Nettles' 80's classicBergerac, filmed this summer, is expected to be a draw for Jersey tourism, showcasing its distinct British Gallo-British culture and easygoing pace of life. For walkers, the star is the varied coastline, specifically the 48-mile coastal path that circumnavigates the island. The Celtic Trails self-guided hike passes through pretty fishing villages, white sandy beaches and towering cliffs, veering inland to prehistoric castles and monuments. There is free access to flights via regular ferries from Poole.
Celtic Trails' (01291 689774)Walk around the round island of Jerseycosts from £700pp, including five nights' bed and breakfast, luggage transfers, maps and route notes, excluding flights and ferries.
Waltz along the Blue Danube
The point-to-point walk is endlessly rewarding, with new sights, faces and experiences to absorb every day. On Voyage Jules Verne's seven-day Danube walking cruise, the only downside, packing and unpacking every day, is overlooked. Gliding through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, hikers visit riverside abbeys and castles, as well as explore the historic sites of Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Esztergom on foot, but also take easy trails in the Wachau Valley and the Little Carpathians.
Jules Verne's Voyage (020 7633 6700) seven day guideWalking along the Blue DanubeCruise costs from £2,335 per person, including flights, full board, drinks and excursions. Departure on May 20
Meet the Maasai in Tanzania
Immerse yourself in the nomadic life of the Maasai and the game-filled landscapes they call home on Gane and Marshall's Tanzania Mobile Camping Safari. Moderate hikes to sacred Mount Longido and through the Great Rift Valley are rewarded with views of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, but also the chance to see giraffe, zebra and buffalo, and interact with local communities alongside Maasai guides. . The updated family-friendly itinerary also visits flamingo-pink Lake Natron and wildlife-filled Ngorongoro Crater.
Gane and Marshall's (01822 600600) six nights bespoketo masai landsHoliday costs from £2,880 per person, including fully funded camping, meals, guides and transfers, excluding flights.
Walk the wild side of Italy in Abruzzo
If it's not quite the land that time forgot, Abruzzo is at least largely undisturbed by modernity. The region's namesake national park is a hilly land of wildflower meadows and ancient beech forests inhabited by wolves and bears. HF Holidays' new small-group tour offers a choice of walking levels, with nature guides on hand to reveal the flora and fauna of the region dubbed the 'Wild Heart of Italy'. Alpine lakes, medieval and authentic castlesabruzzothe kitchen comes from the factory.
HF Holidays (020 3974 8865)Discover AbruzzoTour costs from £1,419 per person, including seven nights half board, four picnics, guides and transfers, excluding flights or trains.