Four All-Time Favorite Walking Vacations
We want you to enjoy some of our favorite strolls from around the world.
Some walks have reputations all their own. The Inca Trail. The Cotswold Way. The coastal footpath in Italy’s Cinque Terre. We love and offer trips to them all. But just a few extra steps off the beaten path, we’ve found walkways that lead to wonderful sights and places you never expected. Here are a few of our personal favorites.
Every great walk requires fuel. This day, it’s a slow lunch in Ravello on the crest of a cliff overlooking the sea. Later, your walk starts with an easy descent to the head of the “Valley of the Mills.” Along it, lemon trees groan under the weight of the softball-sized fruits. The ancient mills — built at streamside to harness the water’s downhill force — made paper, and they sit now in haunting ruin. In quiet contrast to the endless postcard views you enjoy all week, the leafy green embrace of this footpath is a chance to imagine the coast as the locals have lived and worked in it forever. Occasionally, you catch a glimpse of the town of Amalfi below, a tight pastel delta of buildings where the stream empties into the sapphire sea. In the final stretch, you enter the upper residential reaches of the town, sort of the high-water mark of habitation. One of the best parts of the walk is how it ends — with syrupy golden sips of limoncello. Our friend Valentino knows we’re headed his way and hosts you at an exclusive tasting at his small workshop where he explains the traditional process of making the lemon liqueur.
One day in southern Alaska hosts two unforgettable walks that give you a deep and peaceful sense of wilderness. First, you head out on our favorite stretch of the Iditarod dog sled racecourse. The spruce and hemlock forests are snow-free when we visit. You pass a series of small waterfalls. Ferns, blueberry bushes and horsetail — one-of-a-kind plants that are living fossils — line the route. And just wait until you pitch in to crank your handtram across the Winner Creek Gorge. Later, after a high-altitude lunch on Mt. Alyeska, you take a great path right up to the face of Exit Glacier. It’s amazing to be up close with the massive wall of creeping ice. If you like, you can continue your walk on a footpath that leads up glacier-scoured rock to get an eye-popping view of the glacier, waterfall and ice fields.
The High Atlas Mountains are, well, high. But tucked in between the slopes is Tamzenddirt, a village of low clay houses and one of the all-time great walks in the Ourika Valley. There’s plentiful (but fordable) water in the boulder-strewn streams. Waterfalls tumble from the high slopes. You stroll amid cornfields and rich green meadows with clusters of poplars and willows. The mountain air is clean and sweet, and as the trail winds up to tiny Anins, you get a constant stream of greetings from the local Berbers who share the path as they go about their day. The walk ends in the town of Aghbalou. Coming just days after an overnight in the Sahara and only a few hours before arriving in Marrakesh, the walk is all the more memorable for the distinctive window it offers into Moroccan life.
Next stop Mars. Or is it some alien Star Wars planet? You and your family will certainly be forgiven if you forget you’re in the U.S. while you’re walking among the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park. Nowhere on earth are more of these rose-colored pillars of sandstone found in one location. Boulders teeter on top of some. The formations look like castle turrets or mammoth totem poles or a towering topless forest. On this walk, we love to imagine what the first explorers made of it all. You’ll have no trouble understanding why this has long been seen as a magical place. (It’s easier for you because a geologist is along to explain 50 million years of erosion.) On our Multisport Family Journey, it gets even better as the walk becomes a ride — specifically a sure-footed mule ride along switchbacks and into rockscapes that just keep getting crazier and crazier.