T+L Reports: Hiking, Reinvented
Leave it to those innovative Scandinavians to improve simple strolling, with Nordic walking. In the sport, walkers use adapted ski poles with spiked bottoms to replicate the upper-body motion of cross-country skiing, and now it's spreading to every corner of the Euro-zone. FINLAND Saariselkä, in the northern part of the country, is one of the most popular destinations, with125 miles of designated trails winding through Urho Kekkonen National Park (Northern Lapland Tourism, 358/1666-8402). GERMANY The Black Forest's just-opened Nordic Walking Center (49-7652/12060; www.hinterzarten-breitnau.de; one-day training trips from $140) has 13 pathways along 30 miles. AUSTRIA Part of the Nordic Walking Hotels Group, Hotel Tannenhof (Hinterbichl 12, Reutte; 43-5672/63802; www.tannenhof.cc; five-day trips $385) has five-night packages that include a guided evening walk, meals, even a massage. AMERICA If Europe's not on your calendar, don't write off the activity yet. With two major sporting-goods companies, Karhu (www.karhu.com) and Leki (www.leki.com), launching a line of poles in the U.S. this spring, you'll soon be spotting Nordic walkers in a wilderness near you.