There’s no better way to explore a new destination than at ground level—and walking speed. The best walking tours go exactly at your own pace, one foot in front of the other, to the precise places you want to go. Pause and check out a new plant. Peer closer at the fine print on a weathered poster. Stop in at small businesses. Peruse. Sample. Slow down. Tune in. It’s not too complicated, so long as you bring a comfortable pair of shoes.
Walking holidays can go as near or as far as your feet can take you. Many travelers interested in walking tours choose routes that wind through populated or historic areas, sometimes even on storied roads. Stretch out the famous trail that links the five coastal villages that make up Italy’s Cinque Terra, a path which lasts just over six miles but undulates through vineyards above pastel-perfect towns and breathtaking views of the sea. Follow in centuries worth of footsteps on the Camino del Santiago, originally a Roman trade route that led pilgrims to the shrine of Saint James in the Spanish city of Santiago del Campostela in as early as the 9th century. Walk the northern border of England along Hadrian’s Wall, or give Vermont’s Long Trail—the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail—a spin.
Serious hikers might want to tackle trekking all or part of long-distance wilderness trails, such as the iconic Appalachian Trail or, on the West Coast, the Pacific Crest Trail. Iceland’s Laugavegur trail, the island’s most popular, runs nearly 34 miles and connects two nature reserves, Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. In the opposite hemisphere, New Zealand’s Queen Charlotte Track leads hikers along the spine of the island—over 43 stunning (and Lord of the Rings-reminiscent) miles.
No matter the continent, guided walking tours can help bring travelers to more remote locations or better contextualize familiar ones. Check back often for the latest news, information, and recommendations for finding the walking tour that’s best for you—no matter your experience level.