Explore Europe’s finest lakes and mountains on foot. Explore Europe’s finest lakes and mountains on foot.
From the lakesides of Garda to the foothills of the French Alps, our summer walking holidays lead you worlds away from the daily grind. Whether you prefer short strolls or lengthier legwork; nature trails or historic tours, the opportunity is as big and beautiful as the landscape.
Hike up and away for glorious viewpoints and air as fresh as it gets in the mountains of France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Iconic routes wind their way through forests, over meadows and along mountain paths; passing waterfalls and alpine lakes for sights that’ll blow your socks off.
Not all families can sing like the Von Trapps, but that doesn’t stop us having a whale of a time on the hills, meadows and lakesides of the Alps. Fresh air, exercise and quality time together are the ultimate formula for marvellous memories made each day (and sweetly sleeping sprogs all night).
Nothing ends a day of wonderful walking quite like a luxury hotel or chalet. Good food, slick service, and facilities worth wanting a rainy day for… Set up camp somewhere with spa facilities and you’ve got the likes of saunas, steam rooms and swimming pools to welcome tired legs home, and ready them for more wanderings tomorrow.
What better way to tread the footpaths of the Alps than with a bunch of friends? Guided group walks show you the way – the more the merrier when open to other walkers - or you can set off on your own adventure. Return to lively towns with beer gardens and restaurants, or calm Alpine boltholes where it just feels like you, your friends and the mountains.
We could yodel from the rooftops about walking holidays in Switzerland: Dramatic peaks, flower-filled meadows, waterfalls and ice-cold lakes are the wonders of walks here. With classic, car-free villages and grazing cattle galore, daily life feels like worlds away on a week in spectacular Switzerland.
Austria’s hills are alive with walkers and hikers during the summer months. Roam rolling hills, visit charming chapels or scale the heights of the Tyrolean Alps. Then return to twee little villages for hearty Austrian nosh and downtime. When a country’s completely covered in mountains and valleys, you could walk here every year, treading new paths each time.
The French Alps are as much a hive of activity in the summer as the winter; from seasoned trekkers venturing on the tour du Mont Blanc, to leisurely walkers visiting hamlets and promenading along Lake Annecy. Choose between purpose built resorts like La Plagne for direct access to high altitude footpaths, and old towns like Chamonix and Morzine for oodles of character and culture.
There’s a lot to say for walking holidays in Italy – long lunches in Italian rifugios are a smashing way to rest legs and refuel, and whether you wander near or far you’ll come across plenty of pit stops for fabulous food and vino. Your eyes will feast too, on craggy Dolomite rock, bright gardens and glimmering lakes.
Our best walking holiday packages have a guided walking programme that you can sign up for – a terrific way to get to know the area and fellow guests. Led by a rep or English-speaking guide, there’s often a range of options up to 3 times a week - from hour-long walks to half day hikes, including gentle child-friendly jaunts, moderate rambles and more challenging hikes.
Somewhere to satisfy your wanderlust, where walkers get a warm welcome. Landscape that’s a billion miles from Blighty – with flower filled meadows, giant peaks, cool lakes and age-old architecture. The best walking resorts provide maps and guides to show walkers the greatest viewpoints, picnic stops and restaurants, often incorporating scavenger hunts to keep kids happily trundling along.
A good mix of terrain. More paths than you can shake your Trekking Pole at: Flat ones to ease your calves in, steep ones to get the blood pumping and everything else in between. Enough landscape that you’ll find new paths to tread and sights to see each time you visit… Even if you’ve been coming back for donkey’s years.
Somewhere to put your feet up. Whether it’s a hotel, B&B, chalet or apartment – tell us what you’d like to come home to and we’ll do the legwork, finding brilliant base where you can rest and ready your legs for another day’s walking.
Guided Walks are led by experts who know the local footpaths inside out – they take care of the navigation side of things, planning a route that fits in the very best sights and stop-offs. Often with a range of routes available in different difficulties and timescales, these walks can be fabulously sociable, letting you get to know other travellers (from all walks of life…) along the way. With Self-Guided walks, you pick your own paths and set off at your own pace. This is a more flexible, laid back way to do walking holidays, letting things pan out as you want them to. Most tourist offices have maps of recommended routes, and we’ve met many a local who’s happy to point out their personal favourites. Of course nothing’s stopping you from mixing and matching; get shown around one day, then set off on your own expedition the next.
For serious hikers, some destinations simply must be experienced at least once: Mountaineering legend Chamonix is home to some must-hike trails – not least the Tour of Mont Blanc, Aiguilles Rouges and Haute Route. Zermatt has a thwacking great 400km of trails up to and above 3000m – skirting lakes, crossing meadows and opening up glorious views of the Matterhorn. In the Jungfrau region, Murren, Grindelwald and Wengen are brimming with paths passing waterfalls, lakes and alpine huts; served by cable cars and the legendary railway that chugs up and down the mountain.
If you like to combine good walks with a spot of Dolce far Niente, the Italian Lakes are terrific. At Lake Garda, choose between the high altitude slopes of Baldo, the rolling Morenic hills and the flat promenade along the water’s edge. Plan your routes around historic sites, gardens, olive groves and vineyards - then schedule time to put your feet up and enjoy the good views, food and vino. Then you have the Dolomites, where charming old villages like Selva, La Villa and Ortisei access paths within view of the iconic, UNESCO protected peaks.
Austria’s one of those places that leaves legs itching to explore more - no wonder when there’s everything from the high trails of Ischgl to the lakeside paths of Zell am See. Mayrhofen’s spot on if you like to come home to lively beer gardens, while Kitzbühel’s much loved for its postcard-ready town centre and high end hotels.