1. Amalfi Explorer
This stunning walk begins in Naples on spectacular Amalfi Coast on the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula – a wildly romantic area where vineyards, olive groves, and mountains meet the sea. Known as the ‘Footpath Of The Gods’, the first part of the trail winds through ancient villages, clinging to the cliff edge, so you can stop for espresso, or wander with a gelato in hand. From the coast, the trail travels through historic Naples, the island of Capri, the bougainvillea-covered town of Positano, and the tiny town of Agerola, known as ‘Small Switzerland’ thanks to its perch high in the mountains. The finale of the 14-day guided trek is Pompeii, the Roman city buried under a cloud of ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.
2. The Pirin and Rila Mountains in Bulgaria
Some of Europe’s most spectacular and least-known walks are in Bulgaria, bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. The Pirin and Rila ranges in the southwest are home to bears, wolves, and vast areas of glacial lake, picture-postcard pine forests and the highest summit in the Balkins, Musala, at 2925 metres. A week long walk will take you past one of Bulgaria’s most stunning monasteries, the Rila, founded in the 10th century, and give you the opportunity to spot chamois, and (if you travel in the right season) the extremely rare flower species, the Pirin Poppy.
3. Peaks of the Balkans
One of Europe’s newest walking trails for medium to serious hikers, the Peaks Of the Balkans, is a 120-mile circular hike along the borderlands of three countries and built at the end of the Kosovo War in 1999. The stunning yet craggy trail begins at the Ottoman-era town of Peja (also called Pec), in the foothills of Kosovo’s Rugova Mountains and deliberately crosses borders, uniting some of the least-known countries in Europe; Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro. There is some steep climbing involved but the spectacularly beautiful trail goes past jagged limestone peaks, rolling green pastures and through lush valleys, with accommodation along the way at a smattering of local inns and guesthouses.
4. Coast-to-Coast Classic Walk, England
This quintessential English walk starts at the sea cliffs of St Bees in Cumbria in England (population 1800), and ends at Robin Hoods Bay, a charming fishing village on the North Sea. The 15-day self-guided trail is one of England’s classic long distance walks, covering 190 miles and traversing some of its most-loved landscapes with guesthouses and cozy pubs along the way. The walk crosses three national parks and part of its appeal is the constantly changing landscapes - from the dry stonewalls of the Yorkshire Dales, to the Vale of York and into the rolling moorland hills of the North York Moors.
5. Camino de Santiago
Walk the ancient Camino and retrace the footprints of those who travelled the famous route for centuries before you. One of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages, the Camino follows the path of ancient trade routes - traversing stunning mountain ranges, deep lush valleys flowers and ancient villages. The iconic route extends from the French Pyrenees to the historic city of Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain - the focal point and namesake of the Camino – where according to legend the martyr St James in buried. Although the full trail is nearly 800km, tailored itineraries allow hikers to walk only sections of it and a popular choice is to do the last six days (115km), finishing in Santiago.
6. Tour Mont Blanc
Each exhilarating day of this iconic walk begin and ends in the shadow of one of the most legendary mountains in the world, Mont Blanc Massif – the highest peak in Western Europe. Known as one of Europe’s best Alpine tracks, the Tour Mont Blanc is on the bucket list of many walkers. It passes through three countries – France, Italy and Switzerland, and while the facts look daunting on paper (170km and some 10,000m of ascent and descent to circle the Mont Blanc Massif) – a range of itineraries means it is accessible for people with a reasonable level of fitness. Climb dramatic mountain passes and trek through pristine meadows and forests, enjoying majestic mountain views and charming Alpine hamlets at every turn.