No matter what far-flung corner of the planet you’re exploring, you’re guaranteed to run into another Irish person. Always. As a nation we’re firmly gripped by wanderlust, and our desire to see the world doesn’t seem to be dissipating.
The good news for us is that there are many, many fantastic ways to experience the world. Here in the office, our current travel fascination lies in the walking holiday.
That’s right, we want to get outside for a serious dose of fresh air, exercise and some much-needed vitamin D, all while seeing a beautiful new part of the world. What’s not to love?
Here’s our pick of the world’s most incredible walking holidays. How many of these would you like to do in your lifetime?
1. The Garden Route, South Africa
What: The southern coastline of Africa is home to the sun-drenched Garden Route. The entire route stretches 300km from Mossel Bay in the way to just beyond Plettenberg Bay in the east. With beautiful beaches and a vast array of incredible flora and fauna, this is one of the most stunning walks on the continent. A must-do for any outdoor enthusiasts.
2. Camino de Santiago de Compestela, Spain
What: The Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain. Here, legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried. It is difficult to define where exactly the Camino starts, as pilgrims used to start their journey from their own home and over the years, different Camino ways have emerged. The most popular route starts in the foothills of the Pyrenees in France.
3. Twelve Apostles Walk, Australia
What: One of the great walks of the southern hemisphere, the end point of this incredible walk along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is the breathtaking Twelve Apostles. Five kilometres of beach walking over four days will see you explore the Great Otway National Park, the Port Campbell National Park along with some beautiful remote beaches. With such a stunning end point, you’re sure to love every step of this gorgeous walk. There are few better ways to see Australian wildlife first-hand than this walk.
4. Tour du Mont Blanc – France, Switzerland, Italy
What: One of the most spectacular long distance walks in Europe. Circling the ‘massif’ of the stunning Mont Blanc the route covers just under 100km and gives trekkers the chance to sample the unique alpine cultural of France, Switzerland and Italy over seven days.
This one’s top of our wishlist at the moment. Along the route there are ample opportunities to explore many little villages (and their delicious local cuisine!) and get up close and personal with some pretty incredible scenery like glacial lakes.
5. Inca Trail to Machu Pichu, Peru
What: Take four days to follow the historic Inca Trail through the Andes and explore alpine tundra, fog forest and more awe-inspiring landscape to reach the famed ruins of Machu Picchu, the mystical ancient city. This is one of the world’s most famous hikes, and it’s a life-changing experience.
6. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
What: One of the most breathtaking walks through South America. An eight day walk through the awe-inspiring landscape of the Patagonia will see you up close and personal with jagged cliffs, blue glaciers, exotic wildlife, subpolar forests and a whole lot more.
The opportunity to see pumas, guanacos, condors and more incredible wildlife in the flesh makes this route an incredible experience.
7. Cloud Forests of Costa Rica
What: The brilliant colours and wild sounds of the tropical forests of Costa Rica are sights and sounds that you’ll take with you through life. The cloud forests of this central American country are found near the top of the coastal mountains and they’re covered in clouds throughout most of the year. Travelling on foot through the incredible terrain, you’ll experiences waterfalls, ponds sea coves and a whole lot more.
8. Crete Island, Greece
What: Greece’s archipelago is made up of over 1,000 little islands. Anyone who’s visited the are knows that some of the prettiest areas of the region can only be accessed on foot. Crete is packed full of faraway enclaves reachable only by boat or foot. Follow the hidden coves and descend into little-known gorges, cobbled pathways to ancient castles and finally to sandy beaches.
9. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
What: Regarded as the ancestral home of the Cherokee Indians, the Great Smoky Mountains are rich in history and natural diversity. The national park stretches across a vast 500,000 acres with over 900 miles of walking trails featuring a huge array of natural and historic interests. Home to more than 200 types of birds,130 species of tree and 1,500 varieties of plants, this is heaven on earth for wildlife enthusiasts.
10. Kerry, Ireland
What: Last but not least, Ireland is home to one of the world’s top walking destinations; the beautiful Kingdom of Kerry. Walk the Dingle Pensisula, discover the ancient Iron Age ruins at Slea Head, take a walk along spectacular sand dunes along the coast, follow the paths through Killarney National Park or head out to Inishfallen Island on Lough Leane. The choices to explore west Kerry on foot are endless.