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England's Coast to Coast Walks Cheat SheEt: Planning Your Coast to Coast Walk
When you’re planning a walking holiday on one of the UK’s most epic trails, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, you’ll probably start with doing research on general information on the trail. For instance, you may wish to know a bit more about the walking conditions on Wainwrights’ coast to coast walk, the remoteness of the routes, the presence of signage, and who Wainwright actually was. Another aspect of your coast to coast walk planning will likely be the grade of the walk and how challenging or comfortable Wainwright’s walk can be. To help you answer all these questions, we have prepared a detailed cheat sheet on things to know before you begin your Coast to Coast walk planning.
Which Coasts Are Linked On This Walking Trail in England?
The Coast to Coast walk in the United Kingdom crosses from West to East on one of the narrowest parts of the island. The route begins in St Bees on coast of Cumbria near the huge red sandstone cliffs of St. Bees Head, which overlooks the Irish Sea. From here it crosses the three national parks, the Lake District National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors National Park, to finally reach Robin Hood’s Bay overlooking the North Sea.
At Sherpa Expeditions we offer a number of travel options along the Coast to Coast trail that differ in duration (15 up to as many as 18 day trips) and that are either guided or self-guided walking tours.
Who Is Wainwright?
Alfred Wainwright is the author of a well-known series of mountain-walking guide books on the Lake District among which is the first guide ever written on the Coast to Coast walk. Wainwright was an illustrator as well. His most famous publication is the series of seven Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells of the Lake District and in which he describes 214 fells, today known as The Wainwrights.
He lived and worked most of his life in Kendal, a few hours south from Patterdale, which is on our route of the Coast to Coast Walk.
What Are the Walking Conditions Underfoot on the Coast to Coast Like?
- St Bees to Ennerdale 23.5km / 14.5 miles: mixed walking mainly on farmland
- Ennerdale to Rosthwaite 26.5km / 16.5 miles: a hard day and rugged underfoot
- Rosthwaite to Grasmere 13.5km / 8.5 miles: steep walking and it can be boggy depending on rainfail
- Grasmere to Patterdale 12km / 7.5 miles: steep and rocky underfoot
- Patterdale to Shap 26km / 16 miles: the hardest part but easier underfoot apart from the long step section down from Kidsty Pike
- Shap to Kirkby Stephen 33km / 20.5 miles: a grassy trail
- Kirkby Stephen to Keld 24km / 14.5 miles: can be boggy
- Keld to Reeth 20km / 12.5 miles: good underfoot
- Reeth to Richmond 20km / 12.5 miles: good underfoot
- Richmond to Osmotherley 39km / 24 miles: easy underfoot but a long distance
- Osmotherley to Blakey 34km / 21 miles: a hard walk and quite rocky underfoot
- Blakey to Egton 16km / 10 miles: can be boggy, but it is on grassland and goes largely downhill
- Egton to Robin Hood’s Bay 25.7km / 16 miles: through heath, woodlands and on roads
How Remote Are the Routes on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast?
Even though most parts of the region you are walking in are relatively thinly populated, you will still find plenty of infrastructure to make sure you don’t have to camp or bring your own food. You can walk for a few hours without coming across any settlements, but then you’ll walk into one of the charming British villages for a bite and a break before continuing on.
If you are on a self-guided trip, you will need to concentrate on your map much of the time because of sudden changes and twists and turns of the route.
What’s The Most Challenging Coast to Coast Walk?
That would be the shortest version of the walking holidays we offer, which is our 15-day Coast to Coast Walk (available as both escorted and self-guided). It’s the most challenging version of the Coast to Coast Walk because you do the full length of the route in just 13 days of walking. The walking distances and times are longer than on any of our other trips.
What’s the Most Comfortable Option to Choose When Planning the Coast to Coast?
As opposed to the shortest trip being our most challenging option, the longest 18-day version of the Coast to Coast Walk is the most comfortable option. Walking distances are shorter so you have more time to rest and take in the scenery. For those of you who like to take it even more relaxed, you can decide to split up the route in two different sections that you can cover independently of each other. Of course it’s also always possible to add in extra resting days in any of our itineraries, just ask us.
What About Signage Along the Coast to Coast Route?
The Coast to Coast trail varies in its signage. The walk is not an official long distance footpath and because of that there are no official waymarks. When you pass through the towns and villages, most often you will find wooden sign posts. In the Dales there are some Coast-2-Coast signs and in the Cleveland Hills you can partially follow certain waymarks. However, especially in the Lake District and in parts of the Dales you must be prepared as there are no waymarks whatsoever. This means that you do need to be able to navigate with a map and compass, especially when visibility is poor.
The Coast-to-Coast crosses a number of other routes such as the Cumbrian Way and Herriot Way so you can’t assume the person in front of you is going the same way.
What Do I Do If I’m Short On Time?
If you’re short on time and still like to enjoy the Coast to Coast Walk in England, we advise you walk the first part of the route in eight days. This stretch shows you the Lake District and is considered the best part of the Coast to Coast Walk. The first few days will take you over some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain of the Lake District. You will pass Helvellyn (950m), England’s third highest mountain. You can decide to walk to the summit on a detour and on a clear day you may be able to see Scotland and Wales from its top.
We hope that this information will provide a good start to your Coast to Coast walk planning. Of course there's always our background information on the Coast to Coast trail as well and our team of travel experts is available to answer any questions from our London office.
If you are interested in more information on Wainwright's Coast to Coast, you may want to bookmark this page as we'll here be answering more questions on planning the Coast to Coast walk at a later stage.
This summer, Sherpa Expeditions team member Katia, visited the medieval towns of France's Tarn & Aveyron. She had an excellent time with good walking conditions and great conversations with her hosts over dinner. In this blog entry, Katia shares some of her experiences with you.
The last couple of years I have been arranging your walking holidays to Tarn & Aveyron (Medieval France: Tarn & Aveyron) from our office in London. This summer I visited some of the charming medieval villages along this walking tour. They are called ‘bastides’, which means fortified towns. And indeed, the towns that I visited are perched on tops of hills and circled by walls, testimony of the religious wars that afflicted the area for centuries.
From the city walls you can have amazing views of rolling hills and gentle valleys as far as the eye can see. When asked which village on this walking trip was my favourite, I just wouldn’t be able to decide! They are all as beautiful as each other, with their winding cobbled streets, houses with timbered walls of brick stones, and flowers at the windows. Each of them had quaint little squares, dotted with peaceful churches and their blue ceilings.
Albi, which is an optional extension on the Tarn & Aveyron walking holiday is worth including. Rightly named La Ville Rouge (the Red City), it stands proudly on the banks of the river Tarn. After visiting the amazing fortress cathedral and the Toulouse Lautrec museum, I strolled in the manicured gardens which connect with the fortifications overlooking the river, taking in postcard views of the old bridge and its surroundings at the end of a summer day...
Below are some of my pictures and if you have any questions on this charming part of my beloved France, do call or send me an email for more information. I’d be happy to talk about our Medieval France: Tarn & Aveyron walking holiday.
View over Tarn & Aveyron region, France
Charming French streets in the bastides of Tarn & Aveyron
Enjoy the view on a break at our Tarn & Averyon walking holiday
Blue ceilings in the churches of Tarn & Aveyron
The gardens of Palais de la Berbie in Albi, on the extension to our Tarn & Aveyron walking holiday in France
Dinner in Cordes sur Ciel overlooking the beautiful Tarn & Aveyron countryside
Village life in the Tarn & Aveyron region
The river Tarn on our walking holiday in France
The Tarn and Aveyron region is dotted with churches and abbeys
Come across charming villages with cobbled streets and flowers at the windows of traditional French houses.
Interested to learn more? Read this Traveller's Tale on walking in Tarn & Aveyron by Eric Martin & Julie Gardinier or find background information on walking in Tarn & Aveyron here.
In the remote places you visit on a walking holiday, there may be little shops available. In order to be prepared for unexpected situations, guide John this month brings you 10 outdoor essentials to pack on your cycling or walking holiday.
No one ever wants anything to go wrong on a walking holiday, but in remote areas there is always the possibility of losing a trail and getting disorientated. Perhaps because it is getting dark or misty, maybe the weather is on the turn, or you had to slow down for other reasons. Especially in Western Europe this is likely to be a temporary affair. But fear and worry are enemies as much as the environment and a clear head is what is needed to adapt to the situation. This is always helped by carrying some outdoor gear essentials, so let me give you 10 tips for items to bring on an active holiday to the outdoors.
1. Firstly, always have a compass, and if you have a local map from the tour it is highly unlikely that you have walked off the page! You may be able to interpret features that you can see and estimate where you are. Back track along the trail until you find the next sign, waymark, or habitation and your compass will prove to be a very helpful outdoor gear to have on you.
2. GPS devices are also useful, and a lot of phones now have GPS and mapping apps. With this in mind, you should invest in a Lithium battery recharger such as a 'Powermonkey' and charge it up at every opportunity. Depending on the capacity of this outdoor item, they can charge a phone, GPS or camera 3 or 4 times to keep you going longer in the wild. It is worth knowing that mobile phones will usually pick up the emergency services such as 112 or 999, even if there is no network reception.
3. Other important items to take are water purification tablets, you can use a buff or kerchief to filter the worst elements of water before applying tablets.
4. As well as a normal litre water bottle, you can get silica type water bottles that pack and compress to nothing, they are used by ultra-runners and can act as an emergency extra reserve if you have to wander far from a water source on your outdoor adventure.
5. Take a pocket knife, preferably one which includes at least a serrated blade for easier cutting of small branches, sticks etc. 'Victorinox' do some good ones and in my opinion should definitely on your outdoor gear essentials packing list.
6. Being able to light a fire is a useful thing for signalling or keeping warm, you can shave sticks with a knife for kindling (called fire sticks) and it is worth carrying a flint sparkler or a lighter.
7. Lightweight head torches are almost an essential thing to pack, if only to find your way back from the pub from some village. Makes like 'Petzl', 'Black Diamond' and 'Silva' have a good beam and long running times. They are useful for signalling and some have red LEDs for maintaining your night vision.
8. The next outdoor essential to have is an emergency bivvy bag, these don’t have to be heavy plastic sheets, there are new types developed for runners with much better insulation such as 'Blizzard Bags.' These are feather light and vacuum packed, so once you get them out, they can't be recompressed to their original dimensions!
9. Take a basic first aid kit, both 'lifesystems' and 'Ortileb' do compact kits in waterproof casing which are a great addition to your gear list.
10. Finally, take high energy bars and rehydration powders and carry them in a waterproof bag.
All these outdoor gear essentials you may never need to use, but may make all the difference when you do need to. It is always reassuring to have the right ensemble of kit and, as the old scouting motto exclaimed, 'Be Prepared!'
Like John's Gear Matters blog articles? There are more! If you're interested in navigating, cycling gear, walking poles, or walking boots & sandals, check out all outdoor gear blog posts here.
Popular Guided Walking Holidays in Europe for 2017
The 2016 walking season may be close to an end, but we’ve already sold out on some of our guided walking holidays in 2017!
Dates for our guided walking holidays in the summer of 2017 are now live and bookable on our website. With new trips and extra departure dates, there is a fantastic pool of 5 different trips for you to choose from for next year! Make sure to be among the firsts to plan your walking holiday for next summer and book your place in order to join the dates you prefer.
overview of guided walking holidays for 2017:
Guided Walking in the Dolomites
Where? Italy, the Dolomites rugged mountains
What? Hiking beneath dramatic limestone peaks of the Dolomites, alpine pasteures & mountain passes, and the peaks of Tre Cime, Tofana and Sella mountains.
When? September 2017
Take me there >>
The Alpine Pass Route Guided Walking Holiday
What? Swiss alpine walking at its best, new views every day, a variety of passes to cross – from easy to challenging, comfortable accommodation.
When? July/August 2017
Take me there >>
The Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls Guided Walk
Where? Switzerland, Bernese Oberland
What? A fantastic introduction to the delights of walking in the Swiss alps, trek around the famous peaks of Wetterhorn, Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau & Matterhorn, undertake a variety of walks and make use of the ubiquitous local transport.
When? August 2017
The Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls
Wainwright's Coast to Coast Guided Walk
Where? England, the Lake District
What? The dramatic landscapes of the Lake District with majestic lakes & rugged mountains, classic English rural countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, walk from the Irish Sea to the North Sea coast in 15 days.
When? June, July, August & September 2017 Note: the July trip has already sold out
Coast to Coast Classic Guided Walk - 15 Days
Coast to Coast Guided Rambler
Where? England, Lake District
What? Walk across England on Wainwright’s Walk on one of the world’s great walks and experience the English Lake District, Pennines & North York Moors in 18 days.
When? May, July/August 2017 Note: both trips are selling out fast!
Coast to Coast Guided Rambler - 18 Days
2017 dates and prices are now available on Sherpa Expeditions website! Browse around for the trips that you like and book early to avoid disappointment. Contact our team of travel experts today for any questions or trip details.
With so many gorgeous islands scattered all over Europe, they are perfect holiday destinations attracting tourists from all over the world. Whether interested in culture, history, sunbathing, the delicious food or more active activities like walking and cycling, they offer something for any type of traveller. Sometimes there’s a risk of islands getting packed and we therefore thought it a good idea to list below a few little known and remote European islands that are great for walking holidays off the beaten path.
Isle of Wight
Ideal for anyone looking for a short town-and-country cycling or walking break, the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom is your go-to European island! Routes are undulating and distances on our walking and cycling holidays on the island are kept fairly short, giving you time to stop and explore. Highlights on the Isle of Wight include sophisticated Cowes, world famous for its regatta; the astonishing brick-built Quarr Abbey; and taking the path to Freshwater Bay, which follows an old railway line.
The island is easy to reach from mainland UK and the only time of year it’s flooded by travellers is during the annual Isle of Wight Festival that’s been running since the 1960s.
Visit the Isle of Wight between April and October >>
If you have been walking on the Spanish mainland, or have been to the Canary Islands before and you come to La Gomera, you will probably notice that this, the second smallest island of the Canaries, is something special, altogether quite different.
Some people liken it to Spain in the 1970s and others feel there’s Latin American elements to recognise in the villages and landscapes of this remote European Island. La Gomera is a relaxed, unsophisticated island with a population of around 20,000 people who live mostly in the capital and villages of the north. The island has a good infrastructure of roads, amenities and services, including some good restaurants and small family run hotels. It is off the mainstream tourist radar so you won’t encounter many other visitors.
Visit La Gomera yearround
Zagoria (we know, not quite exactly an island)
Treasures of vernacular architecture, many of these late 18th century stone-built villages are within what is today a designated conservation area in northwestern Greece: Zagoria. The area is brimming with dramatic wilderness of striking peaks, deep chasms and extensive natural forests. The virtually virgin Vikos Gorge, sometimes referred to as the Greek Grand Canyon, is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the deepest canyon in the world in proportion to its width.
By western European standards Zagoria is a relatively wild and remote area. However, the footpaths have been marked and with our route notes and a detailed map you will be able to find your way easily.
Visit Zagoria between May and early October
Away from the burgeoning coastal resorts, the majestic Sierra de Tramontana is a massif of limestone peaks tumbling to the turquoise waters. Venture forth on a series of hikes through shady forests, olive groves and ancient farmsteads, visit tiny sun-drenched beaches and spend the night in a traditional monastery, listening to the sound of nightingales from your bedroom window.
Follow parts of the restored Pilgrims’ Way along the Sierra de Tramontana in Majorca, have a look here for a picture impression. On our Sierras and Monasteries walking holiday, three nights are spent at the atmospheric Santuari de Lluc monastery - the most important pilgrimage site on the island. Guests can attend the choral singing in its church, which takes place on most evenings.
Visit Majorca between March and October
For more information and booking details, please have a look at the webpage of your chosen trip or get in touch with our team of travel experts in our London offices.
Over the past seasons our team in London has regularly been asked for a shorter version of our most popular Mont Blanc walking holiday, the 14-day Tour du Mont Blanc. As quite some of you want to keep walking once they’re on speed, we are now proud to announce a “faster” 11-day version:
Trails of Mont Blanc!
On this brand new option you follow exactly the same route as on the Tour du Mont Blanc. We’ve obviously made sure that you can enjoy the exact same impressive scenery (some of the finest in the world), you cross the three contrasting countries of France, Italy & Switzerland, and of course that you will savour the delicious food and wine of this part of the alps.
So what are the differences and which Mont Blanc walking holiday suits me best?
- on the new 11-day trip we took out all of the rest days, so that you have a continuous walk
- an added advantage is that this requires you to take only 2 weeks off work
- the level of our new Trails of Mont Blanc is challenging as you have back to back long walking days with an average of 7-8 hours walking per day
- on this new Mont Blanc walking holiday you finish off in Chamonix to explore the picturesque mountain village on your last day
- the walking days are exactly the same as on our classic Tour du Mont Blanc walk
- on the new Mont Blanc walk, you’ll walk eight days in a row, while the 14-day walking holiday includes a rest day after the 3rd, 5th, and 8th day of walking
- the new Trails of Mont Blanc finishes in Chamonix and so the last bit of the TMB (walking back to Les Houches) is not included
- you still walk with a maximum of 15 people at the same time and have your luggage ready waiting for you at your hotel when you arrive.
For the new Trails of Mont Blanc walking holiday there are only four departure dates, and you can now be among the firsts to secure your spot on this trip!
If you like to receive more information or booking details, please have a look at the trip notes on this page, or of course get in touch with our team of travel experts directly.
Rural & Unspoilt Destinations Great for Walking
Even though Europe is a highly developed continent, there still are plenty of destinations that are fantastic backdrops country walking holidays. For those of you who like to spend some time in rural communities and like to take in the unspoilt countryside, here are country walking destinations in France, Ireland and England.
Tarn & Aveyron, France
Picture a spectacular setting of rocky promontories or broad hills, like the Tuscan hill towns, rich in history with an intervening countryside that is a beautiful mixture of forests, fields and river valleys. This is the Tarn & Aveyron, about two hours driving north from Toulouse in southeastern France. Going on a country walking holiday in this region, you will notice a distinct lack of tourists. The route that we offer here has become one of our most venerated walks and one of our most popular tours in France. It’s a little different from our other hotel-based treks as you overnight in Chambres d’Hotes - literally ‘a room with your hosts’, and Table d’Hotes – ‘dinner with your hosts.’ Sit and eat with your hosts, enjoying a regional wine and try to engage in conversation to learn about their daily life.
Our beautiful country walk winds between the bastides, or fortified towns, that sprung up between the Cathar Crusades of the 1200s and the Wars of Religion in the 1500s, as well as vineyards, gorges, forests and rivers in rural France.
Want to visit Tarn & Aveyron yourself? You can, between May and September, on our 8-day self guided walking holiday in Tarn & Aveyron.
Lake District, England
Travel through England’s most rugged and mountainous landscape: the Lake District National Park. This part of the English country walking destination brings sensational woodlands and forests that provide a habitat for native English wildlife. Spot for example the red squirrel, one of the UK’s best-loved species. The countryside is celebrated not only by Beatrix Potter but also poets, authors and painters such as Wordsworth, Tennyson, Ransome and Wainwright. In between quaint market towns, the walking trails lead past the peaceful depths of Coniston Water and Derwentwater lakes, as well as the superb Tarn Hows, set in the wooded hills between the picturesque villages of Coniston and Langdale. Anybody looking for one of England’s best country walking holiday destinations, the Lake District in Cumbria should be high on your list.
Besides our 8-day Cumbrian Way: Crossing the Lake District walking holiday
, also our Coast to Coast walking holidays
cross the English Lake District.
Wicklow Way, Ireland
Starting in southwest County Wicklow, the route that we’ve set out in this southeastern part of Ireland passes through rural communities, old market towns and grand estates. The region has proved itself as one of the best country walking holiday destinations as it attracts walkers from across the world eager to explore one of the greenest parts of the ‘Emerald Isle’. The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s oldest waymarked trail through which you can experience a patchwork of landscapes. If you’re keen to cross country estates, heather-covered granite mountains, rolling green hills and tranquil forests this is a country walking holiday for you! You will also pass ‘the valley of two lakes’ and monastic settlements that date back to the 6th century on your way to the bright lights of Dublin…
Discover The Wicklow Way on a 7-day country walking holiday between March and October.
From Jane Austen to Thomas Hardy, the richly varied landscape and the historical treasures of Dorset have inspired generations of authors. On this country walking holiday, you cross unspoilt and peaceful rural villages. The route follows the coast as it stretches eastwards, along fossil-encrusted cliffs and the famed Golden Gap, a 190-metre headland of orange sandstone. Explore a timeless landscape of hidden valleys and hill forts before you drop down to the beautifully preserved village of Abbotsbury, which does not even have street lighting!
Follow the Dorset-Wessex Trails in the period from May until October on an 8-day self guided country walking holiday from Lyme Regis to West Lulworth.
Start in the French Cevennes at the extinct volcanoes to the north of the Massif Central and follow a winding route southwards across the more mountainous Cevennes on the eastern flank of the Massif Central. It is one of the remotest country walking holiday experiences you can get in France as this is the only French national park that is inhabited. We follow the route that in the autumn of 1878 was taken by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island) with his donkey Modestine. Their journey inspired ‘Travel with a donkey in the Cévennes’, which has since become a travel classic. Stevenson’s route can still be followed today without drastic modification: inns where Stevenson stopped still exist and at Notre Dame des Neiges, the monks from the book are still praying and brewing! Follow a winding route across a region that boasts great natural beauty, sad romantic ruins and is almost totally unspoilt.
You can choose between an eight or ten-day trip with excellent country walking following Stevenson’s Trail.
For more information on each of the regions and detailed information on these country walking holidays, please download the trip notes on each trip's webpage. If you like to speak to one of our travel consultants, please send us an email or contact us by phone and we’d be happy to discuss your requirements.
We’ve probably all had those conversations where you’ve been advised to visit Y after mentioning that you liked walking in destination X. Perhaps because it offers the same kind of weather, walking conditions, historical sites or because it is a remoter place with a similar feel.
For this latter reason, we sat down and came up with these four alternative travel destinations in Europe that are less visited, but offer a similar walking experience to places better known like the Alpine Pass Route, Majorca, the French Pyrenees, and Burgundy.
If You Liked the Alpine Pass Route >> Try the Wildstrubel Circuit
WHY? The Wildstrubel Circuit uses trails that have served since Roman times to link the German-speaking Bernese Oberland and the partly French-speaking Valais. At the time, the mountains of the Bernese Oberland and Valais formed a natural barrier and Kandersteg was a hamlet literally at the end of the road. When you follow the ancient trails, cross the Gemmi, Rawyl, Lotschen, Bundeschrinde and Hahnenmoos passes linking attractive Swiss villages that are still hidden places. Throughout the tour, the scenery is expansive, with views extending across the Oberland, to the 4000m peaks of the Valais, and down the Rhone valley. Tell me more about the ‘quieter’ Alpine classic, the Wildstrubel Circuit >>
If You Liked the French Pyrenees >> Try the Spanish Pyrenees
WHY? The Spanish side of the Pyrenees has a drier climate than the French side and is less visited, the Spanish Pyrenees are therefore a great alternative travel destination. It offers a magnificent array of rugged mountains, deep gorges, beech and pine forests, cultivated terraces, ancient stone bridges, unspoilt towns and villages with many historic buildings. All of this is linked through a network of waymarked trails and paths. Tell me more about the less-visited Spanish Pyrenees in Alto Aragon >>
If You Liked Burgundy >> Try the Douro Valley
WHY? Calling all wine lovers! The surprisingly unspoilt Douro Valley is home to the first demarcated wine region in the world and a great alternative travel destination to Burgundy. Established in 1756 when the Port industry developed, Douro Valley has Portugal's highest wine classification as a ‘denominação de origem controlada’ and, although associated primarily with Port, these days it produces just as much high-quality table wine. Tell me more about the unspoilt Douro Valley >>
If You Liked Majorca >> Try Corsica
Do you love the classic Mediterranean travel destinations like Majorca in Spain but are you running out of ideas of what else to try? Only two hours by plane from the United Kingdom, the Corsican landscape boasts granite peaks, deeply wooded valleys, pine forest and cascading streams before leading to the clear blue waters of the sea – and all this with a French twist! Corsica is an alterative travel desitnation that is especially attractive for walking holidays. Tell me more about French-influenced Corsica >>
For more information on these alternative places for walking in Europe, please download the trip notes on the trip page or get in touch with our team of travel experts
On a walking holiday you like to pack as lightweight as possible. But with unpredictable weather, or when walking at different altitudes this isn’t an easy job. That’s why guide John looks at walking clothes for colder weather this month!
Autumn, winter sun, and spring breaks at lower altitudes require walking clothes that are lightweight and easily to pack as you will hopefully rarely use them, but they are always there in your bag if things get a little chilly. Long gone are the days of heavy furry fleeces and waterproofs that are the weight and consistency of wet cardboard. Although maybe less durable than the heavy duty stuff, modern lightweight walking clothes are so compact that they can be folded up and carried almost unnoticed until the time it is needed. All this has been spurred on by revolutions in lightweight mountaineering and mountain running.
Starting with shells, have a look at the ranges by the likes of Montane, Salomon, Berghaus, Mountain Equipment and Rab etc. They all manufacture super-lightweight jackets that are great clothing to wear when walking. Check out test reviews online or in magazines for the best models and look out for sale items. Haglofs for example do an ultralight trekking jacket called the L.I.M, which has minimal seams and pockets for waterproofness.
The classic puffa jacket may be a bit of an overkill for this sort of walking, however you see some Europeans in them sometimes in the summer! - well at least the fashion versions. The lightest, most compact walking clothes of this type are not cheap, but if you feel the cold they are great to wear and look great too. Look at the Montane 'Featherlite' or the Rab 'Microlight' jackets, they are goose/duck down, pack to nothing and have nice features. They do become a bit of a wet tea bag in the rain, hence you should wear a shell with them in such conditions. If socialising in them, beware of smokers or open fires: cigarette ash and wood sparks will immediately make your walking clothes somewhat less water resistant.
Talking about walking clothes for cold weather, baselayers must of course be mentioned. Merino wool tops are nice, they may not be ultra-quick drying, but they are very warming for their weight and you can wear them a few more times compared to polyester. Look at makes such as Ayacucho or Icebreaker. Although Merino is relatively expensive, there are nearly always deals during the winter clothing sales at your local gear stores (see Cotswolds Outdoor in the UK for example or Paddy Pallin in Australia). Merino baselayers come in different weights but the lightest ones are really fine for walking, although if sitting at a bar on the trail, it looks as if you are wearing your underwear, so the next step is to wear a fleece jacket.
Fleece jackets are as numerous as the stars and come in as many different weights and qualities. Take a look around the outdoor shops for this type of walking clothing and see what fits you well and folds into a small space. Berghaus, Northface and Haglofs do a good range of cold-weather walking gear, some being technical with hoods and handwarmer pockets and/or thumbloops on sleeves which extend over your hands if you don't want to carry gloves.
Enjoy the cooler seasons in great style and comfort!
If you like to find out what walking holidays you can book with us in the autumn and winter months, have a look at these tips to beat the winter!
With the rugged limestone mountain range of Sierra de Tramontana, Majorca has one of the most spectacular coastlines of the Mediterranean. This is where you’ll find rocky and arid mountain tops, thickly forested slopes, ancient olive, orange and almond groves, and small coastal villages. There’s even an opportunity to overnight in an actual monastery! Get to know more about walking in Majorca via this image impression of the Spanish island.
A walk around Puig Roig is a popular classic for walking in Majorca. The views of the rugged coastline are fine and you can see Majorca’s highest peak Puig Mayor: a fantastic introduction to the island of Majorca.
The beach at the small coastal inlet of Cala Tuent is the starting point for your walk on the fourth day of our Majorca walking trip. It’ll prove to be an amazing day following a scenic coastal footpath that then takes you inland through olive groves.
During a fine day of walking, enjoy a fantastic lunch or dinner of some fine Spanish paella. It’s one of those dishes not to be missed on a Majorca walking holiday!
On your free morning in Soller, there are plenty of activities to undertake. Enjoy the village’s terraces and church while you wait for the afternoon bus, or take a boat trip to the beach of Sa Calobra, take a scenic train ride, or visit Soller’s fossil museum and botanical garden – one of the best you’ll come across while walking in Majorca.
Mountain villages, such as Valldemossa, Soller, Deia, Biniaraix and Fornalutx are particularly attractive, with yellow stonewalls and flower-bedecked balconies.
Our carefully compiled route guides you along the 19th century "Archduke's trail" above Valldemossa. It’s named after Austrian archduke Ludwig Salvador who purchased an estate here in the late 1800s. Much of the path you’ll follow was constructed during his time.
Valldemossa is famous for its Carthusian monastery and for its associations with Chopin and the Austrian Archduke Ludwig. It is one of the three centres that our walking trip is based on.
Has this inspired you to go on a walking holiday in Majorca yourself as well? Or do you have any questions based on our pictures? Have a look at our 8-day walking holiday in Majorca: Sierras and Monasteries (on which you’ll stay in an actual monastery!) or get in touch with our team of travel experts in our London offices.