News & Inspiration

COVID-19Travel UpdatesLearn More
Inspiration and Advice for Walking in Europe Information, reviews and advice on Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk in England. Amalfi, Cilento, Tuscany, food and more Sherpa travellers share their reviews and experiences. Information, reviews and advice on Madeira walking holidays Information, reviews and advice on walks in the Cotswolds
rss

UK & European Holiday News

The latest travel news, interviews, traveller reviews, inspiration & advice on cycling and walking holidays in the UK and Europe..
Return to Blog Home >>

 

Top Tips for a First-time Walking Holiday

by resident guide John Millen
 
Top tips for first time walkers - UK holidays Sherpa Expeditions
 
If you are considering going on a multi-day walking holiday for the first time, it will often mean a total direction change from your previous vacations where you were sightseeing or going to a beach. 
There is a formality with walking tours in the sense that you will be moving to a new location and accommodation on some or most days. But this kind of holiday gives you so much time and flexibility to do what you please on the way: stopping at viewpoints or visiting gardens, homes, castle, pubs and cafes. You may decide to have a picnic wherever you please, or do some time nature viewing or talking to the locals. So within the framework of an itinerary there is normally plenty of scope for doing and seeing. 

First steps for novice walkers

As a first step, you maybe just would like to go for a long weekend of walking or doing a couple of day walks in succession to see if you do actually like it!  
The key point for a first time walker is to not bite off more than you can chew; try an easy-ish straightforward itinerary which you know you can probably follow. You can then relax and take your time. 
By going on a shorter break for a first time walking holiday, you will be able to get used to the walks and whether you may have issues with feet or knees etc. Imagine what it could mean if you were to discover this in a really remote location!
 
Visit Cotswolds for a first time walking holiday
Dorset offers good walking for first timers

Guided or self guided as a first time walk?

If you are thinking about a self-guided itinerary, look for the lower graded and better waymarked options such as the lower-end National Trails in the UK such as The South Downs Way and The Thames Path – or if you want to go further afield, the pilgrim routes in Spain and France. If you have not had much walking experience then it is best to keep to the more simply navigated walks such as these. If you are considering a guided walk, then the navigation and a lot of the decisions are taken for you. In general though, guided walks are a bit harder and you will be more concerned about your fitness and pacing within a group context.

Pacing

Pacing implies getting to a certain place by a certain time. Although it is certainly good to have a challenge, an easier itinerary means that you don't have to worry too much about pacing. This ultimately means more time for stops along the way and arriving at your destination more relaxed. 

Do I need special gear for a walking trip?

Outdoor gear can be quite expensive. So a point is that if you are not sure about whether this type of holiday is for you, on an easier-graded trip you will not necessarily have to invest in expensive outdoor gear. To get an idea of some of the items you may need, check out my tips on What to Take on a Hiking Trip
Maybe you will have half the gear already, trainers/ old walking boots a small rucksack, and a cheap waterproof jacket. 
Maybe you can borrow some gear from friends and family, and then having survived the first holiday, you can decide if you want to do another and  invest in some personal gear. 
Perhaps use a locally sourced wooden stick instead of buying walking poles, until you decide that you want to use them or not. 
 

Keeping hydrated

Some beginners worry about water intake or toilet stops and keeping hydrated. Unless it is really hot, it is rarely worth carrying more than two litres with you, and remember each litre weighs a kilogram. Quite a good idea is to try and drink quite a bit to flush your system before you set out each morning or even the night before. Normally on the easier walks you will not be too remote to refill your bottles or to buy a drink or two somewhere. Just make sure that any tap or faucet water is drinkable. It may be worth carrying water sterilizer tablets or a small filter. Some water bottles (more about water bottles here) come with this feature fitted. Normally there will be some kind of sign if the water in undrinkable. 
Walking hours without visiting a toilet may be a worrying proposition but it need not be, just discreetly make use of terrain and vegetation. If you use toilet paper either bury it, or better still, fold it up and put it in a bag until you can dispose of it in the usual way.

What about navigating a route? 

Get used to using a compass for general direction finding before you head off on your walking holiday. There is plenty of online guidance on map/ compass reading and I have written some advice on navigating before. Download any mapping apps and use any GPS data that the company may provide to help you along, but always carry the printed map, route notes and the name and address of your ultimate stop of the day. If using a phone or GPS, it makes sense to carry an auxiliary power bank and the appropriate leads.

What to pack for my first walking trip?

Don't overburden yourselves on your first walking holiday, but you may wish to carry a small umbrella (for shade as much as for rain), a Thermos flask (most UK B&Bs at least have tea and coffee making facilities in most rooms) a small pen knife and maybe a piece of foam or a garden kneeler to sit on during a picnic. Plasters or compeed are useful for any abnormal hot spots developing on your feet. 
With such considerations and warm or cold weather clothing packed appropriately for the coming day, you should be able to enjoy your first walking holiday ever!

Got excited to go and try out the concept of a walking holiday? At Sherpa Expeditions you can choose from a list of options:
 
England walking holidays for first timers

Scotland walking holidays for first timers

Camino walking holiday for first timers

Or contact our team of friendly travel consultants to give you personalised advice, by phone or email. 
 

How To Be A More Sustainable Traveller

You may well believe it would be hard to stay sustainable whilst on holiday, but it might be easier than you think! We have put together 5 easy tips on how to be more sustainable when travelling and whilst out on your walking or cycling trips. Read on to find out more.
 
 

1.    Be conscious of litter along the route

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t see any litter lining our walking trails, but unfortunately this just isn’t the case and often people throw food wrappers on the ground or leave there takeaway coffee cups along the way. So, if you see something, don’t just walk past it, pick it up. Let’s do our bit and make sure there’s nothing lying around that could damage the environment or  the habitats of surrounding wildlife.
 
 

2.    Drink from a reusable water bottle and other reusable items where possible

While this may not be anything new, it’s always good to remember packing your reusable water bottle. There are many great ones out there, that can keep your water nice and cold until you get thirsty! Also, if you are bringing food out with you, make sure to bring it in a reusable lunch box with reusable cutlery...every little helps!
 
 

3.    Use biodegradable & eco-friendly products 

There are so many products around now that are much kinder to the environment in the ways that they are produced and the way that they can be disposed of. Some examples are bamboo toothbrushes, green cosmetics using renewable raw materials and ethically sourced and sustainable clothing, to name just a few. Why not swap out a few of your every day essentials before your next trip?
 
 

4.    Eat locally

When you are staying in various towns and villages along the way, try either buying fresh from local markets if you are cooking for yourself or eating in restaurants using ingredients sourced from local suppliers so they have not had to travel far to get to your plate. This way you will be feeding back into the local community and helping boost their economy by keeping smaller companies in business…win-win!
 
 

5.    Pack lightly to reduce CO2 emissions

Whether you’re travelling to your destination by plane, car or train, it’s always worth trying to pack as lightly as you can and only bring exactly what you need with you. You may wonder why this would make a difference, but the lighter your luggage is, the lighter the vehicle or plane will be, meaning it will use less fuel to transport your belongings and therefore reducing the effect it has on the environment via CO2 emissions. Something to think about next time, you want to bring something with you ‘just in case’.
 

 

 

 

Travellers' Tales: Wainwright's Coast to Coast with Gail

Gail upon completing UK Coast to Coast walk
 
Gail Rast from Australia went on a self guided Coast to Coast walk with us last summer and in this article shares her feedback of the walking holiday across England. Her walking history began around five years ago when she walked the entire Camino Frances – solo! 
 

What is your walking history? 

I’ve always loved nature and the outdoors, but became really passionate about walking a little over 5 years ago when I made the decision to walk the Camino Frances. This was fairly ambitious for my first multi-day hike, but I succeeded in walking the entire 800km (solo). Since then I have done a number of multi-day hikes in Australia (including bush-camping) and 2 years ago I did the Portuguese Coastal Camino (260km).
 

"I’ve always loved nature and the outdoors"

 

Wainwright Coast to Coast feedback

Why did you choose to walk the UK’s Coast to Coast? 

I chose the Coast to Coast long distance walk because I have always wanted to see the Lake District and spend some time in the English countryside. Walking is a great way to see and experience new places.
 

"Walking is a great way to see and experience new places."

 

How did you prepare for this long distance walk?

I keep myself fit year-round by swimming, walking and other activities such as kayaking. In the lead-up to the Coast to Coast walk, I increased my walking (distance and more difficult terrain) and trained with a pack. I also incorporated weight training into my routine to strengthen my muscles.
 
Gail in the Lake District UK with Sherpa Expeditions
 
Osmotherly village and viewpoint on Coast to Coast
 

What was your favourite destination along the trail?

I genuinely enjoyed the entire Coast to Coast Trail – I loved the diversity of the terrain! Stand-out village for me was Osmotherley, such a pretty place and such friendly locals. I also loved the coastal terrain of St Bees and Robin Hood’s Bay (great way to start and finish!).
 

Best Food & Drink?

The pub food was hearty and sustained my ravenous appetite at the end of the day! My most memorable meal was braised Cumbrian lamb in a pub in Rosthwaite – it was plentiful and absolutely delicious. I also enjoyed the local ales, and have now developed a taste for boutique gins!
 

Biggest surprise? 

The biggest surprise was the number and variety of animals that shared the trail – so many different types of sheep and cows, as well as horses and numerous birds including pheasants and grouse. As I was walking solo most of the time, they were great company!

Belted galloway - walking Wainwright Coast to Coast
 
Stiles and bleak moors - walking UK Coast to Coast - Sherpa Expeditions
 

What aspect of the trip did you find most challenging? 

The descents of the Lake District were more challenging than I had imagined. I managed fine with the ascents, but my knees struggled coming down the peaks. But the views and sense of achievement made it absolutely worth it.

 
Want to experience Wainwright's Coast to Coast for yourself and cross England's Lake District on foot? At Sherpa Expeditions we offer a variety of ways to discover the area, whether on foot or by bike, guided or self guided, check out your options here
 

>> More about the Coast to Coast trail in the UK

 

Northern Hemisphere Island Getaways

Looking ahead to the Autumn and Winter months when we hope to be travelling again, we have put together a selection of our favourite warm weather trips that you can get excited for!
 
 

MADEIRA ISLAND WALKING (JUNE – DECEMBER) 

Best known for its wide array of gourmet food and wine, year-round sunny climate and breath-taking scenery, the Portuguese island of Madeira is the ideal destination to visit any time of year, although autumn is an ideal time to visit as a myriad of colourful flowers and trees are in bloom such as jasmine, begonias, freesias, magnolia, camellias and many more.  Our walks follow levadas through a peaceful pastoral countryside or traverse spectacular terraced hillsides. You will also be able to quite literally feel your head in the clouds with a climb up to Pico Ruivo, the islands highest volcanic peak.

Find out more about Madeira Island Walking here.
 
 

SOUTHERN TRAILS OF LA GOMERA (JUNE – JULY & SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER) 

This trip is based on the sunny south side of La Gomera, with shorter walking days so you can take full advantage of the other activities this amazing island has to offer, such as snorkelling, kayaking and whale watching. You will get a mixture of varied walks; one day you will enjoy walking in the mountains, descending to the coast at Santiago poised dramatically under the Roque Agando (the mini Matterhorn of La Gomera) and in contrast, another day you will be ascending through the island's Laurisilva forest to the summit of Garajonay (1487m) with views of Tenerife, so you get the best of both worlds.

Find out more about Southern Trails of La Gomera here and read more about all of our La Gomera trips here.
 
 

LA PALMA ISLAND WALKING (SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER)

This trip really has it all, from the largest volcanic erosion crater in the World, the Caldera de Taburiente and its National Park famed for its biodiversity, to jaw-dropping views over its neighbouring canary islands and unrivalled stargazing opportunities, topped off with delicious seafood and local wine. The walks are based from the two main towns, Santa Cruz and Los llanos de Ariadne and include the possibility to walk the Cumbre Vieja ridge, along the so-called ‘route of the volcanoes’. All routes are designed to make the most of the wonderful natural features of the island.
 
Find out more about La Palma Island Walking here.
 
 

WINTER WALKING IN CYPRUS (OCTOBER – DECEMBER) 

This trip is the perfect one if you are looking for some winter sunshine on an island of outstanding natural beauty. This walk takes you away from the more busy beach resorts to large areas of unspoilt countryside where woodland, orchards and vineyards are interspersed with tranquil, timeless villages. The walks are mostly in the Akamas Peninsula and several days they will end up at the coast.
 
Find out more about Winter Walking in Cyprus here.
 
 

Best European Trips For First Time Walkers

We have picked some excellent walks in Europe, which are all rated introductory to moderate or moderate on our grading scale. These are some of our favourites for either first time walkers or easier walks for those wanting something a little gentle themselves back in after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

 

France - Burgundy Vineyard Trails (Introductory to Moderate)

This is the trip for you if you love good food and wine…and let’s face it, who doesn’t? You start your walk at a gentle pace in the historic Beaune that is home to a cluster of prestigious vineyards such as the Cote d’Or, Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, so plenty of opportunity for some wine tasting! The village of Burgundy itself has many untouched lanes and you will pass by many ancient churches and chateaus, such as La Rochepot, on your travels. You can also expect glorious views as far as the Alps, as well as enjoying the delights that Rully has to offer.

Find out more about the Burgundy Vineyard Trails here.
 
 

Portugal - Douro Rambler

This is another one for the wine lovers out there. Not your traditional vineyard trip, but the Alto Douro wine region is famous not only for its port but also for its high quality table wines. You will get the chance to visit quaint villages such as Vilarinho de Sao Romeo in the middle of the region, passing the River Douro and finishing in the bustling city of Porto. If you want to see the vines in full harvest, the best time to visit would be September or October.
 
Find out more about the Douro Rambler here.
 

Spain - Hiking in Hidden Andalucía (Moderate)

This really is a hidden gem of a walk in our opinion. You will get to experience the remote and unspoilt sector of the Alpujarras east of Trevelez, including the charming, white-washed villages of Berchules, Yegen and Mairena, which are fed by Acequias that bring fresh water from springs in the mountains. Following the ancient byways of rural Spain, you will also come across some commanding views across to the Sierra de Gador and the Mediterranean Costas beyond.

Find out more about Hiking in Hidden Andalucía here.
 

France - Hilltop Villages of Medieval Tarn (Moderate)

One of our newer trips, this is a beautiful rural walk where you will take in all the sights of some of the prettiest medieval towns and villages in France. They are rich in history with little tourists, so you will feel like a local when wondering around the sites of the Cathars and alongside rivers and vineyards. When staying at Chambres d’Hotes, you will also get to enjoy an authentic meal with your hosts, to help immerse yourself in the culture even further.

Find out more about the Hill Top Villages of Medieval Tarn here.
 

Switzerland -The Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls (Moderate)

This is definitely a walk not to be missed as it is a fantastic introduction to the delights of Swiss walking. You can adjust the duration and difficulty of most of the days to suit you, from a softer valley stroll to a higher mountain trek. However you choose to do it, you will get to see the stunning villages of Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Zermatt, whilst hiking around well-known alpine peaks, including Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau and the Matterhorn.

Find out more about the The Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls here.
 
 

Cyprus - The Troodos Mountains and Akamas (Moderate)

Cyprus is an island of incredible natural beauty, and on this trip you will have the pleasure of lapping up the best it has to offer. The Troodos Mountains cover much of the southern and western part of the country and this walk takes you from hiking high mountains down to the coast, passing unspoilt countryside, orchards and woodland interspersed by sleepy mountain villages with their ancient churches, as well as the oldest monastery in Cyprus Kykko Monastery. A great time to visit is in September or October when you may catch a glimpse of many species of birds during their migrations.
 
Find out more about the The Troodos Mountains and Akamas here.
 
 
 

Best UK Trips For First Time Walkers

We have picked some lovely UK based walks that are perfect for either first time walkers or easier walks for those wanting something a little more gentle to ease themselves back in after lockdown. They are all rated introductory to moderate or moderate on our grading scale, so are suitable for beginners to those with a bit more experience and a good level of fitness.
 
 

Great Glen Way (Introductory to Moderate)

This is a 73 mile walk in the true heart of Scotland, hiking through the Scottish Highlands and following the shores of the famous Loch Ness, boasting great views of Ben Nevis. You will mainly walk along canal towpaths and forest tracks starting at Fort William and ending in Inverness, which is Scotland’s north-most city and dubbed the ‘capital of the highlands’. It’s a great route for those looking for some history too, as you will find plenty of examples of elegant bridges and locks along the canals which reflect the designs of the early Industrial Revolution.

Find out more about the Great Glen Way here.
 
 

Dorset and Wessex Trails (Introductory to Moderate)

This is a walk providing you with great variety. There’s the Dorset coastline with natural rock formations including Durdle Door, which would be of particular interest to the fossil hunters amongst us. Then, further inland you will get the chance to visit a mysterious region of ancient hill forts, Roman and Saxon remains in the ancient kingdom of Wessex. You will also come across beautiful villages such as Cerne Abbas and Abbotsbury along your journey.

Find out more about the Dorset and Wessex Trails here.
 
 

Dales Way (Moderate)

This is a trip which takes you right through the Yorkshire Dales. It is a 78 mile walk crossing  the Pennines from Ilkley to Windermere., staying in traditional Inns and Farmhouses dating back to the 16th and 17th century, along the way. You will experience the English countryside at its best with soft rolling hills, pretty river valleys, an abbey and some lovely Real Ale pubs. When the weather is nice, you will be able to find the perfect place to relax whilst enjoying a shady picnic. 

Find out more about the Dales Way here.
 
 

South West Coastal Path (Moderate)

The South West Coastal Path in its entirety is England’s longest and, many would say, finest trail. It stretches 630 miles long from Poole to Minehead, of which almost half is in Cornwall. There are many different routes you can take which cover parts of the full trail, so you can choose whichever suits you, or slowly build up and do them all! Anyone who loves the English seaside will enjoy these walks as they will be sure to include Cornish pasties, shipwrecks, dramatic cliffs and the roaring sea. 

Find out more about the South West Coastal Path here.
 
 

West Highland Way (Moderate)

This is definitely a trip for your bucket list which includes a walk to the foot of Ben Nevis, following the shores of Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest lake, walking through open heather moorland across the Rannoch Moor wilderness area, as well as crossing through both Glencoe and Glen Nevis.  It is also claimed to be the most popular long distance trail in the British Isles, but we will let you decide!

Find out more about the West Highland Way here.
 
 

Hadrian’s Wall (Moderate)

This is a 83 mile route reaching across town, county, forest and moorland. During your walk you will get to experience the scenic variety of northern England from the modern, busy cityscapes of Newcastle Upon Tyne to the red sandstone hues of medieval Carlisle, to the quiescence of Bowness on Solway. Following the route of the wall, which was started as long ago as 122 AD, you will also get to explore the fabulous heights of Highshields Crags in the Northumberland National Park and the contrasting lime green pastoral scenes of the Eden valley.

Find out more about the Hadrian’s Wall Trail here.
 
 
 

What To Pack For Your Coast To Coast Walk

So, you are off to walk the Coast to Coast. Whether it’s guided or self-guided you will have your main baggage being transferred for you, which saves on a lot of weight, but the big question is what essential and useful items should you take with you on the walk?

As you are staying in hotels, pubs and B&Bs, this is something that can get reviewed on a day to day basis so that you can make adjustments in regards to the weather, and depending on if you are on a higher (mountainous) or lower (farmland and road) section of the route. First, are the essentials.

 

Rucksack

A 35-50 litre rucksack (day sack) should be a sufficient size to put everything in for the day. Most of these are of course not waterproof, so you may also want to invest in a rucksack cover – although, beware that these can easily blow off and fly away if not well secured. Make sure to line the rucksack with a dry bag, or have several individual dry bags or even ordinary polythene bags without holes in.

Modern day rucksacks have lots of utility points for attaching  gels, water bottles  or dormant walking poles. Elasticated webbing ties, or a large webbing fabric rear pocket of many day sacks is extremely useful  for securing wet clothing  between showers, so that it is readily accessible and doesn’t soak the main compartment of the rucksack.

 

Waterproofs

Always carry full waterproofs, top and trousers, even if it is unlikely to rain, they make a perfect windproof layer and you can forget they are there. The risk is not putting them in your bag on a good day and then the next day when it rains, discovering that you haven't got them! Gaiters could optionally be carried and put on during wet and boggy days, when it is likely that your feet will get pretty wet.

 

Documents and Phone

For valuable documents and  your maps, notes and books that you are using for the walk, it is certainly quite a good idea to invest in waterproof map and document cases; ideally an A4 or A5 sized one for documents and an A3 sized one for maps. Ortileb make some good ones which will be totally waterproof  if sealed properly and last for years.
 
A mobile phone is more or less essential these days and can be used for contacting emergency services, the accommodation or for use as a camera or GPS. You may want to bring a 'proper ' camera as well, there is certainly a lot of subjects  to take  photos of during the walks, especially landscapes. It may be worth having a spare powered battery and a portable power supply for your phone, just in case.

 

Extra Layers

If you are not wearing it, bundle a fleece, jumper or gillet into your bag. Although, really it is not essential to carry a spare set of clothing with you , an extra-long sleeved shirt may be worthwhile if it is very hot or if you want to change into a drier garment when you arrive at your next destination. Some days, there is always the chance you will get in before either your baggage does or before your accommodation is actually open.

 

Food and Drink

Some people carry a plastic container for their packed lunch to stop the content getting squashed, although most people just make do with just a bag. It’s always a good idea to put some extra high energy snacks and bars in the pockets of your day sack too and have at least 2 litres of drinking water with you. In the UK you can fill up from water taps, you don’t need to buy bottled water.

We would recommend you to take a half litre vacuum flask for hot or cold drinks as well. Some walkers are very pleased to have these with them whilst they are out on a cold day, or to ‘celebrate’ the traditions of morning or afternoon tea. Unlike walking on the continent, when you walk in Britain you will nearly always find a hospitality tray in your bedroom with kettle and tea / coffee items, sufficient to fill a flask.

 

Handy Everyday Items

Most rucksacks have a top pocket where you should store quickly accessible items, such as a small head torch, whistle, penknife, lightweight gloves and a beanie style hat. The same pocket  should also be used to carry things like lip balm, sun cream, keys and a proofed wallet to contain things like your passport, money and tickets - items that should not be left in your main baggage. A squash able broad brimmed hat and sunglasses are also recommended, but maybe leave the umbrella behind as they can easily get destroyed in the windy conditions sometimes experienced along the Coast to Coast. Finally, make sure you have at least somewhere on your person or handy in the daypack for map, compass, notes, book and information about where you are staying overnight. It is easy to forget!

 

Travellers' Tales: Amalfi Coast with Charlotte and Sven Aaberg

Charlotte and Sven are long time walkers and have completed some incredible challenges along the way. There latest adventure was in Italy's Amalfi Coast where they discovered the wonders of the limoncello, admired some beautiful views and climbed many steps!

 

What is your walking history?

My husband, Sven, and I are walkers from WAYYY back! In 1995 we walked 1250 km of the Grand Randonnee Cinq from Hoek van Holland to Ribeauville, France. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the full 2500 km of the trail due to my feet developing stress fractures! Since then, we have trekked to Everest Base Camp and Kangchenjunga Base Camp in Nepal and more recently walked both Sherpa Expeditions’ self-guided Coast to Coast Walk and also Tuscany on Foot.
 

Why did you choose to walk where you did?

Actually a girlfriend suggested we walk this trip. She was going to come with us but had an illness in her family and was unable to join us. We had never heard much about the Amalfi Coast but are so glad we took her advice and had this wonderful expedition!
 

How did you prepare?

We live on a small island where there are limited long distance trails. We walk our dog to the ferry terminal every day (around 3 km) and once a week we walk a 10 km trail. We also train on our stairs to the beach (Sven’s Grind) which has 57 steps down. We go up and down them 5 or 6 times daily.
 

What was your favourite destination?

Amalfi is a beautiful small town but very busy with cruise ship tourists. It does have a lovely walk up into the mountains behind, the ‘Valle dei Mulini’ – Valley of the Mills. It was a rainy day when we were there, but it was so peaceful and had such outstanding views. But, I think my favourite destination was Praiano. It is such an artistic community and it was very special to see the donkeys and their drivers delivering goods; just as they must have done for years.
 

Best Food & Drink

If you like something a little strong, the Limoncello is dee-lish! And you can never go wrong with a real Italian pizza! But the best food for the area is Caprese Salad – tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and basil. YUM!
 

Biggest surprise?

Our biggest surprise was the beauty of the entire area – such stunning views! We were also surprised by the number of ceramic factories and the beautiful work they do.
 

What aspect of the trip did you find most challenging?

We found the ‘Pathway to the Gods’ challenging because we both have problems with vertigo. Although the path is fairly wide, the steepness of the dropoff to the water is a little daunting at times. We also were unprepared for 1,860 stairs down one day! In fact, every day, stairs are everywhere!
 

Do you have any other advice for travellers thinking about travelling on this trip?

Practice a LOT of walking up and down stairs!
 
 
 
 
 

Five Ways To Keep Entertained During Lockdown

As well as getting out for some fresh air if you can, there are so many things you can do in the comfort of your own homes whilst in lockdown. This could be the perfect time to slow down and appreciate those small pleasures in life that may have passed you by before.
 
 

Reading

Does reading always seems to go to the bottom of the list when life gets in the way, normally reserved for holidays and long journeys? Now you have some more free time, you can really get stuck in to a new book and get transported to anywhere in the world.

The Little Italian Bakery - Valentina Cebeni

The essence of Sardinia is perfectly captured and you can easily whisky ourself out of this world into a new one.  This is a place where time has stood still for years on end, but where the secrets of the island have also been hidden in its past.
 
Get it here.

A Wedding in Provence, by Ellen Sussman

A fictional story of a couple holding their second marriage in Provence, France surrounded by their immediate family in a quaint inn set in the small town of Cassis. The bride’s two adult daughters bring a little drama to the situation and it all quickly unfolds from there. 
 
Get it here.

Normal People, by Sally Rooney

This award-winning novel is Set in Ireland. The story follows two people from high school in their small town to university in Dublin, exploring their relationship as well as their own psyches.
 
Get it here.
 
 

Listening to podcasts

There are so many to choose from, but there are a few that are great to keep that hiking mindset alive and kicking! Anything  from advice on training for a bucket list trip to real-life stories and hints for beginners.

Hiking Thru

A weekly podcast in which there is a speak with experienced thru hikers about their stories from the trails and strategies for a successful thru hike. Each episode is not only full of unique stories from the trail, but also comes with dedicated 'Gear Recommendations and Trail Wisdoms' page. Here you can see what gear each thru hiker used including shoes, socks, packs, sleep gear and more, the food they ate and can recommend for you, gadgets, apps, hacks and of course wisdoms learnt along the way.
 
Listen here.

The First 40 Miles

This is a podcast for people who are new to hiking and backpacking. If you are new to backpacking, or if you're hopelessly in love with someone who wants you to love backpacking, then this podcast is for you. We talk about the essentials, how to lighten your load, and how to make the most of your time on the trail.
 
Listen here.

The Training for Trekking

This podcast is created to help hikers, trekkers and mountaineers prepare for their bucket list adventures. Rowan shares with you the simple training strategies to get you fit, strong and resilient to tackle anything the trail will throw at you, even during the current pandemic.
 
Listen here.

 

Cooking And Baking

Have you found a new found love for cooking and baking? You’re not the only ones! So, even if you can’t get to your favourite destinations right now, you can still whip up something native to the region instead and before you know, you’ll feel like you’re there!

French Coq Au Vin

A traditional French dish consisting of chicken braised with wine, bacon lardons and mushrooms. A red Burgundy wine is typically used, though many regions of France make variants using their local wines.

Find recipe here.

Greek Moussaka

Moussaka is an aubergine or potato-based dish, often including ground meat, traditionally minced lamb and topped with a creamy béchamel sauce. However, there are many local and regional variations.

Find recipe here.

Scottish Shortbread

It’s almost impossible to think of the delicacies of Scotland without thinking of their famous shortbread. Perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, these sweet and crumbly treats will be sure to keep you going.

Find recipe here.

 

Watching Films

Sometimes it’s nice to look forward to watching a nice film at the end of the day, and even better when it includes stunning scenery and cuisine from the places you have dreaming of visiting. Whether it is more hard-hitting or light-hearted, they’ll be sure to inspire your next adventure.

Wild

Starring Reese Witherspoon, this film is based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed on her path to recovery.  Still reeling from her mother's death and recent divorce, she decides to hike alone along the Pacific Crest Trail with no previous experience.

Watch it here.

A Walk In The Woods

This hilarious comedy stars Robert Redford as the bestselling travel writer Bill Bryson, who makes the improbable decision to hike the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.

Watch it here.

The Trip

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon star in ‘The Trip’ following them exploring fancy restaurants of northern England, ‘The Trip to Italy’ where the two go on a road trip in Italy from Piedmont to Capri, on the Amalfi coast, and ‘Thee Trip to Spain’ where they discover the joys of tapas in Spain. Their culinary adventures take them through Cantabria, the Basque region, Aragon, Rioja, Castile, La Mancha and Andalucia.

Watch The Trip here, The Trip to Italy here and The Trip to Spain here.

 

Playing games

In these times of social distancing, there are many ways to stay entertained. Whether that’s with your household over a good old board game or on a trans-generational  Zoom call and taking things digital with an online quiz.

Would I Lie To You Board Game

A game of quick thinking that calls for a cool head and a poker face. Can you fool your opponents with an on-the-spot lie? Just like the TV show, some of the facts are true, some are not, it's all down to you to decide!

Find it here.

Travel Quizzes

There is an abundance of online quizzes around, especially now, so the real question is which one to pick? If you would call yourself an expert traveller, why not test your knowledge with one or two from Traveller’s huge selection.

Find them here.

Get Puzzling

Puzzles can be great fun and really get you to concentrate, so much so you can find yourself in another world. When you’re not able to visit the places you want to, you can still recreate beautiful images of them!

Find some here.
 
 

Long weekend walking and cycling trips

At the moment, we are living vicariously through reliving old trips and seeing locations remotely. However, once we are safely able to travel again, we thought we would put together a selection of shorter 5 and 6 day trips to get you back in the swing of things.
 
 

Exploring the Cotswolds - 5 Days (3 Days Walking)

This trip is a fantastic discovery of the English countryside, coupled with the unrivalled hospitality of traditional, family run B&B’s and guesthouses. You will take in the amazing Cotswold landscape, with it’s unique mixture of parkland, cultivated fields with dry-stone walls of Jurassic limestone and patches of unspoilt woodland. The scenery blends with the structures creating a delightful fusion of natural and man-made beauty. With days of up to 20km, this is a relatively easy to moderate route with some hilly parts and a number of beautiful villages along the way.

Find out more about Exploring the Cotswolds here.

 

Isle of Wight Cycle – 5 Days (3 Days Cycling)

The Isle of Wight was recently crowned as Holiday Destination of the Year in the Countryfile magazine awards 2020. A destination that is often overlooked, this is a place of outstanding natural beauty, from its beaches to ‘The Needles’, as well as some historical landmarks including Queen Victoria’s Osborne House, Quarr Abbey and the piers of Old Yarmouth Town. Enjoy this lovely, short break for cyclists who want an attractive sightseeing tour, with a mixture of town, country and time to explore. Expect between 4 to 5 hours of cycling per day, with the trip starting and ending in the seaside town of Ryde.

Find out more about the Isle of Wight Cycle here.

 

James Herriot Way – 6 Days (4 Days Walking)

Sometimes described as ‘the best short walk in England’, this walk is designed to take in some of the countryside beloved by James Alfred Wight, the vet who wrote about his experiences in the Yorkshire Dales as James Herriot. It is a 80km circular route which winds its way through the contrasting dales of Swaledale, Apedale and Wensleydale which is a centre for rope and cheese-making. It is scattered with agricultural and industrial heritage, in amongst gorgeous river, waterfalls and attractive fells. It is an excellent introduction to long distance walking on longer trails such as the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast.

Find out more about the James Herriot Way here.

 

Meiringen: Panoramas of the Swiss Alps – 5 Days (3 Days Walking)

This is a truly spectacular centre based self-guided holiday, with wonderful alpine scenery, including dramatic lakes, gorges and glaciers, as well as breath-taking views of the iconic Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. Meiringen is the perfect base for multiple day walks that can be made easy or hard depending on preference. It is a small market town with excellent shops and facilities, which is excellent in all seasons and remains relatively unspoiled. From the town it is possible to set out each day in a different direction using the incredible network of cable cars, postbuses and mountain railways. You can reach the high places quickly and easily without the necessity of long uphill climbs out of the valley.

Find out more about Meiringen: Panoramas of the Swiss Alps here.