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 >>
The Americans call it leaf peeping, the Japanese call it momiji gari. But if you're looking to be inspired by the shades of autumn foliage, you don't need to travel all the way to New England or the Far East – Sherpa Expeditions have a number of trips departing in the next few weeks where you can experience the splendour of the changing leaves.
PORTUGAL | Douro RAMBLER
Surround yourself with colour as autumn transforms the photogenic Douro River Valley, which slices across northern Portugal. As the terraced vineyards that slope along the riverbanks prepare for winter, they turn into an endless sea of red, orange and yellow. From visiting small working wine estates to taking scenic boat trips, there will be plenty of opportunities for wine tasting tours, where you can fortify yourself against the autumn chill with a glass of the region’s famed local port.
Departure dates until 15 October - click here for details and booking.
SPAIN | hiking in hidden Andalucía
The weather in Andalucía’s mountains can be harsh in the summer and winter months – but visit in autumn for beautiful gold and yellow colours of chestnuts and poplars lighting up the valleys, while the hedgerows and paths are lined with figs, mulberries, walnuts and pomegranates. With the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop, this is an exhilarating walk among terraced fields and through white-washed villages and along irrigation channels that date back to the Moorish era.
Departure dates until 20 November - click here for details and booking.
GERMANY | Bavaria - King Ludwig's Way
Saturated with alpine flowers in spring and crowded with tourists in summer, southern Germany offers more relaxed tempos for leaf-peeping during the autumn months. Home to the idyllic Romantic Road, this is fairy-tale country, with geranium-bedecked chalets, onion-shaped church spires and copper-turreted castles rising out of red and green forests – including the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle, the eccentric King Ludwig’s most famous architectural masterpiece.
Departure dates until 22 October - click here for details and booking.
AUSTRIA | The Lake District and Dachstein Alps
Towering peaks, high mountain passes, alpine meadows and lakeside walks are all combined in this surprisingly compact area – there is nowhere better to experience autumn unfold in Austria than the heart of the Lake District, which encompasses 76 crystal clear lakes, the impressive Dachstein Glacier and breathtaking rock faces up to 3,000 vertical metres high. Wander through ochre mountain forests, explore glimmering lakeland shores and visit alpine villages of wooden chalets.
Departure dates until 20 October - click here for details and booking.
If you like the look of these trips but would prefer to visit next spring, summer or autumn, you can book for 2019 now.
The Austrian Alps are one of the great mountain playgrounds of Europe and the Dachstein is the most dramatic and arguably most interesting of these mountain areas in Austria. Huge pyramids of limestone pierce through the great icy expanses of the Hallstätter and Gosau Gletschers (glaciers).
Yet these peaks are often hidden by steep valley sides and flanking peaks. The glaciers of this area have been, of course, in full retreat after the last Ice Age ended some 12,000 years ago and, in their wake, they have carved out some impressive 'U' shaped glacial valleys. These valleys have been scoured deeply and over the millennia have filled with melt and rain water to create the classic and popular Austrian Lakes District.
It is in this setting that you will find yourself when travelling on the Austrian Lakes and Dachstein Alps walking holiday with Sherpa Expeditions.
To introduce you to the mountainous region, read on for 6 unique aspects of what an Austrian Alps hiking holiday is all about.
#1 Viewpoint over Hallstätter See
Hike to a great viewpoint over the Hallstätter See and the mountains of Hoher Dachstein. Actually, the way to this climax could be considered a highlight in itself as it follows Austrian Emperors’ hunting grounds and passes the old salt working village of Salzberg. When you’ve made it to the summit of Predigstuhl (1214m), the views will be rewarding.
#2 Austrian Flag Waymarkers
The trails on Sherpa Expeditions’ Austrian Alps hiking trip are generally well waymarked. Most of the routes that we take are numbered and waymarked by the Austrian Alpine Club and we love the symbols they use. These are either classic red & white waymarks, and regularly red-white-red – like the Austrian flag!
The old town of Hallstatt is clustered on a very steep site along the lake, while the newer parts of this stunning town are located a little further south. With an attractive market place, nice town houses, two ancient churches and a lot of traditional Austrian charm, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely beautiful!
The town of Gosau lies at 780 metres and is actually a sprawling collection of original farmsteads from the 15th century onward that have coalesced in the Gosau Valley to now form the villages of Vordertal, Mitteltal and Hintertal. Gosau is the actual centre with couple of attractive churches and good views of the Gosaukamm Mountains, which offer amazing Austrian Alps hiking opportunities. Take a few of the many ski lifts that you find in the valley for excellent views and walks – we especially like those going up the Zwieselarm.
#5 Hiking around Hallstätter See
Whether you choose to follow the eastern or western shore of this stunning Austrian Lake, you will hopefully get some beautiful reflections of the town in the waters of the lake. On you walk, and on a good summer day, take the opportunity to go for a swim. Or take the boat over to the other side of the lake to start your walk and to add some extra romance to your day.
#6 The Glacial Lakes of Vorderer Gosausee & Hinterer Gosausee
On a walk around Gosausee you will pass the glacial lakes of Vorderer Gosausee and Hinterer Gosausee. From both, the views of the Gosaukamm Mountains are just stunning. It is quite a popular route as the mountains are magical. With good weather you can hopefully get some good reflections of the peak in the lake and go for a swim in the clean waters.
For more information and booking requests, please download the trip notes of the Austrian Lake District & Dachstein Alps walking holiday or contact our knowledgeable team in London.
More About Austrian Alps Hiking
With the six-week long Salzburg Festival taking place in Salzburg from the end of July until the end of August, these months are a great time to plan for an Austria summer holiday.
If you are planning a trip this summer to take in Austria’s spectacular scenery, we offer a number of trips that are great for cyclists and hikers alike. From June until mid-October, regions like the Dachstein Alps, Austria’s Lake District or the shore of the Danube River are fantastic to experience summer in Austria. Below, we choose three of the most exciting options.
Grab your hiking boots
Austrian Lake District and Dachstein Alps
Towering peaks, high mountain passes, alpine meadows and lakeside walks are all combined in this surprisingly compact area. The heart of Austria’s Lake District encompasses 76 crystal clear lakes, the impressive Dachstein Glacier and breath-taking rock faces up to 3,000 vertical metres high. Wander through mountain forests and alongside glimmering lakeland shores as you explore alpine villages of wooden chalets decorated with colourful window boxes.
Includes historic Hallstatt
More about this
Best of both worlds
Innsbruck to Salzburg Hike & Bike
High above the ski resorts of Innsbruck, the Austrian Alps lend themselves to mountain hiking whilst the valleys connecting alpine towns en route to the ‘Sound of Music’ town of Salzburg are ideal for cycling. This itinerary combines both activities to ensure you get the most out of this scenic region, from hiking to one of the highest waterfalls in Europe and passing tiny ski villages to taking a guided tour of the Moserboden dam or visiting an old salt mines and beer breweries.
Includes famous ski resort Zell am See - Kaprun
More about this
At handlebar level
Follow the winding route of the Danube and discover the lively history of one of Europe’s most important rivers. Cycle from the elegant city of Vienna and cross northern Austria before heading into Slovakia. Here, vineyards climb the slopes of the Little Carpathian Mountains and baroque architecture is ever present. Wind past the unusual artist village of Szentendre and numerous delightful towns before reaching the capital of Hungary, where you should definitely check out Sissi’s favourite palace, which towers high above the Danube.
Includes border crossings between Slovakia and Hungary
More about this
The Salzburg Festival takes place from 21 July – 30 August 2017 and if you cannot wait until next summer, there also is a spring edition, which in 2018 is from 18-21 May. The Austrian festival is celebrated since 1920, or even earlier since Mozart times. The festival showcases opera, drama and concerts and has established itself as the most important in its field.
For more information and for possibilities to add extra nights in Salzburg, please contact our team of travel experts.
Besides linear or circular walking holidays, you also have a choice to opt for a (semi) centre-based walking holiday in Europe with Sherpa Expeditions.
Perhaps you are interested in exploring a certain region more in depth or you like to reduce the number of times to unpack and prefer sleeping in the same bed every night. The European Alps are an excellent destination to enjoy this style of travel. From the Austrian Lake District and the Dachstein Alps via Meiringen and on to the Bernese Oberland, below you can find ideas for centre based walking holidays.
Austrian Lake District & Dachstein Alps
This semi-centre based walking holiday evolves around:
- Bad Goisern
Towering peaks, high mountain passes, alpine meadows and lakeside walks are all combined in this surprisingly compact area. The heart of Austria’s Lake District encompasses 76 crystal clear lakes, the impressive Dachstein Glacier, and breath-taking rock faces up to 3,000 vertical metres high. Wander through mountain forests and alongside glimmering lakeland shores as you explore alpine villages of wooden chalets decorated with colourful window boxes.
We grade this tour as moderate-challenging and although most days are easier, you will find some steep stony trails and perhaps an element of exposure on certain occasions. For those that like to avoid the challenging parts, there is public transport available between centres.
Go there on the 8 day semi centre based walking holiday Austrian Lake District and Dachstein Alps.
This centre based walking holiday evolves around:
Situated at the convergence of three of Switzerland’s major passes, Meiringen is famous for the Reichenbach Falls, a spectacular cataract that was the setting for the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. A place for anyone who wants to see the real Switzerland, in autumn the landscape is painted with a riot of colour and in spring and summer you can find lush alpine valleys and flowers bloom. Walks here encompass all grades from gentle strolls to high ridges, while a superb integrated network of cablecars, postbuses and trams takes you in all directions quickly and easily.
The high places can be reached quickly without long uphill climbs out of the valley and, at any time of the year, you can fill a week with excellent day walks, from gentle strolls to high ridges. Choose yourself how easy or hard you care to make it.
Go there on the Meiringen: Panoramas of the Swiss Alps 5 day or 8 day self guided walking holidays.
Bernese Oberland & Reichenbach Falls
This semi-centre based walking holiday evolves around:
A stunning region of rock and ice, Bernese Oberland is the perfect introduction to walking in the Swiss Alps. The route follows classic mountain trails to charming mountain refuges. Along the way you’ll be able to enjoy views from a variety of vantage points of vast glaciers that tumble from some of the highest peaks in the country, many over 4,000m!
Each day you can choose between a range of walks, often with differing grades and distances; you can also utilise the extensive mountain transport system to shorten the walks further. You also have the option to take the mountain railway to the Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest railway station.
Go there on the Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls 8-day self guided walking holiday or join a small group of like-minded travellers on the Bernese Oberland and Reichenbach Falls Guided Walk.
Interested in more choice of centre based walking holidays in Europe? Find out about the advantages and extra suggestions for this type of travel in the article ‘In the Centre of the Action: 4 Trips’.
For more information or booking requests, please contact our team of travel experts in our London office.
Sunny Summer Strolls in the Alps
The Alps of Austria and Switzerland often see crisp and attractive walking weather in the summer months with daylight until 9pm.
This year the Austrian Lake District is a region that appeals and on one of our trips you can easily combine a visit with hiking the peaks of the Dachstein Alps.
Even though the Haute Route is a classic walking region, compared to most other areas in Switzerland the majority of the paths is little trodden.
If you like to see the flower-strewn alpine meadows of the Bernese Oberland and Rachstein Falls at their best, the coming months are your best option.
Head to the Alps of Switzerland and Austria this July to September to enjoy an excellent variety of alpine flowers, animals, bountiful picnic lunches, and incomparable mountain panoramas.
Take me there >> Walking holidays in Switzerland >>
>> Walking holidays in Austria >> Show me all
The majority of our active European holidays can be booked from a week in advance. So if you like to escape to better weather, just use the booking form linked to the trip you like, or contact our team of travel experts in our London offices. We look forward to help get you on your way!